I have been battling bubbles and severely cracked skin on my fingers and palms since 2005. It would get so bad on my left pinkie and my right palm to where certain work was not possible, and I could not bend my pinkie finger without significant pain.
A week ago, I finally saw a dermatologist and was diagnosed with Hand Eczema (pompholyx). My doctor assured me that this is a very common case, one which he treats often. There's no known cause or cure, but there is a treatment. One which he is confident will work for me and one which has been working extremely well in these past several days. Interestingly, he believes that outbreaks are related to high stress levels.
Anyways, I'll go over my treatment and care process just in case it helps anyone here. First, I was prescribed a daily dosage of prednisone tablets for a short period. About two weeks worth, shorter if I improve quicker than that. Second, I was prescribed amcinonide cream which I have been instructed to apply, in small amounts, five to six times daily. Immediately after the amcinonide cream I was instructed to apply a liberal amount of Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream.
Some things which I am supposed to avoid include:
- hot water
- hand washing dishes
- soap (the only soap I'm approved to use is Dove soap due to its moisturizers, but I should keep hand washing to a minimum)
- antibiotic ointments
- topical anesthetics
- rubbing alcohol
- citrus or acidic foods (handle with gloves)
- chemicals (again, use gloves... no brainer)
One of the main points my dermatologist stressed was that I need to keep my skin moisturized, which is the point of the Cetaphil cream. I was a little surprised because I had been avoiding moisturizers thinking I needed to keep my hands dry. So needless to say I've gone through a lot of Cetaphil in the last week, but it's been well worth it.
In keeping with the moisturizing theme, I did away with my Old Spice and Dial manly body wash and scrubber and replaced it with a simple Dove bar. I avoid the use of the scrubber which might aggravate my skin and the extra moisturizing action of the Dove soap helps my skin. Plus it's cheaper than body wash.
If my hands itch I don't scratch them. Instead I use a cold compress, but I haven't had any itching problem since I started my treatment. In fact, my hands have responded very well. When I saw my doctor they were peeling, cracked, and full of probably a thousand bubbles. Now they are no bubbles, they are healing very well, and I'm on my way to trouble free hands. It's great and I'm so glad I finally went to see a dermatologist. I don't have to hide my hands anymore, and this is a treatment that I will be able to keep up for good.
Really, it's somewhat of a lifestyle change. Knowing how to care for your hands and the catalysts you should try your best to avoid. I don't know how well I'd be doing without the medicine, but I'm sure I'd be doing better than I was before.
I hope this post might help some of you, but really I think your best bet is to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist if you haven't yet. Chances are they'll have dealt with it a lot before and will be able to start you off on a treatment very much like mine, which I'm glad to say has been working extremely well.