Dyshidrotic Eczema: Natural remedies and management for your dishpan hands

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I have forgotten what it feels like to have healthy hands like these.

Like most fellow sufferers, I have spent A LOT of money, thought and time searching for that “miracle cure.” A cure that I’m afraid just doesn’t seem to exist. Using conversations, interactions and correspondences with others who have eczema as a reference, it seems that there is no universal cure.  There is no miracle cream… even a prescription one.  I have found topical solutions that help, but they are not a cure.
Having eczema makes you question many, many things. If you’re on a real mission to heal then you have most likely paid much closer attention to what goes into your body and what goes on your body. You probably have quite the collection of health and beauty products. You’ve become an expert in bandaging. You know which lotions make your skin crawl and then explode. You become paranoid about most things that you come into contact with.

“Am I allergic to…. WATER?”  “What’s in this lotion?”  “Are the baby wipes eating my fingers?”

You’ll even look at the public restroom bathroom’s soap dispenser differently…
Maybe it is your dog. Maybe it is dust mites. Maybe you should lay off the chocolate. Maybe you should visit an allergist and get tested. Maybe the dermatologist won’t lump you into the masses of others who suffer the same ailment (Eczema)…but in a different way?
I’m having another outbreak. I have worn cotton gloves all day. Just looking at my fingers makes me somewhat angry…but that emotion, of course, makes them worse. After pouring over a year of thought into the cause of what makes my knuckles, my fingertips get this way, I am convinced that no topical solution (alone) will heal them. No prescription medication will make this condition go away forever. No lotion, soap or mass produced miracle cream, gel, spray or ointment will give me relief, because my hands are so sensitive. There’s something about the chemicals in those “health” and beauty products that makes my fingers puff up like kielbasa sausages in a cast iron skillet. They feel like they’re on fire, too…those fingers. Fingers that ooze out some seemingly endless supply of itchy tonic. Ooozey clear (water??) that weeps from your pores…pores that have busted open to allow the itch to escape.
How can I describe to you what this feels like (unless you are a fellow sufferer, of course)? Let me give you a scenario:

Just as embarrassing as acne to a teenager, you now feel like a Biblical Leper. You’re ashamed to go to the grocery store because you don’t want the cashier to gawk at your hands while you delicately fumble for your debit card in your wallet… hoping that you don’t make a mistake and bump those sausages into the side of your purse—causing excruciating pain. You’re hoping your fingers don’t start bleeding onto the steering wheel on the drive home. You’re hoping you can manage to get the key into the doorknob of your home without dropping it. You’re going slow, because your skin will split open if you use too much force. You sigh once inside, thankful that you can now return to your room to slime your hands up again…if you can get your pants down to use the bathroom first.

This above description is not one that I have imagined. Simple things are a struggle. You are forced to slow down and be delicate…mindful…patient.

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In this image you can see where the top layer of my skin has flaked off. There is a pocket where the itchy oozy blister once was. That’s how deep they can get… and this is a minor incident.

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The most massive liquid filled blister I have ever had. It took weeks for it to heal.

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The ooze. The wound. The pain.

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Ooze that keeps on comin’

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If you scratch, it will erupt.

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The liquid filled blisters, just below the surface of the skin. The first stage.

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All of the fingertips on my right hand are currently affected.

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No matter how much you want to, it is NEVER a good idea to scratch OR to PICK off the flakes of skin. Use nail clippers to trim back any loose, dried skin flakes instead of pulling and picking them off.

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Here’s what is left of my pinky fingernail. Sad little guy…

 

As a non-sufferer, you might look at my hands at times and think, “Woah girl. Get yourself some lotion, ASAP!” I probably would if I were you. I might also think (if I were you) “Ewwwww. What is wrong with her fingers? I think she must not be taking very good care of herself.”
Better yet, if you saw my fingers today or most recently, you’d probably think that I never washed my hands or that I was just out digging in some dirt because they are scabbed up in the colors of the Earth. My medicine gets under my fingernails and is always turns a pleasant shade of brown once dried.
It seems, through my reading and interactions, that other sufferers seem to have it all figured out for themselves. The most common solution, they write, is either a gluten free or dairy free diet. Celiac Disease keeps popping up as an answer too.  I tried the dairy free diet myself after being told by my allergist that I’m allergic to cow’s milk. Heck, I even stayed away from ALL of the foods that came back positive as an allergen. It did not work. Was it a placebo affect? How do I know?
As I was showering tonight, it dawned on me how much having eczema, specifically Dyshidrotic Eczema has changed me. I kind of giggled at the thought that eczema has made me a “dirty hippie.” That thought, of course, arose from my fears of judgement from others. People probably do see me that way. I don’t conform well. I don’t use shampoo. I don’t dye my hair.  It is grey.  I am 33 years old.  Sadly that’s enough to put an American woman like me out on the far reaching branches of what is socially acceptable.
Then I realized that most of the things I do that could generalize me as a “hippie” began because of the eczema! I don’t use shampoo because I became paranoid about the chemicals that I couldn’t pronounce that were in MOST commercially produced bottles of hair cleanser. I use “all natural” toothpaste and deodorant.  I learned about medicinal herbs.  I began making my own bread and eating more whole foods.  My consciousness shifted.
The first in my collection of dermatologists confirmed that I tested positive for an allergy to Quaternium-10 and Caine (Betaine) which are found in many shampoos, soaps and lotions. I remember, when I was first aware of these allergies, standing in the grocery store reading the ingredients of shampoo after shampoo… they ALL had these chemicals as an ingredient. What was I to do? Well… you can see what happened.  I went “pooless.”  I now do not use shampoo at all.  I use water.  (Apparently there is a “No poo” movement going on:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_poo)
All of this thinking led me to feel the need to write to YOU, my fellow sufferer. What have you found works in your life to manage your eczema? What daily habits and methods have you adapted because of it? I’d like to share a few of mine with you. I truly do hope that they will also help you.  Please comment with your successes and failures.  My hope here is that we can help each other!

