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This common form of eczema causes small, intensely itchy blisters on the edges of the fingers, toes, palms, and soles of the feet. It is is twice as common in women as it is in men.
Because of the association with seasonal allergies, the dyshidrotic eczema blisters are known to erupt more frequently during the spring allergy season. The blisters may last up to three weeks before they begin to dry and can sometimes be large and painful. As the blisters dry, they may turn into skin cracks or cause the skin to feel thick and spongy, especially if you’ve been scratching the area.
Doctors also may refer to dyshidrotic eczema as:
There is no cure for dyshidrotic eczema, but the good news is, in many cases it’s manageable. And like all types of the condition, it isn’t contagious. You cannot “catch” dyshidrotic eczema from another person, or give it to someone else.
All types of eczema cause itching and redness. But some, like dyshidrotic eczema, look and act slightly different than others. It is possible to have dyshidrotic eczema and another form of eczema such as contact dermatitis, at the same time.
Symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema include:
It’s important to understand which type of eczema you may have and also your symptoms and triggers, so that you can better treat and manage it. The only way to be sure that you have dyshidrotic eczema, is to make an appointment with your doctor.
Dyshidrotic eczema usually appears in adults ages 20 through 40 but it can also affect children. People with contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis or hay fever, are at higher risk of developing dyshidrotic eczema. Dyshidrotic eczema seems to run in families, so if you have a close relative with this form of eczema, your chance of also developing it is increased.
There are some common triggers for dyshidrotic eczema:
At-home treatment for dyshidrotic eczema includes soaking hands and feet in cool water or applying compresses for 15 minutes to the affected area two to four times a day followed by a rich moisturizer or a skin barrier repair cream.
For more severe cases of dyshidrotic eczema, a provider may prescribe topical steroids, TCIs or phototherapy. Additionally, the provider may drain the blisters in-office, and/or give a dose of Botox in the hands and feet to reduce sweating and wetness, which are known triggers for this form of eczema.
Dyshidrotic eczema has the tendency to get infected, which can delay clearing of symptoms. If you suspect you have an infection in the area where the eczema appears, make an appointment with your provider.
There is no surefire way to prevent dyshidrotic eczema. However, good skin care and moisturizing can help strengthen your skin against irritation, so that it doesn’t flare up, or get worse. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent.
Learn what triggers to avoid — like metal-plated jewelry — that can really set off certain types of eczema
And you’ll also get the NEA "Eczema Basics" booklets for adults and children
Some basic things you can do to help control your dyshidrotic eczema: