Why Does Eczema Appear On The Hands
There can be a variety of reasons why eczema appears on the hands. For example, the hands can be affected by irritant or allergic contact dermatitis or both at the same time.
Coming into contact with irritants such as dust, detergents, cleaning agents, airborne sprays or even just frequent hand-washing can cause irritant hand eczema . The skin on the palms of the hands is much thicker than elsewhere on the body and is normally able to withstand a great deal of wear and tear. But in people who regularly immerse their hands in detergents or solvents, the protective barrier of the skin breaks down, and eczema may develop. People who have this form of hand eczema often have a history of eczema in childhood.
Allergic hand eczema arises as a result of an allergic reaction to a particular substance in the environment. It is possible to be allergic to a number of different substances, but common causes of contact sensitivity include nickel, fragrances, preservative chemicals, rubber and various plants, amongst other things. Once a persons immune system has identified a substance as harmful, they will react to the substance every time their skin is exposed to it, and this reaction becomes more severe on every exposure to the allergen.
When an allergic reaction of this kind is suspected, your GP should refer you to a dermatologist, who will normally perform patch tests to try to identify the allergic cause.
Have Your Kids Play Outside And Get A Little Dirty
According to the Hygiene Hypothesis, sanitary conditions have disrupted the delicate balance between our bodys inner ecology and the balance of the type of immune cells we produce. Interestingly, as a result of our current lifestyle, we are not getting colonized with some important bacteria, leading to poorly maintained gut integrity and subsequent immune system dysregulation.
An easy solution to this is to encourage your kids to play outside, get dirty and play with other kids, avoid antimicrobial chemicals for handwashing, and simply wash with plain soap and water.
Optimize Your Gut Health To Treat Eczema And Reverse Gut Dysbiosis
The microbiome is a collection of trillions of microorganisms that inhabit your body. The health of the microbiome and the integrity of the gut lining has a major impact on immune system development, and whether a child develops allergies, eczema or asthma. When there is dysbiosis, a disrupted microbiome, or leaky gut and eczema or allergies, theres also likely to be symptoms of abdominal bloating and discomfort.
Supplements that reduce inflammation, nourish and heal the intestinal membranes and feed healthy flora can be incredibly beneficial in healing the gut. This may include the use of L-glutamine, turmeric, DGL, marshmallow root, zinc, quercetin, ginger and chamomile. To help promote healthy gut flora, we recommend a high quality probiotic, especially of the S. boulardii and Bifidobacterium species. Work with your provider to find the best probiotic and dosage for you or your child.
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Oral Or Injected Immunosuppressants
Oral immunosuppressant medications prevent the bodys immune system from sending an inflammatory response to the skin, which results in less itching, redness, and rash.
Immunosuppressant medications are available in varying strengths, and doctors determine the dosage based on your age, severity of symptoms, location and extent of the rash, your weight, and whether you have other medical conditions. Typically, these medications are taken once or twice daily, although the dosage can vary.
If eczema or dermatitis is severe, a doctor may recommend immunosuppressant medication that is injected into the skin. Your dermatologist determines the appropriate schedule of injections. He or she may administer the injections in a doctors office or show you how to do it so you can inject the medication at home.
Dermatologists may prescribe immunosuppressant medication for weeks or months or until symptoms of eczema or dermatitis are under control. Often, our doctors may reduce or stop a prescription at that time to see whether symptoms can be managed using topical medication, , or at-home therapies.
In some instances when symptoms cant be relieved by other treatments, therapy with immunosuppressant medications may continue for years. Your doctor can discuss side effects of immunosuppressant medications.
Q : How Does Eczema Affect People Of Different Ages
Eczema is a chronic health problem that affects people of all ages, but is most common in babies :
- Infantile eczema occurs in around 20% of children under two years of age, and usually starts in the first six months of life. Infantile eczema usually improves significantly between the ages of two to five years.
- Childhood eczema may follow infantile eczema, or start from two to four years of age. Rashes and dryness are usually found in the creases of the elbows, behind the knees, across the ankles and may also involve the face, ears and neck. This form of eczema usually improves with age.
- Adult eczema is similar to that of older children with areas of very dry, itchy, reddened skin at the elbow creases, wrists, neck, ankles and behind the knees. It can cause rough, hard and thickened skin, which may also have weeping areas. Although eczema tends to improve in midlife, and is unusual in elderly people, it can occur at any age.
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How Is Eczema Diagnosed What Tests Are Done
Your healthcare provider will take a close look at your skin. They will look for classic signs of eczema such as a redness and dryness. They will ask about the symptoms youre experiencing.
