Hand eczema, commonly known as hand dermatitis is inflammation of skin of hands. It is a non-communicable disease and affects up to 10% of the population commonly. Hand eczema presents on the palms and soles, and may sometimes be difficult or impossible to differentiate from atopic dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, and psoriasis, which also commonly involve the hands.
Hands being involved, hand eczema can have drastic effect on patients work, social life, and self esteem. There mainly three causes of hand eczema:
Wet Hands: Frequent or prolonged exposure to water can lead to hand eczema. The water removes the skin’s protective oils, and this makes the skin more susceptible to eczema. Chronically wet hands can be an occupational hazard that increases the risk of hand eczema. Hair stylists, nurses, dishwasher and food preparation workers can have an increased risk of hand eczema.
Irritants: Exposure to a wide variety of substances can cause hand eczema. Examples of substances that tend to irritate the skin include cleaners, solvents, shampoos and foods. Mild irritants typically require frequent exposure before causing hand eczema, but strong irritants can cause hand eczema upon initial contact.
Allergies: Allergic contact dermatitis is a type of eczema that frequently affects the hands. Digging in the garden, touching objects, preparing food, and cleaning are common activities that can expose the hands to allergens. Some allergens such as poison ivy are relatively easy to identify and avoid. Other allergens can be more difficult to identify or avoid. Rubber accelerators, a known allergen, turn up in everyday objects such as garden hoses, kitchen utensils, and balloons.
Genetics: Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that tends to run in families. A variety of gene combinations coupled with the right environmental triggers can cause hand eczema. The combination of atopic dermatitis and filaggrin null gene mutations can also be associated with early onset of hand eczema and hand eczema persistence.
The main symptoms of hand eczema include one or more of the following:
Dryness, to the point of peeling and flaking
For treatment of hand eczema first of all diagnose the reason of your disease. If you work in water much then try wearing rubber gloves, if there are any irritational agents you use, avoid it. It may be some new product you just started to use.Treatment of every type of hand eczema and degree of severity must include sustainable replenishment of the natural oils and moisture contained in the skin with creams and salves free of fragrances and preservatives; this is an essential basic step.
You must consult your dermatologist or skin specialist immediately after you notice symptoms and get proper treatment before the situation becomes worse. The dermatologist may prefer to use cortisone-free, anti-inflammatory creams or salves, which include so-called “calcineurin inhibitors” tacrolimus or pimecrolimus. Some dermatologists who have phototherapy facility can treat chronic eczema, by first applying a cream to make hands light sensitive and then irradiated with ultraviolet-A light. Proper treatment can help in eradicating hand eczema.