Dyshidrotic eczema (or Dyshidrotic Dermatitis) is a form of skin inflammation characterized by the appearance of small itchy blisters on the sides of the fingers and palms and frequently the soles of the feet. These blisters frequently are associated or followed by red and scaling skin.
Dyshidrosis literally means abnormal sweating (Dys = abnormal, Hidrosis = sweating). Its name is historical as it was originally felt that the blisters seen in this condition were due to blocked sweat glands. This is no longer believed, although patients with Dyshidrotic Eczema may have palms and soles that sweat excessively.
The blisters are in fact due to accumulation of inflammatory fluid. The cause of the inflammation is not known. However, patients often have a personal or family history of atopic dermatitis or contact dermatitis to metals.
Patients with Dyshidrosis also frequently note that flares may occur with sweating and emotional stress.
- Topical corticosteroid creams are the mainstay of treatment. They act by decreasing the inflammation of the skin. These creams do not “cure” the Eczema, but improve the itch.
- Less common treatments include light therapy and intradermal injections of botulinum toxin, also known as BOTOX® injections.
- Reduction of contact irritants and water exposure may also help improve the condition. The hands should be kept as dry as possible by wearing cotton and rubber gloves when doing wet work and cotton gloves when doing dry work. The reason for cotton gloves is that the hands sweat excessively in rubber gloves.
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