What is Dyshidrotic Eczema and How to Treat It?

What is Dyshidrotic Eczema_mini

By Laura Dolgy (see bio below)

Do you ever experience tiny blisters on your hands or feet that are extremely itchy and tend to get worse once spring allergy season rolls around?

You may be experiencing a well known eczema condition known as dyshidrosis, also known as dyshidrotic eczema and with many other names as you’ll see below. This type of eczema can be irritating and uncomfortable, but there are many ways to manage it.

This week, we take a deeper look into what dyshidrotic eczema is, as well as the symptoms, causes and treatment.

Please keep in mind that although these treatments can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe eczema symptoms like an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.

What is dyshidrotic eczema?

So what is dyshidrotic eczema exactly?

This type of eczema is characterized by small, intensely itchy blisters that can appear along the edges of fingers, toes, palms and the soles of one’s feet. These hand eczema blisters are usually filled with fluid.

Doctors may also refer to dyshidrotic eczema as:

  • Cheiropompholyx
  • Dyshidrosis
  • Foot-and-hand eczema
  • Pompholyx
  • Vesicular eczema
  • Palmoplantar eczema

What are the symptoms?

Aside from the intensely itchy eczema blisters on fingers, dyshidrotic eczema can also cause redness, flaking and scaly or cracked skin.

The worst symptoms tend to be around spring allergy season when irritants like pollen can cause the blisters to erupt and create even larger, more painful blisters.

Normally, open blisters take around 3 weeks to heal, but the skin can be impacted long term. Many dyshidrotic eczema suffers experience either cracked skin or their skin feels almost thick and spongy from the constant scratching.

What are the causes?

Like previously mentioned, one of the main causes for this type of eczema seems to be from seasonal allergies. Irritants in the spring, like pollen tend to wreak havoc on many individuals.

However, there are many other causes as to why someone might develop dyshidrotic eczema. Like other forms of eczema, an irritant like nickel or latex can cause the skin to react. There are also many types of foods that can cause this type of reaction.

To properly identify your type of eczema and find relief, it’s important to learn what triggers it. Our blog offers many resources on figuring out what might be causing your flare-ups.

How do you treat dyshidrotic eczema?

If you’re looking for tips on treating dyshidrotic eczema, then you’ve come to the right place. Although these suggestions have been known to work for many eczema sufferers, please know that any serious forms of eczema should be treated by your doctor.

Anti-itch treatment

To help offer relief to those stubborn, itchy blisters, you’ll want to find a balm or cream that eliminates the itch and as such decreases scratching.

A wonderful hydrating treatment for this type of eczema is this Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream that is extremely rich and nourishing. Not only does it contain beeswax and various hydrating oils, but the Manuka oil and honey also have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This is a perfect choice for dyshidrotic eczema that tends to leave open blisters and sores.

Another treatment to help relieve the itch is Emily Skin Soothers for Itchy Skin. Many eczema sufferers have found relief with this balm, as the Chinese herbs work to eliminate itchy skin, while soothing the dryness.

Scratch Mittens/Gloves

Because these little blisters are so itchy, it might be a good idea to protect your or your little one’s skin overnight. To avoid scratching during the night, mittens or gloves can be worn.

A great glove option are these Remedywear™ KIDS gloves for eczema in TENCEL and soothing zinc or try the adult glovesAnother idea are these Bamboo Eczema Gloves of Kids and Eczema Gloves for Adults that can be worn either during the day or at night to avoid scratching incessantly at the blisters.

For mittens, if your little, little one is experiencing dyshidrotic eczema, then take a look at these ScratchSleeves that include mittens that fold open for play and eating. Many eczema sufferers swear by these for their child’s eczema!

Dry or Wet Wrap Therapy

To help soothe itchy skin fast, there are many therapies you can look into. Dry Wrap Therapy is a wonderful therapy that can be used long term to help alleviate any intense itching or pain that may accompany this type of eczema. All you need is a dry wrap, like the many options offered here and an anti-itch moisturizer like those mentioned above. Again, many eczema sufferers have found great relief with this type of therapy. To learn more about dry wrap therapy or to get started, make sure to check out our blog post Our Eczema Trials: Dry Wrapping.

