Is Dyshidrotic Eczema Contagious? The Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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There are a ton of skin conditions out there—from the nearly lethal to the slightly annoying—that range in severity, symptoms, and after effects.

Many of those conditions may be similar and sound like other conditions, like dyshidrotic eczema for instance. You’ve probably heard of eczema, but what is dyshidrotic eczema? Is dyshidrotic eczema contagious?

Well, wonder no more, as we are here to present to you a beginner’s guide to dyshidrotic eczema. From dyshidrotic eczema causes and its symptoms to dyshidrotic eczema treatment, we’ve got all your bases covered in this beginner’s guide.

What Is Dyshidrotic Eczema?

Simply put, dyshidrotic eczema is a skin condition that forms small blisters along the edge of your fingers, palms, toes, and soles of your feet. Dyshidrotic eczema is a type of eczema that is also known as dyshidrosis and pompholyx. Other names for it include cheiropompholyx, foot and hand eczema, vesicular eczema, and palmoplantar eczema.

As far as eczema goes, it is fairly common, and it occurs in twice as many women as men. Which leads us to what causes dyshidrotic eczema, and the answer may surprise you.

Dyshidrotic Eczema Causes

You are probably wondering what the dyshidrotic eczema or pompholyx causes are. And, how can you avoid it? The truth is, we’re not sure.

As of this writing, there is no definitive cause of dyshidrotic eczema that science can specifically point to. We do know that there are a few possible triggers of dyshidrotic eczema, it’s just unclear how they actually do so. These are the most common triggers.

1. Fungal Skin Infection

There is some evidence that certain fungal infections may trigger dyshidrotic eczema, even if the fungal infection isn’t in the same location as the eczema.

2. Chemical Reaction

Dyshidrotic eczema may result due to contact with a chemical that causes a reaction on your skin. Detergents, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and other cosmetics could all be suspects, as well as metals like silver and nickel.

3. Sweating

There is some evidence that shows that excessive sweating may result in dyshidrotic eczema, as it tends to appear in those in warm climates or during warmer times of the year (like the summer), as well as in people who sweat excessively (a condition called hyperhidrosis).

Despite the different possible causes and triggers of dyshidrotic eczema, there are a few signs and symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema that are fairly consistent.

Signs and Symptoms of Dyshidrotic Eczema

Having blisters is the one definite sign of dyshidrotic eczema that is consistent throughout all cases. They are small, liquid-filled blisters that will constantly itch. They appear at the edge of the fingers and toes, as well as the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

The blisters tend to be small (about the size of a standard pencil lead), but they can merge into a bigger blister. The blisters may also be sore and red in color. Unfortunately, the blisters can also become infected, which can lead to soreness and pus.

Is Dyshidrotic Eczema Contagious?

Given the symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema, it’s a question that you should know the answer to. Misery loves company, but it’s not something you’d ever want to spread. Luckily, dyshidrotic eczema is not contagious. You cannot pass it on to another person, even with direct physical contact with another person (like a handshake for example).

Now you know how to spot dyshidrotic, you can move on to treatment.

Dyshidrotic Eczema Treatment

Unfortunately, the treatment methods for dyshidrotic are few. If you go to see your doctor, they will more than likely prescribe a topical steroid cream. This cream should improve the itch and soreness resulting from the blisters while helping the skin repair itself.

There is also phototherapy which uses ultraviolet light in combination with a drug treatment. You may also be recommended to use immune-suppressing ointments or botulinum toxin injections in very severe cases.

In the meantime, you can also try these home remedies for a bit of relief.

1. A good soak

You can soak your hands and or feet to help relieve some of the itchiness. Try using white vinegar, sea salt, or a diluted potassium permanganate solution to help relieve the itch, as well as dryness and scaling. For best results, soak the affected area for forty minutes, twice a day.

2. Moisturize

Be sure to keep your hands and other affected areas well-moisturized with good creams that are not chemical-laden.

3. Oatmeal bath

An oatmeal bath can help take the itch out of the blisters and help your skin repair itself.

4. Soften your skin

Using some natural treatments to soften your skin can help heal your hands and feet. Try applying coconut oil or flaxseed oil to smooth your skin in the affected areas.

5. Aloe vera

The cool gel from a fresh aloe vera leaf can help the itch and heal the skin.

6. Cold compress

A cold compress is the simplest thing you can do to get relief from your blisters. Simply get a towel, wet it with cold water, and wring it out.

How to Prevent Dyshidrotic Eczema

Since the causes of dyshidrotic eczema are unknown, prevention becomes an interesting task. With that said, there are a few things you can do that might be able to prevent dyshidrotic eczema. These can include:

  • Figuring out and avoiding your trigger if dyshidrotic eczema is a regular or semi-regular occurrence for you
  • Making sure your skin is well-moisturized
  • Wearing soft and breathable clothing that isn’t of a material that will irritate your skin
  • Keeping the water lukewarm and using a mild soap or cleanser for your skin when bathing or showering (pat yourself dry with a towel as opposed to rubbing)
  • Avoiding excessive sweating
  • Using a humidifier in cold, dry weather

Dyshidrotic Eczema Is Not Fun

We won’t lie, dyshidrotic eczema is annoying, itchy, and can even be a little painful. In other words, if you happen to get it, it is not particularly enjoyable or fun. But hopefully, we’ve provided you with enough information that you will be able to recognize it early, and start treatment quicker and get through with the itchiness as soon as possible.

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“Pompholyx (dyshidrotic eczema),” NHS Choices; June 7, 2015;, last accessed June 20, 2017.
Sandhyarani, N., “Is Dyshidrotic Eczema Contagious?” Buzzle, August 2, 2016;, last accessed June 20, 2017.
“Dyshidrotic eczema,” American Academy of Dermatology;, last accessed June 20, 2017.