Dyshidrotic eczema: Overview
What is dyshidrotic eczema?
Dyshidrotic (dis-hi-drah-tic) eczema (DE) is a common group of skin conditions in which the skin cannot protect itself as well as it should, so the person often gets itchy, dry skin.
DE causes itchy, dry skin. People also develop small, deep-seated blisters, usually on their hands. It’s also possible to develop blisters on your feet.
Dyshidrotic eczema on a patient's palm
The tiny, deep-seated blisters of dyshidrotic eczema are often very itchy.
Whether on your hands, feet, of both, the blisters are often very itchy and painful.
When the blisters clear (usually in 2 or 3 weeks), the skin tends to be red, dry, and cracked.
There is no cure for DE, so people can have flares. For many people, DE flares when they’re under a lot of stress, temperatures rise (such as in spring or summer), or their hands stay wet for long periods of time.
DE flares range from mild to debilitating. A severe flare on your feet can make walking difficult. Having many blisters on your hands can make it difficult to work and perform everyday tasks like shampooing your hair and washing dishes. This common skin disease has many names, including:
Cheiropompholyx (affects the hands)
Pedopompholyx (affects the feet)
Vesicular palmoplantar eczema
Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
Habif TP, Campbell JL, et al. “Pompholyx” (card #16). In: Dermatology DDxDeck. Mosby 2006.
Miller JL, Hurley HJ. “Diseases of the eccrine and apocrine sweat glands.” In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, et al, eds. Dermatology. Mosby Elsevier 2008. p. 543.