If you have hand eczema (or hand dermatitis), then you know that one of the more painful things you can experience — especially during wintertime — is cracks or fissures on top of it all.
They say the best way to prevent cracked and painful dry hands is to prevent the eczema they formed on top of.
But just how do you do that?
Well, first order of practice to catch the eczema early, and the next is to seal up the cracks.
If your skin is cracking on only your hands and finger joints, it could be caused by contact allergies (from too little moisturizer or too frequent hand washing). If there is continued cracking, fissures, bleeding and no improvement this may be a more serious skin condition.
The National Eczema Association says 10 percent of the population has hand eczema, and that the main symptoms include one or more of the following:
- Redness (erythema)
- Dryness, to the point of peeling and flaking
- Cracks (fissures)
- Blisters (vesicles)
If you’ve ever had a crack, you know it can hurt, so be gentle on yourself and seal them up with liquid bandage or ointment such as Vaseline or Aquaphor Healing Ointment. You may need to apply frequently.
The National Eczema Association also says, hand eczema is an inflammatory condition and while not contagious, it can still have a major effect on people’s work, social lives and self-esteem.
Another must: wear gloves.
If you use your hands for work or chores, wear gloves to cut back on irritation of the cracks by adding a protective layer. The gloves can go on right over the protective ointment. And luckily, winter time is a natural time to wear gloves (and there are plenty of styles to choose from!)
What if it’s getting worse?
If you notice a sign of infection, you may need an antibiotic ointment, or an oral antibiotic. This is when you need to call your dermatologist.
To make an appointment for your own visit to Dermatology and Skin Health, call 742-5556. We’re ready to help you. As the premier dermatology practice in the seacoast area, we pride ourselves in the comprehensive medical, cosmetic and surgical services that we offer patients of all ages in our state of the art facility conveniently located on Central Ave in Dover, NH across from Wentworth – Douglass Hospital.
* Eczema is the term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The most common types are atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema.