Hand dermatitis or hand eczema is dermatitis affecting the hands. It can be of different type and associated with different underlying causes. For instance, hand dermatitis can be in the essence contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis or dyshidrotic dermatitis. Some people develop dermatitis of the hands due to exposure to certain chemicals at their work. They are known to suffer from so called occupational dermatitis.
Hand dermatitis is in fact most commonly reported in people who exposure their hands excessively to harsh substances without adequate protections. This is the reason why such dermatitis is frequently reported in people working in industries involving cleaning catering, metalwork, hairdressing, healthcare etc.
The condition may be mild, moderate or severe affecting only the back of the hands or palms as well. The affected skin is red (inflamed), sometimes covered with itchy or non-itchy papules or fluid-filled blisters. There may also be scaling, cracking, weeping and edema.
Hand Eczema and Constitutional Factors
It is confirmed that some individuals are more susceptible to hand dermatitis. They usually have a positive family history of some type of dermatitis like atopic dermatitis or some of the family members are suffering from asthma and hay fever.
Furthermore, people who are stress-prone are also affected more comparing to the rest of population.
Hand Eczema and Irritants
People who frequently immerse their hands into water are at higher risk of developing hand dermatitis. The risk becomes even higher if the water contains detergents or solvents. Such chemicals easily remove the natural protective layer of the skin, making it susceptible to inflammation. Additionally, friction together with repetitive injuries may contribute to hand dermatitis.
Hand Eczema and Allergies
Some people are allergic to certain allergens and develop abnormal immunologic reaction as soon as they get in contact with the causative agent. An example of allergic reaction affecting the hands is allergy to latex, a substance used in manufacturing gloves. The allergic reaction usually stays localized and in rather rare occasions may progress into severe and life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
In order to estimate what allergen a patients is allergic to, doctors usually perform a patch test.
Hand Eczema Treatment Options
Hand eczema can be treated and all patients start to recover soon after the treatment is initiated. In people suffering from severe occupational dermatitis, a change of occupation is a must. In others with mild to moderate inflammation, skin inflammation may be avoided if the person stays away from irritants. Protection of the hands is also important in prevention of disease recurrence. The hands are supposed to be covered with emollients which serve as highly efficient protectors.
Patients may be sometimes prescribed topical steroids or if there is bacterial infection even topical or oral antibiotics. Dermatitis that lasts for several weeks or is quite severe requires more complex approach.