Hi there, this is Susan.
In this article, I am going to identify some dyshidrotic eczema treatment methods that you can use to combat the itchiness. However, before I move on, I believed it is good for you to know what is dyshidrotic eczema and how to recognize them.
What is Dyshidrotic Eczema?
Dyshidrotic eczema (also known as Dyshidrosis) is a form of eczema that appear as tiny itchy blisters. They usually occur in the sole of your feet or the palm of your hands, or both. This itchiness can last up to 4 weeks in some cases.
Dyshidrotic Eczema Treatment Strategy
A usual dyshidrotic eczema treatment strategy may include the following:
These steroids which include cortisol and corticosteroids, are applied directly onto the skin to treat mild to moderate forms of eczema due to its anti-inflammatory properties.They are available in the form of creams and ointments from your local pharmacy.
They can only be used to suppress eczema but not as a cure for it.
How much should I use?
Topical steroids should be applied gently as a thin layer on affected skin. The ‘fingertip unit’ (FTU) can be a helpful guide to steroid use in eczema. A fingertip dose is the amount of steroid cream or ointment that covers the fleshy pulp of an adult finger from the crease over the first joint to the tip of the finger.
The number of fingertip doses or units recommended to treat a body area varies according to the affected person’s size. For example, four fingertip units treat one arm and hand in an adult, while only one fingertip unit would be needed to treat this area in a baby.
The next dyshidrotic eczema treatment method involves the use of oral antihistamines. They are commonly used in the form of tablets and syrup as treatment for allergic reactions and itchy skin complaints. However, the itch of eczema, which is the most persistent and distressing symptom of this skin condition, is triggered by many inflammatory substances not just histamine.
This probably explains why antihistamines usually have little or any effect in eczema. Although they are often prescribed, there is a lack of good scientific evidence that either the old-fashioned sedating or newer non-drowsy antihistamines are of benefit in eczema.
Sedating antihistamines such as Chlorpheniramine and Diphenhydramine, may allow eczema sufferers to get a better night’s sleep because they induce drowsiness and deeper sleep. This helps to reduce the likelihood of scratching while sleeping. However, they can cause a sleepy ‘hangover’ the next day.
Another dyshidrotic eczema treatment involves the usage of Ultraviolet rays. Many people with eczema notice that their skin improves on a sunny day. The main benefits of sun exposure in eczema are thought to come from the sun’s ultraviolet (also known as ‘UV’) rays. These work by damping down the over-active immune system in the skin.
Fluorescent lamps that emit UV have been used as an artificial form of sunlight therapy or ‘phototherapy’ for atopic eczema since the 1970s.
There are 2 main forms of phototherapy:
- UVA – Ultraviolet radiation of relatively long wavelengths
- UVB – Ultraviolet radiation of relatively short wavelengths
These therapies are administered in air-conditioned light cabinets that are like upright sunbeds and about the size of a public telephone box. Treatment is carried out in a dermatological day treatment unit and supervised directly by specialist nurses.
Here’s a video explaining the whole process of phototherapy and some amazing results that people have achieved from it:
You can use non-steroidal immunosuppressants for treating dyshidrotic eczema if the other methods are not effective. When consumed orally, these drugs have an extremely strong suppressant effect on the immune system. The drugs also decrease the activity level of the skin’s immune system that is found in eczema when used on the skin.
The immunosuppressants come in two forms:-
Pimecrolimus is the cream type while tacrolimus is an ointment. Topical tacrolimus is known to be just as good as a potent steroid. It has a better effect on the skin than the pimecrolimus cream. Better still; the cream does not cause skin thinning like topical steroids. It comes in very handy for treating eczema on the eyelids, face and neck which has thinner skin than the other parts of the body.
Research has shown that only a very small amount of medication is absorbed into the body. As such, cases of users with internal side-effects are very rare. Despite that, there is the issue of whether prolonged use of the immunosuppressant will cause skin cancer with its suppressant effect.
Although their side effects are negligible, you can get a burning and stinging sensation after applying the drugs. Applying the drugs becomes less of a chore as the eczema improves with repeated use.
Now that you are aware of the various dyshidrotic eczema treatment options available to you, I am sure you will be better informed about what to expect from each treatment option. Although these treatments are effective in most cases, most of them usually come with some undesirable side-effects that can be harmful to your health. Therefore, use them at your own risk.
Last Updated: 28 March 2012
1. Dr Sarah Wakelin MBBS, FRCP(UK). Your Guide to Eczema. 2005. Great Britain: Hodder Arnold 2005.