Eczema, a broad term encompassing several skin conditions, affects countless individuals around the world, often causing discomfort and frustration. Among its diverse manifestations, one inflammatory skin condition stands out as a particularly challenging variant: dyshidrotic eczema.

In the United States alone, more than 31 million Americans are dealing with the inflammatory skin condition, which affects mostly children and adolescents. Among the various types of eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, is a distinct and often frustrating variant. 

It primarily affects the hands and feet, causing itchy, painful blisters and cracks on the skin. While there is no definitive cure for dyshidrotic eczema, it is possible to manage and prevent flare-ups through various measures, including choosing the right clothing material.

WHAT IS DYSHIDROTIC ECZEMA?

Dyshidrotic eczema, also known as dyshidrosis, acute palmoplantar eczema, vesiculobullous dermatitis, or pompholyx, is a chronic skin condition characterized by the development of small blisters and dry, itchy skin. This condition typically manifests on the fingers, hands, and feet.

Although the exact cause of dyshidrotic eczema remains unknown, it is more prevalent in individuals with other forms of eczema and tends to have a hereditary component, suggesting a genetic predisposition.

WHO ARE AFFECTED?

According to ClevelandClinic, the inflammatory skin condition can affect anyone. It commonly affects people:

  • Between the ages of 20 and 40.
  • Assigned female at birth.
  • With a personal or family history of eczema.
  • With a personal or family history of contact dermatitis.
  • Who develop allergic reactions when they touch an antigen, which is a foreign substance that causes an allergic reaction.
  • Who receive immunoglobulin infusions. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is an injection of antibodies for people with an immune deficiency.

"About 50% of dyshidrotic eczema cases occur in people who have allergic reactions when they touch an antigen. Researchers think that people assigned female at birth may be more likely to develop dyshidrotic eczema because they more frequently interact with certain antigens, like nickel and cobalt in jewelry," it said. 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Although the symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema come and go, they can last for a few weeks at a time. WebMD explains that the small, itchy blisters are the most noticeable sign of dyshidrotic eczema. These usually pop up in clusters. However, people may also experience common symptoms, such as: 

  • Itching or a burning pain before blisters appear 
  • Blisters on the edges of your fingers, toes, palms, and soles of your feet
  • Red, dry, and cracked skin that appears as blisters fade 
  • Increased sweating around the blisters 
  • Nails that thicken and change colors
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Crusting
  • Pus in the blisters

WHAT CAUSES IT? 

The exact cause of dyshidrotic eczema is unknown to medical professionals. It primarily affects people in their 20s to 40s, and women are twice as likely to experience it as men. However, if you suffer from allergies like hay fever, have a family history of dyshidrotic eczema, or have other types of eczema, you are more likely to develop it. 

Here are the common triggers: 

STRESS. Emotional stress can weaken the immune system and make the skin more susceptible to eczema.

ALLERGENS. Exposure to substances such as nickel, cobalt, or chromium salts in your workplace, as well as items like costume jewelry, and even the fragrances commonly found in personal care products, can trigger exacerbations.

WEATHER: Warm, humid environments are conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungi. When these microorganisms proliferate on the skin, they can exacerbate dyshidrotic eczema by causing infections or further irritating the skin.

SWEAT: The combination of humidity and sweat can lead to increased friction between the skin and clothing. This friction can cause physical irritation and chafing, which can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms.

HIV INFECTION: HIV attacks and weakens the immune system, reducing its ability to fight off infections, including those affecting the skin. Eczema can sometimes be exacerbated by infections, so people with HIV may be more susceptible to skin issues, including dyshidrotic eczema.

CERTAIN TREATMENTS FOR WEAK IMMUNE SYSTEM: Immunoglobulin therapy can change how the immune system reacts to triggers, potentially worsening dyshidrotic eczema by increasing skin reactivity.

SEASONAL ALLERGIES: Seasonal allergies, often triggered by pollen and environmental allergens, release histamine, which can irritate the skin, potentially causing eczema flare-ups, including dyshidrotic eczema.

It's important to recognize that approximately half of dyshidrotic eczema patients also experience other forms of eczema, such as contact or atopic dermatitis. Dyshidrotic eczema is non-contagious, meaning it cannot be transmitted through direct contact with someone who has the condition.

WHAT TO DO?

Dyshidrotic eczema can be a painful and frustrating condition, but it is possible to manage and prevent flare-ups by making informed lifestyle choices, including your clothing selection

  1. CHOOSE ORGANIC COTTON CLOTHING: Look for garments made from 100% organic cotton. Read labels and product descriptions carefully to ensure the clothing is certified organic.
  1. OPT FOR LOOSE-FITTING STYLES: Choose loose-fitting organic cotton clothing to minimize friction and irritation on the skin.
  1. AVOID SYNTHETIC BLENDS: Steer clear of clothing that contains synthetic materials, as they can trap moisture and heat, potentially exacerbating eczema symptoms.
  1. REGULARLY LAUNDER CLOTHING: Wash your organic cotton clothing with mild, fragrance-free detergents and avoid fabric softeners that could contain allergenic compounds.
  1. MOISTURIZE REGULARLY: Maintain proper skin hydration by using eczema-friendly moisturizers, especially on your hands and feet.

WHY ORGANIC COTTON CLOTHING? 

Switching to 100% organic cotton clothing offers several advantages for individuals with sensitive skin, particularly those prone to conditions like dyshidrotic eczema. 

CHEMICAL-FREE: 100% organic cotton is hypoallergenic because it is cultivated without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, reducing the risk of chemical residues that could trigger eczema symptoms.

BREATHABLE: It's highly breathable, facilitating air circulation and preventing excessive moisture buildup, which is crucial in reducing the risk of dyshidrotic eczema flare-ups.

COMFORTABLE: 100% organic cotton clothing is exceptionally soft and comfortable to wear, minimizing friction and irritation on the skin, factors of paramount importance for those with eczema-prone skin. The absence of chemical treatments in the cultivation and processing of organic cotton makes it non-irritating, which is an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin conditions.

If you're looking for safer clothing pieces that allow people with skin allergies and sensitivities to live easily without the use of synthetics, check out our allergy-free clothing made with 100% organic cotton here. These garments provide a comfortable and synthetic-free experience, allowing individuals to live with ease while maintaining skin health.

If you want to learn more about dyshidrotic eczema, check out this article from the American Academy of Dermatology Association. You may also want to read: 4 Essential Tips to Avoid Nickel Allergy.

DISCLAIMER: The information presented on Cottonique is not and will never be intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content materials found on this site, including text, treatments, outcomes, charts, graphics, photographs, and study findings, are created and published for general informational purposes only. It should not, in any way, be construed as a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website.

Thus, readers are encouraged to verify any information obtained from this website with other accurate references and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with their physician. As Cottonique strives to help those with allergies live better days, the hypoallergenic apparel brand encourages everyone to always seek the advice of their physician or other qualified health providers with any questions they may have regarding a medical condition.

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