Don’t let hand rashes ruin winter

Hand rashes can be frustrating, especially when the cause of the rash is unknown. Was it a new brand of hand soap? Eczema?  Or just really dry skin?

According to dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology, it could be any of these things and more. Hand rashes, they say, commonly occur because of something you touched or something happening inside your body.

“There are many reasons for hand rashes,” said Melissa Piliang, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “The most common cause is eczema, but some hand rashes may have an allergic cause. Sometimes, an allergy can develop after years of touching the same things daily without a problem, like your wedding ring, skin care products or foods such as fish, garlic or citrus fruits.”

To help prevent a hand rash, Dr Piliang recommends the following tips:

  • Wear task-appropriate, protective gloves. Harsh chemicals, such as dyes and detergents, and even water can irritate your skin and cause a hand rash. To protect your hands, wear gloves while gardening or doing housework. Remember to replace gloves that develop a hole, and never wear wet gloves.
  • Wear warm gloves in cold temperatures. Cold weather can be very drying to your hands, making it a good idea to wear warm, insulated gloves or mittens outdoors.
  • Wash your hands without irritating them. Since soap and water can remove oils from your skin, wash your hands with warm water and a mild cleanser, such as a beauty bar or moisturizing liquid.
  • Apply moisturiser often and generously. Apply it immediately after washing your hands and multiple times throughout the day. For the best results, use a product that contains glycerine or petrolatum.

“Thousands of things can cause a hand rash, yet most hand rashes look a lot alike to the untrained eye,” said Dr Piliang. “If you get a hand rash, see a board-certified dermatologist to help identify the cause and prevent it from becoming painful or disabling.”

Treatment plans for hand rashes may include a non-prescription cream or lotion or prescription medication. If a dermatologist suspects that an allergy is the cause, he or she may recommend an allergy skin test called patch testing.

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