Heh...until I found this posting I didn't know the itchy rash I get on my hands had a name other than "eczema" Good to know!
I have not found a cure for this, after suffering for 12+ years with it. It seems to be brought on by many things, from stress, to doing the dishes, to hormone fluctuations around "that time of the month". I have, however, found a few ways to cope with it, and make the symptoms at least BEARABLE.
- use only all-natural bar soap to wash hands and body, preferably cold-processed, and even better, bought from a "company" where you can actually talk to the person who made it. These soaps are typically full of fats, which are soooo good for your skin, and there is little to no chance of there being any SLS
in them, which is a trigger for some sufferers. Even if SLS
doesn't trigger your outbreaks, it can definitely make it worse with the drying effect it has on your skin. Etsy.com ( http://www.etsy.com
) has literally HUNDREDS of sellers who are making and selling handmade soaps for reasonable prices, and they list their ingredients right on the item pages. Failing that, see if your local store carries "Dr Bronner's Magic Soap", which is just a commercially made and widely-available all natural soap. SLS
is damaging to both your skin AND to the environment; check out this MSDS sheet on a bath product additive primarily composed of SLS: http://www.bathbomb.biz/acatalog/MSDS/SLS_Noodles.pdf
They tell you it's a skin irritant, and to try to contain wastewater produced when using it, yet it's in almost every single bath and body product out there. Natural soaps are the way to go.
- Avoid petroleum products when possible. This means reading labels of your shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, lotions, toothpaste, lip balms, and anything else you apply to any part of your body. You'd be amazed at the places manufacturers hide that nasty stuff. I thought my rash was spreading out over my body, but it turned out that the bodywash I was using (and had recently switched to) contained petrolatum, and was causing similar eczematic reactions in places other than my hands. Switching back to a product without petrolatum has since cured that issue and now the outbreaks are once again contained to my hands, which I never thought I'd be glad for until I started breaking out elsewhere as well.
-I recently started using use a salve for my hands called "no more rough patches", made by Pepo Park. There are only 8 ingredients, and all of them are pronounceable, and none of them came from an oil refinery. They are: shea butter, sweet almond oil, cocoa butter, grapeseed oil, beeswax, vitmain E oil, essential oils of lavender and tea tree. This is a WONDERFUL product, and I can't speak highly enough about it after a couple weeks of using it. It's pretty inexpensive, especially considering the relief it's given me, but especially when you compare it to fancy lotions and creams available at tour local drugstore or from your physician. At $10 for a 3.5 oz
tin it's a STEAL. It hasn't stopped me from getting the itchy blisters, but then again, nothing EVER has. What it HAS done is eliminated the painful infection and inflammation that always followed the blister breakage, which had been the worst part of this annoying condition. My hands feel softer and smoother, almost like normal again, and the scaly, cracking skin is a thing of the past. Since using this product I have found that the itching and blistering still occur, as they always have, but after the blisters break, they just kind of... heal. It's weird after all these years of applying product after product to no avail, and also quite wonderful. The ingredients are well-known for their healing and moisturizing properties; combined you have an all-in-one moisturizer, anti-microbial, and breathable barrier cream. Anyway, like I said, I can't say enough about this stuff, it's just plain great. You can find their products at their website, http://www.pepopark.com,
and at the low price they sell this stuff for (there's also a smaller tin for $5) you ought to at least give it a shot. Bonus: it works great as a petroleum-free Neosporin alternative on cuts and scrapes as well!
- Another thing to try to avoid is latex. Apparently I have a very mild latex allergy, and wearing rubber gloves to do the dishes by hand always made my hands get WORSE; it took me awhile to figure out it wasn't the heat of the water doing it to me, it was the rubber gloves themselves. An allergy patch test never revealed a latex allergy, yet doing dishes ALWAYS resulted in a new breakout on my hands, usually within an hour of cleaning up. Buy vinyl or nitrile glove if you need to do something which requires immersing your hands for an extended period; since making the switch to wearing vinyl "rubber" gloves, or even nothing at all, the occurrence of new breakouts has dropped dramatically.
Hope some of this helps you, and possibly others; good luck with it!!