Hand eczema is a common, predominantly inflammatory, skin disease. It is the most common skin disease affecting the hands, with prevalence estimated at up to 2.5% of the population.
Hand eczema is characterised variously by redness, fluid filled blisters or bumps, scaling, cracking, itching and pain occurring on the hands, especially the palms. It is a diverse syndrome, incorporating
- dyshidrotic eczema, an immune disease possibly related to atopic dermatitis
- irritant contact dermatitis of the hands, which is caused by occupational irritants such as chemicals
- allergic contact dermatitis of the hands, which is caused by an allergic reaction
- atopic hand dermatitis, which is atopic dermatitis occurring on the hands
- hyperkeratotic hand dermatitis, which are thickened, scaly, red plaques, similar to psoriasis, on the hands
The impact of hand eczema on patients can be significant, leading to work absences or disability, social stigmatization, and psychosocial distress.