I'm a twenty three year old female and have had dyshidrotic eczema for nine years. Mine began as a result of obsessive hand washing, which started while I was suffering from undiagnosed Hashimoto's hypothyroidism at the age of fourteen.
My derm prescribed Clobetasol .05% ointment during flare ups, and Protopic Ointment in between flare-ups. He recommended Cetaphil brand hand moisturizers, which did help a bit. He also cautioned that over usage of the Clobetasol would result in minimized results over time, as your skin's tolerance for the steroid ointment would increase and become used to it.
My flare ups are frequent, but certainly not as bad as other cases posted here. Mine is limited to a few fingers and small patches on the back of my hands. Nothing on my feet (yet, and hopefully never!)
My flare ups result directly from any water, citrus, cleaning chemicals, sweat, heat, perfumes, etc. It's so inconvenient! I haven't found good gloves, so I've resolved to throw away plastic wear instead of doing dishes, and order food instead of making my own because I'd need to do dishes.
I've been on different types of birth control (Seasonique, Loestrin 24Fe, Orthi-TriCyclen) for the past four of the nine years with this condition. Although I have noticed slight spreading of this eczema over my fingers, I have noticed no correlation between my menstrual cycles, birth controls, and eczema flare ups.
I think what is best for mild cases such as myself is to find a good balance between lifestyles, products, and medications. What I mean is... change your lifestyle to avoid known triggers, change your toiletry products to something non-irritating, find a great lotion, and get protective gloves. All of this will help prevent flare-ups. And visit your local derm to determine which prescription medication is best suited for you to shorten the length and severity during the times you do get flare-ups. Being both preventative and proactive is best.
I've found that the Clobetasol ointment worked WONDERS for me. As the doc mentioned, I used it sparingly, and nine years later, it's still effective and my eczema remains under control mostly. However, I found the ointment to be super greasy, and I could only use it in socks or gloves while I was asleep. Also, it totally bleaches your skin just ever so slightly. This usually isn't a problem until you fall asleep and wake up with a bleached hand print on your face because the glove fell off (true story). So, instead of the ointment, I opted to use the Clobetasol lotion instead. In reality, the ointment is actually just a bit more effective than the lotion. However, because the lotion wasn't greasy, I was able to use it during the day as well as the night without gloves, which meant it was more convenient for me to use, and therefore more effective for me specially.
A word of caution on the ProTopic however. It was fine the first two years I used it, but I didn't really notice it actually doing anything, so I went for an entire year without it. When I finally did refill it, I quickly found out I had developed a severe allergy to it. My hands swelled up and got beet red. They felt like 3rd degree burns. Ice packs were my only relief, and I felt like a fool going to school with my hands all wrapped up. It cleared up within a day and a half of stopping ProTopic. I'm still not entirely sure why this reaction happened, but my doctor thought it was because the pharmacy substituted a different generic then the time before. Perhaps I was allergic to a non-active ingredient?
Anyways, in addition to sharing my own experience, I also had a question.
As I mentioned, I believe finding good gloves is important to battling this condition and resuming daily life. I've read that cotton-lined vinyl gloves are non-allergenic and perhaps the best type of glove to get. I've called my local pharmacy and visit grocery stores. Where do I find them? It was recently suggested to me to try a medical supply shop. Has anyone had any help? Can anyone help me with this?