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Dyshidrosis: how to treat this vesicular eczema of the hands and feet?

Dyshidrosis is a specific form of eczema that is localised on the hands and feet. It is a vesicular type of eczema that is accompanied by itching sensations. Discover how to treat dyshidrosis.

Summary
Published February 8, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read
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What is Dyshidrosis?

dyshidrotic eczema or vesicular eczema, dyshidrosis is a skin condition characterised by small blisters that form on the tips of the fingers, toes, on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. This specific form of eczema is often associated with seasonal allergies and can be more pronounced during the spring. It is important to note that dyshidrosis, like other types of eczema, is a benign and non-contagious disease that manifests itself through periodic flare-ups.

Dyshidrotic eczema presents symptoms such as skin redness and severe itching . Blisters resembling bubbles also appear, hence its name, blistering eczema. The skin also tends to flake and thicken significantly (lichenification). In addition, vesicles filled with a clear fluid form, and when they burst, they leave behind weeping sores that are then covered with thick crusts. The most severe form of dyshidrosis is pompholyx. Pompholyx is referred to when the small blisters join together to form larger ones. In some cases, dyshidrosis can become infected during the weeping phase, often due to colonisation by golden staphylococcus bacteria or the herpes virus.

What are the treatments for dyshidrosis?

Dyshidrosis is a recurrent condition. Therefore, it is advised to manage it from the first signs. The initial response should be to consult a dermatologist who can prescribe suitable medication. The primary treatment for dyshidrosis involves the application of a cortisone-based cream. This is a proven remedy against inflammatory reactions and typically results in improvement within 48 to 72 hours. If the dyshidrosis is persistent, it is recommended to apply the cream under occlusion, that is, under cling film or plastic gloves. Finally, in the case of bothersome blisters, it is possible to puncture them after disinfecting the area, and then apply the corticosteroid cream.

It is rare for dermocorticoids not to have an effect. However, when this is the case, the dermatologist may prescribe topical immunomodulators which work by modulating the skin's immune response to reduce inflammation, redness, and itching caused by dyshidrosis. Sessions of phototherapy can also be carried out. Indeed, UV rays act on dyshidrotic eczema by reducing the number of flare-ups. Finally, if the dyshidrosis is becoming infected, oral or topical antibiotics can be prescribed to combat bacterial proliferation.

How to prevent a recurrence of dyshidrosis?

There are certain measures to be taken to prevent the recurrence of dyshidrotic eczema. As an aggravating factor, sweating needs to be controlled. To limit its accumulation on the hands, it is recommended to regularly wash your hands using a mild soap. You can also take foot baths on evenings when you have felt sweaty in your shoes.

Furthermore, the daily application of a emollient is recommended. Cream, milk, balm... The possible formulations are numerous. Emollients are rich and nourishing treatments that help to strengthen the skin barrier and prevent dehydration. Better protected, the skin is then less prone to irritations and the penetration of allergens. Finally, if you are frequently exposed to irritating substances, due to your work for example, and you cannot reduce exposure times, we advise you to consistently wear gloves when handling them.

Sources

  • GOLDENBERG G. & al. Eczema. The Mount Sinai journal of medicine (2011).

  • AZANZA J. & al. Dyshidrotic Eczema: A Common Cause of Palmar Dermatitis. Cureus (2020).

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