Dyshidrotic Dermatitis

Many people have dyshidrotic dermatitis without knowing it. A person may experience itching blisters on the fingers and toes that last for about 3 weeks and then dissipate. Many people assume it is from heat, and don't think much of them.

However, blisters such as these can be diagnosed as a type of eczema called dyshidrotic dermatitis.


The exact cause of this form of eczema hasn't been found yet. It was previously thought that there was a correlation between dyshidrotic eczema and excess sweating of the hands and feet. This was, however, proven to be wrong. Some triggers have been identified, such as stress and allergic reactions.

It was also observed that recurring cases tend to occur in spring or summer, which may have something to do with the abundance of allergens in the air. Also, persons with atopic eczema are more likely to develop dyshidrotic dermatitis.


The symptoms of a person with dyshidrotic dermatitis include:

  • Itching
  • Small, fluid filled blisters on the sides of the fingers and palms
  • Blisters on the soles of the feet and toes.

These blisters can appear on their own or in clusters. Scratching can cause the blisters to burst, which may further lead to cracking of the skin, pain, and an uneasy sight. It can also lead to infections. If not scratched, the blisters will flake off, leaving the skin beneath them red and sensitive. 


There are several treatments available for dyshidrotic dermatitis. None of them should be attempted without a consultation with the doctor.

  • Steroids - These can be helpful, as corticosteroid creams and ointments may make the blisters go away faster. However, they have a side effect of thinning the skin after long-term use. If you're applying them to your hands, it may increase the risk of infections.
  • Oral prednisone - For severe cases, your doctor may prescribe you with prednisone, or another corticosteroid that's taken orally.
  • Potassium permanganate - A dilute solution of potassium permanganate is often used, as it helps with itching, dries out the blisters, and kills some of the bacteria on the surface of the skin. Potassium permanganate is dangerous if not diluted, and even when it is, it can cause discomfort or pain.
  • Immunosuppressing ointments - These can be used, but they tend to make you more susceptible to infections.
  • Phototherapy - Also called therapy with UV light, phototherapy is a last resort. It is typically combined with medications that make it more effective.

Tips for Home Care

Whatever you do, don't scratch when you have this type of eczema! It's important to not make things worse by scratching, as it may leave you open to infections. The goal is to get it over with as soon as possible, and infections don't help with that. Here are a few tips:

  • Dry skin is your enemy, so you should use moisturizers to keep it from drying out.
  • Don't keep your hands in water for a long time or over-wash your hands.
  • By all means, avoid any alcohol based hand cleaners.

Treatment may be easier said than done, but try not to stress out too much, both in general and related to your condition. Stress won't make you feel better. On the contrary, it will make things worse. Even if you're a teenager, don't feel ashamed or awkward because of it, it's not the end of the world, and you'll be just fine.

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