For extreme cases or if dry wrap therapy is not working for you, you can always look at wet wrap therapy as well. Although this is not a long term solution, many have found relief from it as well. Like dry wrapping, all you need is a wet wrap, like the many options offered here and an anti-itch treatment like those mentioned above. But unlike dry wrapping, you’ll need to first bathe to soak the skin and then cover your skin with damp clothing wraps. To learn more about wet wrap therapy or to get started, make sure to check out our blog post Our Eczema Trials: Wet Wrap Therapy.

Homeopathy

In order to prevent seasonal allergies that may offset this type of eczema, it’s always a good idea to visit a natural practitioner (if you’d like to take the more natural route in treating seasonal allergies). A naturopath or homeopath can offer various supplements and homeopathic options that can reduce or eliminate your seasonal allergies, therefore reducing the chance of a dyshidrotic eczema flare-up to begin with.

To learn more about homeopathy specifically, check out our blog post How Does Homeopathy Work for Eczema?

Elimination Diet

Lastly, if you do not find relief with any of the tips or recommendations offered below, you might want to take a look at whether the food you’re consuming is causing your skin to react. Sometimes removing one food can actually eliminate all eczema symptoms.

To find out how to start eliminating foods, check out our blog post on elimination diets, Our Eczema Elimination Diet Success (How You Can Do It Too!). An elimination diet isn’t always an easy task, but it can identify a trigger that is causing your flare-up.

Bio: Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.

Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.

FROM: Allergies, Eczema

40 Comments

  1. Meredith Sawyer on May 8, 2018 at 10:10 am

    I live in South West Florida and have this condition year round. I suffered for 10 years with doctors and pharmaceuticals. I like Manuka and will add that to my butter but I use a combination of pure Shea, coconut oil, and Cacao butter.

    • Jennifer Roberge on May 14, 2018 at 11:50 am

      Hi Meredith – So glad you found something that helps you!

    • Amy Ford on July 18, 2019 at 10:49 pm

      I also use a combination of Shea, cocoa, and coconut oil, but I added organic beeswax and found that it stays on and gives me faster relief!

  2. Lela W. on August 16, 2018 at 9:02 am

    I have blisters on my hands arms and legs that look identical to the pictures I have seen of this condition, but I do not have any red flaky skin or other symptoms described aside from the itchy and sore blisters, could this still be the same condition or would you suggest I keep searching for answers?

    • Jennifer Roberge on August 16, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Hi Lela – We definitely recommend seeing a dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis.

  3. Michelle on September 15, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    I’m on my 5th year of this condition on both my hands and feet. Doctors say there’s no cure. Steroid cream. That’s it. And that is temporary relief. I feel as though I am about to lose my mind with this itchiness! All ideas are helpful but I see no cure in sight.

    • Jennifer Roberge on September 17, 2018 at 11:22 am

      What else have you tried Michelle?

  4. Ben on October 3, 2018 at 9:27 am

    This may sound dumb, but soak your fingers in witch hazel or alcohol to help dry them out, then for wrap scotch tape around the fingers that have it. Rewrap with scotch tape when necessary. They usually go away in a couple days with this method. Works for me every time.

    • Marandia on May 1, 2019 at 8:28 am

      I have also realized that if you dry them out as quick as possible they go away quicker. And I just now pretty much self diagnosed myself with this cause it’s not scabies, and it’s not contagious, and it just so happens to be may 1st still spring and they are popping up again I did have them a little in the winter and I just was baffled by my unawareness of what it was and I’m quite glad I have a very good option for the ones I have. Every symptom and thought of this fits mine… so yay.ff

  5. Maggie on January 8, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    You had me until Homeopathy. That’s water. <>

    I originally came here because I discovered that my atopic dermatitis might have a touch of dyshidrotic eczema in it. Thanks for the other strategies, I’ll try some of the anti-itch creams – also never heard of the dry wrapping which seems like it’s worth a try.

    • Sher on June 8, 2020 at 6:32 am

      Be careful I’ve had this dyshidrotic eczema on both palms,fingers I’ve had for a solid 3yrs. I’ve NVR bn so miserable. I’ve tried everything. Plz don not try that scotch tape, that hurts to even think about. The wet wrap has helped me at times. If u hv severe like myself the worse advice is to ” dry ur hands out” no no my friend that’s our problem then we hv cracked opened skin. I’m trying to find a diff cream or anything for moisturizing. I’ve bn using Gladskin its helped a lot. Just needing something more along with this Gladskin. I’ve sn in 2 mths new skin on my palms. Thumbs are the worst with healing. I’m in so much pain with so many sleepless nights I’m losing my mind.
      Plz if anyone hears of anything new for hand eczema send me at jusbgood2every1@gmail.com I’m begging everyone.

