Allergy in the hands: causes, symptoms, and treatment

Hand allergy, also known as hand eczema, is a type of allergy that occurs when the hands come into contact with an aggressive agent, causing skin irritation and leading to the appearance of some signs and symptoms such as redness and itching of the hands.

The symptoms of this type of allergy can appear immediately or up to 12 hours after contact with the irritating substance, is mainly triggered by some type of detergent or cleaning products.

Allergy in the hands can be confused with psoriasis, in which dryness and flaking of the skin are noted, or with dehydrates, in which red bubbles have formed that itch intensely. Therefore, it is important that the person consult the dermatologist so that the symptoms presented are evaluated and the most appropriate treatment is indicated.

Hand allergy symptoms

The main symptoms of allergy on the hands are:

  • Itching;
  • Redness;
  • Inflammation;
  • Swelling;
  • Peeling skin from the palm of the hand and between the fingers.

This allergy can be located in one part of the hands, in just one hand, or be the same in both hands at the same time. In less severe cases the hands maybe just a little dry and slightly flaking, but in the most severe cases, these symptoms are more intense. In addition, in some cases, the fingertips and nails can also be affected, and there may be deformations.

What can cause hand allergy

Generally, hand allergies are not caused by just one factor, but a combination of several factors such as genetic predisposition, contact with potentially irritating cleaning products such as soap, detergent, chlorine, paint and solvents.

In this case, the products remove the skin’s natural protection, leading to dehydration and eliminating the lipid layer, which makes the skin of the hands drier and unprotected, facilitating the proliferation of microorganisms, which can aggravate the allergy.

Other situations that can also cause allergies are tattooing with henna, wearing jewelry, such as rings and bracelets, frequent exposure to cold or heat, and frequent skin friction.

The people who are most likely to develop contact dermatitis on the hands are those who work as painters, hairdressers, butchers, healthcare professionals because they have to wash their hands too often, cleaning employees and general services due to frequent contact with cleaning products. However, anyone can have allergies on their hands throughout their lives.

Hand allergy treatment

Treatment for allergy on the hands, should be indicated by the doctor, but in general, it is advised:

  • Always use rubber gloves whenever washing dishes, clothes or using other cleaning products to avoid direct skin contact with these types of products;
  • Avoid washing your hands too often, even if you wash only with water, but if it is extremely necessary, always apply a layer of moisturizer on your hands immediately afterward;
  • In less severe cases, when there is still no inflammation, always use moisturizing creams with urea and soothing oils that reduce local irritation, on days when the skin is more irritated and sensitive;
  • In the most severe cases, where there are signs of inflammation, it may be necessary to apply some allergy ointment on the hands or anti-inflammatory cream with corticosteroids, such as betamethasone, which should be prescribed by the dermatologist;
  • When there are signs of infection in the hands, the doctor may prescribe drugs such as prednisone for 2 to 4 weeks;
  • In cases of chronic allergy, which does not improve with treatment for 4 weeks, other remedies may be indicated, such as azathioprine, methotrexate, cyclosporine or alitretinoin.

Some complications that can occur when the allergy in the hands is not properly treated are bacterial infection by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus, which can form pustules, crusts, and pain.

Types of allergy

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