The hand eczema can also be referred to as the dermatitis of the hand. The dermatitis of the hand affects your palm, and it can either be chronic or acute condition [1]. The condition is known to hamper your day to day activities of life. The hand eczema affects the quality of life since you will be unable to attend to most of the daily duties like cooking and washing. Hand Eczema is painful, uncomfortable and life-wrecking.

Hand eczema is a skin condition or disease that’s characterized by inflammation of the hand. Your hand starts having scratchy and itchy red patches. The condition caused by both internal and external factors. The condition is not contagious, but it is known to significantly affects someone social life and self-esteem.

Who is affected by Hand Eczema?

Hand eczema is known to affect those people commonly doing manual works. It is known to affects those who work in cleaning, mechanical, catering, and health workers. The hand eczema is very common in people in the occupations such as workers in mechanical industries, hairdressers, health workers, social workers, masons, housemaids, farmers, and florists. The condition is not limited to above people; it can also affect someone who is not in the above categories. The situation makes those affected lose their ability to perform their daily chore thus affecting their economic contribution in their lives and also to the government.

Causes of Hand Eczema

Hand dermatitis is caused by both external and internal factors.

Internal factors

Internal factors that can cause hand dermatitis include:

Genetic factor: Eczema is a hereditary transmitted condition or disease. The gene of a person carries the skin disease from one generation to another generation, and it is known to affect hands.

External factors

External factors are known to be the leading cause of hand eczema. Most people who perform harsh duties using their hands are more prone to having hand eczema [2]. The following factors can cause hand eczema they include:

Lack of protective barriers in the hand

Any defect in your hand skin barrier can lead to hand eczema; this is evident if your hand skin is naturally dry.

Conditions that cause dryness of your hand

Loss of moisture from your hand can allow the allergic germs to affect your hand. The conditions that cause dryness of your hand include: prolonged exposure of your hand to water and other wet conditions. Exposing of your hands to excessive heat and cold. Living in arid conditions and exposing your hand to the dryness. Touching of harsh chemicals can also affect your hand.

Environmental conditions

Some of the most common and known environmental conditions that can trigger hand eczema include:

Allergic Dermatitis

Allergic dermatitis occurs due to the allergen exposure in occupations like the organic dyes, plants solvents, and nickels. The allergens that found in such occupations include organic dyes, rubber, and plastic resin. Other kinds of allergens that can cause hand eczema include the shampoos, detergents, disinfectants, some juices found in fruits and meat products. Dust mite, pollen, flowers, seeds, dust, and pet can also cause eczema.

Irritants Dermatitis

The most common and known cause of hand eczema is the irritants dermatitis. Irritants dermatitis usually occurs due to the frequent exposure to irritants like the chemical like the ones used in industries and hospitals and metals. They mostly affect fingertips.

Atopic hand dermatitis

The Atopic hand dermatitis is a chronic condition, and it can affect your hand if it has already affected the other areas of your body. Microbes like the bacteria staphylococcus and some viruses and fungi can also cause hand dermatitis.

Symptoms and signs of Hand Eczema

Common signs and symptoms of hand eczema include:

  • Red patches on your hand
  • Severe itching of your hand- that mostly happens at night
  • Small and raised bumps on your hand
  • Thick, dry and scaly hand
  • Oozing of pus
  • Swollen and sensitive skin

Factors that worsen Hand Eczema

Hand dermatitis may be aggravated by the following conditions:

  • Excessive dryness of the skin – Mostly happens to house maid and hairdressers since they spend long in cold and hot water thus making their hands dry.
  • Scratching of your hand – If you excessive scratch your hand can rapture your hand tissues.
  • Infection of your hand by bacteria, virus, and fungi
  • Stress can reduce the immune of your body thus causing your hand dermatitis to worsen
  • Sudden change of weather can cause your symptoms to worsen
  • Working gloves made of rubber and wool.
  • Wool found in our clothes and some carpet can irritate your skin
  • Pollen and dust are also known to increase the intense of the eczema flares
  • Pollution and smoke in our industries and home are harmful to disease conditions
  • Certain food products like the eggs, wheat, soybeans, dairy products, nuts and seeds may also worsen the symptoms of your hand dermatitis
  • Excessive sweating can increase irritation on your hand skin.
  • Excessive rubbing of your hands on rough places and raw material can irritate you hand more thus causing worsening of your hand Condition
  • Standard cleaning products like soaps, detergents, shampoos, and solvents contain chemicals that can irritant your hand skin worsening the disease.

Complication of Hand Eczema

Hand eczema is associated with complexity that can bring the suffer lots of discomforts, pain, and embarrassment. Some of the complications includes:

  • If you have hand eczema, the chances of developing asthma and have fever are high.
  • Can cause a chronic skin disease known as neurodermatitis that is always characterized by excessive scratching of the skin
  • Excessive and repeated scratching of your hand can cause your hand tissues to rapture thus increasing the chances of an infection either bacteria or viruses infection
  • Excessive itching of your hand can reduce the quality of your life cause you to have low self-esteem

Diagnosing Hand Eczema

Hand eczema is diagnosed by visual inspection, some of the tests done to determine if you are suffering from hand eczema or just an ordinary skin disease include [3]:

  • Patch testing: it is done so that the doctor can find out the substances that your hand is allergic.
  • Hand skin pricking testing is done so that the doctor can find out the allergen that are causing your hand eczema
  • Hand eczema can either be diagnosed by a physical or dermatology; this is done by checking your family history to diagnose if your condition is hereditary. The medical history includes if there have been any sigh of eczema for the last one year. The doctor can also perform clinical examination on your hand tissue. Clinical examination of your hand including examining of rashes and inflammation on your hand.