So… here are a few things that I do to manage “The Beast”:

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“Showers HURT!!!”

LIMITED, SHORT SHOWERS

Alas, the dreaded shower!!!!  SCARY WATER!!!!! What to do, what to do??? Well… I was recently asked this question by a writer in the UK who interviewed me about my eczema. After sharing my story with her, she asked “How do you manage a shower when your hands are in the middle of an outbreak?” My answer was: ” First, I limit the number of showers I take!” Do you really need to bathe every day? Maybe you do. Maybe you’re an artist covered in paint (oh…the thought of paint on my fingers makes me squirm!). Maybe you work a job that causes you to sweat profusely. Maybe you are constantly in the public eye, working a job that requires you to be presentable at all times…In my case, I’m a stay at home Mom with dishpan hands. I do not shower every day. I’m a pretty natural person (Earth Mama) so this does not really bother me. Our boys don’t seem to mind either.
When I DO shower (lol!) I have a few methods to my madness. If I am in the middle of one of my cotton gloved routines (Wearing gloves inside and outside to keep medicine/moisture on my fingers and potential nasties out of my open wounds), I will wear my gloves in the shower. It works out pretty well, because I’m in there washing off the gloves from the day’s journey first (of course) and because it allows me to pretend that the gloves are a second skin of sorts… a protective layer. Wearing the gloves in the shower allows me to imagine that my hands are flawless and that I don’t need to worry about how the water will feel when it hits my wounded skin.
Another method I have found works well for me, when I do not wear my gloves in the shower, is to put on my coconut oil gloves. Before the shower, I drench…I mean DRENCH my hands in coconut oil. This wondrous creation (I. LOVE. COCONUT OIL!) acts as a sort of water repellant… allowing the water that my hands come into contact with to bead up and roll off. Many of you who are fellow sufferers will understand why water on your wounds can be so scary. First of all, it can actually HURT. Then, there is the crappy after affect that can happen if you don’t immediately moisturize after you get out of the shower: AKA- Your skin instantly dries out as the water evaporates.
I have also found that taking a comb with a pointy end into the shower helps to scrape my scalp and move my hair around, when my fingers can’t do it.  (Note:  my no poo hair loves the coconut oil, and so far we have no problems with our shower drains or plumbing because of it)

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PLANTAIN

Oh sweet, sweet plantain.  A few months back I took a class on tinctures, salves and herbs. It was through this class that I discovered the wonders of a plant that is probably growing in your back yard RIGHT NOW! And they call it a weed!
Here’s an article I recently came across about Plantain:
http://www.lifeadvancer.com/this-little-weed-is-one-of-the-most-useful-medicines-on-the-planet
“Because it draws toxins from the body with its astringent nature, plantain may be crushed (or chewed) and placed as a poultice directly over the site of bee stings, bug bites, acne, slivers, glass splinters, or rashes. Bandage the area and allow the plantain to work its magic for 4-12 hours. Plantain may also be used to create a balm for emergency kits, or an infusion used as a skin or general wash.” The coconut oil I now use is an infusion of plantain and coconut oil.  It is green 🙂
I have used Plantain several ways, and the best way that I have found to utilize it to help heal my eczema is most definitely a SPIT POULTICE. To make the poultice, first I find a young, tender leaf (the older leaves are fibrous, fuzzy and harder to chew). I then wash the leaf and chop it up finely with my teeth like a rabbit. I do not swish it all around my mouth, but instead keep it just behind my front teeth. Then, when I feel like I have enough chewed to cover the area I plan to apply it to, I spit it directly onto the wound.
Because I do not have the luxury of sitting (covered in my own spit) in a chair like a Plantain Princess while it works its plant magic… I have adapted to several ways of covering the poultice to allow it to heal. My favorite way is to use MORE PLANTAIN to wrap my fingers (which is where my eczema exists). I spit my poultice and then take the other half of the leaf that I didn’t chew and wrap it around the poultice and my finger. Then, I pull a Plantain seed head up by the stalk and wrap it around the leaf and my finger, tying it within itself at the end.

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A freshly wrapped Plantain middle finger. The pinky finger has just finished its treatment. Plantain poultice is still sticking to it.

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The plantain poultice and wrap after it was removed from my finger.

