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[3 min read] 5 tips for your patients with hand dermatitis

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The current public health pandemic (COVID-19) has compelled the community to increase and maintain their hygiene practices. Effective and thorough hand washing has been a key part of this strategy, however an unintended consequence of this has been a surge in cases of hand dermatitis.

A common condition, hand dermatitis is a form of eczema that is attributed to both genetics and contact allergens. With intensified washing, the top layer of skin (the stratum corneum) is disrupted, which may cause irritant contact dermatitis.

Patients present with itchy, red skin that may develop blisters, peeling or cracks. The condition can occur at any age, but it is particularly prevalent in those with a history of atopic eczema.

Dermatitis is not contagious, but it can be triggered by irritants such as chemicals and soaps.

Here are some helpful tips to assist patients suffering from hand dermatitis, to help them avoid flare ups:

  1. Avoid using hand sanitiser if possible as these contain alcohol, which dries out the skin. Instead use non-irritating un-fragranced hypoallergenic cleansers with warm water.
  2. Dry hands thoroughly by gently patting, not rubbing vigorously. Try using paper towels wherever possible.
  3. Directly after washing hands, use an emollient moisturiser and continue to apply this regularly during the day.
  4. Be careful to avoid any triggers such as dishwashing detergents or other chemicals. If you must handle these, then use nitrile gloves that provide a physical barrier.
  5. Use an ointment on sore hands overnight. Apply thickly to dry skin and then wear clean cotton gloves as you sleep.

Learn more about this condition, including how to diagnose and treat it here.

Want to learn more about dermatitis? You may be interested in our General Dermatology program.

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