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Dyshidrotic Eczema


Key points: 

  • Dyshidrotic eczema presents as tiny, itchy blisters on hands or feet
  • Common triggers: stress, allergies.
  • Treatment includes: steroid creams/ointments, potassium permanganate soak, emollient moisturisers and soaps.
  • Avoid: Hot water, detergents, synthetic materials
  • Severe cases may need phototherapy, allergy testing and potent steroids

Have you ever had a sudden outbreak of itchy blisters on your hands or feet? If so, you might be dealing with a common skin condition called Dyshidrotic Eczema. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. In this post, we’ll unravel the secrets behind this annoying condition and share some practical tips to help you find relief. Let’s jump right in!

What is Dyshidrotic Eczema?

Imagine waking up to find a bunch of tiny, itchy blisters on your hands or feet. That’s Dyshidrotic Eczema paying you an unwelcome visit! This skin condition is all about those pesky blisters that can pop up out of nowhere. While experts are still puzzling over its exact cause, stress, allergies, or even being exposed to hot, humid weather might be the culprits.

Dyshidrotic Eczema

What to Expect:

Dyshidrotic eczema can be a real nuisance, causing itchiness, redness, and those bothersome blisters. They can be as small as pinpricks or grow into larger bubbles that make your hands look like they’re ready to join a foam party. But the good news is, you can relax – it’s not contagious. You won’t be passing it on to others with a handshake!

Treatment of Dyshidrotic Eczema: 

When it comes to treating dyshidrotic eczema, we’ve got some friendly advice to help you kick those bothersome blisters to the curb. So, let’s dive right in and discover the secrets to finding relief!

  1. Avoid Triggers: It’s important to steer clear of any obvious triggers that may be causing your dyshidrotic eczema to flare up. If you suspect a contact allergy, do your best to avoid it as much as possible. Prevention is key. 
  2. Emollients to the Rescue: Emollients, also known as medical moisturizers, are your best friends in the fight against dyshidrotic eczema. They help moisturize and cleanse your skin, providing much-needed hydration. Make sure to use them regularly. 
  3. Potassium Permanganate Soak: If your skin is weeping, oozing, and crusting, a potassium permanganate soak might be just what the doctor ordered. But before you dive in, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for guidance. These soaks can be done once or twice a week to provide relief.

    Potassium Permanganate Crystals

    Potassium Permanganate Crystals

    How to Do a Potassium Permanganate Soak: Start by wearing disposable protective gloves and prepare a clean container, like a large saucepan or bucket lined with a white bin liner bag. Dissolve the potassium permanganate in water until it turns to a pale pink solution. Soak your hands and/or feet in this solution for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with water containing emollient and gently pat dry with a clean towel. Remember to apply petroleum jelly to your nails beforehand to prevent staining. Learn more here!

    Dyshidrotic eczema

    Potassium Permanganate diluted in water.

  4. The Power of Emollients for Washing: When washing, opt for a leave-on emollient or an emollient soap substitute instead of traditional soap, as soap can strip away the skin’s natural oils and cause irritation. 
  5. Topical Steroids for Inflammation: In cases where inflammation and cracks are present, topical steroids are often prescribed to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Stronger steroids may be needed for hands due to their thicker skin. Dermatologists often recommend covering hands with gloves at night and using hand cream 4 times per day. It’s important to follow your healthcare professional’s instructions and use them for a short treatment burst, typically two weeks.

Remember, each person’s journey with dyshidrotic eczema is unique, so it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and treatment options. Stay positive and consistent with your skincare routine, and you’ll be well on your way to soothing those itchy blisters and achieving healthier, happier skin.

skin allergy testing

What are additional treatments for Blistering Dyshidrotic Eczema?

When it comes to severe blistering eczema, you may need additional treatments that go beyond the basics. If your condition is particularly severe, it might be necessary to seek a dermatology referral for further evaluation and potential patch testing to diagnose any contact allergies.

For cases that haven’t responded to potent topical steroids, a short course of an immunosuppressant drug may be considered. Phototherapy using UVB or PUVA rays could be an option if it’s available to you. This treatment involves using a special foot/hand light box, and you may need to visit a dermatology department 2-3 times a week for assessment and treatment. In some cases, you may be provided with a light box to administer the treatment at home, while still being monitored by the dermatology department. Typically, phototherapy treatment is carried out for 12-16 weeks.

What are practical tips for managing Dyshidrotic Eczema?

When it comes to practical management of pompholyx eczema, there are some simple steps you can take to minimize discomfort and promote healing. Here are some friendly tips to help you along the way:

  1. Opt for lukewarm water when washing your hands and affected areas, as very hot or cold water can irritate the skin. Remember to use an emollient as a substitute for soap to keep your skin moisturized.
  2. Try to avoid direct contact with detergents and strong cleansing agents. When carrying out household tasks, wear 100% cotton gloves under rubber or plastic gloves to create a protective barrier. The same goes for shampooing your hair—wear cotton gloves under waterproof gloves for added protection. If possible, ask for some help with shampooing and housework while your pompholyx is active.
  3. If itchiness is keeping you up at night, sedating antihistamines can provide relief. Just be aware that they may cause drowsiness if taken during the day. Remember, antihistamines in eczema aid sleep rather than actively treating itchiness.
  4. For large blisters, you can gently drain them using a large sterile needle. Make a small jagged tear in the blister, as a pin-prick hole won’t effectively release the fluid. Be careful not to remove the protective layer of skin (the “roof” of the blister), as it plays an important role in healing and preventing infection.
  5. Choose socks, tights, and gloves made from natural materials like cotton, bamboo, or silk. Synthetic materials like nylon are less absorbent and don’t allow the skin to “breathe” as well.
  6. Consider bandaging or wrapping your hands and/or feet to protect the skin. Alternatively, you can wear cotton, bamboo, or silk gloves and socks. Covering the affected areas can provide relief and ensure that creams and ointments are absorbed effectively. If you’re using paste bandages or wet wraps, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional to learn more about their suitability and how to use them with creams and ointments. For weeping blisters, cover them with a non-stick dressing to prevent further damage.
  7. For severe cracks, a healthcare professional may prescribe a steroid impregnated tape to protect them and speed up healing.
  8. If you’re dealing with painful cracks after the blister stage, you can try using Extra Thin Duoderm, a helpful hydrocolloid dressing. Cut it to shape and apply it to the cracks. It can be left undisturbed for a few days. However, it’s essential to speak to a healthcare professional before using Duoderm on an area that you’re treating with topical steroids, as it can increase the potency of the steroid.
  9. Keep your footwear dry and breathable. Avoid plastic or rubber shoes that can cause sweating. Instead, opt for light shoes with cotton linings rather than synthetic ones.

By incorporating these practical tips into your daily routine, you can better manage and alleviate the discomfort of pompholyx eczema. Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment options.

Dealing with dyshidrotic eczema can be a real challenge, but armed with these tips, you’re better prepared to face it head-on. Remember, you’re not alone in this battle, and there are solutions out there to help you find relief. So take good care of your hands, keep them moisturized, and stay cool. You’ve got the power to conquer those itchy blisters and reclaim your comfort!