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Hand Dermatitis

Any type of eczema or dermatitis that develops on the hands can be classified as hand dermatitis. Often hand dermatitis often has unique causes, most frequently environmental or job-related.

Up to 10% of people will suffer from hand dermatitis at some point.

What does it look like?

The signs and symptoms of hand dermatitis may initially come and go. Without treatment and preventive measures, hand dermatitis can become severe.

The following are common signs and symptoms:

  • Dry or chapped hands
  • Patches of red, itchy, scaly or inflamed skin
  • Itchy blisters or other lesions
  • Cracking or weeping skin
  • Pain if skin becomes infected

How can I treat it?

Treatment nearly always requires:

  • Reduction of exposure to trigger factors (where possible)
  • Regular use of moisturizers
  • Intermittent topical hydrocortisone type steroids

How can I avoid it?

Protection is critical — wear gloves to avoid contact with harsh chemicals both in the workplace and home. Avoid allergens such as nickel based jewelry, watch straps etc.

Watch out for common chemical irritants that may trigger an atopic eczema flare-up. Often ingredients found in well known personal care or cosmetic brands can irritate. Even some brands labeled 'hypoallergenic', 'sensitive' or 'natural' contain unnecessary additives & harsh chemicals.

In particular, look out for fragrances, colors and harsh preservatives such as parabens (butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben) or methylisothiazolinone.

For liquid cleansers such as body washes, hand washes or shampoo watch out for SLS (sodium laureth sulfate) or CAPB (cocamidopropyl betaine) — both of these ingredients have been known to trigger contact dermatitis.

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