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Hand Eczema – Symptoms, Causes, Types and Treatment

Hand Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is an inflammatory disorder that causes irritating blisters and rashes on the palms and fingers. It is generally painful, and visible to others. People may feel self-conscious about it. The skin is an important aspect of the immune system because it protects us from infection.  

It not only acts as a physical barrier, but it also contains specialized cells that kill invading foreign proteins (antigens) like bacteria and viruses. The immune system overreacts in the skin of persons with eczema, causing it to become red and itchy. Eczema of the hands is non-communicable. However, it can affect the ability to carry out regular tasks.

What are the symptoms of hand eczema?

Eczema creates red or dark brown itching skin. Some other symptoms of hand eczema are:

  • Pain 
  • Burning 
  • Peeling, flaking, and dryness 
  • Swelling 
  • Cracks 
  • Blisters 
  • Crusts or pus 
  • Bleeding 

Although no one knows for sure what causes eczema, some experts believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may induce inflammation, which results in an allergic reaction.

What are the causes of hand eczema?

These are some of the reasons: 

  1. Chemicals and irritants – Eczema on the hands is more common in people who work with detergents, soap, or cement. Hairdressers, caterers, construction workers, and engineers are all susceptible. 
  2. Water – Anything can irritate the skin and induce eczema flare-ups. Hand eczema is more common in those who often wash and dry their hands. Some water will linger on the skin even after a person has dried their hands. This water will evaporate, causing the skin’s natural oils to deplete. Using hot water to wash hands can reduce the number of essential oils and lead to an eczema flare-up. 
  3. Stress – The body creates two hormones called cortisol and epinephrine when a person is stressed. These irritate the skin and depress the immune system. Dyshidrotic eczema, a frequent kind of eczema that creates irritating blisters on the skin, is sometimes caused by high stress. 
  4. Sweat – Sweat contains elements including sodium, lead, nickel, and magnesium that irritates the skin. Hot temperatures can cause irritation, which can lead to eczema flare-ups if sweat does not dry entirely. 
  5. Food allergies – Some foods might trigger allergic reactions, leading to eczema flare-ups on the hands. Dairy goods such as milk, eggs, almonds, wheat, and soy products are among them. 
  6. Cold temperatures and dehydration – Winter’s dry air and rapid temperature swings can dehydrate the skin and exacerbate eczema flare-ups. It is more likely to occur when people do not remove their layers when moving from a cold area to a room with indoor heating.

What are the types of hand eczema?

Hand eczema also arises in a variety of other forms. Each form of hand eczema has its symptoms and triggers. 

  1. Irritant contact dermatitis – When an individual comes into contact with something that irritates the skin, such as dust or chemicals, it causes a reaction. These factors can irritate the skin’s protective barrier, resulting in eczema. 
  2. Allergic contact dermatitis – It is due to the allergic reaction to particles or dust in the environment. Nickel, perfumes, rubber, and some plants are all common culprits. 
  3. Dyshidrotic dermatitis – It causes itchiness and wet blisters on the palms and sides of the fingers. It also occurs in conjunction with a different type of eczema on another part of the body. It occurs in cycles and is most prevalent before the age of 40. Doctors are baffled as to what is causing it. Metals, allergies, stress, heat, and sweating, on the other hand, might aggravate the condition.

What are the treatment methods for hand eczema?

Hand eczema has no treatment, and the symptoms can be painful and distracting. It can take weeks for rashes to go away. Doctors usually recommend a treatment plan based on the patient’s age, symptoms, and medical history. 

The following are some medications and natural therapies that doctors can offer to persons with hand eczema. 

Medications 

  1. Topical corticosteroids – While moisturizers can assist with hand eczema, some people may also need to take topical corticosteroids. A significant number of steroids are present depending on the severity of eczema. Therefore, it is required to follow the directions carefully. They might have undesired side effects, such as skin thinning, due to their potency. 
  2. Antibacterial ointments – Antibacterial ointments helps in treating wounds and broken skin. 
  3. Calcineurin inhibitors – These aren’t as powerful as steroids, and they don’t cause skin thinning. However, after applying them to the affected area, people may experience a burning or stinging sensation. 
  4. Ultraviolet (UV) therapy – Expose the skin to UVA or UVB radiation to heal moderate hand eczema in children and adults. This medication aids in the reduction of itching and inflammation. The skin condition improves by visiting the doctors’ office for one or two months.

Natural remedies 

  1. Applying wet compresses – This helps to minimize irritation and scratching. 
  2. Applying aloe vera gel to the affected area – Antibacterial and antimicrobial activities are found in aloe vera. It helps in assisting the wound healing process.
  3. Honey – Atopic dermatitis, sometimes known as eczema, was treated by manuka honey. Honey can also be used to treat burns and wounds.
  4. Moisturizing the skin regularly – This helps to hydrate the skin and soothes dryness. Moisturizers serve as a barrier, preventing irritants from making contact with the skin. They help in preventing the spread of a secondary bacterial infection. 
  5. Coconut oil – It hastens the healing process while also providing relief. Coconut oil includes lauric acid, which fights bacteria and viruses. Individuals with hand eczema can use coconut oil as a moisturizer to lower the risk of infection.

Conclusion

Eczema of the hands is an inflammatory skin disease that can affect both children and adults. Itchy blisters, rashes, cracking, and inflammation are all possible side effects. It’s not contagious, and there’s no way to get rid of it. Medications and natural therapies can help relieve inflammation, treat infections, and manage flare-ups. If a person’s hand eczema is causing them concern, they should consult a doctor or dermatologist for a treatment plan.

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The content is carefully chosen and thoughtfully organized and verified by our panel expert dermatologists who have years of experience in their field. We aim to spread awareness to all those individuals who are curious and would like to know more about their skin and beauty
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