Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are these small bumps on my skin?"
I have small bumps on my hands and feet. They are slightly red in color and if broken, release clear discharge. I think it is eczema and my skin responds well to lotion and cold compresses. I'm told eczema has no cure but I'd like to explore treatment options. I don't like the idea of rubbing chemicals or steroids on my skin but I would try anything (within reason) to alleviate my symptoms.
I think you are right in your self diagnosis! Dyshidrotic eczema is a form of eczema which occurs mostly on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. It is characterized by small blisters that form under the skin and that contain clear fluid. They can be quite itchy and at times they can coalesce to form areas of peeling skin or more define redness. As you have already experienced, moisturizing is a big part of successfully treating dyshidrotic eczema. It is often better to use a thick 'greasy' moisturizer such as hydrolated petrolatum. This is because thick ointments are better at trapping in the skin's natural moisture than thinner lotions and creams. It is also important to avoid irritating the skin. In particular immersing the hands in water can be a problem, and it is helpful to wear gloves when washing dishes and similar tasks. At the same time, you should make sure to avoid washing your hands with very hot water and you should apply moisturizer directly after washing. You should also pat your hands dry, not rub them. Sometimes, despite these measures it is necessary to use steroid creams to get the inflammation down. Talk to your primary care doctor to determine if this is necessary in your case.
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