Usually your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose eczema based on examining your skin. However, when there is doubt, they may perform the following tests:
- An allergy skin test.
- Blood tests to check for causes of the rash that might be unrelated to dermatitis.
- A skin biopsy to distinguish one type of dermatitis from another.
What Is The Prognosis Of Eczema
Most of the patients with eczema do quite well under the care of a dermatologist who has made an accurate diagnosis. Occasionally, eczema can become infected by microorganisms, such a staphylococci or herpes simplex virus. This is because the normal barrier function of the skin has been damaged by the inflammatory condition. In this situation, the infection could be contagious and require antibiotics treatment. An important signal would be the development of fever and pustules, plus pain at the site of the rash.
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How To Use Emollients
Use your emollient all the time, even if you’re not experiencing symptoms.
Many people find it helpful to keep separate supplies of emollients at work or school, or a tub in the bathroom and one in a living area.
To apply the emollient:
- use a large amount
- do not rub it in smooth it into the skin in the same direction the hair grows
- after a bath or shower, gently pat the skin dry and apply the emollient while the skin is still moist to keep the moisture in
You should use an emollient at least twice a day if you can, or more often if you have very dry skin.
During a flare-up, apply generous amounts of emollient more frequently, but remember to treat inflamed skin with a topical corticosteroid as emollients used on their own are not enough to control it.
Do not put your fingers into an emollient pot use a spoon or pump dispenser instead, as this reduces the risk of infection. And never share your emollient with other people.
Home Treatment For Atopic Dermatitis
Good skin care is key. If your eczema is mild, that might be all you need, along with some changes in your daily habits.
If you have severe eczema, you may need to take medicine for it, too.
Soap and moisturizer. Use a mild soap or soap substitute that won’t dry your skin. Youâll also want a good moisturizer in cream, lotion, or ointment form. Smooth it on right after a shower or bath, as well as at least one other time each day.
If your eczema is severe, you may find that it helps to take baths once a week with a small amount of bleach added to the water. That kills bacteria that live on the skin of people with eczema.
Short, warm showers. Donât take very hot or very long showers or baths. They can dry out your skin.
Get a humidifier. Dry air can be stressful for your skin.
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Determine Food Allergies Or Intolerances
Food allergy can be a trigger of eczema, especially if the onset or worsening of eczema correlates with exposure to the food. Its important to monitor for vomiting, diarrhea and failure to thrive, as infants with eczema and a food allergy may have these additional findings.
In children and adults, it might be best to start with an elimination diet, the gold standard for identifying food sensitivities, for up to 4-6 weeks. This process of an elimination diet to work toward healing eczema internally is best done in phases and guided by a functional medicine practitioner, like those at Parsley Health. The phases include eliminating common allergens including dairy,gluten, corn, peanuts, soy, sugar, and eggs, closely following any changes in symptoms, and reintroducing foods one at a time to see how symptoms are affected. We recommend working with a provider trained in functional health and experienced with elimination diets for best results.
How Do Dermatologists Treat Nummular Eczema
The main goals of treatment are to clear your skin and ease your discomfort. To do this, your treatment plan may include treatment designed to:
Hydrate your skin: Its likely that you have extremely dry skin. To add moisture to your skin, which will help heal your skin, you may need to:
Take a daily bath or shower up to 20 minutes long in lukewarm water.
Add bath oil to your daily bath. Bath oil can make your bathtub and skin slippery. Use caution when adding bath oil to a bath so that you do not fall.
Apply moisturizer as instructed throughout the day, which includes applying it to damp skin within minutes of bathing.
Use a humidifier in your bedroom, and keep the room cool and moist.
Moisturizer plays a key role in healing your skin. Your dermatologist may recommend a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free moisturizing cream or ointment instead of a lotion. Creams and ointments do a better job of trapping water in your skin than do lotions. Having more water in your skin can help you heal faster.
If your treatment plan includes bath oil, only use the bath oil recommended by your dermatologist
Some bath oils can irritate your skin, which can worsen nummular eczema.
Avoid irritating your sensitive skin: Dry, sensitive skin is more likely to have frequent flare-ups of nummular eczema. For this reason, your treatment plan may include instructions that can help you avoid irritating your skin.
You may need to:
Tacrolimus ointment or pimecrolimus cream
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What Causes Atopic Dermatitis
The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is not known. It runs in families, which suggests a genetic link. Its also linked to asthma and allergies. There is likely an alteration of the proteins in the skin that leads to atopic dermatitis.
Certain triggers can make atopic dermatitis worse. For example, stress, hot or cold temperature, dry conditions, certain fabrics, or detergents can cause a flare-up.
