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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Dyshidrotic Eczema
      Category : Health Centers > Skin Conditions

Dyshidrotic Eczema

Alternate Names : Dyshidrosis, Pompholyx

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Dyshidrotic eczema is a fiercely itchy, deep-seated, blistering rash. It is seen most often on the palms of the hands, sides of the fingers, and soles of the feet.

What is going on in the body?

Dyshidrotic eczema was once thought to be due to trapping of sweat beneath thick skin of the palms and soles. Most healthcare providers now believe that it is caused by an inherited allergic response. The skin of the palms, sides of the fingers, and soles of the feet react to something in the environment by forming itchy blisters.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Dyshidrotic eczema can affect people of any age but appears to be more common in men between the ages of 20 and 50. There seems to be a genetic component to the disorder. It is probably caused by an allergic response to something in the environment. Experts suspect that nickel, balsam, and cobalt may cause the allergic response. Nickel is found in costume jewelry, while the other substances are used in manufacturing.

Risk factors that increase a person's risk for dyshidrotic eczema include:

  • anxiety
  • bacterial infection
  • certain skin infections
  • difficulty expressing feelings or emotions
  • hot or cold temperatures
  • increased humidity
  • personal or family history of asthma, sinusitis, or hay fever
  • recent immunoglobulin therapy
  • seasonal changes
  • stress
  • Some experts believe that a fungal infection elsewhere in the body can cause dyshidrotic eczema on the hands. For example, someone with athlete's foot may develop eczema lesions on his or her hands.

    The following factors have been linked to dyshidrotic eczema, but more research is needed to be sure:

  • aspirin
  • cigarette smoking
  • metal implants, such as total hip replacements
  • oral contraceptives


    Next section


    Dyshidrotic Eczema: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Lynn West, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 08/20/01

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