Hand and foot eczema

Hand and foot eczemas occur as a consequence of exaggerated reactions of the immune system to various adverse factors from the environment, to which they are exposed. Eczemas are common inflammatory skin diseases, which make up to 80% of all the eczemas localized in other parts of the body.

eczema hand

What are the most common symptoms of the hand and feet eczemas?

In their acute form, and after the contact with harmful substances and irritants, eczemas manifest in redness, swelling, itch, appearance of bubbles in the skin, moistening, and skin scaling. If the exposure to harmful factors continues, the eczema becomes chronic after a while, and it is characterized by intense thickening, dryness, scaling and painful skin cracking.

What are the most common causes of hand and feet eczemas?

The causes can be exogenous, meaning factors from the environment which lead to the contact eczema or internal which lead to endogenous eczema of hands and feet.

Contact eczema

Contact eczema is most common in adults and is very often related to the profession (florists, hairdressers, construction workers…). Contact eczema can be a consequence of allergic reaction or irritation to one or many products at work or at home, such as detergents, alcohol, soaps, solvents or money. Causes of allergic contact eczema can be discovered by patch test, which are performed in our clinic.

Endogenous eczema

Endogenous eczema is caused by internal factors, which is the allergic constitution of our organism, the so called atopic hand and feet eczema. They are manifested in chronic eczema, which can be caused by an allergy or an irritation, and it comes in a form of thickening, dryness, scaling and cracking of the skin on hands and feet.

A special form of the endogenous eczema is pompholyx or vesicular eczema of hands and feet. It can be provoked by increased temperature, emotional tension, allergic constitution or fungal or bacterial infection from remote parts of the body. It comes in waves, mostly in spring time and autumn, in the form of bubbles deep beneath the skin of hands and feet, small wounds or skin scaling. If it is caused by fungal infection, mostly of the feet, it’s treatment leads to the withdrawal of the eczema.

How are hand and feet eczemas treated?

The most important thing in treating eczemas is to stop the further exposure of the skin to harmfull substances, irritants that lead to its appearance. It is necessary to avoid strong soaps and detergents which can cause the eczemas. Regular use of neutral creams which regenerate the barier lipid layer of the skin on hands and feet is very important in treating eczemas. Also, it is necessary to use protective gloves while in contact with irritants and allergens.

Treatment may be conducted by applying corticosteroid creams, local immunomodulatory substances, then topical retinoids and calcipotrienes. Systemic therapy is necessary in the most severe forms and it includes the application of prednisone, cyclosporine, methotrexate.

Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade