Hand Eczema Symptoms

Hand Eczema Symptoms

Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition usually present in children but also seen in adults. It is one of the most common skin conditions with over 9.6 million children from the United States suffering from it alone. Estimates vary, but the prevalence of eczema on a global scale is seen to be 15% to 20% in children.

The scientific term for eczema is ‘Atopic dermatitis,’ and it usually persists for life and hence is chronic in nature. This chronic condition is seen to be hereditary in origin and greatly reduces the quality of life of those suffering from it. Eczema can present on any part of the body, including face, hands, arms, legs, feet, etc., but is mostly seen on areas most exposed to the environment.

Hand eczema is one of the most commonly seen eczemas in young adults.

Causes of Hand Eczema

This condition is multifactorial in origin, therefore many different factors can play a role in its development. Some of these factors are discussed below;

  1. Genetic-

This condition has a genetic predisposition. Therefore a positive family history of eczema links greatly to all types of eczema.

  1. Allergens in the environment-

There are many allergens present in our environment that can make the skin flare up with exposure.

  1. Occupational stress-

There are many occupations that involve the constant use of chemicals with hands. The extensive exposure of the hands with these chemicals leads to the damage of the skin. These chemicals react with the surface of the skin and trigger the inflammatory responses of the body, resulting in hand eczema.

Symptoms of hand eczema

There can be many symptoms of hand eczema, all of them can make a person extremely uncomfortable. Whenever rashes due to eczema appear on the body, they are accompanied by some of the following symptoms:

  1. Dry skin-

One of the most common symptoms of hand eczema is dryness. When skin with a disrupted barrier comes into contact with an offending allergen/chemical, it can lead to excessive loss of moisture. Excessive hand washing can also cause dryness of the skin.

  1. Excessive itchiness-

Apart from the dryness, one of the main symptoms of eczema that causes pain and irritability is the extreme itchiness that arises whenever it flares up. This feeling of itchiness can become worse if not identified promptly and dealt with.  Continued itching damages the upper surface of the skin. This break in the skin barrier can become a route of infection for the many organisms present in the environment.

  1. Red patches

When an allergen comes in contact with the skin, the inflammatory process makes the skin get red. The skin also becomes red due to the constant scratching.

  1. Darkening and thickening of skin

After irritation has been present for a while and from itching skin can become thickened with accentuated skin folds—this is called lichenification.

  1. Raised borders that are flaky and crusty-

Constant dryness as well as scratching can results in the skin becoming scaly and crusty.

  1. Damage to the surface resulting in oozing of fluid or blood

If hand eczema is not managed, it is very likely to cause problems. This includes possible infection. The constant itchiness and scratches causes breaks in the skin, which may result in blood or clear fluids to come out of the affected site.

Ways to manage the symptoms of hand eczema

The biggest problem dealing with eczema is its chronic nature. There have been many types of research done to treat this specific skin condition, but no definite treatment has seen the light of the day. Eczema flares from time to time, and hand eczema is strongly associated with occupational exposure to chemicals. These chemicals can be detergents, mild bleaches or dyes.

However, despite the frequent eruptions of rashes on the skin, the way to manage hand eczema is by making sure that the hands are always moisturized and are kept away from drying agents.

There are many eczema body washes that are recommended by dermatologists. It is important that these body washes are not just scent-free but are also colorless. It is also important to for the product to have the appropriate acidity or pH, and for the lathering ingredients to be gentle. Application of any kind of eczema body wash that contains harsh chemicals, can trigger further irritation.

It is essential to use an irritant-free emollient, which means something like petroleum jelly or if you don’t like being greasy a thick moisturizing baby eczema cream, at least twice per day. Using an emollient helps protect and hydrate the affected skin.

Your physician depending on severity may prescribe a steroid cream to be used in addition to the twice-daily moisturizing cream to calm the inflammation.

Happy Cappy and Hand Eczema

Infused with licorice root extract to soothe redness and glycerin to draw moisture into the skin Happy Cappy Daily Body Wash and Moisturizing Cream are perfect for hand eczema. Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream has pharmaceutical grade petroleum jelly in a sophisticated formulation which avoids being greasy yet still provides day long hydration.


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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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How do you identify if you have hand eczema?

Suppose you notice that the skin of your hand is becoming excessively dry. In that case, scaly patches may be forming, and if you are experiencing itchy lesions there are chances that you may have developed hand eczema, which is in the acute phase.

Is hand eczema permanent?

Eczema symptoms usually stay for a few weeks before they start disappearing with the help of treatment. There are chances that acute eczema may resolve entirely after treatment, and chronic eczema may resolve for the time being, but the flare-ups of eczema can persist throughout life.

Can alcohol cause eczema on hands?

There is no scientific evidence that shows that alcohol can trigger eczema flare-ups. However, a few say that itchiness, redness, and inflammation associated with eczema worsen when they drink. This may be because alcohol can stimulate inflammation in the body.

Can hand eczema cause swelling?

The fingers may become swollen due to itching, irritation, and dryness. If hand eczema is not treated, it can become severe, causing the hands to become more dry, cracks, red, and swollen, making everyday tasks more difficult.

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