Common Diseases > Pompholyx
Pompholyx is a common type of eczema affecting the hands and sometimes feet. It
is also known as Contact Dermatitis, Dyshidrosis, Dyshidrotic Eczema or
Dyshidrotic Dermatitis and is a skin condition typically characterized by small
blisters on the hands and/or feet.
It can be an acute, chronic, or recurrent problem that just won't go away and
for the sufferer, in addition to the unsightliness which causes distress in
regards to social and work interactions, the incessant itching and/or burning
sensation can make life miserable and debilitating.
Initially tiny blisters form in the skin of the palms, fingers, instep or toes
which may be mild with a few blisters and a little peeling, or very severe with
many or big blisters and cracks which limit activity and use of the hands.
Causes and Aggravating factors
No one knows the cause and every expert has a different opinion and the greatest
consensus is that allergens, fungal infections, stress or seasonal changes may
cause and aggravate the condition. As in other forms of dermatitis, pompholyx is
aggravated by contact with chemicals, detergents and solvents or eating
shellfish and crustaceans. Certain fabrics
also greatly irritate the condition, including coarse wool, nylon and other synthetic
Relief from itching and burning sensations
- Cold compresses relieve itching and burning - a cold damp cloth, or ice
wrapped in a plastic bag
- Rice water - boil rice in 2x the normal amount of water, strain off the
water, chill and apply to the affected areas and even rubbing with cold cooked
- Washing/bathing affected areas with normal saline solution or sea water
- Over the counter allergy suppressants such as Loratadine, Sudafed or
- Compresses using weak solutions of Condy's crystals (potassium
permanganate), aluminium acetate, or vinegar in water applied for 15 minutes
four times a day to help dry up blisters.
- Materials which breathe well such as cotton or silk limits further
When working in wet areas, cotton gloves under rubber or latex gloves allow
some work and helps with showering.
- Emollients or hand creams can be applied
liberally and frequently to keep the skin soft.
- Plantain (Plantago major) infused in olive or other oil can be soothing.
- Aloe Vera may be applied after cleaning hands
- Essential oils of lavender oil or tee tree can be applied occasionally to
soothe and reduce irritation for those who are not sensitive to the oils.
Apply oil sparingly with a tissue. A patch test on the wrist is recommended
before application to the palms.
- A supportive family environment is most helpful.
- Topical steroids
Can be prescribed for application to the affected areas nightly to help reduce
inflammation and itching. The more potent products should not be used for more
than two weeks unless your doctor advises otherwise. Steroid creams are used
when the skin is blistered or weeping.
Antibiotics such as flucloxacillin should be prescribed by your doctor for
- Light treatment: UVA-1, PUVA, Grenz rays, Low Level Light Therapy using a
Red + NIR (LED) combination
Things to Avoid
- Avoid soaps with Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- Foods high nickel content - cocoa, chocolate, whole grains, & nuts.
- Some people report that fish and poultry makes the condition worse