      • Pat on July 17, 2020 at 4:22 pm

        i have tried Gold Bond Ultimate eczema relief. works fast on the itch and burn. good luck and feel better. dries up blisters overnight, inexpensive.

      • bianca on November 6, 2020 at 12:01 am

        try wild naturals eczema cream on amazon, that and clobetasol propionate (prescription). the amazon cream is great, it has aloe and it’s super soothing! the only otc cream that’s done anything positive for my dyshidrotic eczema, literally.

      • Angie morgan on March 12, 2021 at 4:03 pm

        I suffer bad with this condition too, drives me mad when the itching is chronic,,I’ve tried sudocrem,,E45,,itch relief and canesten,,none of them work. I’ll try the manuka cream if I can buy it 😔

  6. Brandon on March 23, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    Ive had this my whole life it sucks doctors have no clue what it is… my case is so bad i have it 365 days a year on my feet with no releif ever

    • Ryan Wells on September 14, 2019 at 4:36 pm

      Hey Brandon, I’m the same. 356 days a year but it’s on my hands…

    • Lizz on July 19, 2020 at 6:27 am

      Same here

    • Dakota-Rose Witchard on January 12, 2021 at 5:58 pm

      Hey when I first had this eczema it was a really bad case on my palm, the whole palm was thick with blisters and so sore. Doctors had no idea what it was, one tried to say it was scabies and another gave me a food allergy test but still they couldn’t figure it out. I was in so much pain for months and had to wear a giant bandaid over it until my dad gave me some anti fungal foot cream. The more expensive one will work better I think it’s like $14 just have a look at a chemist. Seriously I was trying everything I could and none of it worked until I used the anti fungal cream, it drains all the blisters and then you just need to keep the dry skin moisturised. Also chemists are really good for help when doctors don’t work, it’s sad how many times a doctor will have no idea what your symptoms are, I’m totally losing trust in their capabilities.

  7. Myriah Reed on March 29, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Thank you for this! I have struggled with it, but haven’t had an outbreak for a while but had a serious outbreak. Going to try some of these things, which Homepathic things do you recommend? Going to order some antiitch cream, I love dry wrapping for this type of eczema and wet for my cracked feet.

    • Syhy on August 25, 2020 at 9:34 am

      For me.. i will get this thing only after i touch something spicy (chillies) with my bare hands.. i usually wear a glove to avoid them on my hands.. also mine will go away in a couple of days.. no scratching or they will get worse.. once u get it i would recommend to soak ur hand in very warm water.. it works for me n im not worried as much now..

  8. Kat on June 11, 2019 at 3:56 am

    I only started having this condition during my last pregnancy which was 2 years ago. I’m 35 and have never had any skin conditions and none run in my family. I was diagnosed and given medical gel but it’s not cutting it. Dermatologist says next step is steroids which I’d like to avoid. They told me to keep hands moisturized to the max but I hear lots of you saying keep dry? I’ve got 3 year old twins and my 2 year old, I’m constantly washing my hands and I can’t keep from that. My biggest issue is that everything topical even my medicated gel irritates it worse. I’ve tried every natural topical remedy and everything irritates and hurts it worse. This last breakout I’m having has lasted for months and I’m about to lose my mind. What do you do when your out of options? I’ve also done the elimination diet as well as using supplements but still can’t get it under control. Feeling defeated.

    • Dante on August 9, 2019 at 3:22 am

      well I figured out that if its sooo bad I cant stand it, I use a cuticle clipper to extract a few bigger ones in the middle then use liquid extra strength orajel to get a quick fix for a while. mine will all but pop themselves. had this my whole life, I soak them in really hot water first then do that thing then dry them out with alcohol. its a constantly ongoing thing for me. ive never tried an elimination diet though. my outbreaks seem random, more likely stress related. I have had a restrictive diet for graves disease though and nothing seemed to change with my hands.

    • Heather on October 8, 2020 at 9:21 am

      Kat I’m with you on this! My skin has gotten worse and worse since having two kids now 3 & 1 and changing diapers 20 times a day, doing dishes and laundry. I’ve always suffered with occasional eczema linked to my Asthma, but I’ve now got it on my hand in between my fingers, and trying to keep it dry to dry out is almost impossible. Have you managed to find anything to help you?

