Hand eczema is a very common condition mainly affecting housewives and people with certain jobs like cleaning, hairdressing, gardening and mechanical work.
It presents with itching, cracks, fissuring, scaling , blistering and redness of the hands.
It can be chronic and may disturb day to day life of an individual, causing social and psychological problems.
It occurs due to a combination of Internal factors ( your genetic make- up) and External factors ( allergens like soaps, detergents, perfumes, plants, chemicals, grease, formaldehyde, nickel,etc)
A Dermatologist can only help you in a minor way if you are suffering from hand eczema. The CRUX OF THE TREATMENT OF HAND ECZEMA LIES IN YOUR OWN HANDS!
Here are a few tips to prevent recurrent attacks of hand eczema.
1. Try to think of all the possible activities you do in and around your house on a daily basis. Very often, when the Dermatologist tries to elicit history, patients deny any sort of contact with potential allergens thinking it is not significant. For eg: A new perfumed hand cream which you have recently started using can be a potential source of allergy , which you may not consider significant. Make sure you tell the Dermatologist every tiny detail as possible.
2. Do not wash hands very often. Excessive washing can strip the oils in your skin.
3. Wash hands with a mild soap free cleanser which your Dermatologist may prescribe.
4. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! - This is the key to prevent flares of eczema. Always apply a bland, perfume free moisturizer immediately after hand wash on damp skin. Keep a moisturizer near your sink to get into the habit.
5. Make gloves your best friend. Keep several pairs of clean, cotton gloves and use them whenever you do household chores. If you are doing wet work like washing vessels, use cotton gloves and then cover them with plastic or vinyl gloves. It may initially be very cumbersome, but wearing gloves goes a long way in making life better for you.
6. Wear gloves while chopping onions, garlic, citrus fruits and potatoes and the juices from these vegetables can irritate the skin.
Be regular in following up with your dermatologist to work out a good treatment plan.