Dermatitis on HandECZEMA 

What Causes Dermatitis on Hands, and How to Prevent it?

Identify what causing dermatitis on hands and learn the best ways to deal with.

Dermatitis on Hand

What is Dermatitis on Hand?


Hand dermatitis, which is also called hand eczema, is common dry skin condition that affect about one in every 20 people. It starts in childhood as part of an in-built tendency to eczema; however, it is commonest in adults. Dermatitis on hands may be a short-lived, mild problem. But in some people, it can last for years in a severe form which can have a great impact on the daily life.


Who gets Dermatitis on Hand?


People who experienced eczema in childhood (atopic eczema) and people who work in jobs with frequent water contact have a high risk of getting hand dermatitis.


What causes Dermatitis on Hands?


  • In many people, hand dermatitis develops due to the direct damage to the skin by harsh chemicals or irritants, especially soap, detergent and repeated contact with water. It is called “irritant contact dermatitis.”
  • Your skin contact with some allergens such as perfumes, rubber or leather can cause dermatitis in people who have an allergy to these substances. This is called “allergic contact dermatitis.”
  • In some cases, the major cause of hand dermatitis is unknown, and there is no trigger. It can be common for someone to have more than one cause of their hand dermatitis, for example a combination of in-built and irritant contact dermatitis.


Is Dermatitis on Hand Hereditary?


Actually, No, it is not hereditary, but the tendency to get hand dermatitis can run in families along with childhood eczema, asthma and hay fever.


What are the Symptoms of Dermatitis on Hands?


Like the common forms of dermatitis, the affected areas of flaky skin will feel hot, sore, rough, scaly and itchy.  It can be itchy little bubbles or painful cracks.


What Does Dermatitis on Hands Seem?


With dermatitis on hand, your skin is inflamed, red and swollen, with a damaged dried out surface that makes it looks flaky. It can cause cracked areas that bleed and ooze. Sometimes, you can see small water blisters on the palms or sides of the fingers. Moreover, different parts of the hand can be affected such as the finger webs, fleshy finger pulps or center of the palms. There are many different patterns of hand dermatitis; however, these do not tell us its cause and the pattern can change over time in one person.

Dermatitis on Hands can get infected with bacteria that called Staphylococcus or Streptococcus. This causes more redness, soreness, crusting, oozing and spots or pimples.


How is Dermatitis on Hands Diagnosed?


Diagnosing dermatitis on hands is done by carefully examining the skin. Examining the feet and other body areas will show if it is part of a more widespread skin complaint.

It is important to run patch tests in finding out if allergic contact dermatitis has helped cause a person’s hand dermatitis. The tests are done over days and at the end need to be read by an expert. Most people are tested for about 50 common allergies. If someone also handles unusual chemicals at work, they may need extra tests put on.


Can other Skin Conditions Look Like Dermatitis on Hands?


Psoriasis of the hands can look like dermatitis, especially when there are thick, scaly patches on the palms. Moreover, ringworm or fungus infection causes itchy scaly rashes on neck. These start on the feet or groin, and it can spread to the hands and nails. Skin samples from affected areas can be sent for fungal analysis if this needs to be ruled out.


Can Dermatitis on Hands Be Cured?


In most cases, the nature of treatment is to control the condition but does not cure it. Effective treatment early can avoid it turning into a chronic complaint. In people with allergic contact dermatitis, avoiding the allergen can help or clear the hand dermatitis.


How Can Dermatitis on Hands be treated?


  • Moisturizers are an essential part of treating hand dermatitis because they help repair the damaged outer skin and lock moisture inside the skin and make it soft and supple again. You should apply them repeatedly throughout the day and whenever the skin feels dry.
  • Soap substitutesare very helpful because they clean your skin without drying and damaging it like liquid soap and bar soap can.
  • The commonest prescribed treatment for hand dermatitis is steroid creams and ointments. They relieve the symptoms and calm inflamed skin. The stronger strength steroids are needed as mild steroids do not work on thick skin. You should apply them twice a day. When used as suggested by your doctor, topical steroids do not cause problems.  If they are over-used, there is a risk of skin thinning so they should be stopped once the dermatitis has settled.
  • Antihistamine tablets are not always helpful. Sedating antihistamines can cause drowsiness and can help you sleep.
  • Potassium permanganate soaks can be helpful in severe blistering hand dermatitis because it can dry the blisters and prevent bacterial infection.
  • Topical Calcineurin inhibitors are prescribed as creams and to treat dermatitis instead of steroids. While they may work less well than strong steroids, they do not carry any risk of skin thinning. They can often cause burning or itching after application.
  • Ultraviolet Therapy is a hospital-based treatment for very severe hand dermatitis. It involves visiting hospital for treatment.
  • For a severe flare of hand dermatitis, steroid tabletsmay be given for a few weeks. The dose is usually decreased gradually over a few weeks. Longer-term use is not advisable because of the side effects.
  • Alitretinoin is based on vitamin A and is prescribed by specialists for severe chronic hand dermatitis. A treatment course lasts up to 6 months.  It must never be taken during pregnancy.
  • Systemic immunosuppressant are strong treatments that prescribed by specialists to treat severe hand dermatitis. These are given to people who have had an organ transplant and include azathioprine, ciclosporin and methotrexate. People taking these tablets need to be watched carefully and have regular blood tests.


How to Prevent Dermatitis on Hands?


Use protective gloves at work and at home when in contact with irritating chemicals and water. Wear cotton gloves underneath or chose cotton-lined gloves if you have to work for longer. The best choice of glove material depends on which chemicals or allergens are being handled. Gloves should be clean and dry inside and not broken.

If the gloves cannot be worn, you need to apply a barrier cream before exposure to irritants. After the exposure, you should wash the hands carefully with a soap substitute, rinse, dry thoroughly then moisturize.

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