 

Note:  the end of the second video is a bit awry because while I was filming, a woman fell asleep at the wheel and ran into a telephone pole on our road.  She came out of it okay.  I was mid-sentence when the wreck happened, so the last sentence of this video should say “Leave it on for about four hours.” 🙂

Plantain is edible. You can put it into salads and make a tea out of the steeped leaves– and more. Don’t fear it!
After about four hours, when you remove the poultice and any bandaging you have created, you will find that the Plantain has turned your red lesions BROWN. This is good news. It is not pretty, of course. It will look as if you have been digging in the Earth. The Plantain, if you have put it onto your fingertips, will most likely have gotten under your fingernails too. So what, really? Do you want to heal? Then live on with dirty looking fingers!
I have found that the brown color that the Plantain turns your eczema patch is proof of healing. Congratulations! You now have SCABS! When the brown scabs fall off (lovely) you will see an improvement in the condition of the skin below. No more ooze. Still some redness and inflammation…but MUCH better! Try it. Seriously. It is much cheaper than a prescription medication, that’s for sure! ; In fact, Nature has gifted it to you for FREE!  There are a few different varieties of Plantain out there. I use Narrowleaf Plantain, because it is growing in our yard.

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Being in Nature always helps me to focus and SLOW DOWN!

SLOW DOWN!

I am convinced (at this time) that the particular cause of my eczema is not a food or an allergen… it is anxiety. Stress. Low self confidence. Since the ends of my fingertips make typing uncomfortable, I often write my thoughts down in a journal. It is random notes, ideas, thoughts, things I want to remember, things I want to think more about…write about. It is chaos and disarray. I often pick it up and flip through to the nearest empty white page. It is a fine example of what I feel represents my mind at times.
I am very confident in what I have spent much time and thought thinking about when it comes to my specific case of Dyshidrotic Eczema. You see… there is no one cure. I am sorry to have to believe that, but I think it is the truth. The “Cure” is different for everyone, because we all have separate minds. What causes your mind chaos? Are you regularly stressed out?
I want to share with you my thoughts about myself and my particular case of DE. I would be delusional to think that these thoughts would resonate with every one of you. I will confidently say that in my case, the CAUSE of DE on my fingers and fingertips is most certainly a physical response to mental distress. Specifically one of anxiety and lack of confidence.

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I am the daughter of a narcissistic mother. I recently read a book entitled, “You’re not Crazy, It’s your Mother.” This book describes my past.  Shortly, this book and my discovery of Narcissistic Personality Disorder helped to change my life. I’ve been on a winding path of self-discovery.
I have learned that it is very common for daughters of narcissistic Mothers to have Narcissistic tendencies. Imposed and programmed into them by their Mothers. This explains so much about me. I am working each day to make sure that the last statement no longer applies.  This discovery, among many other life altering events has caused my anxiety and stress levels to skyrocket.  I am working each day to shed off a new layer…and that is what I see when my fingers start to peel… I’m shedding off an old layer and I will grow stronger. My skin will heal. This will not last forever.

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Note the “Skin” effect.

“Take Care of Yourself.
Heal Yourself.
Set your self F R E E”

“Treat your body and your mind as one.”
“You have to heal your MIND to heal your BODY”

The above quotes are notes to self from my notebook of chaos. I have recently realized that I have to be sure to take care of my body while working so hard to take care of my mind. I can’t take care of JUST my mind. If I do that, my body suffers.

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A view from our garden.

EAT (and grow!) WHOLE FOODS
The food you put into your body is so, SO important. What is your diet like? Do you cook at home? Do you eat out all the time? Are you a processed foods junkie? Surely you have noticed how people are “waking up” to discover all of the toxic crap that is placed into the commercially produced, machine spat food that we have the fantastic luxury of easy access to? I think there’s something to that. So, my family and I have adopted a “whole foods” system of eating.  Whole foods=real foods. Foods that have minimal ingredients are best, of course. Foods that come from our garden, where we know that no GMO’s or pesticides have been sprayed, are our favorites. Foods that do not come processed in boxes or plastic are important for your body. Nature’s gift. Feed yourself wisely.

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Berkey Water Filters RULE!

DRINK MORE (filtered) WATER
This is a message that my body sent me. I received the message after I put it together that I had made a routine out of drinking everything in our house EXCEPT for water. I was regularly waking up, drinking coffee all morning. Beer in the Afternoon. Wine at night. Not much water mixed in there unless I had regimented myself a bit too much stimulant. Great. Thank goodness I caught that one. How could I miss it, though? Isn’t that the question I should be asking myself? I should have been treating my body better.

Then I realized that I should have been treating MYSELF better. I have been holding on to way too much. I’ve been focusing on the bad instead of the good… holding myself down with pessimism and negativity.

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Thanks, Buddha. You are wise!

You’re why you’re suffering.  — A song I really connected with.  (This is a great live band, too!)

I was causing my own personal Hell by allowing my focus to shift into the deep, dark hollows of that depressive state of mind. I have to refocus. I have to be strong. I cannot be afraid. I must give myself confidence. I must let my past worries go, and not dwell on them.

I must not scratch when my pores fill with itching fluid. I must watch the fluid rise, but never burst it. I must not scratch the itch. I must not wring my hands in misery. I must be strong. I must take care of myself.  I must value my own self worth.