      • Sabine on February 26, 2021 at 11:26 am

        Hi Heather,
        I am a mom of 2, youngest is 5 months and like yourselves, I have been dealing with this for for over 3 years. The wounds and the itchiness drives me insane. I have a history of eczema but this started to flare up due to my nickel allergie. Here is a few things that I have been doing to help with my flare up.
        I was told that black African soap helps with eczema, it leaves my skin soft, I pat my hand dry and put vaseline all over the affected area and wait for 5-10 mins for the vaseline to dry a little bit and I cream both my hands throughly with CeraVe dry skin cream.

    • Dakota-Rose Witchard on January 12, 2021 at 6:09 pm

      Go and buy some anti fungal foot cream from the chemist, in Australia it’s like $14, there are cheaper ones but I found the one that costs more works better. I had no relief for months and a huge ugly raised palm full of blisters, my dad giving me the anti fungal cream was a blessing.

  9. warren on July 24, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    I have suffered from this all my life asthma eczema wheezing and my daughter also inherited it until my family went vegan my daughter 3 years old now is totally clear of all signs and her eczema is gone we have been vegan for the past year I am also clear, you may feel this is drastic but when your child gets issues you will try anything! its not like the good old days when food was food and produce was grown or reared in a more holistic way.
    I am so glad we did it I also limited banana’s and Tomatoes as tomatoes are very high in acidity and bananas can cause issues.
    From my side its all about the food you consume it must be as close as possible to natural nothing from a packet, try it for a month.

    • dante on August 9, 2019 at 3:24 am

      hmmm that is one thing I haven’t done. its worth a try:) thank you!

    • Katherine on February 14, 2020 at 10:08 am

      Thank you to everyone who’s left a comment!! I’m game to try all suggestions here and am considering the vegan route. Had allergies and asthma all my life but just developed this during a bad case of poison ivy around Thanksgiving, so yeah, not a fun holiday season. Recently cut out ALL processed sugars, caffeine, dairy, processed meats and upped the green, leafy veggies and try to get in all different fruits and veggies. When I get 7 servings a day of good, whole, unprocessed, natural food, my skin is almost pink again, and the thickness on my fingers decreases. After just 4 consecutive days of good eating (it takes a while to get in the habit!), the cracks on my palms peeled & are MUCH better. I can even scratch my palms w/out much of an affect. As soon as I fall off this new wagon I’m on, it flares horribly. I currently have at least 2 different types of eczema going on all over. Witch hazel helps me, I try to soak or dab it on before moisturizing. I can say this – moisturize IMMEDIATELY after bathing!! I left my hands to the very last the day before yesterday & almost couldn’t work the next day I was so insane with the itching. Now I do my hands first as the rest of my body doesn’t itch so badly .

  10. Grace on July 27, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Am I the only one who literally pops them? Or like, cuts them open… i only get like 1 a week and this helps a lot, they haven’t come back since I’ve been doing this, it heals very fast… takes a day or so to have the extra swing flake off then it’s gone… is this ok to do? I’ve been doing it and it works for me

    • dante on August 9, 2019 at 3:23 am

      yep I do that too! it can go faster or make them worse for me, but I still do it

    • Fi on August 9, 2020 at 10:21 pm

      Do you find popping them helps calm to itch also? I hate the dried bit of skin they leave behind with the weird dried out disc thing in the middle. I’m so bad I’m always picking. I get them on my feet and my little boy too

  11. Lisa Mercer on July 28, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    I had this in abundance on my palms and fingers. After a lot of Dr Apts and steroids, I finally went to see a dermatologist. We did an allergy test and I found out I was allergic to Milk. I have eliminated all milk from my diet and I had not had a problem since. I will occasionally eat cheese. Also, I had issues with cystic acne on my face and buttocks and that cleared up completely as well. Hope everyone finds relief:)

  12. Stephanie on August 5, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    I am looking online for a list of the foods to eliminate and that are safe to eat. So much conflicting information! One says no broccoli or leafy veggies, the next says yes. One says no tree nuts, the next says eat walnuts, pecans, almonds…one says no tea the next says green tea, one says no vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, basil then the next one says yes to them all. I’m so confused. Do you know where to find the complete truth on which foods trigger an outbreak for the elimination diet?

