Hand Dermatitis

Skin Conditions & Treatments > Hand Dermatitis

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Hand dermatitis or hand eczema  is very common. It typically presents  as red, scaly, itchy skin. It is usually a resultof irritation or allergy from any number of products our hands encounter throughout the day such as water, soaps, papers, glues, foods, paints, oils, greases and so on.  While we cannot entirely cure hand dermatitis, this instruction sheet gives detailed instructions on how to protect your hands.
 
Protect your hands from direct contact with water, soaps, and chemicals by wearing waterproof, heavy-duty vinyl gloves. These gloves can be purchased at paint or hardware stores and are better than rubber gloves, as many people are allergic to rubber. Buy multiple pairs and keep them located where you are likely to be in contact with irritants such as the kitchen, laundry room, garage, and work.
List of possible irritants and allergic causes include: water, soap, alcohol, raw foods-especially fruits and vegetables, solvents, paints, oils, greases, acids, glues, paper products, chemicals, turpentine, paint thinner,  floor and furniture cleaners, shoe polishes. Wear gloves when encountering any of the above or anything you feel could be irritating to your hands.
Consider using lining under the vinyl gloves if you feel your hands sweat under them, or you do not like the feel of them.  Purchase light cotton reusable gloves to wear under the vinyl gloves. Use them for several days at a time and then they may be washed and reused.
For outdoor manual labor such as yard work and gardening, purchase leather or heavy duty fabric gloves and line them with the cotton gloves as above. Dirty your gloves, not your hands. Wash your gloves, not your hands.
Do laundry and dishes by machine, not hand.
Avoid perfumed hand washes and hand creams.
Use the hand sanitizers for hand cleaning rather than soap and water.  Although many of them contain alcohol, they are less drying than soap and water.
Use your prescription medication twice a day every day for 2 weeks or until good improvement occurs.  At night, you may wrap your hands  or localized areas such as fingers in plastic wrap such as saran wrap over  your prescription medication and wear overnight. You may prefer disposable vinyl or latex examining gloves-these are thin gloves that most people find comfortable after the first few nights.  These are usually available at the drug stores or can be found over the internet. Do this for 2 weeks at most and then begin to reduce treatments to every other night, then every third night, then down to 1-2 times per week.
Hand dermatitis loves to come back. For maintenance, use recommended hand creams below multiple times throughout the day and every time after hand washing, add a barrier cream in the morning or before any exposures, and resume the glove nighttime regimen at the beginning of a flare

  Recommended hand creams: Plan Vaseline, Aquaphor healing ointment, Vaniply orVanicream

  Barrier hand creams include Theraseal (over the counter) and Tetrix (prescription)

We can consider patch testing if a contact allergy is suspected. Many people have found they are allergic to common everday things i.e stroller handle, stearing wheel,iphone, neosporin, nickel, ect

Caution: topical steroids can cause thinning of the skin with overuse.  Apply the medication only to the red scaly areas and avoid applying it to normal skin

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