Dyshidrosis (also known as Dyshidrotic eczema or Pompholyx,) is a skin condition that presents as small, fluid-filled blisters on the palms and fingers of the hands or the soles and toes of the feet. With dyshidrosis, the affected skin becomes inflamed and the areas between skin cells open and fill with fluid.  The blisters that occur last approximately three weeks and cause intense itching. Once the blisters dry, cracks form in the skin which can be unsightly and very painful.

Symptoms of dyshidrosis include

  • Small, itchy bumps that become a rash comprised of fluid-filled blisters
  • Severe itching
  • Cracks or grooves on the fingers or toes
  • Pain, especially with large blisters

There is no known cause for dyshidrosis. It is however; known to be associated with another skin condition called atopic dermatitis as well as allergic conditions (asthma, hay fever or sinusitis). The occurrence of blisters may therefore be seasonal in people with allergies.

Though there are no known causes, there are certain risk factors associated with dyshidrosis. These include:

  • Being female – women seem to have a higher incidence of dyshidrosis
  • Stress
  • Exposure to metal salts (cobalt, chromium, and nickel )
  • Frequent exposure of the skin to water or other wet substances

Dyshidrosis is not life threatening or contagious, but its appearance can be off-putting and can affect social interactions of affected persons. Treatment for dyshidrosis can involve the use of:

Corticosteroid creams or ointments.

help the appearance of blisters and the cracks that occur after they dry out. These may cause more itching.

Oral steroids

used in severe cases to relieve itching and rashes, but may cause thinning of the skin.

Wet or cold compresses

to relieve itching, and minimize blisters. .

Ultraviolet light therap

medication is given to increase the absorption of the UV light which will help heal blisters and improve the appearance of skin in persons with severe dyshidrosis.

Botulinum toxin (botox)

an experimental treatment that involves injecting the hands and feet with botox. This is a relatively new treatment and has not officially been accepted by dermatologists.

Home Remedies for Dyshidrosis symptom relief include

  • Soaking in sea or Epsom salts
  • Soaking in white vinegar

Tips to prevent flare-ups of Dyshidrosis

  • Use moisturisers to prevent cracking and itching
  • Use bath oils and avoid harsh shampoos and body wash.
  • Avoid stressful situations
  • Avoid scratching.
  • Avoid hand sanitizing products which contains alcohol as these will dry out the hands

Seek medical attention if flare up does not go away on its own or if you have symptoms of an infection (fever, pain or inflammation) on affected areas of the hands and feet.

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