Dyshidrosis is a skin condition in which blisters develop on the soles of your feet and/or the palms of your hands. The blisters are usually itchy and may be filled with fluid. Blisters normally last for about two to four weeks and may be related to seasonal allergies or stress. Once the blisters of dyshidrosis dry, your skin may appear scaly. The blisters typically recur, sometimes before your skin heals completely from the previous blisters.
Dyshidrotic eczema occurs in 5-20% of patients with hand eczema and more commonly develops in warmer climates and during spring and summer months. Dyshidrotic eczema accounted for 1% of initial consultations in a 1-year Swedish study. In a study of 107,206 Swedish individuals, 51 (0.05%) were diagnosed with dyshidrosis. Of all hand dermatitis cases in that population, 3% had dyshidrosis. The male-to-female ratio for dyshidrotic eczema has variably been reported as 1:1 and 1:2. Dyshidrotic eczema affects individuals aged 4-76 years; the mean age is 38 years. The peak incidence of the condition occurs in patients aged 20-40 years.
The cause of dyshidrosis is unknown. However, it can be associated with a similar skin disorder called atopic dermatitis, as well as with allergic conditions, such as hay fever. Eruptions may be seasonal in people with nasal allergies. Skin allergies and sensitivities can be revealed by exposing patches of your skin to various substances. Dyshidrosis is just an itchy inconvenience. For some, however, the pain and itching may limit the use of their hands or feet. Intense scratching can increase the risk of a bacterial infection developing in the affected skin.
Depending on the severity of your signs and symptoms, different treatment options are recommended. High-potency corticosteroid creams and ointments can help speed the disappearance of the blisters. Wrapping the treated area in plastic wrap can improve absorption. Moist compresses also may be applied after the application of a corticosteroid to enhance the absorption of the medication. If other treatments aren't effective, your doctor may recommend a special kind of light therapy that combines exposure to ultraviolet light with drugs that help make your skin more receptive to the effects of this type of light called Phototherapy. Immune-suppressing ointments such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel) may be helpful for people who want to limit their exposure to steroids. Some doctors may consider recommending botulinum toxin injections to treat severe cases of dyshidrosis.