Pompholyx Eczema: what is Dyshidrotic Eczema, how to care for it?

Find out everything you should know about the skin condition pompholyx and the best ways to deal with.

Pompholyx, which is it’s also known as dyshidrotic eczema, is a type of eczema which causes the development of tiny blisters across the fingers, palms of the hands and sometimes the soles of the feet.  Anyone of any age can develop Pompholyx, but it’s commonly seen in adults under 40 years of age. Sometimes, it can be confused with similar conditions. You should see your doctor if you have any sort of blistering skin condition.

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Woman applying moisturizing cosmetic creams on her hands with dry skin

What are the Symptoms of Pompholyx Eczema?

 

Pompholyx commonly starts as intense itching and burning of the skin on your hands and fingers. The palms and sides of the fingers then erupt into tiny itchy blisters that can weep fluid. In severe cases,  blisters can be quite large and can spread to the backs of the hands, feet and limbs. Your skin can become infected. The Signs of an infection include the blisters become painful and oozing pus or become covered in a golden crust. The blisters will heal within a few weeks; your skin tends to become dry and crack or peel because it starts to heal.

 

What’s Causing Pompholyx Eczema?

 

It’s not clear exactly what causes Pompholyx; however, it can be triggered or made worse by:

  • A reaction to something that has touched your skin, such as certain metals, detergents, household chemicals, soap, shampoo, cosmetic products or perfume
  • Fungal skin infection may be on the hands or at a distant site from the blisters and will need treating
  • Stress
  • Sweating: Pompholyx is more common in spring and summer, in warmer climates, and in people with hyperhidrosis.

 

How Long Does Pompholyx Eczema last?

 

In most cases, pompholyx clears up on its own within a few weeks. However, we provide you some treatments below that may help relieve your symptoms. Sometimes, pompholyx may just develop once and never come back, but it comes and goes over several months or years. The triggers that mentioned above may cause it to flare up again. Pompholyx may be more continuous and difficult to treat.

Pompholyx Eczema

How to Treat Pompholyx?

 

Treating the symptoms

The treatments your doctor may recommend to treat the symptoms of pompholyx which are similar to those used when treating atopic eczema, including:

  • Steroid cream to reduces the inflammation and irritation and it helps your skin to heal
  • Emollients or moisturizers : You need to use these all the time and instead of soap to stop your skin becoming dry
  • Your doctor may prescribe a strong steroid cream to use for a short period of time to minimise risk of steroid side effects. Your doctor may advise you to wear cotton gloves at night to help the cream sink into the skin.
  • Soaking your hands in a dilute solution of potassium permanganate for 10-15 minutes once or twice a day for up to five days
  • Use antihistamines to relieve the itching and help you sleep if the itchiness is keeping you awake at night
  • Antibiotics might be prescribed if your skin becomes infected.

 

Protecting your skin

You should try to avoid contact with anything that may irritate your skin, including soaps, shampoos and other household chemicals. Use an emollient as a soap substitute and wear cotton-lined gloves when you’re at risk of contact with other potentially irritating substances.

Don’t burst the blisters. Let them heal on their own. If they’re big, your doctor can drain them.

 

Specialist Treatments

If your pompholyx is severe and doesn’t get better with the above treatments, your doctor may refer you to a specialist in treating skin conditions. A dermatologist will recommend one of the following treatments:

  • Steroid tablets or very strong steroid cream
  • Phototherapy : controlled exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light
  • Immunosuppressant creams or ointments, such as pimecrolimus or tacrolimus
  • Immunosuppressant tablets or capsules, such as ciclosporin or azathioprine
  • Alitretinoin capsules: medication that helps improve severe eczema affecting the hands when other treatments haven’t worked

 

What are the Similar Skin Conditions?

Conditions that may have a similar appearance to pompholyx include:

  • Bullous pemphigoid which is a blistering skin condition tends to affect the elderly
  • Bullous impetigo which a contagious skin infection that affects children and causes sores and blisters
  • Contact dermatitis which is a type of eczema caused by skin contact with a substance that causes irritation or an allergic reaction
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease which is a viral infection mainly affects young children. It can cause small blisters to develop on the fingers and palms of the hands
  • Herpetic whitlow which is an abscess at the end of the finger that can cause it to become suddenly red, swollen, painful and blistered
  • Pustular psoriasis which is an uncommon type of psoriasis causes pus-filled blisters to appear on your skin

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