To diagnosis dyshidrosis, your doctor will likely talk with you about your medical history and look at the affected skin. You might need other tests to rule out conditions that can cause symptoms similar to those of dyshidrosis. For example, a scraping of the skin can be tested for the type of fungus that causes athlete's foot. Or you might have a patch test. With this test, the skin is exposed to a small amount of suspected allergen and watched for a reaction.

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Dyshidrosis treatment might involve:

  • Corticosteroids. Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid cream or ointment to help clear up the blisters. Covering the treated area in plastic wrap or a moist bandage helps the skin absorb the medicine. Long-term use of steroids can cause side effects, such as spider veins and thinning of skin.

    In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe a brief course of oral steroids, such as prednisone, as a bridge to other treatments.

  • Phototherapy. If other treatments aren't effective, your doctor may recommend light therapy. In this treatment, a UV light called narrowband UVB is directed at the affected skin.
  • Immune-suppressing ointments. The calcineurin inhibitor tacrolimus (Protopic) may be helpful for people who want to limit their exposure to steroids. Do not combine this treatment with phototherapy.
  • Controlling sweating. Heavy sweating of the palms and soles may contribute to dyshidrosis. Your doctor might suggest anti-perspirants or injection with botulinum toxin A. This treatment may help reduce sweating and improve the skin.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Home treatment might include:

  • Applying a moist cloth. A wet, cool cloth may help reduce itching.
  • Taking anti-itch drugs. Antihistamine medicine that you can get at a store without a prescription may help relieve itching. Examples are diphenhydramine and loratadine (Alavert, Claritin).

Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your primary care provider. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (dermatologist). Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Before your appointment, list answers to the following questions:

  • Have you experienced this problem in the past?
  • Do you have an allergy, such as to rubber, glue, fragrances or nickel?
  • Have you been under extra stress lately?
  • What medicines and supplements do you take?
  • Are you exposed to certain metals or chemicals at work or during other activities?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, such as:

  • When did you first notice your symptoms?
  • Are your symptoms present all the time or only once in a while?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
June 27, 2023
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  2. Bolognia JL, et al. Other eczematous eruptions. In: Dermatology Essentials. 2nd ed. Elsevier; 2022. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 2, 2023.
  3. Kelly AP, et al., eds. Atopic dermatitis and other eczemas. In: Taylor and Kelly's Dermatology for Skin of Color. 2nd ed. McGraw Hill; 2016. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Feb. 2, 2023.
  4. Lebwohl MG, et al. Hand and foot eczema (endogenous, dyshidrotic eczema, pompholyx). In: Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 6th ed. Elsevier; 2022. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 2, 2023.
  5. Sasseville D. Acute palmoplantar eczema (dyshidrotic eczema). https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 2, 2023.
  6. Eczema types: Dyshidrotic eczema self-care. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/types/dyshidrotic-eczema/self-care. Accessed Feb. 27, 2023.
  7. Sominidi Damodaran S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Feb. 27, 2023.