Hand dermatitis (eczema) is caused by a combination of sensitive skin and irritation or allergy from materials touched. Everyone’s hands touch irritating soaps and detergents several times every day. Raw foods, solvents, paints, oils, grease, acids, and glues are also frequently encountered irritants. Hand eczema treatment can be effective, but there is no fast, “magic” treatment. People who develop hand dermatitis will often continue to have hand dermatitis for many years. In many cases, hand eczema treatment must be continued to keep the hands comfortable and itch free.

Eczema Prevention:

  • Minimize hand washing as much as possible
  • Use a mild soap such as Dove, Oil of Olay, or Neutrogena
  • Apply moisturizer cream such as Eucerin, SBR-Lipocream, Aquaphor, DML,or Lubriderm several times per day.
  • For dishwashing or any handling or irritating materials, protect hands with vinyl gloves. It is best if a thin cotton liner glove is worn underneath the vinyl gloves. Try not to keep the gloves on for more than 15 minutes at a time. Wash the cotton gloves often. (Allerderm Laboratories has several vinyl and cotton gloves available at a reasonable price, 1-800-365-6868).
  • If gloves cannot be worn for a task requiring contact with irritating materials, Pro Q skin protectant may be used. (This is less effective eczema prevention than gloves, but better than nothing.)

Hand Eczema Treatment:

  • If directed, soak hands in water or tar solution for 10 minutes and pat dry prior to applying prescribed cream or ointment.
  • Apply prescribed cream or ointment 1 to 2 times a day as directed.
  • Strictly follow all of the prevention steps.
  • In severe cases, an antihistamine pills such as hydroxizine, doxepin, or Benadryl may be prescribed. These pills can help reduce the symptoms of itching, but do not help to treat the hand rash. They frequently make people sleepy and are usually used at bedtime. Sometimes lower doses may be taken during the day.