Dyshidrosis – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment


Some skin diseases can be behind itchy and weeping blisters on the side surfaces of the fingers, palms and soles of the feet. One of them is dyshidrosis , an eczema whose causes have not yet been fully understood. However, certain treatments can provide relief by relieving the itching and allowing the symptoms to heal.

What is dyshidrosis?

Dyshidrosis is more or less large blisters on certain skin areas. They often bring reddened skin and are filled with endogenous substances. If the blisters burst, there is a further risk of infection due to the escaping liquid.

Most of those affected complain of severe itching, which tempts them to scratch open the blisters, which can spread the disease. Dyshidrosis occurs in flares and especially in warm months, which is why it was previously thought to be related to the sweat glands . This has now been refuted, but the disease still owes its name to the sweat glands.

If the disease is cured, it usually proceeds through desquamation of the skin . Calluses can develop, especially in the case of an intensively occurring disease .


The causes of dyshidrosis are still not fully understood. What is striking, however, is that it occurs more frequently in people who also suffer from neurodermatitis , psoriasis or allergies . This particularly affects atopics , who even have an allergic reaction to contact with environmentally friendly substances.

The skin disease can also be triggered by medication, contact with heavy metals, especially nickel, chromium and cobalt salts, or massive exposure to the sun. Dyshidrosis could be a result of exposure to excessive skin exposure, such as exposure to alkaline soaps or detergents.

Other suspects are fungal diseases and hereditary predispositions. While the factors listed promote the development of dyshidrosis, the outbreak of the skin disease due to stress is discussed.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Dyshidrosis is primarily noticeable through the typical blisters. These vesicles are usually only a few millimeters in size and occur in groups. Occasionally, as the disease progresses, the vesicles combine to form larger vesicles. The vesicles are located under the epidermis.

They cause severe itching and pain, as well as infection and inflammation. With a slight flare-up, the blisters often dry out without major discomfort. During the healing process, the skin flakes and a callus develops. If not treated properly, this can rupture and become inflamed.

In addition, the cornea is interrupted by cavities that can fill with water, pus or blood, depending on the causative disease and the location of the blisters. If the course is severe, dyshidrosis can cause other symptoms such as bleeding, eczema or even ulcers . The skin in the area where the blisters form is particularly sensitive and tears easily.

If dyshidrosis occurs in connection with an allergy , the typical allergy symptoms usually appear. This can lead to further skin irritations and breathing difficulties , for example . The disease can be clearly diagnosed based on the typical symptoms and treated in a targeted manner.


Dyshidrosis is manifested by the appearance of numerous vesicles. These often measure only a small diameter of about one millimeter. If they are particularly close together in groups, they can combine to form larger bubbles.

The blisters are located under the epidermis , the human skin. A lower register is also possible, but occurs rarely. In addition to severe itching and pain , infections and inflammation can also occur. However, these complications do not have to occur inevitably, with only a mild flare-up of dyshidrosis, it is also possible for the blisters to dry out and the skin to heal without further infection.

During the healing process, the skin dries up, flakes and forms calluses, which can later tear open. The cornea is typically interrupted by round cavities, which flake off particularly severely as the disease progresses.


In the case of dyshidrosis, the patient suffers from limitations in everyday life due to the blisters that have formed on the fingers and feet. These can reduce the quality of life and are often associated with unpleasant itching. However, it is advisable not to scratch the blisters, as this usually only increases the itching and promotes the formation of wounds.

Patients often also suffer from pressure pain in the affected areas, so that many actions and activities are no longer possible. Movement restrictions can also occur if the dyshidrosis develops on the feet. The skin may also begin to flake.

As a rule, treatment is possible, although the underlying disease is always researched in the first place. The symptoms themselves are treated with the help of creams and baths, and there are no further complications. Most of the time, the symptoms go away after about a week.

During the healing, the patient must protect the affected areas and may not wear gloves, for example. After the treatment there are no further difficulties. If the dyshidrosis occurs due to stomach problems, a diet may be necessary. In most cases, however, the course of the disease is positive.

When should you go to the doctor?

Dyshidrosis may be present if skin reddening, itching or blisters are noticed on the skin. Whether the symptoms need medical treatment depends primarily on the course of the underlying disease. The skin changes usually disappear by themselves after a few days or weeks. If this is not the case, a visit to the family doctor or dermatologist is recommended .

Patients who suffer from neurodermatitis, psoriasis or allergies should always see a doctor. This is especially true if there are complications, such as severe itching or infections. If the blisters open, see a doctor immediately. Otherwise, dyshidrosis can provoke severe inflammation.

A medical examination and treatment prevents this and provides information about the causes of the skin disease. Depending on the trigger, the doctor will then refer the patient to the appropriate specialist. If an allergy is the cause, vaccinations and preventive measures are indicated. In addition, the doctor will issue the patient with an allergy pass for medical emergencies.

