Hand Dermatitis

Hand Dermatitis, also known as Hand Eczema, is an extremely common condition treated at Utah Valley Dermatology. Because the hands perform so many different tasks day-to-day, they are routinely exposed to irritating agents. Hand rashes usually result from a combination of sensitive skin and irritation or allergies from materials touched.

One of the most common causes of hand dermatitis is excessive hand washing. When you wash your hands, you are stripping off oils from the skin and as the skin goes from wet to dry multiple times a day, it can dry out and irritate the skin.

How do I protect my skin from Hand Dermatitis?

Skin protection is an important part of treatment. Some directions on how to develop effective daily habits in order to improve the condition:

  • Protect your hands from direct contact with soaps, detergents, scouring powders, and similar irritating chemicals by wearing waterproof, heavy-duty vinyl gloves. Vinyl gloves seem to be more effective than rubber gloves because many patients experience allergic reactions to rubber. If a glove develops a hole discard it immediately. Wearing a glove with a hole is worse than wearing no gloves at all! Have enough waterproof gloves on hand so you may always use a dry pair.
  • Washable cotton gloves may be used as an absorbent liner under vinyl gloves. Wear waterproof gloves while peeling and squeezing lemons, oranges, or grapefruit, peeling potatoes, and handling tomatoes.
  • Wear leather or heavy-duty gloves when performing daily tasks such as cleaning and gardening. An important rule of thumb is to wear gloves often and to wash the gloves often with a non-irritating detergent.
  • If you have an automatic dishwasher, use it as much as possible. If not, the task should be delegated to another member of the family. Also, wash your laundry in a machine, not by hand.
  • Avoid direct contact with turpentine, paint thinner, paints, floors, furniture, and metal and shoe polishes. When using them, wear vinyl gloves to protect your hands from the irritating solvents they contain.
  • When washing your hands, use lukewarm water and a very small amount of mild soap. Rinse the soap off carefully and pat dry gently. Apply moisturizer after washing your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer in place of washing your hands in most instances. Sanitizer can kill more germs than washing and does not dry out the hands. Wash hands when your hands are visibly dirty, all other times sanitizer works well.
  • Remove your rings when doing housework and before washing your hands, as they can often trap irritating materials beneath them.
  • When outdoors in cold or windy weather, wear lined leather gloves to protect your hands from drying and chapping.
  • Use only the prescribed medicines and lubricants. Do not use other lotions, creams, or medications -they may irritate your skin.
  • Protect your hands for at least 4 months after your dermatitis has healed. It takes a long time for skin to recover, and unless you’re careful, the dermatitis may recur.

About

Dr. David Myers

Dr. David Myers is a board certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery. His expertise and attention to detail make him a trusted doctor in his community.

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