Dyshidrotic eczema might typically “only” affect feet and hands — sufferers know that the intense itching, along with the distracting feeling of blisters between your fingers and on the sides of your feet, can be downright maddening. Because it is related to atopic dermatitis, treatment for this allergy- and stress-related disorder can be similar. You may need prescription topical and oral medication if the problem, sometimes called dyshidrosis, is severe. But often dyshidrotic eczema home remedies can do the trick, or at least help speed the effectiveness of prescription corticosteroid ointments and antihistamines. 1
Dyshidrotic Eczema Home Remedies
These 6 different home remedies are proven to aid in the treatment of this skin disorder.
Mayo Clinic recommends using witch hazel as one of the top dyshidrotic eczema home remedies when it comes to soothing and healing the problem. 2 For hand or foot treatment, add a few splashes of it to a basin or bowl, and soak your affected skin for at least 15 minutes. (If it’s more convenient, you can also soak a washcloth in undiluted witch hazel before applying it to the problematic skin patches.) 3
It doesn’t get much simpler than a cool compress when it comes to providing immediate relief of intensely itching skin. As often as is helpful, apply damp, cool washcloths to your affected skin. Keep a stack of clean cloths so you can switch to newly rinsed and wrung compresses, and launder the used ones in hot water and mild laundry soap before reusing.
Some household products you might not have considered as exactly medicinal can, in fact, provide just the right amount of moisture-sealing lubrication to heal your skin, while also protecting it from the drying effects of the environment, which exacerbates eczema conditions such as dyshidrosis. The best way to apply a lubricating product for maximum benefit is to skin that is a bit damp, to help retain moisture. After washing your hands or feet, or taking a shower, just lighting tap the area with a clean towel, before putting on the product of your choice. 4
Common petroleum jelly (Vaseline or similar brands.) can do the trick; just make sure to apply it lightly to mitigate the heaviness of the product. For very sensitive skin, consider solid vegetable cooking oil such as Crisco. 5 Coconut oil, which is increasingly available at supermarkets due to its popularity as a culinary product, is also recommended for young or sensitive skin coping with various eczema conditions.6
Teas and supplements derived from plants are age-old treatments for skin conditions, and many geared to dyshidrotic eczema and related conditions are now backed up by scientific research.
Evening primrose oil, which is available in capsule form, contains fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). People with GLA deficiency are believed to be more prone to the allergic responses that can result in types of eczema, including dyshidrotic eczema. 7
Oolong tea is reputed to help suppress the allergic response that causes skin eruptions in those susceptible to it. Drink it about three times a day. Other teas which have been shown to be beneficial for some people include dandelion and red clover tea.
If you grow or gather your own botanicals and regularly add infusions from their leaves or flowers to existing or homemade creams, you may want to make your own herbal preparations. Chamomile, chickweed and calendula are all mild but effective botanicals for these purposes.
Believe it or not, the old-fashioned remedy of tar is still recommended by many dermatologists to help cope with dyshidrotic eczema, psoriasis and other skin outbreaks — at least, when other remedies have failed. Fortunately, you no longer have to make your own tar — it’s available at local drug stores, often without a prescription. It’s crucial, however, to follow label instructions carefully, because different manufacturers’ directives can vary, such as whether to apply it to wet or dry skin, and how many times a day. 8
Either with tar or on its own, sunbathing may be a useful amendment to other home remedies, and/or prescription treatments. Ultraviolet light is a common treatment for various forms of eczema, often through special lamp therapy at a special clinic. But sunbathing can provide many of the same effects. Make sure to mainly expose your hands and/or feet — in other words, the parts that are suffering from dyshidrosis, in order to limit your overall exposure to potentially harmful UV rays from the sun.
Suppressing Future Outbreaks
According to Mayo Clinic, you can help prevent future eruptions of dyshidrotic eczema if you are prone to the condition.
- Lower your own stress levels. Drinking soothing herbal teas and lower your caffeine intake, if that normally helps you. In addition, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, as well as managing your school or work life more efficiently to avoid stressful deadlines.
- Look into the kind of jewelry or equipment you normally wear or handle; nickel and cobalt metals can cause eruptions.
- Don’t use harsh or perfumed products to wash your body or your clothing.
- Wear gloves in cold weather.
- Dyshidrosis, Mayo Clinic ↩
- Dyshidrosis: Self-Management, Mayo Clinic ↩
- Witch Hazel, Drugs.com ↩
- Dyshidrotic eczema, University of Maryland Medical Center ↩
- ECZEMATOUS DERMATITIS, Fred Colley, PhD, MPH – WSCC CLINICS ↩
- Dry skin and eczema help, Columbia University ↩
- Evening Primrose Oil, National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health ↩
- Coal Tar, Mayo Clinic ↩