Treatment & Therapy

Not only the causes of the disease seem to be varied, the treatment options also differ greatly. First, the trigger of the disease should be researched in order to be able to avoid it afterwards.

Otherwise, external applications such as creams or baths should help. These are often zinc shake mixtures, yellow substance preparations, urea or fatty cortisone creams . During the treatment, attention is also paid to the condition of the blisters. Burning blisters and swelling can often be relieved with homeopathic remedies such as Apis mellifica 5 CH, pus-like fluids require the use of Mezereum 4 to 5 CH. It should be used several times a day.

Oral treatment is also possible. This is based on the intake of vitamin D derivatives alitretinoin or cortisone. Neotigason® is also sometimes used, which is actually intended to treat psoriasis, but can also help with dyshidrosis.

When dyshidrosis occurs, care should be taken to avoid frequent hand disinfection . Wearing latex, rubber and PVC gloves is also a disadvantage, as they create a humid climate, which can negatively affect the healing process.

Those affected are recommended to avoid meat and dairy products if possible, or at least to reduce them significantly, which also applies to peppers.

In alternative medicine, acupuncture , homeopathic remedies and intestinal cleansing are offered, which aim to treat deeper processes that only express themselves through dyshidrosis, but see them as a symptom and not as a disease in their own right.

Outlook & Forecast

Dyshidrosis does not heal itself. For this reason, patients are dependent on treatment in any case in order to relieve the symptoms permanently.

If the dyshidrosis is not treated, those affected suffer from a number of different skin complaints, which also worsen as the disease progresses. This leads to itching and the formation of eczema. The skin itself can often be red. Cracks that occur cause wounds, pain and scarring.

Patients often suffer from inferiority complexes or a significantly reduced self-esteem because of the symptoms, because the patients no longer feel beautiful. The healing of the wounds in the disease is also significantly slowed down.

With the help of medication and various creams or ointments, the symptoms of dyshidrosis can be limited relatively well. The further course depends on how well the person concerned cares for their hands and whether there are any injuries to the skin at work. In some cases, the dyshidrosis can also be treated causally. However, dyshidrosis can be completely limited by intensive care and by protecting the skin.


Dyshidrosis has a variety of causes, so it can be difficult to prevent the disease effectively. However, it can help to avoid stressful situations, not to use strong chemical cleaning agents, to limit contact with chrome and nickel and to protect oneself from increased sun exposure. For jobs that require contact with alkaline soaps and chemicals, it would be appropriate to protect hands adequately.

An allergy test can also have a preventive effect. Only allergies that have been identified can be treated or avoided, thereby reducing the risk of contracting dyshidrosis.


In the case of dyshidrosis, follow-up care proves to be relatively difficult in most cases. The person affected is primarily dependent on early detection of this disease so that further complications or symptoms can be avoided. The symptoms of dyshidrosis can only be alleviated through comprehensive treatment, since self-healing cannot occur in the process.

Early diagnosis followed by immediate treatment always has a positive effect on the further course of the disease. In most cases, those affected are dependent on taking medication for this disease. Regular intake should always be observed.

The correct dose must also be observed, and a doctor should always be consulted if you have any questions or are unclear. Furthermore, a relatively high standard of hygiene must be maintained to prevent further infections of the skin. The affected person should disinfect themselves and wash frequently. Whether the dyshidrosis can be treated completely depends very much on the exact underlying disease. As a rule, however, the life expectancy of the patient is not negatively affected by this disease.

You can do that yourself

The causes of dyshidrosis have not yet been conclusively clarified. However, a connection between the disease and certain factors is suspected. These include, for example, atopy (hypersensitivity) and allergies . Those affected should therefore keep a diary in which they record what they did and what they ate.

In this way, it can be determined after some time whether an acute flare-up of the disease is possibly related to certain substances or certain foods. If, for example, blisters always form on the hands after cleaning the windows, it is likely that the person concerned is allergic to a cleaning agent or aid used in this activity.

In addition, a connection with aggressive cleaning agents and excessive personal hygiene is suspected. Those affected should therefore only use mild, ph-neutral washing lotions and shampoos and not take a shower that is too long or too hot.

Contact with metal salts is also held responsible for the disease. Metal salts are found in many everyday products. For example in hair colors, deodorants or textiles. Certified natural cosmetics are mostly free of metal salts because the standards that the product has to meet prohibit their use. Organic-certified textiles are also dyed with eco-dyes that are low in chemicals.

If the trigger cannot be identified, sufferers can only combat the symptoms of dyshidrosis. Antihistamines , which are available in pharmacies without a prescription, help against the often severe itching .

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.