SUNDAY, Oct. 2, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Sometimes, irritated skin on your hands is more than just dryness.

Hand eczema may be to blame, with painful, dry and itchy skin on all or part of the hands and fingers.

“If your hands are very dry and sore and using moisturizer throughout the day doesn’t help, you may have hand eczema,” said Dr. Dawn Davis, a pediatric and adult dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Without proper treatment and preventative measures, hand eczema can get worse.”

Eczema can look like red, dark brown, purple or gray patches of irritated skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It can peel, become inflamed and itch. There may be burning or itchy blisters and deep, painful cracks, as well as crusting, pus, and bleeding or oozing skin.

“Hand eczema can flare up due to a variety of factors,” Davis said in an academy news release. “Some patients will see an increase in irritation in cooler, drier temperatures, while for others the condition may worsen in the warmer months due to sweating. A trigger or flare for one patient may be different than a flare or trigger for other patients.’

Aggravation can occur due to improper drying of wet hands or an allergic reaction, such as to latex or jewelry metals. People who had eczema (atopic dermatitis) as children have a higher risk of developing hand eczema. Chemicals such as solvents, detergents and cement can increase the risk.

Prevent flare-ups by using a gentle hand or hypoallergenic cleanser, not washing too often, and making sure to rinse off excess detergent, Davis said. Wash well between your fingers where detergent can build up.

She also suggested gently drying your hands with a towel rather than air-drying them. Use fragrance-free creams and ointments instead of lotions.

“At the core of all eczema treatments is a sensitive skin care regimen,” Davis said. “It is important to note that patients with hand eczema may also have foot eczema. These are the parts of the body that we use frequently, and as such are often exposed to the environment and the chemicals and objects we use in our daily lives. They both have thick skin along the palms and soles that protect the skin, but can also be difficult to moisturize.”

Applying petroleum jelly to the affected area before bed or applying a thick moisturizer frequently throughout the day can help, Davis said.

Also, wear gloves if you may come into contact with irritants.

Some people with eczema will use a vinegar solution, also called an acetic acid solution.

“After preparing the solution, the patient soaks a washcloth in the mixture, wrings it out, wraps the washcloth around the hand like a burrito, and then puts a white tube sock on the hand for a few hours or before going to bed,” Davis said. said.

A dermatologist can also offer advice and treatment.

“It is important that people seek treatment for hand eczema so that their skin does not become infected, which can lead to cellulitea common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection,” Davis said.

“If you suspect you have hand eczema and home treatments aren’t helping, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist,” she recommended.

Additional information

The National Eczema Association has more information hand eczema.

SOURCE: American Academy of Dermatology, news release, September 27, 2022.

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