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horrible, horrible hand eczema

(63 Posts)
blackmonday Thu 18-Nov-10 10:27:30

I had always been proud of my good skin up to around 2 years ago. I started to get itchy palms and over the last couple of years have been plagued by hand eczema. I have been to docs numerous times and tried various creams and steroid creams but nothing seems to help. They itch constantly and even though I try really hard not to i end up scratching. The skin on my hands is now horrible. I also have psoriasis that has developed on my knees and elbows about the same time as the eczema. Does anyone have any idea what i could do to get rid of this or even a reason as to why I am suffering with these problems having never had any skin disorder before? It is really getting me down and even dds don't like to hold my hand anymore cos they don't feel very nice!sad

Fromage Thu 18-Nov-10 10:33:52

Cotton gloves at night? And whenever feasible in the daytime?

After 2 years I'd be tempted to ask for a referral to a dermatologist.

Might you be allergic to something you're now coming into contact with a lot - like nappies, wipes, children?!

blackmonday Thu 18-Nov-10 10:36:31

Hi and thanks for the reply. I can't think of anything new that i'm coming in contact with that could be causing this. I've saw a new doctor last time who prescribed me a stronger steroid (which isn't working!) and who has given me a follow up appointment for next week. i might ask for a referral then. Just wondered if there are any other treatments for this apart from creams?

DinahRod Thu 18-Nov-10 10:40:03

I had eczema as a child which I eventually grew out of but after the birth of each of my dcs I've had terrible eczema on my hands, scaly and really itchy. Think it was caused by over-washing and hormones.

The quickest way to kill the itch for me was to rub my hands under increasingly hot water as long as I could stand it and then plunge them into cold - and then apply a steroid cream.

The more conventional approach might be to use a cream like Calmurid which again helps control the itching with a soothing cream like Eumovate, but it would need a confident doctor to prescribe as the are both steroid creams afair.

DinahRod Thu 18-Nov-10 10:40:47

I also wash my hands with an emollient.

blackmonday Thu 18-Nov-10 10:43:11

Hi DinahRod, it's horrible isn't it? I've got Eumovate but that didn't touch it but i've never heard of Calmurid. I've just been prescribed Betnovate but that doesn't seem to be doing much either. I will try the hot/cold water system as the itch is so intense sometimes I can't help but scratch until it bleeds sad

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 18-Nov-10 10:46:36

are you sure that it is eczema and not palmar-plantar psoriasis? If you think it might be then insist on a derm referral - you can get prescribed uv therapy specifically designed just for hands which can be very very effective.

Mumsnut Thu 18-Nov-10 10:51:46

Do you have a Mirena coil by any chance? This happened to me aged 46, out of the blue and I have always wondered if my Mirena triggered it.

Do get a derm referral - mine prescribed Dermovate, a very powerful steroid, but I find if I hit an outbreak hard and fast it doesn't develop. I am 99% excema free now on my hands, with a little stubborn patch on my behind.

Using an emollient or weaker steroid more intensively did nothing at all to help.

I do sympathise - it made such a horrible difference to my life. Washing hands after nappy changing, bathing dd - all so PAINFUL.

blackmonday Thu 18-Nov-10 10:59:27

i haven't got a clue what palmar-plantar psoriasis is but will google and have a look. It seems strange that it is eczema on hands but i do have psoriasis on knees and elbows that both developed a the same time. Mumsnut, I don't have a Mirena coil and don't take the pill (hubby has been 'done' smile) so it's not that.

ppeatfruit Thu 18-Nov-10 11:08:34

I cured my eczema when i went on the blood type diet; it said tomatoes and oranges are no good for type A's and hey presto I don't get any unless i eat those.

blackmonday Thu 18-Nov-10 11:09:58

ppeatfruit, that sounds very interesting. I was wondering if it was diet related, i will try anything.

jamaisjedors Thu 18-Nov-10 11:16:27

Can you tell us a bit more about that ppeatfruit

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 18-Nov-10 11:19:24

reasonable link about p-p psoriasis

Bumpsadaisie Thu 18-Nov-10 12:12:49

The hot water / cold water thing brings tremendous relief from the scratching, but it is about the worst thing you can do as it is such a trauma for the skin - I notice my hand ecxema is far worse the days I am at home with DD and constantly getting hands wet than the days I am at work.

If Betnovate doesn't work then you could try Elecon, a bit stronger?

You need to put it on about 30 mins before bed, let it soak in and then moisturise on top of it really well.

Keep using it for two weeks solid even after it clears up.

Then during the day keep your hands really well moisturised using eg Cetraben or Aveeno (I find the latter really good). If you go out in the cold, wear gloves.

Use hypoallergenic gloves to wash up, and dont have the water so hot that it makes the rubber get really hot and sweaty (this will drive your hands up the wall even if they are hypoallergenic gloves!)

