Dyshydrotic Eczema is a skin condition in the eczema family. It can affect people from age 4 to 76, but it seems to more commonly affect men between the ages of 20 and 50, with the average age in the 30s. The frequency of recurring flare-ups seems to decrease after middle age. The cause may be unknown, but some doctors believe dyshydrotic eczema may be genetic or an inherited response to allergens. The first parts of the body that are affected are the sides of the fingers, skin of the palms and soles of the feet. The first reaction to these body parts are the formation of itchy blisters. Although this skin condition is not contagious, it looks very unattractive and patients usually feel very self-conscious and embarrassed around others.
The symptoms of dyshydrotic eczema are excessive sweating, fissures and cracks in the skin, severe itching, swelling and pain at the area of the rash, small, deep-seated blisters and oozing and crusting skin lesions. Dyshydrotic eczema is often linked with hand eczema. In fact, dyshydrotic eczema affects up to 20% of people that already have hand eczema. It is also more common in warmer climates or during spring and summer in these warm areas. The name originated from the word “dyshidrotic”, which means, “bad sweating”. This is what they originally believed caused this skin condition.
There are different causes and risk factors for dyshydrotic eczema. It is believed that it may be caused by certain allergens in the environment. Researchers believe that nickel, such as what is used in costume jewelry, can cause an allergic reaction as well as balsam and cobalt. Dyshydrotic eczema appears to be related to other skin conditions such as contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, bacterial infections, dermatophyte infection and emotional and environmental stress. It’s also believed that a fungal infection in another part of the part may cause dyshydrotic eczema to develop on the hand. For instance, a patient that has athlete’s foot may suddenly develop the lesions or blisters on their hands.
Some factors that have been reported to aggravate dyshydrotic eczema are cigarette smoking, aspirin, metal implants and oral contraceptives. Different risk factors that can increase the chance of developing dyshydrotic eczema are anxiety certain skin infections, bacterial infections, hot or cold temperatures, stress, increased humidity, family history of allergies and seasonal changed.
Dyshydrotic eczema can be very severe and can result in time lost from work. Treatment for dyshydrotic eczema will vary depending on the severity and the patient’s medical history. Often patch tests are done to rule out any other allergies.