Although the cause of dermatitis on hands is still unknown, most people have a genetic predisposition to atopy dermatitis and if you do have it, you are more prone to hand eczema than others. Basically, this hereditary condition makes them much more sensitive to environmental allergens and irritants and so much more likely to develop hand dermatitis, which can look and feel very similar to atopic eczema. If you have a story, the odds are that your skin will be extremely dry and itchy, with loss of hair and cracking, crusting and flaking of the skin. In fact, hand dermatitis may even be scaly and cracked and your fingernails may look completely smooth.
Atopic dermatitis can affect people from all age groups and ethnic backgrounds, although the risk increases with age. However, it does seem that babies, children and teenagers are at higher risk than the elderly. One of the known triggers of dermatitis on hands and fingers is allergies to latex and other types of medical gloves, such as rubber gloves. This is why it is always recommended that anyone using latex gloves or any other medical gloves use them only after sterilization and after ensuring that the wearer has had time to adapt to wearing the gloves.
Eczema on the hands can also be caused by environmental factors like pollution, harsh weather or strong chemicals. The treatment for atopic dermatitis will depend upon the specific cause. Hand creams containing salicylic acid, zinc oxide or cortisone can be very effective in reducing the redness and inflammation caused by atopy. However, you must take care not to rub too hard as this may cause dryness and cracking. You should also keep the affected area well moisturized by using potent topical steroids.
Eczema on the hands and fingers, although it has no proven link with an increased risk of cancer, may be an indicator of poor nutritional status and a lack of vitamin D in the body. Lack of vitamin D is associated with an increased risk of skin infections, particularly in people who are young and whose skin cells have not yet mature. Therefore, treating chronic hand dermatitis with vitamin D3 supplements, found in supplements like Extagen or Dermagen may be an effective way to control and manage this condition.
Irritant, severe, frequent and recurrent atopic dermatitis flare-ups can be triggered by an imbalance in the immune system. This may be due to stress, exposure to toxins or excessive bathing in harsh soaps. In such cases, it is important to boost the immune system through diet and supplementation with extra antioxidants. Lichenification, which is the reddening of the skin as a protective mechanism against irritants, is also known to play an important role in combating irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, colitis, acne vulgaris and other inflammatory conditions. So if you have had a history of acne, eczema or other inflammatory conditions in the past, lichenification of the skin may be a useful tactic to prevent future flare-ups.
The majority of over-the-counter creams for dermatitis on hands and fingers will contain hydrocortisone. This is a steroid compound that acts as a vasoconstrictor, reducing swelling and pain in the area. Commonly prescribed for use in eczematoid arthritis, this agent can be helpful to relieve the itchiness and irritation associated with contact dermatitis hands and fingers. However, prolonged or repeated use may cause a build-up of a harmful substance called cortisol, which increases inflammation by binding to the steroid receptors on the cells around the nose and mouth. If one uses glucocorticoids in excess, symptoms of serious illness such as cataracts, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis may develop.
Vinyl gloves are available as either spray or cream alternatives. Whilst both are effective at reducing inflammation and providing a barrier to moisture, some experts advise against the use of creams, as these may cause a reaction. For this reason, many dermatologists suggest the use of moisturisers instead, such as emollients and shea butter, which are much easier on the skin. These have also been found to be very beneficial at reducing the appearance of scaly or flaky patches of skin caused by dermatitis on hands.
Atopic skin is also a common condition that can result in localized outbreaks of dermatitis on hands. Commonly referred to as contact dermatitis, flare-ups can occur when hands come into contact with an allergen, such as dust, pollen or even food. Although atopic skin is not a medically diagnosed condition, it has been shown that people who suffer from it have a much higher risk of developing eczema or atopic dermatitis on their hands. The treatment involved with atopic skin depends on the nature of the trigger. For example, rashes can be treated with topical steroids, whilst irritations can be treated using oral corticosteroids. If the condition is persistent, a visit to a skin specialist may be recommended.