  13. B on September 25, 2019 at 4:08 am

    My husband has had dishydrotic eczema for most of his life and once he tried removing all food with nickel from his diet he stopped getting bumps (look at a list, it’s long and unfortunately baked into lots of foods: soy (including soybean oil – sometimes just “vegetable oil” – and soy lecithin), soy products (mayonnaise, some breads, processed foods), legumes, coffee, chocolate, nuts, oatmeal, lentils…eating higher quality foods without soy fillers or soybean oil typically helps (olive oil, butter, and cheese are higher quality fillers/fats/oils used).

  14. Jasmine on October 30, 2019 at 1:47 am

    I started getting a this kind of rash abt 10yrs ago when I was working long days in hot conditions. I tried everything until a friend gave me abt 20 litres of kangen water. He initially was trying to sell me a machine to which I was skeptical but because he dropped off the water for free I started drinking it and to my amazement it disappeared within a few days.

  15. Lisa on February 19, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    I have little blisters on my fingers. The itch gets so intense. I run my hands under iced cold water for a few minutes for some relief. I also soak my hands in Domeboro. It’s for rashes and poison ivy and other things but I feel like it dries up the blisters and controls the itch. I’m a hair dresser and my hands look horrible. It’s so embarrassing. I wish I could find something to make it go away.

  16. Martin on July 11, 2020 at 7:18 am

    I recently got this eczema on my hands, and was at a loss what was causing it. In the past I have used cola tar cream but did not have any with me. I tried coal tar shampoo but that had very limited results. Washing with Wright coal tar soap seemed to calm it but I could not put any cream on it otherwise the bumps and blisters would get bigger, so I just had to wait until they dried out. Saw on youtube some girl tried washing in Bicarb of soda and they seemed to help the itching. Then tried Calamine lotion BP which seemed to have knocked the crap out out of it. I used it once or twice but thought might be thinning my hands, but the blisters almost vanished. I am now washing with soaps (dead sea Miraculous source) – natural mineral source. The itchiness is gone and now drying out. I have found applying creams especially to palm of the hands makes the blisters bigger so have to apply it sparingly. I do apply cream about once a day to the top of the hands though.

  17. Christiana Obafemi on October 30, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    I have noticed these rashes on the back of my hands after each of my first 2 pregnancies and it eventually went away. After my last pregnancy a year ago its the worst its ever been. I had a skin test that showed all these food allergies (beef, salmon, tuna, apples, plums, pears, and watermelon) that I never had til after pregnancy. Although I thought chicken or eggs would’ve showed as allergies, they did not. I got relief after medrol dose pak twice twice, a steroid injection, and Diflucan (each were seperate treatments weeks apart) that helped but then it would come back. Washing my hands, washing bottles, just contact with warm or hot water period made it worst. Cold water helped. I don’t know what it is but all 3 of my kids did have milk protein allergies until age 1. I noticed eating baked foods makes it worst so now I stopped mayonnaise, cake, and everything with eggs which has been depressing. I am trying a vegan diet but not strict (I eat regular butter and cheese). This is really terrible I even wondered if it was the water system where I live (Long Island, NY). My doctor, allergist, and dermatologist all have no answers. I think there’s a hormonal link because I see 2 other commenters mentioned post partum links. I never had allergies to any foods, etc but my husband has eczema on his feet. If anyone has answers email me khrissi17@aol.com

  18. Millicent MacDonald on January 26, 2021 at 11:30 am

    Dyshidrosis is the id reaction to a fungus or yeast. Can be external, ie Athlete’s foot or ringworm or internal which is Candida species. Nickel is possible but is also a false positive as it reacts when histamine is high from any cause. Dyshidrosis is frequently misdiagnosed as a contact allergy.
    If any symptoms of irritable bowel are present, then a course of NYSTATIN (1 to 2 million units daily for 4 to 6 weeks.) Irequired or ITRACONAZOLE. (200mg daily for 6 weeks).
    It is advisable to stop taking hormonal birth control and eat a low carb diet.
    Vitamin A is useful to prevent fungal adhesion in the bowels. Do NOT get pregnant.
    Dyshidrosis is totally treatable and podiatrists are the experts. I study it.

  19. Jai gupta on February 8, 2021 at 4:01 am

    I am 15 years old this infection started recently and it give me a lot of itching in my full body I am so depressed to know that it would go for so long please give me any idea that I can try in India it is not letting me study

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