Hand Eczema Treatment - Identifying and Eliminating the Causes

Published: 11th November 2011
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Eczema of the hands is one of the more irritating and stubborn types of eczema, and successful hand eczema treatment is a difficult undertaking. Understanding what "causes" eczema of the hands is a key factor in planning a successful hand eczema treatment regimen and eliminating the causes or allergens is the first step in controlling eczema breakouts.

Hand eczema causes can be grouped into two categories, exogenous and endogenous. Exogenous means "outside" "production" and endogenous means "inside" "production". Therefore, causes can either come from without the body or from within the body.

There are multiple exogenous (outside) causes of eczema on the hands. Contact irritants are a large group within the exogenous category. Contact refers to what the hands come into direct contact with, and irritants are what cause the reaction. Chemical irritants that cause eczema upon contact vary and can range from detergents to soaps to solvents and more. Physical contact irritants can be slight trauma or friction.

Occupational contact irritants are very, very common within this group and often occur in the occupations of beauticians, health care workers, food service workers, residential and commercial cleaners and janitors, metal workers, and a host of other occupations that involve solvents or constant immersion of the hands in water.

An effective hand eczema treatment plan would definitely involve a re-working of one's exposure to contact irritants that are occupational related and may sometimes even involve a change in occupation in severe cases.

Contact allergens are another group within the exogenous category. Hand eczema sufferers experience flare ups when exposed to allergens that they are hypersensitive to. The immune system responds to the exposure which results in eczema. Some common contact allergens are nickel and rubber. Identifying and eliminating exposure to allergens that one is allergic to will greatly help to control eczema symptoms and breakouts.

Eczema of the hands can also be caused by ingested allergens such as foods or drugs. Common food allergens are peanuts, wheat, and shellfish. Strict avoidance to such allergens is recommended as part of an effective treatment plan.

Secondary dissemination is also an exogenous cause of eczema of the hands. Secondary dissemination is a term that means a secondary eruption of eczema which is caused by a fungal infection in another part of the body.

When a hand wound becomes infected, it can cause an eczematous reaction resulting from bacterial proteins that act as an antigen and produce inflammation changes of the skin. Inflammation of the skin is one of the first symptoms of eczema. Treatment of eczema that has become infected requires the use of antibiotics.

Endogenous causes for hand eczema come from "inside" the body.

The first endogenous cause of eczema of the hands is idiopathic. Idiopathic means the eczema arises spontaneously with no apparent cause. Vesicular, hyperkeratotic, and discoid eczema are types of idiopathic hand eczema. Eliminating the cause, allergen, or irritant in this type of eczema will not work as the cause is unknown.

Dyshidrotic means excessive sweating, and excessive sweating of the palms is thought to be the cause of dyshidrotic eczema of the hands. It is grouped with the endogenous category due to the factor or cause of sweating coming from within the body.

Stress, which comes from within, is another endogenous cause of eczema. It is also a factor in hand eczema aggravation and continuity. Stress control plays a crucial part in treating eczema of the hands.

Hand eczema causes are many and identifying your specific allergens or irritants can be a daunting task. Although the task can be overwhelming, it is of the upmost importance to eliminate the cause or causes to have an effective hand eczema treatment plan.

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