Eczema types: Dyshidrotic eczema causes
Who gets dyshidrotic eczema?
Your risk of developing dyshidrotic eczema increases if you have one or more of the following:
Another type of eczema, especially atopic dermatitis
Hay fever, asthma, or allergic sinusitis
An allergy, especially to nickel or cobalt
Sweaty (or wet) hands often
One or more blood relatives who have (had) dyshidrotic eczema, atopic dermatitis, hay fever, asthma, or allergic sinusitis
Worked (or work) as a metalworker or mechanic
Worked (or work) with cement
If you develop dyshidrotic eczema, it’s likely to begin between 20 and 40 years of age.
Dyshidrotic eczema can also begin earlier or later in life. While rare, children sometimes develop this disease.
Dyshidrotic eczema can come and go
Many people find that warm weather or feeling stressed out can trigger the itchy blisters.
What causes dyshidrotic eczema?
This is still a bit of a mystery. In studying this disease, researchers have learned that it is NOT caused by a problem with a person’s sweat ducts, as previously thought.
It appears that people who get dyshidrotic eczema have a hypersensitivity to something. The list of things that can cause this hypersensitivity include:
Metal, especially nickel or cobalt
An ingredient in a personal care product
Medication, especially aspirin or birth control pills
An infusion of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG)
A skin infection, such as athlete’s foot
When you come into contact with something that causes a hypersensitivity, it’s thought that this triggers the dyshidrotic eczema. For example, if you have a hypersensitivity to an ingredient in your soap, dyshidrotic eczema may flare up every time you use that soap.
Some people find that when they avoid what causes this hypersensitivity, they avoid flare-ups. For example, if you have dyshidrotic eczema on your hands and you are hypersensitive to the fungus that causes athlete’s foot, getting rid of the athlete’s foot may get rid of the dyshidrotic eczema on your hands. You may never get another flare-up of dyshidrotic eczema unless you develop athlete’s foot again.
While avoiding your hypersensitivity may prevent flare-ups, figuring out what causes your hypersensitivity can be difficult. If you’re hypersensitive to nickel, so many things could cause dyshidrotic eczema to flare. This long list includes jewelry, something that you work with at your job or for a hobby, foods you eat, and dental fillings
Stress or weather can trigger dyshidrotic eczema
Some people find that dyshidrotic eczema flares only at certain times. You may develop dyshidrotic eczema only when you feel stressed out. Many people say the blisters appear when stress hits and continue to appear until their stress lessens.
Stress cannot cause dyshidrotic eczema
If you have dyshidrotic eczema, however, stress may trigger a flare-up.
A change in weather can also trigger a flare-up. In the United States, flare-ups occur more often in areas with warm weather. Some people only get flare-ups during the spring and summer months when the temperature rises.
Others develop blisters when it’s cold or very humid outdoors.
Another seasonal trigger may be the sun’s UVA rays. During the spring and summer months, when UVA rays are strongest, some people find that dyshidrotic eczema flares.
When dyshidrotic eczema flares, treatment can help ease the discomfort and reduce flare-ups. Find out how dermatologists treat dyshidrotic eczema at, Dyshidrotic eczema: Diagnosis and treatment.
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Paula Ludmann, MS
Dara D. Spearman, MD, FAAD
Elaine T. Kaye, MD, FAAD
Emily Chu, MD, PhD, FAAD
Last updated: 11/16/20