Don’t get too angry at your hands.  Try, instead, to send them love and healing.  In my own experience it has helped me to imagine that the ooze pouring out of my hands is the negativity itself escaping my body.  I then imagine that the flaking layers of my skin is actually a shedding process.  I am shedding my old, downtrodden self.  My skin is getting uglier only to become more beautiful– I’m like an ugly duckling 🙂

Find your own inner peace and try your best to focus on something more positive than what you’re going through, fellow sufferers.  I know ALL too well how hard it is to stay upbeat and positive when everyday life has become a struggle for you.  Your hands are what connect you to the world in many ways.  Through touch we connect with others.  It is certainly depressing to feel as if your body has taken that away from you.  Peace and an upbeat perspective have certainly helped me to overcome those feelings of sorrow and disappointment. Find what works best for you, dear sufferer, to relieve those negative emotions, thoughts and feelings.  Your mind plays an important role in your health.  Fellow sufferers, Take care of yourself. Heal yourself. Love yourself. Set your Self free.

 

Healing hands with love & light

Love. Grow. Heal.

Holistic approach mind body and soul

Connect them!

I would be remiss not to mention the EXTREME love and support that my soul mate and husband has provided to me during my multiple outbreaks (and psychological traumas).  When my hands were at their worst, he did the dishes, cooked our meals, fed and clothed our children, did the laundry, did the vacuuming and STILL managed to maintain our garden and farm.  I am so thankful that I was playing pool that night at the bar 😉  You are a magical soul, my love.

I would also like to thank my friends over at The Doomstead Diner forum for their caring support and plethora of resources during my time of self discovery and healing.  One day, I hope, there will be a chance for us to transition our online community into a thriving, real life community.

For more links, articles and resources about natural remedies to everyday ailments, natural living and more, please visit the non-profit organization that I fully support and contribute to:  The SUN Project:  Sustaining Universal Needs.  Furthermore, if you like what you’re reading here at The Butterchurn and want to show your support, a donation to The SUN would be greatly recognized and appreciated.  (We are a newly birthed non profit, so hang in there as we continue to develop our website)

“Like” us, Love us:  https://www.facebook.com/SustainingUniversalNeeds

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37 responses »

  1. As a fellow sufferer, I’ve been following your posts for some time now. I’ve had dyshidrotic eczema since childhood, watching it ebb and flow in times of stress. This most recent batch sprung up toward the tail end of owning a business that, thankfully, I have closed. But the bubbles have hung on forcefully this time. I have it mostly on the palm of my left hand, and it creeps into the bottoms of my fingers…and sometimes crawls around to the top of my hand and bounces onto the other hand. I am writing because I recently had a breakthrough that I wanted to share. Due to some unwanted weight gain, and also perusing the internet for eczema cures, I stumbled onto a regimen by the author Lyn-Genet Recitas called “The Plan”. This is followed for weight loss by some people but for some, an elimination diet to help find causes of health issues. Eczema being one of them. I am on day 12 of the 20 day cleanse and my eczema is subsiding. There are still a few rogue bubbles that pop up here and there..mornings (like you have written) are still funky…when my blood starts circulating, the itching starts, but it’s not nearly as fierce and I feel I am on my way to some peace with my hands. A good dose of benedryl cream helps the itching calm a bit and I am not driven to pull my skin off like I was with scratching. I haven’t found that particular food that causes it to kick back into to itch town…but the whole “non inflammatory foods” intake is definitely helping my system settle. Ok – try this out just for kicks. The Plan. Lyn-Genet Recitas. It’s a little tough with kids since you have to do a lot of pre-preparing …and planning. But it’s worth it. To wake up day after day with less itch is certainly a gift. Oh – I am also a meditator – Go Buddha!! Best of luck!

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  2. Thank you so much for your bravery in writing this and posting the horror of it all, including photos. For me I have stumbled across your site and it is just perfect timing for me as I am going through both a huge and continuos flare up that seems resistant to more and more cortisone and have finally gone no contact with my nm. I have plain old dry type eczema yet that weeping liquid is the same, the cracks the bleeding and the disability of not being able to use and move my fingers. And the constant background pain. For me it is like an internal burn that has to be scratched, has to be “released”. Others just can’t relate to it like you said the pain of water the fear of showering of reacting to anything and everything. Anyway thank you fellow glove wearer. I look forward to reading more

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    • I am glad that you found the blog and were able to relate to it as well. It seems that we have more than just a Narcissistic Mother and Dishpan hands in common… is someone in your family on the autistic spectrum? My husband has Aspergers. I have found (and recently put it together) that if I don’t “brush up” on my knowledge about Aspergers that I start questioning him and taking his lack of empathy personally, etc. I have to constantly stay aware, as a Neurotypical, of my self confidence. Mix in the magnificently disastrous brew of a Mother who has always viewed me as a burden and my hands weep for me.

      I think there is something to that…

      Physical response. Mental distress.

      I’m currently reading a book entitled, “Self-Healing with Reiki” (Author: Penelope Quest) to see if I can begin to do some self healing. The emotional healing is always something I’m working on as well.

      Sending healing vibes your way!

