What Is Dyshidrosis?

Dyshidrosis, which is also known as ‘acute vesiculobullous hand eczema’, is a skin condition causing small blisters on either the hands or feet. This can be acute, chronic or recurrent and particularly affects the fingers, palms and soles of the feet.


Dyshidrosis is characterized by the sudden onset of pruritic, clear vesicles. This can develop into scaling, lichenification and fissures. It often reoccurs and for some people it’s chronic. Blisters can also create fluid (serum) which accumulates around the irritated skin cells. Scratching will break the blisters, releasing even more fluid and cracking the skin.

In many cases, dyshidrosis causes itching or pain which worsens on contact with water or soap. In some cases however there will be no discomfort. In other circumstances the nails can become pitted as well.


The causes of dyshidrosis are not known, but there are a number of risk factors and things that can trigger or exacerbate the condition. These include allergies (particularly to nickel, which is found in various foods and vitamins), and possibly exposure to dust mites according to one study (1).


While there are few treatments specifically targeting dyshidrosis, many of the same treatments used for treating eczema can be helpful in addressing the condition. These include topical steroids (though these can be dangerous over long times as they thin the skin), potassium permanganate solutions, dapsone (an antibacterial sulphonamide used for chronic cases), antihistamines and alitretinoin.

If you suspect that a nickel allergy or dust mites are contributing to the problem, then you should take steps to address this. Some will also find changing humidity can trigger outbreaks, which can be mitigated by using a Vaseline as a sealant.

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