Small blisters on hands and feet is a chronic kind of eczema called Dyshidrotic Eczema. The other terms used for small blisters are Dyshidrotic Dermatitis or Pompholyx. The meaning of dyshidrotic is 'bad sweating'. Although people with no history of excessive sweating may also have outbreaks of these blisters. These blisters can be caused due to allergy, seasonal changes, etc.
Characteristics of Dyshidrotic Dermatitis
The most prominent characteristic, of this skin condition, is pink or red colored blisters on feet and hands, which hurt usually in the mornings. The starting point of this condition are the sides of the fingers, where small itching bumps make an appearance and later develop into a rash.
The blisters have fluid inside, due to which crust formation may be observed and eventually the skin cracks. The blisters are known to be very itchy. As they heal, they leave behind a brown dot like scar. The skin tends to become inflamed and dry on the areas, where the blisters have made an appearance.
The other important characteristic of this eczema is that it is not contagious. These small blisters on hands are chronic in nature. Like other forms of dermatitis, it is also hereditary. When they come in contact with soaps or other irritants like solvent type chemicals, the condition often flares up. Water is another irritant, which can cause the condition to aggravate, therefore, people who are in contact with water for an extended period are known to suffer from it. This condition is commonly observed in women.
Although previously the cause of this dermatitis was said to be sweat, the vesicular lesions are not associated with sweat. However, excessive sweating can aggravate the skin condition. Fungal infection can trigger off small blisters on feet and hands. In some cases, prolonged exposure to the sun is said to be the root cause of this eczema.
Exposure to over chlorinated water in swimming pools can cause this eczema. Some people can be allergic to certain fragrances and contact with these fragrances can trigger an allergy. Along with fragrances, there are certain chemicals, which are also known to trigger the condition. Contact with fresh juices or meat is also said to trigger these blisters.
Often, the consumption of certain category of foods, like food with high nickel content, for example cocoa, whole grains, etc., is said to cause these blisters. In some cases, it may also be caused due to contact with metals like nickel and cobalt. Caffeine present in coffee could also lead to triggering of allergies in the form of these blisters. Alcohol consumption can cause severe fissures and cracking of the skin, as alcohol dehydrates the entire system.
Keeping the skin damp can start an outbreak of this condition. Hence people who suffer from this disorder should avoid wearing latex or vinyl gloves. They should wear natural fabrics like cotton and silk, which allow the skin to breathe well. Synthetics and nylons can irritate the skin, and worsen the condition. They should try to keep their hands dry as far as possible.
Last but not the least, emotional stress could also cause this skin disorder. The outbreak of this condition, can be a defense mechanism of the body against the stress. As a matter of fact, stress is said to aggravate the condition. Hence, it is important, that one takes this factor into consideration as well, when one is trying to assess the condition.
The most common symptom of this dermatitis is very small blisters on tips and sides of fingers and toes and on the palms and soles. These blisters are opaque and do not break easily. At times, they can be slightly elevated from the skin. After a few days many small blisters go on to make large blisters. These blisters can cause pain, burning sensation and itching.
The symptoms progress from bad to worse after the hands or the feet come in contact with soap or any other irritant. If scratching causes these blisters to break, the fluid inside the blister is released causing the skin to crack. The cracking can be painful and can take a very long time to heal. In certain cases, it is seen that the cracks may be infected and pus formation may be observed. The appearance of the nails of fingers and toes changes. Ridges may develop around the nail and there may be swelling around its base.
» Potassium permanganate soaks dry out the vesicles. However, only diluted soaks are to be used, as undiluted soaks can be painful. Salt water soaks and white vinegar soaks are said to be beneficial for this skin condition. Avoid consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Burrow's solution made using aluminum acetate can also be used to treat the condition.
» Moisturizers, steroid creams, antibiotics and antifungal creams, etc., are also used in the treatment of this condition. The other treatments, which are often used for the condition include ultraviolet light therapy, conducting a test to find out the allergens responsible for the outbreak of this condition, etc. The dermatologist will be better placed to assess and recommend the right treatment for the specific case.
» If the condition persists for an extended period, a specialist should be consulted and one should not try to self treat the condition. It is important that the person finds out the possible reasons which could have caused the breakout, as that would help to treat the condition in a better way.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.