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Cutis. 2008 Oct;82(4 Suppl):9-15.

Hand eczema: diagnosis and management.

Author information

  • Department of Dermatology, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA.


The most common clinical presentations of hand eczema are atopic hand dermatitis, pompholyx, and contact dermatitis (irritant contact dermatitis [ICD], allergic contact dermatitis [ACD]). The diagnosis of hand dermatitis is determined by a review of the patient's medical history, a physical examination including other body sites as well as the hands, and a thorough overview of the patient's daily activities with emphasis on occupation and hobbies. Irritant contact dermatitis usually is diagnosed by the absence of a positive patch test result; however, patch testing is essential in confirming a clinical diagnosis of ACD by identifying the allergens to which the patient has been sensitized. Treatment includes topical and/or systemic corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and ceramide-containing moisturizers to repair the skin's barrier function. Topical calcineurin inhibitors may be alternatives to topical corticosteroids. The most important step in the management of hand eczema is prevention with physical protective products (e.g., gloves) or barrier protection creams.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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