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Definition

Hand dermatitis is an eczematous inflammation of the hands that is related to occupation or to routine activities. It often becomes chronic, and in some patients may become severe and disabling. Hand dermatitis varies in severity. It may affect the backs of the hands, the palms or both sites.
Often it starts as a mild intermittent complaint, but it can become increasingly severe and persistent. Hand dermatitis is particularly common in industries involving cleaning, catering, metalwork, hairdressing, healthcare and mechanical work.

Causes

It is caused by a combination of factors which includes constitutional factors, contact with allergy and irritants. Some people are more prone to hand dermatitis than others. They often have a personal or family history of atopic dermatitis, asthma or hay fever. They may have discoid eczema. Some have psoriasis, a common skin complaint best known for causing red scaly patches on elbows, knees and scalp.

Common causes by which hand dermatitis are happen are hand washing, detergents, shampoo, polishesSolvents, citrus fruits, hair lotions, gloves, rings.

Symptoms

The symptoms of hand dermatitis can range from a mild, itchy rash to severe itching, swelling, and blistering. In severe cases, open sores can result in bacterial skin infections.

Treatment

Treatment of all forms of hand and feet dermatitis should be directed at the underlying cause when possible. Topical corticosteroids or antifungals may be tried empirically.  Primary treatment for hand dermatitis is typically uses topical corticosteroids, especially when the offending agent(s) cannot be identified or avoided. However, patients may eventually develop tachyphylaxis to the anti-inflammatory activity of mid-potency or high-potency topical corticosteroids and patients with severe, chronic involvement may often be less likely to respond.

To prevent dermatitis returning regular application of moisturisers and avoiding irritants should be continued. Occasionally, patch testing by a dermatologist may be necessary to determine whether a true allergy to a chemical is occurring. If allergy does occur, then it is important to avoid contact with the chemical.

Use only the prescribed medicines and lubricants. Do not use other lotions, creams, or medications--they may irritate your skin.  Protect your hands for at least four months after your dermatitis has healed. It takes a long time for skin to recover, and unless you're careful the dermatitis will recur.
An alternative to topical corticosteroids, these medications also treat inflammation. Pimecrolimus, one type of topical calcineurin inhibitor, has relieved chronic hand dermatitis in some patients.

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