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  3. Hi Wendy – To add to my above response here – I am now through the elimination diet noted above (“The Plan”) and my bubbles came back. Boo. But – new discovery 2 weeks ago. I recently found out through an integrative medicine MD (homeopath AND western MD) that I was frightfully low in my Vitamin D and B12 levels. I started a supplement of 4000mgs of VitD daily, and 1000mg of B12, and boom – eczema started subsiding in 2 days. So – it seems all of the buckets of veggies I was eating with “The Plan” diet was giving me loads of these vitamins but it was unsustainable in real life to eat that many veggies. It’s an easy thing to try – I’d be curious if it may help you. It certainly can’t hurt – and you can get them at the grocery store. Women/moms tend to run low on these vites with our hectic sched and getting over stressed taking care of so many people. (husbands, children, parents, girlfriends – you know!) Anyway – If you give it a try, best of luck!

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    • Hi Lesley!
      Thank you for your returning update! This is not the first time that I have read about low vitamin D and B12 levels. I think that I will take a trip back to the doctor to get some MORE testing done 🙂 I suppose that a blood test is needed to determine low levels? Thank you so much for your insight. This one makes a lot of sense…and YES…taking care of so many people..and putting myself last, always could surely be a cause of “vitamin drainage” 🙂

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    • Research I have came across online, combined with my personal experience tells me that we should indeed avoid getting our hands wet as much as possible. When my hands are at their worst and need to be washed, I use Cetaphil Lotion as my “soap and water” and then wipe the lotion off with a soft cloth.

      Hope that helps!

      My hands have not regressed back into the super severe stage that they were in when I wrote my first blog about DE. I fear that it may return that way again, but so far it has taken on many other forms, including erupting on the back side of my hands and in the creases of my elbows. Not fun, but not nearly as bad as mannequin hands.

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  4. I am so thankful to have found this blog.. even as I write this it is painful for me to bend my fingers. I have suffered this type of eczema for about 4 years now and I am noticing more and more just how much it is affecting my everyday life. I am 23 years old and I am embarrassed to go out or talk to anyone new in fear they may look at my hands. Recently I have suffered the worst outbreak I have ever had, I call it my hands “blowing up”, where it went from small patches on my right hand fingers to covering every finger but the middle one on my left hand, 2 fingers on my right, both palms and the back of my hands. Its awful. The cracking, bleeding, flaking, oozing… you’ve nailed the description on the head and I can’t thank you enough for being brave enough to show the world the ugly truth through those pictures. That has become my every day life with mammoth fingers and now it has become worse with receding cuticles. My left hand ring finger nail has become separated due to this…stuff. It is as though the nail stopped growing, detached, and is now literally growing off of my finger. I’m stumped. I just finished a 10 day round of Prednisone and antibiotics to get the swelling and infections down, but no remedy has helped completely, my hands have already blown back up. its terribly painful.I just hope that one day there will be a cure for this awful disease.

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    • I’m glad that the words within this blog have helped you to know that you are NOT alone. I understand how this ailment can affect your self confidence. People have a hard time understanding skin conditions in general, I’m afraid. I’ve written many times that I feel like a leper when my hands are at their worst. I suppose that is an unfair comparison for someone who actually has leprocy, but it is the best comparison that I can imagine when used to compare the reactions of others to my condition (See: biblical leprocy).

      I feel your pain, I truly do.

      Here’s to hoping that some day medical science can find a solution to this ailment. I’ll dance in the streets if a cure comes to light. Every day. Like an embarrassing prom date.

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      • Hi, i got rid of the dyshidrotic ekzema by taking in ghee every day and avoiding proteine or egg white. I had it for 10 years on my right foot. It was horrible. Same as your pictures. I tried everything, spending 1000… euros but nothing helped. it was mostly treated by doctors as fungi but it never was fungi. So i can only recommend take about 1 teaspoon of ghee (spread it on your bread, in porridge or any other way…) and make a pancreas test (stool or blood test) maybe your pancreas doesnt produce enough enzymes too to break down the food especially proteine/eggwhite
        I hope it helps you too.
        I live a better life now ! I hope this can help others.

        The effect of ghee (clarified butter) on serum lipid levels and microsomal lipid peroxidation
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215354/

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  5. HI Wendy – checking in to see if you or any other of these followers have tried some good dosages of Vitamin D. I’m really excited about the results and am hoping someone else might have similar luck. I didn’t go to the doctor for this – you can just get the Vit D at the grocery or drug store. I, along with a bunch of my friends, have been, over the years, recommended to take 3-4000 mgs of this per day to combat stress and low energy. A few years ago I had gone to a homeopath/western md who did some tests and found my system quite low in this, and I guess I forgot about this…and never did it.
    So – this is a very commonly prescribed (not prescription though) remedy for women.

    I’m serious here – I started taking 4 1000u of D3 per day and in 2 days, the exzema (not unlike your pics above) was almost completely gone.

    Ok – Be well! Lesley

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  6. Thank you for writing these articles. My 4 y/o stepson was recently diagnosed with dyshidrotic eczema and Google sent me here on one of my searches. Your writing is giving me a perspective into what he’s feeling beyond “My hand.”

