Hand eczema or dermatitis is described as a painful lingering rash that turns the hands reddish in color, cracked and can lead to oozy bumps or scaly, itchy patches. It is important to note that hand eczema is more likely to occur among individuals who have had similar skin issues or allergies as children or those whose hands are constantly wet or exposed to certain chemicals at work. It is vital to seek medical care for hand eczema since it can become a hard issue to manage over time.
The commonly used form of treatment for hand eczema is topical corticosteroids which work by reducing inflammation and eases the itchiness. It is recommended to keep the lotion in the refrigerator since it will provide an increased soothing effect on the skin if it is cool.
Topical corticosteroids must only be used if hand eczema is actively causing issues since long-term usage of corticosteroids can cause thinning out of the skin as well as other side effects. In cases that do not respond to topical corticosteroids, an oral corticosteroid or a different drug can be used to fight off the inflammation.
There are some alternatives to corticosteroids such as calcineurin inhibitors. These medications can cause fewer side effects than corticosteroids. Similar to corticosteroids, they work by minimizing the inflammation.
These medications are approved for use for children over two years old. In addition, these should be used along with sunscreen.
Since hand eczema is oftentimes triggered by an allergic response to certain chemicals present at work or in commonly used household products, oral antihistamines can sometimes help.
Antihistamines function by blocking the response of the immune system that triggers inflammation during an allergic reaction. Oftentimes, antibiotics are also prescribed once an infection in the affected hand develops. Those who have eczema that is triggered by excessive sweating in the hands is given botulinum toxin type A injections.
It is important to note that light therapy can help manage chronic hand eczema. The individual is given a light-sensitive drug known as psorlen that makes the skin more sensitive to UVA light before exposing the hands to UVA light. The UVA light is a specific wavelength of light that affects the immune system. This dampens the immune response to any irritants that are causing the eczema so that the symptoms are reduced. Even though effective, the treatment can increase the risk for skin cancer and even trigger headaches, nausea, burning, tiredness, itchiness or discolored skin.
Changes in lifestyle
The individual should avoid wetting his/her hand as much as possible by wearing gloves while doing chores such as preparing food or washing dishes. If possible, use a dishwasher and washing machine.
You can also try waterless hand washing when sanitizing the hands is not needed by using a cream cleanser and then blotting it off. Try to apply a moisturizer every time the hands get wet.
Avoid any allergens or irritants that can cause hand eczema to flare up. Petroleum jelly can provide the best protection since it does not contain water that can worsen the issue. In addition, it also provides a protective barrier that helps keep other irritants out. Do not forget to avoid any allergens or irritants that can cause flare-ups of hand eczema.