Hands can be one of the worst places to have eczema – we use them a lot, they can’t easily be hidden and can be very painful as we are constantly moving them which opens up the skin.
One if the main reasons hands can be effected is because they are constantly being washed. When the skin barrier on eczema sufferers hands is broken, through washing (the trigger) – it can quickly loose moisture and its protective outer layers. This causes the skin to become dry and start to crack – washing our hands is unfortunately the trigger which can’t be helped or stopped like other triggers mention on this site but can lead to hands being constantly painful and cracked – this is how to break the cycle:
The aim is to regain the natural oil on the skin that gives it protection
I have provided a step-by-step guide on the way which I have learned to fix this issue –
Before going to bed
Thoroughly wash hands with Oilatum soap or a similar medical soap with warm not hot water
Soak hands in a clean small basin of warm water with a small amount of Oilatum Bath Oil in for 3-4 minutes making sure to stretch fingers and clench your fist so the oilatum cleans and soaks into all the eczema.
Pat dry with a clean cotton hand towel
Moisturize with Aveeno cream or a moisturizer that works for you
Get two clear non powered disposable hand gloves that are a little too big for your hands (like the ones found on forecourts, doctor’s surgeries or food outlets) that you find doesn’t effect your eczema to much
Add a squirt of Moisturising Cream into each finger and some around where the palm and top of you hand will be.
Go to sleep with them on (it may get abit messy)
You will wake with your hands feeling and looking like you’re 90 but this is the desired effect as your skin has absorbed as much of the moisturizer as it can – this is helping to get back the natural oil barrier normal skin has.
Rub the remaining moisturizer into skin if possible
When you wash your hands during the day only use Oilatum soap or another medical soap that works for you, then dry and moisturize hands with Aveeno cream or the moisturiser that’s works for you. This can be done by having moisturiser and soap by the basin at home/work or some in your pocket ready to use. This is very important step for helping to get that natural oil barrier back. Soap found in most work places is too strong for eczema sufferers hands and will remove the oil barrier that you are working hard to get back. I find that if I haven’t cleaned my hands throughly and I’ve moisturized my eczema will sting a little, I’ll then rewash my hands.
At another point in the day (ideally 12 hours after the first time which is not always possible) do the same routine as before bed- wash hands then soak hands in the basin with the oilatum bath oil – this time don’t use the disposable gloves just moisture hands and go about your day
Repeat these steps over at least a couple of weeks and you should see a big improvement. Once hands are back to normal continue with the soap and moisturise routine every time you wash your hands, as long as you keep this up your hands should remain as good as normal skin.
When your fingers have deep cracks on them I find breathable plasters are a good way of speeding up the healing process,
Another tip I find works on cracked hands is to use a none scented, none colored lip balm during the day. With your hands clean rub the balm into the cracks as you would with a normal moisturizer, I find it works the same as when you have cracked lips.
If you notice your hands start deterating in the future just start the procedure again, hopefully you now know how to fix your hands forever