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Dermatology Blog

Hand eczemas

Hand eczemas

Hand eczemas occur due to various reasons and in several forms. Let’s talk about the most common forms of the hand eczema and their treatment.


The most common form of the hand eczema is the wear and tear eczema or chronic irritant dermatitis. It is caused by a long-term contact with chlorinated water, soaps and household chemicals. The skin on palms and backs of the hands is dry, itchy, peeling off and with microfissures.

This eczema is treated especially via good moisturizing of the skin (but not by frequent washing), protection against the chemicals and sensitive washing. Frequent hand washing does damage the skin. You should therefore use a lukewarm water only, fragrance-free washing emulsions instead of soaps, and avoid drying by rubbing the hands, dry them by shaking instead. Use a moisturizing cream (again fragrance-free) after washing. Use gloves when working. You can also use a 2in1 solution, barrier cream Dermaguard. This cream moisturizes skin effectively and protects it as a shield against most of household chemicals and chlorine in water for several hours.

The second frequent eczema is an acute eczema. It can occur only as a one-time thing, e.g., if the skin is etched by acid or alkali (e.g., by chlorine bleach “Savo”) or by poisonous plant juice (cow parsnip, sumac, parsnip, etc.). This type of eczema appears on the skin of anyone who comes into a close contact with such substance.

The treatment is based on application of healing poultices and lubricating the skin with healing ointments like when curing burns. The prevention of this eczema comprises wearing gloves or using barrier cream regularly.

Third most often hands eczema is the atopic eczema. Atopic eczema can be easily confused with allergic contact eczema. The main difference between these two is that atopic eczema appears already I the infancy. It can later disappear but appear again at any time. Atopic skin is overall hypersensitive, so the deposits of the eczema can appear anywhere, not only in the location of the contact with the allergen. The skin reacts on the allergens in the food as well. Atopic eczema can occur on other parts of hands than the palms, especially on upper arms, wrists, knee pits, on the neck, etc.

The treatment is similar to the treatment of the allergic contact eczema. The affected locations are healed with prescription ointments. Baths and washing should be done only with preparations for atopic skin. Weakened skin barrier of the cured locations shall be strengthened with barrier cream.

Allergic contact eczema is an inherited disease, a person suffering with this disease is sensitive to one or more allergens. More often, the allergen is a substance that is commonly found in the surroundings of the affected person. There is about 3–4 thousand of known allergens. Some of them cause allergic reaction immediately after the first contact, others gradually. The most famous allergens are metal salts (bijouterie, metal buttons, zippers). When in contact with the allergen, the skin starts to itch badly and redden, and blisters or, on contrary, dry crusts cracking and bleeding can form in the contact location. Person can also start chocking, get fever or stomachache, or start swelling. In such case, it is necessary to seek medical attention.

Eczema can be calm with prescription ointments. However, if the allergen is not removed from the vicinity of the allergic person, the issue repeats. It is often not possible to completely avoid the allergen, as the skin can react to its sole molecule. As a prevention against the repeated appearance of the eczema is regular application of barrier skin protection.

Symptoms of acquired hypersensitivity contact eczema can be confused with the allergic contact eczema or atopic eczema. The eczema does not affect the whole immune system, but just the skin. This type of eczema is the second most common cause for the occupational disease. Frequent contact with the irritant causes the skin to become hypersensitive to it. The skin reacts with itching, reddening, formation of cracking crusts or oozing pimples. Typically, these symptoms disappear during the time off from work.

The treatment is similar to the atopic and allergic eczema treatment. Calming baths and prescription corticosteroid ointments. The main focus is the prevention of skin irritation. In addition to wearing work gloves, you can apply the barrier cream Dermaguard that protects the skin for up to 6 hours.

Sometimes, mycosis can appear on hands that can be confused with dyshidrotic form of contact or atopic eczema. Mycosis or fungal disease is commonly transferred to hands from feet. Fungus thrives between fingers, and it can spread from this location to whole palm. The skin itches and burns, pimples are forming on the surface, it is red and peeling.

The treatment of this issue comprises application of antifungal medicine that can be purchased in pharmacy without prescription. The treatment is recommended to by applied at least 14 days after the symptoms disappear, as these infections are hard to get rid of.



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