Eczema types: Dyshidrotic eczema signs and symptoms
You can only get this type of eczema on your hands, feet, or both. Most people develop it only on their hands.
Whether it appears on your hands, feet, or both, dyshidrotic eczema can cause these signs and symptoms.
Itching, burning sensation, prickly feeling, or pain
Before you see anything on your skin, you may have intense itching, burning, or pain on the skin where blisters will appear. Some people say their skin feels prickly.
Tiny, itchy, fluid-filled blisters
The tiny blisters develop in one or more of these areas — palms, the sides of your fingers, or feet. Where you have blisters, your skin may feel intensely itchy or painful.
Some people develop groups of blisters that grow together, forming larger blisters.
Sweat where you have blisters
For some people, the skin with blisters tends to be wet with sweat.
Dry, scaly skin
The blisters clear in about 3 to 4 weeks. As the blisters clear, you’ll see peeling skin where you had blisters, and the skin will feel dry.
People who have a darker skin tone may develop lingering dark spots where they had blisters.
Scratching the intensely itchy blisters can lead to a skin infection. This may happen when scratching opens up the blisters and germs get inside. Signs of a skin infection include swelling, redness, and yellow crusting where you have blisters.
If you have signs of an infection, get medical care. Some people develop a potentially serious infection called cellulitis, which develops deep in the skin.
Dyshidrotic eczema tends to come and go
How often someone gets dyshidrotic eczema varies. Some people have a single flare-up and never develop it again.
It’s more common to have flare-ups that come and go. New blisters can appear once a month, once a year, or somewhere in between.
Skin (and nail) changes can develop over time
Whether you get new blisters monthly, yearly, or somewhere in between, repeated flare-ups can cause changes to your skin and nails.
These changes include:
Dry, thick skin that itches all the time
When this happens, the skin can become inflamed, as shown here. Sometimes, the skin between your fingers or toes develops a soft, spongy texture.
The skin may feel scaly and have deep, painful cracks.
People who have long-standing dyshidrotic eczema can develop the nail changes shown here. The nails can develop pits and ridges, grow thick, and show discoloration.
Dyshidrotic eczema can affect your quality of life
When you have blisters on your feet, wearing shoes can feel painful. Some people who get blisters on their feet say it’s too painful to walk until the blisters clear.
Flare-ups that lead to blisters on the hands can cause other problems. During flare-ups, the pain can limit what you can do with your hands. An auto mechanic or florist may be unable to perform certain jobs.
Some people are more likely than others to develop dyshidrotic eczema. To find out if you have an increased risk, go to, Dyshidrotic eczema: Causes.
Getty Images: 1,5
Images used with permission of DermNet NZ: 2,3,4,6,7, 8
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Paula Ludmann, MS
Dara D. Spearman, MD, FAAD
Elaine T. Kaye, MD, FAAD
Emily Chu, MD, PhD, FAAD
Last updated: 11/12/20