Do you need some tips for dealing with dyshidrotic eczema? This is a type of eczema that only affects the hands (and sometimes feet as well), causing painful little 'bubbles' or blisters. It's difficult to manage, as the hands come into contact with all kinds of substances that can cause a reaction. Having been diagnosed with it myself, I've slowly worked out the best way to handle an outbreak. So here are some tips for dealing with dyshidrotic eczema
1. Have Allergy Tests
The first of my tips for dealing with dyshidrotic eczema is to work out what substances trigger off the symptoms. The best way to do this is to have allergy tests; ask your doctor for a referral to a dermatologist. These tests probably won't cover every possible substance, but at least you will know some of the ingredients to avoid.
2. Check Labels
Once you know what you're allergic to, start reading labels very carefully. It's a nuisance, but better than developing the irritating symptoms of eczema. Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone are common triggers, which are used as preservatives. These are found in many products such as detergents, soap and shampoo.
3. Treating an Outbreak
Start to treat an outbreak as soon as it begins. You may need to use hydrocortisone or other steroid creams, but avoid overuse as this can itself cause problems. I've worked out a three-step program: begin with hydrocortisone cream, then switch to a herbal ointment once any cracks have healed, then use a moisturiser or body butter.
4. Protect Your Hands
It's wise for anyone to protect their hands from harsh detergent and cleaning products, and is even more important for sufferers of dyshydrotic eczema and dermatitis. Always use rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning the house or car, or decorating. This reduces your chance of coming into contact with any products that will irritate your hands.
5. Relieve Itching
Once of the worst things about eczema is the dreadful itch. You're supposed to avoid scratching, but I can confirm how difficult that is! A soothing cream will help to calm the itching; I use a gentle herbal ointment from a health food store. You can also make a paste from baking soda and water; this is messy but does calm the itching.
6. Keep Moisturising
I've noticed that it takes longer for my hands to recover from an outbreak if I don't moisturise regularly. The skin cracks and is easily irritated. So look for an intensive moisturiser that your hands can tolerate, and use it frequently. I find body butters seem to work well, or you could make your own from shea butter and vitamin E or almond oil.
Stress appears to be a common factor in triggering an outbreak of hand eczema, so try to maintain a calm demeanor. After all, the skin is our largest organ, so it's no surprise that it shows the effects of stress. Yoga and other alternative therapies may be helpful in maintaining relaxation.
Avoiding topical triggers is difficult, as even if you've had allergy tests you can still become allergic to other substances later on. Plus ingredients may irritate you even if you're not technically allergic to them; I've found that products containing sodium lauryl sulphate irritate me. Perhaps the best option is to use organic products or make your own, so that they are as pure as possible. Have you found any helpful ways to manage eczema?