What is eczema?
It is an inflammatory reaction to several factors, including irritating or allergic substances.
Your hand eczema may be caused by:
- Constitutional factors - inherited sensitive skin.
- Irritation from too much wetwork, detergents, solvents, acids, etc.
- Allergy to a specific substance (e.g. cement, perfume, etc).
- A combination of all of the above factors.
Your doctor will:
Help you uncover any allergy and/or irritant that is causing or aggravating your hand eczema.
Prescribe wet dressing, medicated creams, ointments or tablets to suppress the eczema.
You on your part should:
Assist your doctor by telling him the substances which you come into contact with at home or at work, and in your hobby. You must inform your doctor of the medication or skin care products you have applied. You should also protect yourself from irritants.
When doing housework:
When doing wetwork like washing clothes and dishes, wear impervious (rubber or PVC) gloves. Do not wear the gloves for more than 30 minutes at one time. Do not wet the interior of the gloves.
Avoid handling fruits, vegetables, shellfish and raw meat with bare hands. Use gloves when preparing these foods. Avoid handling dirty diapers with bare hands. Use gloves. Never squeeze floor mops with bare hands. Change the gloves if they are wet inside.
When working with water, solvents, coolants, oils, greases, etc:
Try to protect your hands with gloves when it is safe to do so. Use rubber or plastic gloves. Cotton gloves are not recommended. They soak up the irritants and worsen the problem.
General skin care
Do not use strong, medicated soap or detergent powder to wash your hands. Use gentle soap instead. Do not wash your hands too often. Moisturise your hands regularly and frequently especially after washing them. Never use solvents to clean your hands. Once an allergy is detected, avoid the allergen completely.
DEDICATED TO EXCELLENCE IN DERMATOLOGY
By National Skin Centre (Singapore)
Copyright (C) 1995 - National Skin Centre (Singapore)