Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a condition that affects many people in various ways. In the UK 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults have eczema.
Symptoms of hand eczema
Symptoms of hand eczema vary depending on the severity of the case. Dryness, itching and redness are all common symptoms. The skin can also flake or become scaly. In severe cases, it might crack, bleed or suppurate. Although, it may seem that scratching offers short-term relief, it will only aggravate symptoms in the long run. When doing so there is also a risk of breaking the skin and leaving it open to infection.
There is a very specific type of hand eczema called pompholyx. One of the most obvious symptoms of this kind of eczema is the appearance of watery blisters on the palms of the hands (and on the soles of the feet).
What causes eczema on the hands?
Eczema can be caused by genetics or direct contact with an irritant. The latter is frequently, but not always, the cause of dermatitis on the hands also known as contact eczema or contact dermatitis.
There are several irritants which can cause contact dermatitis on the hands. These include products used on an everyday basis and as common as soaps and detergents. Other examples include bleach, solvents, hair products, diluted acids and alkalis, resins and even cement. However, contact eczema can also be caused by an allergy to a particular substance, although, this is less common but does happen.
Hand eczema is especially common in professions that involve contact with chemicals and other irritants such as those used in hairdressing, catering, cleaning, healthcare and construction. As the direct and frequent contact with chemicals and cleaning supplies can irritate the skin and cause allergies.
It is estimated that 9 % of the British population are affected by contact eczema.
Easing hand eczema
When suffering from eczema on the hands, your doctor will likely advise you to follow a certain course of treatment for your specific case. However, a major part of managing hand eczema is via frequent use of emollients. These special moisturisers help to keep skin well moisturised and prevents it from drying out and cracking.
If you have contact dermatitis, there are some simple practical tips that might help to ease your symptoms.
- Firstly, if you come into direct contact with any substance you think might aggravate your eczema you should immediately wash your hands. It is recommended to use warm water and a fragrance-free soap substitute to rinse the substance of your hands.
- Secondly, it is equally important to dry your hands well as wet or moist hands can cause your eczema to flare-up.
- Thirdly, you should follow up with a generous application of emollients. At HelloSkin we have a wide variety of emollients for eczema and dry skin which can help add moisture to your hands.
Another good idea is to wear gloves when washing up and using cleaning products. Plastic gloves with cotton liners are ideal. It is best to limit the use to twenty minutes at a time to stop your hands from sweating and irritating your eczema further.