What is Dyshidrotic Eczema?

In dyshidrotic eczema, also called dyshidrosis or pompholyx, tiny blisters develop on the feet and hands. Common areas where these deep-seated and fluid-filled blisters form include the fingers, palms and soles. These small blisters last about three weeks and can cluster to form large and painful blisters. Patients experience intense itching with this condition, but excessive scratching can cause the skin to crack and to weep as the fluid from the blisters releases. Bacterial infections can also occur due to scratching, and the resulting cracked and crusty skin may not heal for weeks. This condition tends to reappear for months or, in some cases, years after the initial outbreak.

 

Causes

For many years, doctors believed that excessive sweating caused dyshidrosis. Today, however, doctors attribute this type of eczema to both genetics and allergies. Allergic reactions to soaps, shampoos, laundry products or skin lotions may trigger dyshidrotic eczema. Stress may also contribute to the development of this disease. In addition, some patients note an outbreak following exposure to metals like cobalt or nickel, and some develop the disease after exposure to chlorinated swimming pool water or excessive sunlight. Prolonged exposure to water or excessive moisture may also contribute to this form of eczema.
Tests

While no specific medical exams or laboratory tests exist to diagnose dyshidrotic eczema, a skin doctor may order allergy tests to see if an allergic reaction has caused the blisters. In some cases, a physician may order skin biopsies to make sure the cause of the blisters is not a fungal infection.
Treatments

Although no cure exists for dyshidrosis, a skin doctor can recommend a number of treatments to alleviate symptoms. To relieve itching, for example, he or she may suggest an over-the-counter oral antihistamine. Topical corticosteroid creams or ointments can help heal blisters while severe cases may call for prednisone or other oral steroid medications. Avoiding allergens and keeping affected skin cool and dry also aid in healing. Coal tar preparations and phototherapy treatments with ultraviolet light offer additional options. This condition clears once treated. Since it can reoccur, however, it is important to report any new outbreaks to a skin doctorat once. Singapore patients should see a dermatologist in Singapore to treat this condition.

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