Dyshidrotic Eczema

In dyshidrotic eczema, small blisters that can cause severe itching appear on the hands and feet. Also called pompholyx, this chronic skin condition can get better without treatment or it can worse over time.

At the Mount Sinai Health System’s Center for Excellence in Eczema, our highly skilled dermatologists are experienced in diagnosing and treating this common form of eczema.

Causes of Dyshidrotic Eczema

The causes of dyshidrotic eczema are not yet understood, but the condition is more common in women and individuals who also have another type of eczema. It often runs in families. This condition most commonly occurs in adults between ages 20 to 40, who may experience a single flare-up but are more likely to experience worsening and improving symptoms over time.

Dyshidrotic eczema may have many triggers, including stress, nickel (and other metals), and sweaty palms. It is also associated with warm, humid weather and seasonal allergies.

Symptoms of Dyshidrotic Eczema

The location of these rashes on the hands and feet can significantly impact the daily lives of patients who are in discomfort or insecure about social interactions, such as shaking hands.

Dyshidrotic eczema causes a range of symptoms, including the following:

  • Rash on the hands and feet
  • Small, painful blisters
  • Itching or burning
  • Dried skin that peels or cracks, increasing risk of infection
  • Swelling, pain, or pus-filled blisters, if a bacterial skin infection develops

Treatments for Dyshidrotic Eczema

At Mount Sinai, our specialists have extensive experience treating dyshidrotic eczema. The condition can typically be diagnosed through a skin exam and discussion of your medical history.

In addition to identifying and helping you avoid triggers, our dermatologists provide the following treatments for dyshidrotic eczema:

  • Lifestyle practices, including cleanser and moisturizer regimens and stress management         
  • Corticosteroids, applied topically
  • Anti-fungal medication, if fungal growth develops
  • Oral antibiotics, if a bacterial skin infection develops
  • Light therapy, if flares are frequent or severe