1 What is Dyshidrosis?

Dyshidrosis is a skin condition in which very small, fluid-filled blisters appear on the palms of the hands and sides of the fingers and can also occur on the soles of the feet.

It is also known as dyshidrotic eczema or pompholyx. These blisters can cause intense itching and usually last for three weeks. The skin might appear scary once the blisters dry up.

Blisters tend to recur, sometimes before the skin completely heals from the previous blisters. Ointments and creams can be used for the treatment of dyshidrosis.

Corticosteroids may be suggested for severe cases of this condition.

2 Symptoms

Small fluid-filled blisters occured on the palms and fingers are the main symptoms of dyshidrosis. They can also occur on the soles of the feet. The blisters are small- about the width of a standard pencil lead.

Blisters are usually found grouped in clusters, with an appearance similar to tapioca. In severe cases, the blisters can merge to form one large blister.

The skin that is affected by dyshidrosis can be painful and itchy. Once the blisters are dry and flake off, the underlying skin may appear reddish and tender.

3 Causes

The exact cause of dyshidrosis is not known. It has been associated with skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis and allergic conditions like hay fever.

4 Making a Diagnosis

A physical examination is usually enough for doctors to diagnose dyshidrosis. Other tests may be carried out to rule out other skin conditions that have similar symptoms.

Skin allergies and sensitivities can be revealed by exposing patches of the skin to various substances.

5 Treatment

Treatments for dyshidrosis depending on severity include:

  • High-potency corticosteroid creams or ointments which can help to speed up the clearance of blisters. Wrapping the treated area in plastic wrap or moist compresses can enhance the absorption of the medication. Corticosteroid pills or injections can be administered in severe cases.
  • Immune-suppressing ointments, such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel) for people who want to decrease their exposure to steroids. These drugs increase the risk of skin infections.
  • Botulinum toxin injections for severe cases of dyshidrosis.
  • Phototherapy - in which a special kind of light therapy that combines exposure to ultraviolet light with drugs that help make the skin more receptive to this type light. This treatment is usually used when other treatments are ineffective.

6 Prevention

There is no proven prevention for dyshidrosis. However, managing stress and avoiding exposure to certain metals, such as cobalt and nickel can reduce the risks of having this skin condition.

Good skin care practices, such as using mild cleansers and lukewarm water to wash the hands, moisturizing regularly and wearing gloves can also help to protect the skin.

7 Lifestyle And Coping

There are different ways to adapt your lifestyle in coping with dyshidrosis.

Home treatments for dyshidrosis include:

  • Applying wet, cool compresses to reduce itching.
  • Taking over-the-counter antihistamine medications such diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or loratadine (Claritin, Alavert) to help relieve itching.
  • Soaking the affected areas in witch hazel may speed the healing process.

8 Risks and Complications

Factors that may increase the risk of having dyshidrosis include:

  • Emotional or physical stress
  • Exposure to certain metals such as cobalt and nickel
  • Sensitive skin
  • Atopic eczema Pain and itching that occurs in dyshidrosis can limit the used of hands and feet. The intense itching can increase the risk of bacterial infections.