Dyshidrotic Eczema is described as an itchy rash that occurs on the hands and sometimes the feet. It’s not always on the feet, but is always on the hands, usually on the sides of the fingers and on the palms of the hands. When it is also on the feet, it appears on the soles and sides of the toes. Dyshidrotic eczema may come and go, but is more of a seasonal rash, being more common during warm weather. The cause of dyshidrotic eczema is unknown, but it starts as small blisters filled with fluid; blisters that become very itchy. There is really no age bracket for dyshidrotic eczema, although it usually does not affect children under the age of 10.
The blisters may appear to be very deep because the skin on the palm of the hands is so thick. Occasionally, redness may also develop although this is rare. In more severe cases of dyshidrotic eczema, the blisters may spread together and look like many large blisters. In many cases, the individual doesn’t feel this is serious enough to see a doctor and wish to self medicate themselves. In this case, the best treatment is to avoid any kinds of irritants. Use only mild soap and cleansers on your body and use frequent applications of topical creams as well as petroleum jelly. Also, avoid scratching the blisters, as this can make things worse. Excessive scratching may take more treatment to cure the problem as well as longer treatment.
If you do seek medical treatment, your doctor may recommend a few different treatments for your dyshidrotic eczema. Some of these treatments may include topical steroids or ointments to be applied on the lesions twice a day, oral steroid such as prednisone, anti-itch medicines to be taken orally such as antihistamines and moisturizers. When topical steroids are prescribed, they often start with a high-potency dosage and taper it off as needed.
Generally, dyshidrotic eczema will go away on its own with little problem, but it may return later. In some cases, dyshidrotic eczema may have complications such as bacterial infections and severe itching and pain that may restrict the use of the hands. In severe cases, the dermatologist may recommend phototherapy. The two types of phototherapy that are used to treat dyshidrotic eczema are UV light therapy and PUVA also known as chemophototherapy.
UV Light therapy consists of the body or affected area being exposed to ultraviolet light. They may use Ultraviolet A, B or both. The two types of UVB therapy are broadband and narrowband. Narrowband appears to be more effective than broadband because it emits a narrow band of Ultraviolet light on the site. PUVA is a combination of light therapy and medication. PUVA means “psoralen + UVA”. There are more side effects to PUVA, but either method will depend on your condition and your dermatologist.