Hand eczema or dermatitis is a sore chronic rash in which the hands become red in color, cracked and even lead to the development of oozing bumps or irritated, scaly patches. Take note that dishpan hands are considered as a type of hand eczema but can occur to anyone.
Hand eczema is likely to occur among individuals who have experienced skin problems or allergies as children or those whose hands usually get wet or exposed to certain chemicals in the workplace. It is vital to seek medical care immediately for hand eczema since it becomes more difficult to treat over time. If you want to learn more about eczema, click here.
A commonly used treatment for hand eczema is a topical corticosteroid which can help reduce the inflammation as well as help ease the itchiness. It is recommended to keep a lotion in the refrigerator since it will provide a better soothing effect on the skin if it is cool.
Topical corticosteroids must only be used when hand eczema is currently causing problems since long-term use can cause the thinning of the skin as well as other side effects. In cases that do not respond to topical corticosteroids, an oral corticosteroid can help with the inflammation that is prescribed by a doctor.
Other alternatives to corticosteroids include pimecrolimus and tacrolimus which cause minimal side effects corticosteroids. Just like corticosteroids, they work by minimizing the inflammation. These medications can be given to those over than two years old and must be used along with sunscreen.
Other medications for hand eczema
Since hand eczema is oftentimes triggered by an allergic reaction to chemicals at work or in commonly used household products, oral antihistamines can also help. Antihistamines work by blocking the immune system response that triggers the inflammation in an allergic reaction. Oftentimes, antibiotics are prescribed if infection on the affected hand develops. Individuals whose eczema is triggered by excessive sweating in the hands is usually given botulinum toxin type A injection.
Changes on the lifestyle
The individual who has hand eczema should avoid wetting the hands as much as possible by wearing gloves when performing chores such as preparing food, doing the laundry or washing dishes. If possible, use a washing machine or dishwasher.
The individual should also try water-free hand washing by sanitizing the hands using a cream cleanser and blotting it. Apply moisturizers once the hands become wet. Avoid any allergens or irritants that can cause hand eczema to flare up. Take note that petroleum jelly provides the ideal protection since it does not contain water which worsens the problem. Additionally, it also provides a protective barrier that keeps irritants out.
For severe cases of hand eczema, light therapy can be used. The individual is given a light-sensitive drug called as psorlen which makes the skin more sensitive to the UVA light prior to exposing the hands to UVA light. The UVA light affects the immune system, thus dampening the immune response to any irritants that causes the eczema. Even though considered effective, it increases the risk for skin cancer as well as causing headache, nausea, tiredness and itchiness as well as discolored skin.