Steroids & Coal Tar for Severe Hand Eczema

Dear NEA Scratch Pad:

A few months ago, my hands were so bad that I was practically disabled. There aren’t many things in life that you can do without using your hands. So I went to a dermatologist again (my fifth one since getting severe eczema seven years ago), and this time the results were different. This is what my doctor told me to do:

I soaked my hands in one quart of water mixed with four capfuls of a coal tar shampoo for a half hour EVERY night for six weeks. After soaking, I would rinse and pat my hands dry, and then I would apply a steroid ointment and cover my hands with white cotton gloves. I also used a steroid cream twice a day.

At first I was discouraged. I had tried steroids before, and my hands would get better for a couple days and then get worse again. This time they got worse for the first few days and then they gradually got better. It has been almost two months since I finished my treatment and my hands are still perfect! Now the only thing I use is an OTC cream a couple times a day.

I feel so blessed to have gone to this doctor! I thought that I would pass this information on to you so that maybe others can get some relief from this treatment.


Do you have a story or tip to share about what’s helped with your eczema? Email us your Scratch Pad tip so that we may publish it and help others!

The recommendations contained in the Scratch Pad are those of the contributor.  NEA provides health information from a variety of sources; this information is not intended as medical advice.  Persons with questions regarding specific symptoms or treatments should consult a professional health-care provider.

Please click here to return to the Scratch Pad main page