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  7. so so thankful to have found your writing. it is beautiful and i feel inspired to vent about it on pen and paper (although writing hurts too) This is my worst outbreak yet. (knocks on wood) I just returned from my family’s first vacation ever to Hawaii. In a psychology class i read that many people on vacation suffer from migraines/headaches/acne/and in my case worsening dyshidrotic eczema due to stress toxins being released. So it’s a little confusing and impossibly hopeless; break outs when you’re stressed, breakouts when you’re destressing. It helps somewhat to know others who can relate. Life has become difficult with this outbreak. I am a waitress constantly needing to hold hot plates (heat exacerbates my condition severely), hold multiple glasses in one hand, wash my hands often after getting random sauces on them and touching dirty plates, a mother of two (the worst is getting scaley fingers stuck on fiber-covered diapers), needing to wash stuff often to feed my kids while dad’s away, and a student (typing and writing). Now i’m just venting. I have never actually expressed my reality with this monster. Need to get reaquainted with my journal. Thanks again for coming forward with your story and through it helping others find empathy. Hugs and best wishes

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  8. I truly appreciate everyone adding their input here. As a licensed massage therapist this is not a fun condition to suffer through every spring. My hands are washed continually throughout the day and I do not have a choice in this when working. I have managed to tame my outbreaks down by (no kidding) using a jeweler’s loupe to check my hands daily for any signs of a break out starting. I first use my fingers to feel for any bumps, then take out the loupe & inspect. If I see the culprit, which looks like a tiny light brownish -my “freckle color”- bump I know to start in with the routine. I use witch hazel on a cotton pad to stop the itching & help dry the area. I usually hold the pad on for about 10-15 minutes. I only use Grandpa’s pine tar soap to wash my hands & make sure they are completely dry by using a paper towel as a follow up to a regular hand towel when at my studio working where I wash my hands most often during the day. Here is something interesting that I haven’t read about anyone else with DE finding benefits-I try to keep my hands as dry as I can by limiting washing as able, having my (amazing) husband wash dishes, juice my daily fruit, handle wet laundry (and I wash a ton of linens in my work) etc. The witch hazel is one of the things I use that helps keep the skin dry as it contains alcohol. If I use any type of moisturizer, cream, etc over night my hands will be 10x worse the next morning. I no longer use any type of essential oils in my work and I use organic, food grade coconut oil or grape seed oil or no lotion on clients. The coconut oil feels nice when my hands are itchy, and it also feels like it protects them while I am working. But again, I have tried to leave it on overnight & then things get progressively worse. The cortisone based cream did not work well for me, and though oral Prednisone has worked, as soon as I am no longer taking it the symptoms reappear & I agree the side effects are NOT worth the cure, at least for myself-make your own choices based on your health, education & experience.

    I am just curious if anyone else has had luck with not using moisturizer at night? I honestly feel like it is ‘trapping’ the fluid in the skin & allowing more blisters to form-this is just from my own experience, while trying numerous ways to battle this condition. At one time I tried using special bandages made for blister healing that covered the open areas on my fingers/hands, stayed on during massage & were almost invisible, so clients did not need to see my blisters. The bandages could be left on for a day or two. Bad idea. They made the area substantially worse & I needed to take off several days from work to let the healing begin uninterrupted. This again causes me to believe the constant moisture-part of the blister type bandage-cranked up the condition, at least for me.

    I think my DE may be (?) (partially) related to a possible mold or fungus that may grow in my area. I live in the Pacific NW where it is damp most of the year. My DE is always a spring occurrence- like little mushrooms erupting out of my skin.

    I wish the best for everyone & so glad you have all been diagnosed correctly so you know how to proceed. I have read how many people with DE are initially diagnosed & treated for completely unrelated conditions such as scabies, etc by uneducated professionals in the field. Best of luck in your DE journey & finding the right treatment for your body.

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  9. Looking at your pictures I kept thinking…this woman has pictures of my fingers! I get the exact same breakouts of Dyshidrotic Eczema on my finger tips (both hands) and more rarely on my palms by my thumbs. I went through all kind of creams from my doctor and different home remedies and none of them ever made a difference. I finally tried Organic Healing Balm by The Honest Company. I get it at Target (in the baby section) for around $13 for a 3oz tube. It’s a thick cream and I was shocked at how well it worked. I usually had several blisters every week (maybe week after they all healed before a new cycle started again) and now I go weeks without. I went over a month without a breakout before I recently had one (due to stress). It was the worst breakout I’ve had since starting the healing balm and I’d rate it at like a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Before the healing balm all my previous breakouts were at least an 8.

    I just wanted to recommend this ointment. I use it every time I wash my hands, rubbing it all over my fingers and palms. I no longer use lotion or anything other than a gentle soap and the healing balm on my hands. A little goes a long way and it does soak in in just a few minutes (looks very greasy when you put it on). I’ve had friends and even coworkers as what I’m using because they’re amazed at the difference in my hands.

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  10. I have the same problem like you. I noticed my hand sort of cured temporarily after every time I swam in the sea. No kidding. Something about salty waters that help to fix this problem.

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  11. I have the same problem – started shortly after I became a mother. Started from the pinky and spread to my ring finger. “I am shedding my old, downtrodden self. My skin is getting uglier only to become more beautiful– I’m like an ugly duckling” That was really nice – this affliction seems to be like an 11:11 sort of wake up call from the universe. Came here looking for the breastfeeding link to dyshidrotic ezcema because I was convinced it was linked to postpartum / breastfeeding – I’m still feeding and have done so for almost 4 years now. But reading your entries brought me much solace and prompted me to look deeper into the root cause – It’s not breastfeeding or children – but it’s the stress and the uglier part of ourselves manifesting.. and shedding. Thank you for writing about it – I would have felt so alone in this if you didn’t.

