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Dyshidrotic eczema: Signs and symptoms

How dyshidrotic eczema begins

This skin disease appears suddenly. For most people, the first sign is deep-seated blisters on their hands. Some people feel an itchy or burning sensation before the blisters appear.

Severe dyshidrotic eczema

As dyshidrotic eczema blisters dry, the skin often starts to peel.

Dyshidrotic eczema blisters

​Signs and symptoms

If you have dyshidrotic eczema (DE), you’ll likely notice: 

  • Small blisters that vary in size on your palms and sides of your fingers (and/or soles)

  • A rash and scaly skin where blisters appear

  • Excessive sweating where you have blisters

  • An itching or burning feeling on blistered skin (and sometimes before the blisters appear)

  • Pain where you have blisters

The blisters usually clear in 2 to 3 weeks — or sooner with treatment. As the blisters clear, the skin is often dry and cracked. It may peel.

If you have frequent DE flares, the skin can start to thicken, feel scaly, and develop deep, painful cracks. 

Signs of infection

An infection can develop where you have DE. A staph infection is most common. Signs of a staph infection include:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Crusting

  • Pus-filled blisters

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). 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.

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