What Is Dyshidrotic Eczema?

by Dr. Frank J Lichtenberger MD, PhD Board Certified: Internal Medicine, Allergy/Immunology

An old superstition says that if your palms are itchy, it means money is either coming or going. But if itching is intense, it could also be a sign that you have dyshidrotic eczema (also called pompholyx). It’s a skin condition that causes dry, irritated skin and rashes on the hands and feet.

What Is Dyshidrotic Eczema (Pompholyx)?

Dyshidrotic eczema produces a rash of tiny, fluid-filled blisters on the palms of your hands, sides of your fingers or soles of your feet. It’s extremely itchy and sometimes painful. Over the course of two to three weeks, the blisters dry out and skin cracks. When your skin peels off, the fresh skin underneath can be red and tender. Dyshidrotic eczema is not contagious.

What Causes Dyshidrotic Eczema?

People with dyshidrotic eczema (commonly called hand-and-foot eczema) experience flare-ups that come and go, but the cause of the skin condition is unknown. However, there are some known factors that increase the likelihood of getting it.

  • Physiological and psychological factors
  • Women are twice as likely to get dyshidrotic eczema.
  • Flare-ups tend to happen during periods of physical or emotional stress.
  • Some people also experience flare-ups during warm weather, when their palms are moist and sweaty.
  • Activity-related factors
  • Working with metals like cobalt, nickel and chromium can trigger this skin condition.
  • Working in a profession that involves having wet hands for long periods of time, like as a beautician or a healthcare worker, increases the likelihood of developing dyshidrotic eczema.

Related conditions

  • Atopic dermatitis: Individuals with atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, are more likely to get other types of eczema.
  • Contact dermatitis: People with skin that breaks out in a rash after contact with an irritating substance may also develop dyshidrotic eczema.
  • Seasonal allergies: Those with nasal allergies may be more susceptible to developing dyshidrotic eczema seasonally.

What Is the Best Dyshidrotic Eczema Treatment?

  • Effective treatment for eczema on your hands and feet is wet wrap therapy. It works by creating a moist environment that soothes itching and helps topical medication penetrate the skin. It can be done at home in three steps:
  • Wash the affected area with an eczema-safe cleanser.
  • Apply medicated cream or an over-the-counter moisturizer for eczema.
  • Put on damp cotton gloves or socks to wear overnight.

Learn more about wet wrap therapy for stubborn eczema and find all the products you need in our eczema shop to start the healing process today.

The Eczema Relief Store

NOTE: This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a consultation, diagnosis and/or medical treatment by a healthcare provider.

Dyshidrotic eczemaTreatment for dyshidrotic eczemaWhat causes dyshidrotic eczema