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  12. Thanks for writing this blog.

    I too highly identified with it. My DE is mostly on the palm of my right hand. Lately it has been spreading a bit to my finger tips and knuckle areas which makes it more painful. The itch, as you mention, is indescribable.

    I have found some relief (hopefully some healing is on the way as well this outbreak has lasted months) with a Chinese herbal ointment called Ching Wan Hung. A friend enrolled in the Chinese medicine program recommended it to me and it has been helping and is very soothing.

    Just wanted to share that with you and the others as something to look into.

    Thanks again.

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    • Words cannot describe how thankful I am for finding this post. I was desperate to find some kind of hub for others “like me.” I know it’s old, but witnessing so many responses to this day has really helped. I type this now in excruciating pain, as I’m in the middle of a terrible outbreak. It covers my entire left hand, and most of my right as well. I swear I have tried everything under the sun to combat DE. It seemingly started out of no where 2 1/2 years ago, and I found myself in a dark place for quite some time. I even quit my job because I had grown to hate what I was. I still find myself in a depressive and anxious state, as I suffered from these before DE came into my life. That’s the hardest thing to overcome, as my self confidence has dwindled even further. But reading others’ stories truly ignites the passion and determination to keep working at it. I’m about to begin a treatment regime with vitamin D, as well as B12, and really hope this brings some relief with it. Wish me luck.

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  13. I have this condition for the last 6 years. One dr. said sclerosis, other diagnosed dyshidrotic eczema. He gave me one ointment and a moisturizer. But this seems to be a lifetime affair, as the peelings return after i stop using ointments.
    It is so embarrassing. Everyone asking whether it is contagious or not.Seems like i am a Virus.
    Medical Science is still shit. Cure is a myth. Everyone is so confused.
    But it surely stopped temporarily after i swam in the sea water.
    Hope someone someday could cure this.

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  14. I have DE, too, throughout twenty some years of life. I have found that my hands flare up in humidity. When I used to live in southern China, where it was so humid there’d be monsoon-heavy rains, my feet flared up as well as my hands. I don’t believe in that alternative medicine or Chinese medicine bunk, but I also don’t trust Western medical treatments, like the cortisol creams that ended up making my hands worse. But I have noticed that a long soak in hot salt water or hot apple cider vinegar helps to dry up the blisters after popping them. When I pop the vesicles and hand-mop floors with bleach water (with rag), I also find that my blisters dry up. I think this is because the salt water, ACV, and bleach water all have a high concentration of some solute (NaCl, ascetic acid, strong base), and by osmosis the serum in the blisters dry up. After the blisters dry up, the “holes” underneath that first layer of skin, from which the serum comes out and fills the blister, can begin to heal. I think this is why some commenters have noticed a swim in sea water helps. Also, since the holes penetrate nearer to the nerves in your hand, I think when the blisters are engorged with serum, and you try to move your fingers or press your hand against something, you apply pressure against the blisters and therefore on the nerves. I think this is the source for the major discomfort during the flareups, before the blisters start to heal. That’s just my scientific observation of this torturous skin condition.

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  15. I posted quite awhile ago, that I found almost immediate relief with a large daily dose of Vitamin D3. I started with 3000mg (3 x 1000mg pills) a day and within 2 days the DE was virtually gone. I find it pops back up when I am not taking care of myself, ie, not drinking enough water, or maybe too much sugar intake (wine, carbs) but I was shocked at how fast this worked. It certainly might have just been my system that it worked for, so I can’t assume it will work for everyone but give it a try. It’s an easy find and women are very susceptible to being VitD deficient anyway so always a good supplement to take. I had DE for a few years in my early childhood, brought on by stress and anxiety, then again in my twenties, same, and then right after having my twins, then on and off for the next 17 years. I feel your pain, sisters!

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  16. Oops, to add to this comment above, the amounts I had taken back in 2014 was 4000 mgs per day of Vit D3 and 1000mg of B12. Ok, give it a try. XX

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  17. Hi,

    I came across your website because my hands right now are full of bubbles and i’m scared. It all started with eczema flaring up on my forehead and weeks later, i ended up having a secondary skin infection.
    I’m currently taking antibiotics and i was prescribed antibiotic ointment too. I just don’t know why the bubbles keep multiplying. It looks like too that my wrists might be a bit swollen. I just started crying when you said that we shouldn’t feel angry. It’s hard. Everyday i feel angrier and angrier. I just want them to stop. I hope my hands are not infected. I put some antibiotic ointment on them.
    I’m glad i found your website. I’m starting to think that this is like revenge cause i’ve been neglecting my body and soul for a while. Maybe i’ve been too hard on my body and this is its way of letting me know. I’m going to try to be so angry. Thank you for your story, insight and courage.

