What is Hand Eczema ?
- Hand Eczema is a common skin condition affecting patients of all
ages, especially young adults. It may be caused by
- Constitutional factors that is, an inherently sensitive skin.
- Irritation from too much exposure to wet work, detergents, oils
and greases, solvents etc at home or in the workplace.
- Contact allergy to a specific substance eg. Cement, nickel,
lanolin etc. or a combination of the above factors.
- Hand eczema is unlikely to be caused by diet. The eating of
seafood as a cause of hand eczema, is a misconception. It is also
not an infective condition, and will not spread to other people.
Your Doctor will
- Prescribe wet dressings, medicated creams, or ointments or tablets
to suppress the eczema.
- Advise you on how to avoid irritants at home and in the workplace.
- Help you uncover any contact allergy that is causing or
aggravating the hand eczema. This is done by skin allergy testing.
(Patch test and prick test).
You on your part should:
- Assist your doctor by telling him the substances you come into
contact with at home and in the workplace. These include cosmetics and
skin care products, as well as medication used on the skin.
When doing housework:
- Protect yourself from wetwork by wearing plastic or rubber gloves.
Do not get the inside of the gloves wet. Do not wear the gloves for a
prolonged period of time.
Avoid handling fruits, vegetables and raw meat. Use gloves to prepare
Avoid washing dirty diapers with the bare hands. Do not squeeze floor
mops with bare hands.
When doing dry dirty work, wear cotton gloves.
Use hand moisturizer often.
In the workplace
- Do not come into prolonged contact with water, coolants, oils,
greases and solvents. Wear rubber or plastic gloves if it is safe to do
Do not wear cotton gloves when doing wetwork. These soak up the
irritants and worsen the problem.
Do not use diesel or solvents to wash your hands. Use a gentle soap.
Use hand moisturizers after work.
If you have a specific
- If you have a specific allergy to a substance, avoid contact with
this completely. Ask your doctor to tell you the sources of the
substance you are allergic to.