Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are the small bubbles that appear on the backside of my index and middle finger of my right hand?"
I am a 26 year old college student with previous skin issues such as dry skin and allergic reactions to some forms of latex. Every now and then for a period of no longer than 2-3 weeks small bubbles appear on the backside of my index and forefinger, rarely the ring finger, of my right hand. These bubbles when popped do secrete a clear liquid that has no odor. I've gone to dermatologists and have received the constant answer of "It's contact dermatitis." I however do not believe this as what would I be coming into contact with only on the back of 3 fingers and nowhere else. I am currently on on medications.
What you are experiencing is a classic description of something called dyshidrotic eczema. This is a form of skin inflammation which typically affects the hands and feet, usually the palms and soles. It begins as small blisters or bubbles under the skin full of clear fluid which, during flares, can coalesce and result in redness, itching, and peeling or cracking of the skin. The exact cause of dyshidrotic eczema is not known but it is more common in people with a history of skin or allergy problems, such as the ones that you describe. Flares commonly occur during times of stress but can also be provoked by changes in the weather and contact with chemicals or other irritating substances. The treatment of dyshidrotic eczema involves primary prevention. Keeping the skin clean and dry and applying a good moisturizing lotion is helpful. Also avoiding potential irritants is important. For many people, a big source of flares is having the hands immersed in water (while washing dishes) or coming in contact with irritating substances while doing household chores. Wearing rubber or cotton gloves at these times can help. During flares, an over the counter steroid cream should do the trick. Talk to your primary care doctor if you have additional questions.