How to Treat Hand Dermatitis

Dermatitis on the hands is incredibly common. It can start during childhood or can come on much later during adult years. An estimated 10 percent of the U.S. population have hand dermatitis, also called hand eczema. And although the condition is neither contagious nor cause for serious concern, it can impact a patient’s life. Here’s what you need to know about the symptoms of dermatitis and how to treat the condition.


What are the symptoms of dermatitis on the hands?

Eczema is a skin condition that causes itchy, broken, or red skin. The skin on the fingers may begin to crack and peel. This can feel very uncomfortable and for people using their hands for work, eczema can make it difficult to do so. In some cases, the skin could even blister. That’s called dyshydrotic eczema and it’s a special form of hand dermatitis.

What causes the condition?

Sometimes the causes aren’t immediately apparent. But for most sufferers, hand dermatitis occurs when their hands become exposed to certain harsh chemicals and other irritants. While it’s very important to understand, how, when, and why to wash your hands, those with eczema must take special care because some perfumed soaps could cause their skin to react badly.

Skin dermatitis is not hereditary and is not contagious.

There are some occupations that are more prone to developing hand dermatitis including chefs, construction workers, hairdressers, cleaners, florists, and operators of machinery.

Is there a cure available?

Unfortunately, there are no cures available for hand dermatitis. However, patients can learn to avoid their triggers. If flare-ups happen because of allergens, these could be identified and avoided in the future.

What are the treatments for hand dermatitis?

Emollients are an essential component of treating hand dermatitis. These can help to repair the damaged skin and seal in the moisture to treat the rough skin. Moisturizers should be applied multiple times a day and whenever the skin on the hand feels dry. This may also help to avoid larger flare-ups. Sufferers can purchase special soaps that do not dry out the skin. For more severe cases, steroid creams and especially formulated eczema ointments are recommended. It’s best to talk to your doctor about your options. Good nutrition is another important pillar for optimum dermatitis support. Some doctors may recommend ultraviolet therapy whereby a patient visits a hospital two or three times a week for four to six weeks.

The best way to reduce the severity of hand dermatitis and lower the frequency of flare-ups is to avoid triggers. If you’re working with chemicals, wear protective gloves. You can also wear rubber gloves when washing the dishes or doing other house chores.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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