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  18. After suffering with eczema for 50 years, it suddenly disappeared! I was ELATED!!!! No more itching or dry skin. Then, the Evil Eczema Fairy dealt her cruel blow…. The whole of both my hands covered in blisters, closely followed by the usual aftermath of DE. At least I used to be able to cover up any ‘bad patches’ with long sleeves and trousers, now, I’d have to permanently wear gloves👐 and walk around looking like I’m about to pull a rabbit out of a hat 🎩🐰✋ … I do, wear white cotton gloves when I’m shopping, partly because they protect my skin from any contaminants but also to avoid leaving greasy finger marks on everything I touch. If I get funny looks I just want to burst into song like Queen Elsa “Don’t let it show, conceal, don’t feel….” Lol. For 7 years I’ve been bombarded with the usual suggestions from people who despite being well-meaning don’t think about how ridiculous they sound when they say things like “You shouldn’t scratch, you’ll make it worse.” and “Use E45 or Vaseline, that’ll sort it out…” Erm….well I would never have thought of that!
    Your blog is excellent and I’m sure fellow sufferers can relate to every word you have written. It’s a joy to read and is the only thing about DE that has made me chuckle and put a smile on my face. Thank you.

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  19. hi, Ive had this for 4 years now. I’m 21.

    Only thing i can add is that cold water helps me during a flare, I like to use a pitcher with ice water in it.

    This condition is defiantly related to stress; Does anyone have a medical marijuana card for their condition??

    Never found a medicine that works better than internal steroids. Shitty part is that they destroy your body when used long term.

    Life sucks, living in pain everyday seems almost not worth it, all i want is to have robot arms instead of this curse. Currently it’s covering my hands and arms but it will spread to my face if im not careful.

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    • hey blah blah cut all sugar and wheat out of your diet and go get tested for celiac.
      dermatitis hepetiformis is a side effect of the round up they are spraying on our wheat before milling it! my fb link in attached follow me if you like.

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  20. hello there Sally here! Hey I just discovered that this may not be what you think it is.. I just read that celiac disease can cause this type of eczema. My diet whenever I have any wheat products, I get the worst gas bloating. I then my fingers act up outof the blue.. The two are connected!!!

    please read this!
    http://www.csaceliacs.org/dermatitis_herpetifomis_defined.jsp
    Tuesday I am seeing my general gm to talk about a blood test.

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  21. Update: Ofc I tested negative on the blood test. I was put on antifungals Flucazonate something or other.. It brought it way way down. I was able to put my Gel sculptured nails back on with hardly a reaction.. So maybe its a candida thing thats way way out of control.. there is a correlation between celiac and yeast. When A yeast starts sprouting roots in your system they make microscopic punctures that leads to leaky gut and thus..Celiac! So First step.. get that yeast candida infection Killed once and for all! Cut all wheat or sugary things out that can trigger a yeast response. My doctor hates it when people get on google and try to be their own doctor.. I have had to do that because the Dr’s woulnt listen to me.. So I am working closely with this dr. and Need to make an appointment to follow up while I am on my last week of the prescription. I had 3 big spots on my leg that cleared up within 2 to 3 days because of this medicine.
    Before that I was on antifungals for 4 months for a green nail fungus. Maybe I stopped too soon. That lead to a relapse… Hard alcohol has too much sugar… if you have a couple of shots you might have some itchy fingers the next day, gas and bloating. Just my experience.. Please comment if you have had the same stuff going on.

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  22. The first time I went to a doctor about this, both of my hands, from fingertips to wrist, as well as all of my toes had essentially exploded. The doctor immediately freaked out, stated I had scabies and pretty much made me sit in poison for 8 hours at a time, off an on for months.

    When I finally had a doctor who would sit down and LISTEN to the pattern we discovered that my out breaks were tied to high levels of stress and dramatic changes in the weather. We also discovered that the more time I spent in the sun the less severe my out breaks were AND we were able to tie it in to a nickel intolerance. When I am stressed, I like chocolate, when I am stressed and trying to be healthy, I would turn to munching on nuts, my nickel intake would take a big leap and suddenly my hands would start exploding, which would freak me out because it hurt and I couldn’t explain it, which in turn would stress me out, which in turn made it worse, and so the cycle would continue.

    I still get out breaks, but not nearly as deep as they used to be, they tend to stay very shallow and tend to isolate to just my fingers.

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  23. Has anyone ever tried anti-fungals (oral or topical) for this? I developed an outbreak EXACTLY like dyshidrotic eczema on my palm years ago when I was overseas. The uncomfortable rising bubble under the skin, the blisters that multiply, the agonizing itch, and then as the blisters swell and join together, the top layer of skin peels off and the “pores” ooze clear fluid. Then before it’s even healed you can see even more bubbles rising under the exposed layer of skin.

    I tried everything and thought I had some sort of flesh-eating bacteria, but oral anti-fungals (the kind used for severe ringworm) stopped it within days.

    I’m sorry if antifungals are a 1st step go-to medication for this condition that everyone has already tried, and I know that they don’t cure all cases, but I wasn’t sure how common it was for doctors to prescribe them or even bring them up as a possibility.

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    • Yup my doctor just did it and it made improvements over night! So I am going to stay on the oral 150 mg dose for another 30 days. I also got a cream too.

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    • Not anti-fungal but my doctor has prescribed triamcinolone for when the itching and burning became too much for me to handle. It helps a little bit but it is mostly just lessens the worst of the pain/annoying factor so I am less aware of the blisters, less likely to itch at them, which leaves me with fewer open wounds.

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