Dyshidrosis: what is it? What are the causes and treatments?

Have you heard of dyshidrosis? It is a skin rash that suddenly appears on the hands and feet. It is also called dyshidrotic eczema . However, it is considered a rare skin disease resulting from an allergic reaction or that arises because of emotional factors.

In this article, we will explain what are the causes and treatments indicated for those who have this condition.

What is?

Dyshidrosis is a condition in which numerous vesicles appear, that is, small blisters on the skin that resemble sago grains. And it happens due to the infiltration of sweat between the skin cells. They can still group together to form even larger bubbles.

Usually, within one to three weeks the problem is under control, but it can become a chronic disease. It is more frequent in people aged between 20 and 40 years of age and affects both men and women in the same proportion.

The problem is more frequent in the summer, as it is associated with hyperhidrosis, which is the excessive production of sweat. Therefore, dyshidrosis can get worse in warmer months.

What is the cause of dyshidrosis?

The causes are diverse and are not fully understood. It may occur due to external or contact factors and also emotional issues (internal factors).

Therefore, it is common for dyshidrosis to occur because of contact dermatitis , ingested or inhaled allergens, infections caused by fungi and due to the use of some medications, in addition to the consumption of some foods.

Dyshidrosis is also related to emotional problems. Therefore, it is common to appear when the person is experiencing moments of great stress and / or anxiety .

It is known that those who work in places where the hands and feet are often wet or in the water are more likely to develop the health problem.

The disease can also be chronic, that is, the symptoms may disappear for a while after treatment, but sometimes return during life.

It is worth mentioning that dyshidrosis is not contagious. Therefore, there is no risk of transmission from one person to another, even when the skin comes into direct contact.

Risk factors for dyshidrosis include:


Dyshidrosis appears to be more common during periods of emotional or physical stress.

Exposure to certain metals

This includes cobalt and nickel, usually in an industrial setting.

Sensitive skin

People who have a rash after contact with certain irritants are more likely to have dyshidrosis.

Atopic dermatitis

Some people with atopic dermatitis can develop dyshidrotic eczema.

Symptoms: What Dyshidrosis Causes

It is very important to be aware of the signs and symptoms to identify dyshidrosis. See the main ones below.

Blisters are the main symptom of dyshidrosis.


The main symptom is the appearance of small blisters on the hands and feet. They are usually on the palms of the hands and on the sides of the fingers and on the soles of the feet. It is more frequent in the hands than in the feet. They do not appear in other regions of the body.


Itching is common in the affected regions. They can make discomfort worse, and in some cases, these blisters need to be punctured to relieve this symptom.


The blisters can have a colorless liquid and are quite painful, especially when they are infected with bacteria.

Skin peeling

Another symptom that can appear is the peeling of the skin and also an increase in the thickness of the skin and fissures in the region of the palms or soles of the feet.

Can the dyshidrosis bubble burst?

It is not recommended that the bubbles are burst at home. The skin that lines the blister is thin and with friction it can break, causing burning.

But bursting it intentionally with nails or needles, for example, is not an appropriate attitude to avoid complications such as pain or swelling. The ideal is to seek medical help, if they are bothering you a lot.

How is the diagnosis made?

The diagnosis is made through the analysis of symptoms. The doctor assesses the blisters and concludes whether or not it is dyshidrosis.

There are no specific tests to identify dyshidrosis. In some cases, the specialist may order mycological laboratory tests to assess whether there are fungi.

Treatment: how to cure?

After the diagnosis, the dermatologist will determine what the best treatment for dyshidrosis will be. Generally, creams or ointments with corticosteroids are indicated. This helps to decrease injuries.

Frequent compresses may also be indicated to improve the condition. And when the cases are more severe, the use of oral corticosteroids is indicated.

If the skin becomes infected, antibiotics or other medications to treat the infection will also be prescribed .

Exposure of the skin to ultraviolet light may also be indicated to improve symptoms. This is called phototherapy and the technique can be performed in a doctor’s office or in a hospital.

This treatment is used when creams and ointments do not show satisfactory results. Therefore, ultraviolet light is applied to strengthen the skin. That way, she is less irritated and the risk of dyshidrosis is reduced.

There is also the option of giving injections of botulinum toxin, popularly known as botox , in the affected regions to decrease the functioning of the sweat glands. In this way, it reduces excessive sweating on the hands and feet, which causes dyshidrosis.

Ointments for dyshidrosis

There are several ointments and creams that can be prescribed for those who have dyshidrosis. Among these drugs we can mention:


They are strong anti-inflammatory drugs widely used to treat chronic diseases and allergic reactions or skin diseases. These types of creams are applied to the affected skin and help to reduce inflammation of the skin and dry out the blisters.


These are drugs that act on the cells of the immune system. It is used in cases of dyshidrosis that do not have a good response or are intolerant to conventional treatments.

Home treatment

There are some home treatment options to treat dyshidrosis. Among them, we can highlight marigold compresses. This plant has healing properties and helps to soothe the skin.

Another form of natural treatment is to use apple cider vinegar with a damp cotton pad and apply it directly to the affected skin.

Dipping your hands and feet in cold water or applying cold compresses two to four times a day can reduce the discomfort associated with itchy skin.

A good moisturizer can also help with dry skin and therefore reduce itching.

However, it is worth mentioning that these methods have no scientific proof. Therefore, the ideal is to seek medical help to treat dyshidrosis.

How long does it take to cure dyshidrosis?

It depends. Generally, mild cases of dyshidrosis resolve within up to three weeks. Some people may have chronic dyshidrosis and thus take longer to control the problem.

In some cases, there is no complete cure for dyshidrosis. The person may experience rare crises throughout his or her life. However, it is possible to recover from mild dyshidrosis without medical treatment.