Complementary And Alternative Treatments
There are several natural treatments that have been shown to be effective controlling eczema symptoms. Many of these studies looked the effects on adults, so be sure to consult with your childs doctor prior to starting any natural treatments for eczema.
- National Eczema Association | 505 San Marin Drive, #B300 | Novato, CA 94945
- 415-499-3474 or 800-818-7546
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Eczema
- How can you tell that I have eczema?
- If I dont have eczema, what other skin condition might I have?
- Is there a specific brand of moisturizer that you recommend?
- Is there a prescription cream that you can prescribe?
- How often should I see a dermatologist regarding my eczema?
- What soaps, lotions, makeup, etc. should I avoid?
- What medications do you recommend?
- What at-home treatments do you recommend?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Eczema is very normal, very common, and very, very uncomfortable. It can affect your quality of life. At its worse it can keep you from sleeping, distract you and make you feel self-conscious in public. See your dermatologist or other healthcare provider as soon as you start to see signs of it. Explore at-home remedies and prescribed treatments.
Youre not alone! 15% to 20% of people experience eczema or another type of dermatitis at some point in their lives.
Getting To The Root Of All Weeping
Im going to mainly focus on secondary weeping in this article, as this is the one that affects a lot of eczema sufferers. Now you might have heard things about weeping eczema before like: its just your body pushing out toxins, you need to detoxify your blood, or the weeping is normal. I used to think some of these things myself, however as it turns out, many of these statements arent all that accurate.
Let me explain.
On your skin there lives a thriving community of bacteria, called Staphylococcus Aureus These are located in heavy concentrations around your nose, mouth, ears, privates, as well as just on your skin itself.
According to research, the BIGGEST factor that causes weeping on your skin, is due to these bacteria.
Now dont worry, just because you have this bacteria, doesnt mean you have MRSA . Actually Staphylococcus Aureus is a harmless bacteria that lives on the surface of everyones skin.
Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, helps us manage these bacteria, by blessing our skin with natural antibiotics and antimicrobial peptides, that help to keep these staph A bacteria under control. Research shows that these natural antimicrobial peptides, help prevent against the colonisation of staph on the skin.
Studies show that many eczema sufferers tend to have impaired skin barriers, which means that along with your skin being more prone to dryness, you are also lacking natural antibiotics to keep these skin bacteria at bay.
Here are some facts:
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How Is Eczema Diagnosed
There is no specific test used to diagnose eczema. The doctor will look at the rash and ask about symptoms, the child’s past health, and the family’s health. If family members have any atopic conditions, that’s an important clue.
The doctor will rule out other conditions that can cause skin inflammation, and might recommend that your child see a dermatologist or an allergist.
The doctor may ask you to ban some foods from your child’s diet, switch detergents or soaps, or make other changes for a time to see if your child is reacting to something.
Q : How Is Eczema Related To Food Allergy
Whilst food allergy can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms in some people, food allergy is rarely the cause of eczema. Most food allergy causes hives , vomiting and irritability within 30 minutes of eating the offending food. Food allergy only occasionally triggers delayed eczema flare ups.
Many babies with moderate or severe eczema will also have a food allergy. In some babies with severe eczema, short term removal of certain food/s using a medically supervised elimination diet may result in better eczema control. An elimination diet should be supervised by a clinical immunology/allergy specialist , in association with a dietitian with specialised knowledge of food allergies.
If there is no improvement in two weeks on the elimination diet, it means that food is unlikely to be the cause of the eczema. If the skin improves, foods are introduced one at a time as a medically supervised food challenge, to confirm which food causes the eczema to flare.
If food allergy is not the cause of eczema, removal of the food/s will not reduce symptoms.
Children with eczema and/or food allergy can have false positive allergy tests, and this can lead to unnecessary removal of foods which may affect growth and development. Removal of foods may also increase the risk of developing allergy to those foods. Therefore, allergy test results should always be interpreted by a clinical immunology/allergy specialist.
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How To Treat Eczema
This article was medically reviewed by Venessa Peña-Robichaux, MD. Dr. Peña-Robichaux is a board certified Dermatologist and Clinical Professor in Texas specializing in the treatment of pediatric and adult skin conditions. She completed her MD at Harvard Medical School in 2010 and completed her residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. She is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Telemedicine Association.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 88% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 272,212 times.
Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a chronic condition characterized by dry, red and itchy skin. The exact cause for eczema is unknown but it is thought to be hereditary and tends to flare up after you are exposed to certain triggers eczema is often seen in those with a family history of asthma or allergies. Fortunately, you can avoid the triggers and use certain treatments to control the disease.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source