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What is Dyshidrotic Eczema?

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: DaniellaNicole • updated: 6/27/2011

Dyshidrotic eczema is commonly known as dyshidrosis. This is a skin condition that affects the hands and feet. It often produces many uncomfortable and painful symptoms. The symptoms of this condition include blisters, itching and cracked skin.

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    Dyshidrotic Eczema

    Dyshidrotic eczema is a condition that causes the skin on the hands and feet to become inflamed. It often affects the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. This condition produces small blister like bumps that can look like a rash. These blisters are usually filled with a fluid. It's common for the blisters to itch severely. The fingers and toes often begin to crack and produce painful grooves. The blisters can also become extremely painful. After these blisters occur, they often last for an average of three weeks.

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    Causes

    The exact cause of this skin condition remains unknown. However, it does appear to be linked to other skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis. Hay fever or other allergies may trigger the symptoms of this condition as well.

    Although this condition can affect anyone, certain people are more likely to suffer from it. Women in general have a higher risk for developing this condition. People that experience high levels of stress can cause a person to experience this skin irritation. People that are exposed to metal salts, such as cement workers, are at an increased chance of developing this condition. Wet surfaces can cause a person to experience this condition if they are frequently exposed to moisture.

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    Treatment

    If this condition is left untreated, it can cause extreme discomfort. The pain and itching on the skin can cause the use of the hands and feet to become limited. Scarring and skin damage can occur if the condition persists. Bacterial infections are common from scratching the blisters.

    To properly diagnose and treat this condition, a skin biopsy is often preformed. The doctor will remove a small portion of skin to have it tested. This will rule out any other possible conditions. Rarely, a KOH test will be preformed to test the skin for a fungal infection.

    Treatment for this condition is relatively simple. Corticosteroid creams are often used to help stop the spread of the blisters. It can treat and prevent the blisters and cracks that occur. Wet compresses and antihistamines are also used to relieve the pain and the itching the condition causes. This will also reduce the size of the blisters.

    While treating this condition, it is important for the hands and feet to remain dry and free from irritants. It is important to resist the urge to scratch. Keeping the area well moisturized will help reduce the itching.

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    References:

    “Dyshidrosis" September 26, 2008 http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dyshidrosis/DS00804/DSECTION=causes

    “Eczema Types" http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/atopic-dermatitis-eczema

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