Treating Hand Eczema

If the hand symptom seems to cause lots of discomforts and they are worsening, then you should see a doctor. You can either visit dermatology or a physician. The main reason you should seek treatment early s because the more it worsens, the more it will be hard to treat because of thickening of your hand skin thus preventing satisfactory results. These increase the suffering of your social life and your daily activities. The following treatments are always recommended for a person suffering from hand eczema:

Cleaning and moisturizing of your hands will go a long way to treating the symptoms. Those who spend most of their times touching harsh chemical should clean their hands with chemical and perfume free soaps and apply moisturizers. Avoid making direct contacts with allergens and instead use vinyl gloves and also avoiding wearing them for an extended period to prevent sweating.


Medication that you can be given include:

  • Topical Corticosteroids: They are creams and ointments that contain hydrocortisone steroids, and they are quick to provide you with relief from itching and reduce inflammation. They are available from mild to high, the soft ones are available over the counter and they are used to treat mild hand eczema. It is important to use the topical corticosteroids according to the doctor’s instructions to avoid side effects like thinning of your hand skin. If you are allergic to corticosteroids drugs, let your doctor know before giving them to you.
  • Barrier repair moisturizers: The barrier repair moisturizers are available both over the counter as well as a medical prescription. The lotions help water to lock into your hand skin thus helping to repair any damaged hand skin tissue. It reduces redness, dryness, and itching.
  • Phototherapy: Phototherapy is a treatment procedure that involve the exposure of your hand surface of the skin to ultraviolet B or ultraviolet A light [4].
  • Systemic Corticosteroids: The systemic corticosteroids come in handy and relief when you have severe hand eczema. They are administered orally or through an injection.

Home remedies for treating Hand Eczema

Lifestyle techniques and home remedies can prove to be useful when it comes to controlling the symptoms of hand eczema. Various products found in your household can go a long way to relieving and preventing eczema. They include the following:

  • Coconut oil: If you have hand dermatitis it is important you apply coconut oil that is known to relief eczema flares.
    Vitamin E products mixed with aloe vera gel helps to reduce inflammation and rashes. Apply paste of cucumber and carrot helps to ease discomfort.
  • Cleaning your hands regular and moistening them will help relieve discomfort
  • Applying a moisturizer at least thrice per day is recommended
  • Avoid rubbing your affected skin areas instead pat the affected areas using a soft towel.
  • Avoid activities that will make your hand sweat
  • Identify the triggers that cause your hand eczema and try to avoid using them at all cost. Soaps Detergents and solvents should be prevented if they are the ones causing hand eczema. You can use wet dressing on your affected area, and the dressing help to provide relief and contain the symptoms of the hand eczema.
  • Avoid stressful situations and if need be seeking counseling. Check on your diet habits and identify if there are a certain type of food that can be triggering your eczema.
  • Avoid exposing your hand to harsh chemical and extreme weather temperatures.

Home remedies can be used to prevent symptoms and signs of hand eczema but if the symptoms are severe it is good to visit a doctor

Cost of treating Hand Eczema

The cost of treating hand eczema, it causes a financial burden to the individual and especially when it is not diagnosed early enough. More than 2.6 billion dollars are used annually to treat eczema.

Prevention of Hand Eczema

There are ways in which you can be able to prevent hand eczema they include:

  • Limit the length of using water: If you have hand dermatitis it is important you reduce the period and duration you take using water. Avoid using cold and hot water and instead opt for using warm and lukewarm water [5].
  • Avoid using soaps substitutes- If soaps irritate your skin avoid using them, soaps and detergents are alkaline, and they tend to deprive your hand skin of moisture thus causing dryness. Oil and moisturize your hands now and then.
  • Avoid pollutants and heat exposure.
  • Avoid excessive heat that will cause your hand to sweat a lot. Avoid wearing gloves for a long period and avoid woolen gloves at all cost. Avoid letting your hands have direct contact with pollutants that irritates your hands.

Managing Hand Eczema

For a hand skin disease like hand eczema, it is important that you take good care of your hands. You should make your hand care a priority on a daily basis. If you have symptoms and signs of hand dermatitis visits your doctor for early treatment. Always keep your hand dry and moisturized. Avoid stressful situation as you will be worsening your diseases. Change of diet is another important aspect when it comes to managing your hand eczema. Make sure you take food that can boost your immune system.

Hand eczema is not considered life threatening but it can cause some complication and it is not that serious. Management, prevention and treatment of your hand dermatitis will help you lead your life normally. It is good for the individual to stay committed and dedicated to fighting against the hand enzyme.


[1] Consensus statement on the management of chronic hand eczema,J. English and B. Statham; 761–769- 2 SEP 2009- DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2009.03649.x,   2230.2009.03649.x/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

[2] Who is responsible for do not resuscitate status in patients with broken hips?, Rahij Anwar and Azeem Ahmed; 334(7585): 155- 2007 Jan 20DOI:  10.1136/bmj.39085.659248.59

[3] Hand eczema classification: a cross-sectional, multicentre study of the etiology and morphology of hand eczema, T.L. Diepgen, K.E. Andersen and D.P. Bruynzeel; 353–358- 23 OCT 2008- DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08907.x,

[4] Quality of life and depression in a population of occupational hand eczema patients, Rikke Skoet, Cvetkovski Henrik, Jensen Tove Agner106–111- 20 FEB 2006- DOI: 10.1111/j.0105-1873.2006.00783.x,

[5] Hand eczema and quality of life: a population-based study, C. Moberg M. Alderling B. Meding; 397–403- 19 MAR 2009- DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2009.09099.x,