Bumpsadaisie Thu 18-Nov-10 12:13:59

PS I have just done the York Food Intolerance Test and it came back that I have a strong reaction to lamb and to yeast, so I am now cutting those out. Excema has been much better since I did that and started using the Elecon religiously at night.

Bumpsadaisie Thu 18-Nov-10 12:18:46

PPS the thing is to get the right strength steroid, then use it religiously for a couple of weeks to completely blitz the flare up. I always thought betnovate was strong but my brother in law who is a doctor showed me a list of creams in descending strength and actually there are much stronger creams out there.

What you have got now is a flare up which has got out of control and now you are in the itch-scratch cycle.

Scratching makes it worse - try not to - if you get the itch distract yourself with TV, pinch yourself hard on some other part of your body so your brain is distracted into giving you pain there,
run outside and skip about like an idiot, anything to take your mind and your brain off the itch!

Pogleswood Thu 18-Nov-10 12:30:07

My experience with severe eczema,which is much much better now thank goodness,is that hot will make it worse.Days when I have to keep washing my hands will cause it to flare up straight away.Cold water is good for reducing itching though.

If my hands were very itchy and flaring up now I would run them under cold water till the itching subsided,then put on betnovate and moisturiser(I really like Aveeno too - and IMO E45 and aqueous cream which is what my GP recommends have never vbeen any use for me...)and then put on cotton gloves.It can help to do that at night too,I find any type of friction makes it worse.
It is only now after years of it that I've realised that I need to nip it in the bud much earlier than I used to bother to,and keep going with treatment for longer,if that makes any sense.
Hope you get it sorted soon.

blackmonday Thu 18-Nov-10 13:03:21

thank you for all the fantastic advice. I will try running hands under cold water when itchy. Once i start to scratch i can't feels so good to scratch but i regret it so much afterwards when my hands are weeping and bleeding! i also find my hands get worse when they are warm. I work in a very hot office and use a keyboard all day which makes my hands really bad. I suppose i just need to persist on with the creams and hope for the best. I've been given Diprobase cream to moisturise with, has anyone had any experience with this?

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 18-Nov-10 17:59:12

honestly, you don't need to put up with it. You need a referral to a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis.

SpeedyGonzalez Thu 18-Nov-10 18:07:37

Black Monday, Kitten is right. You MUST see a specialist.

Diprobase is okay but what you need is to moisturise at different levels, to maximise absorption:

1) Wash with emulsif ointment (NOT aqueous cream as this is apparently bad for eczema.)

2) Partially dry your hands, then rub in a light lotion

3) After 10 mins rub in a thicker cream

4) After 10 mins rub in an ointment (or your steroid ointment) into the worst bits. Also make sure you're not under-applying your steroid, as this can be one of the reasons why it's not working. A fingertip full (up to the first 'line' on your finger) is what you need, for each hand I think - check the leaflet that came with the steroids or look for the leaflet online.

5) At night, wear PLASTIC gloves (the thin, clear plastic kind) with cotton gloves on top. This will keep all the moisture in beautifully. Make sure you follow ALL these steps at night.

Best of luck!

Prolesworth Thu 18-Nov-10 18:11:52

Message withdrawn

JennyHaniver Thu 18-Nov-10 18:12:15

You need a patch test. seriously, it changed everything for me. I was allergic to stuff in the eye make up remover i was using, the shampoo etc.

Also - Chlorine and bleach in paper and even STs and PLs - i use natural ones now.

insist on one....

JennyHaniver Thu 18-Nov-10 18:12:59

Betnovate manages my minor flair ups but i need steroids every now and again.

AliceWorld Thu 18-Nov-10 18:18:43

I had something that people told me was eczema on my hands. Docs gave me steroid cream several times that didn't touch it. Had it for years but it would only flare up in the summer, so it would end up going each year before I got totally fed up and therefore seek more help. As silly as it might sound after all the more medical posts on here, and what I was suffering from doesn't sound as bad as yours, I used Lush's Dream Cream and it totally got rid of it. Took a few weeks but it was gone mid summer this year. I then found on line people saying the same things. Just a thought.

ANTagony Thu 18-Nov-10 18:22:43

Having battled with mine for quite a few years my mother read in the Daily Mail (of all places) about Q10 supplements helping it to clear up in some cases. She brought me three months supply, as I was cynical, and after a couple of months it had significantly cleared up. By three months it was, for the first time in years clear. I ran out of supplements and it slowly came back over the following months. Any way Asda have started doing Q10 supplements amongst its vitamins and supplements and its £5 for a three month supply. So I've been taking it the days I remember for the last two years and I'm clear. I do need to moisturise my hands a couple of times a day but my days of betnovate and oilatum baths are past.

I know that it doesn't work in all cases but you never know it might be worth a try.

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