Dyshidrotic eczema is a type of eczema, a chronic skin condition which causes the skin of the hands and feet to become inflamed. It tends to come in waves, and cycle through different stages, from itchy fluid-filled blisters to dry, cracked, very sore skin.
In this blog we’ll be looking at what type of cream is best for managing dyshidrosis; see our article What Is Dyshidrotic Eczema? for more detailed information about what causes this itchy and persistent condition.
Cream or ointment?
Because dyshidrotic eczema is a condition that cycles through various stages, you might find yourself wanting different creams at different times in the flare. Sometimes a cream might be more appropriate, and sometimes a thicker balm. Ultimately, it’s up to you what you use, and what feels most comfortable on your own unique skin.
What not to use on dyshidrotic eczema
First things first: it’s sensible to steer clear of anything that might exacerbate your dyshidrosis! That means avoiding creams, balms, ointments, soaps, washes or oils that contain potentially irritating ingredients. The list of substances that could cause further damage or inflammation to skin prone to dyshidrosis is pretty long, but it’s sensible to check the list of ingredients on your hand cream, for example, and make sure what you’re putting on your skin won’t aggravate the flare. Check for dyes, fragrance, preservatives, alcohol, sulphates, and nickel.
Soothing the itch of dyshidrosis
In the first stage of dyshidrotic eczema, the skin is likely to be intensely itchy, and is probably breaking out in tiny, fluid-filled blisters. These blisters can increase in size and number, and spread across the fingers, palms, soles or toes.
A doctor or pharmacist might prescribe antihistamine creams, or even a short course of topical steroids if the flare is very debilitating, but you can also adopt some self-care strategies to manage this phase of the condition.
This would include keeping the skin well-hydrated and protected with nourishing moisturisers. In this stage of the flare, when the skin is ‘wet’ and unbroken, you might find it helpful to use light lotions or creams that can take the heat down a notch.
This is a good time to try our soothing Cooling Cream, which is made with aloe vera, menthol and lavender, as well as nourishing shea butter and hemp seed oil. It’s designed to take the heat and the itch down a notch or two, while still making sure your skin is well moisturised.
The cracked skin stage of dyshidrosis
Once the flare moves into the drying stage, the affected skin can become cracked and raw, with blisters expanding and splitting. At this point, creams and lotions are best avoided, as even very gentle creams can sting on open skin.
Instead, apply water-free ointments or balms, like Skin Salvation. An oil-based balm can support a damaged or depleted skin barrier, providing a protective but breathable layer over broken or cracked skin, and allowing it to start healing. Emollient balms like Skin Salvation will also soften rough or dry skin, when very little else is able to be tolerated.
Other skincare options for dyshidrosis
If your dyshidrosis was triggered or aggravated by fungal infections, as many cases are, you may want to try using an antimicrobial oil as well as a balm. Balmonds Scalp Oil works really well to help defend inflamed or broken skin from yeasts like Athletes’ Foot, as it’s rich in antifungal tea tree oil, nourishing hemp and antiinflammatory borage.
Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax
Balmonds Cooling Cream
with shea, menthol, aloe vera & lavender
Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash
with calendula & chamomile
Balmonds Scalp Oil
with tea tree, nettle, borage & rosemary
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.