Hand and finger eczema (chronic hand eczema)

Hand eczema is a particularly embarrassing and painful form of eczema because the hands are a highly visible and used part of the body.



The causes of hand eczema

Hand eczema can take many forms: blisters, cracks, fissures, skin thickening, redness, etc. It can affect several areas such as the top of the hand, the palm or fingertips. It is often referred to as chronic hand eczema because the disease persists over time and alternates between flare-ups and remissions.
Hand eczema is sometimes associated with foot eczema . Dyshidrotic eczema is a particular form of hand and foot eczema. The skin becomes covered with small blisters or bubbles. The itching is often intense.

What causes hand eczema?

The causes of hand eczema are varied. Irritation is the primary agent responsible for hand eczema. It includes several aspects that tend to accumulate in the same person depending on their lifestyle:

  • aggressive chemicals such as detergents, soaps, etc.
  • humidity due to overly frequent washing, poor wiping or maceration phenomena
  • cold
  • repeated traumas such as rubbing, scraping, tearing of skin, etc.

It is readily understood that certain occupations are at greater risk of hand eczema than others, particularly the manual trades: hairdressers, florists, cleaning staff, construction workers, healthcare professions, etc.

Other causes can be associated with hand eczema, such as:

  • An atopic background: in adults, atopic dermatitis of the hands is sometimes the last remaining symptom of atopic dermatitis that began in childhood;
  • A contact allergy: allergy to a metal, a fragrance, a dye, etc.

What are the consequences of hand eczema?

Hand eczema disrupts relationships with others: it's difficult to shake hands in the case of palm eczema and difficult to walk around "hand in hand" in the case of finger eczema or eczema between the fingers. The discomfort and shame can be very intense.

In some cases, hand eczema is so severe that a career change is necessary. Hand eczema can thus have a major impact on the patient's daily life.

What is the best treatment for hand eczema?

The management of hand eczema is initially based on the application of a cortisone cream to quickly regain healthy hands. Thereafter, an emollient must be applied daily to limit recurrences. Aggravating factors must also be tracked down.

To optimize the efficacy of the local treatment, apply a good layer of cream and then wear a cotton glove over your eczema. This glove must remain in place all night long to promote the penetration of the active ingredients and repair the skin while you sleep.

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