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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.

Woman scratching itchy palm of hand

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.

Itchy bumps on hand

Sweat where you have blisters

For some people, the skin with blisters tends to be wet with sweat.

Sweaty skin with dyshidrotic eczema

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.

Dyshidrotic eczema on foot

Dark spots

People who have a darker skin tone may develop lingering dark spots where they had blisters.

Man inspecting his palm

Skin infection

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.

Skin infection caused by scratching itchy fingers.

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.

Dyshidrotic eczema on woman’s palms

Nail changes

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.

Thick, discolored nails

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

Amini S, Burdick AE, et al. [chief editor] James WD. “Dyshidrotic eczema (pompholyx).” Medscape. Last updated 4/22/2020. Last accessed 9/30/2020.

Geria AN, Alexis AF. “Atopic dermatitis and other eczemas.” In: Taylor and Kelly’s Dermatology for Skin of Color. (second edition). McGraw Hill, USA, 2016:171.

McGovern TW. “Dermatitis (Eczema).” In: Fitzpatrick JE, et al. Dermatology Secrets. Hanley & Belfus, Inc., USA, 1996:47-48.

Petering H, Christine Breuer C, et al. “Comparison of localized high-dose UVA1 irradiation versus topical cream psoralen-UVA for treatment of chronic vesicular dyshidrotic eczema.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2003;50:68-72.

Reider N, Fritsch PO. “Other eczematous eruptions.” In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. (fourth edition). Mosby Elsevier, China, 2018: 237-8.

Written by:
Paula Ludmann, MS

Reviewed by:
Dara D. Spearman, MD, FAAD
Elaine T. Kaye, MD, FAAD
Emily Chu, MD, PhD, FAAD

Last updated: 11/12/20