Are you experiencing swollen, red, itchy, or flaking hands? If so, you may have hand dermatitis. This condition can be extremely uncomfortable, making it difficult to carry out daily tasks such as holding a pencil, working on a computer, or doing household chores. At our Bellevue, WA office, Dr. Gray can create a personalized treatment plan to help reduce your symptoms to get you back to feeling like yourself.
What is Hand Dermatitis?
Hand dermatitis, also known as hand eczema, is one of the most common forms of eczema. It usually affects the palms but can also affect other areas of the hand.
Symptoms of hand dermatitis include:
- Cracking or bleeding.
- Blistering or crusting.
- Red skin on the entire hand.
There are several different reasons why eczema may appear on the hands. You may be experiencing irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, or both. An additional form of eczema that can affect the hands is called pompholyx eczema, in which very itchy, watery blisters develop. Hand dermatitis is particularly prevalent in those whose professions require them to get their hands wet often or expose them to chemicals such as cleaning, metalwork, hairdressing, and healthcare.
Hand Dermatitis Treatment Options
In order to best address your hand dermatitis symptoms, there are certain lifestyle remedies that should be followed. These include:
- Minimize direct contact with known irritants.
- Use gentle cleansers when washing your hands and ensure that your hands are totally dry after.
- Wear the appropriate gloves when performing certain tasks.
- Apply emollients or medical-grade moisturizers before work or school and reapply after washing the hands or when the skin feels dry.
- Wear vinyl gloves instead of rubber gloves when you can.
If lifestyle changes do not help to reduce your hand dermatitis symptoms, Dr. Gray can prescribe certain medications, such as:
Topical steroids: Work by reducing inflammation to treat red, and sore skin. The hands usually require a more potent steroid to work but should only be used for short periods of time.
Calcineurin inhibitors: Work by suppressing the immune system and be effective in treating severe hand dermatitis.
Oral Steroids: Severe flares of hand eczema can sometimes benefit from prednisone to reduce inflammation.
Acetretinoin: This is an oral treatment that is only used in adults with severe hand eczema that have not responded to other treatment options. It works by reducing the inflammation that is associated with eczema, as well as suppressing the immune system. This treatment option should not be taken by women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive.