Hand inflammation may appear as a red, itching rash, and the skin is usually dry. It may feel taut, show a tendency to crack and lose its elasticity. It may also feel hot and “burning”, and appear swollen. It occurs most commonly in occupations where there is contact with irritating substances or a need to wash the hands frequently e.g. nurses, hairdressers, bar attendants, cement workers, painters, plumbers. It can also occur as a result of allergy to certain plants, foods, chemicals, cosmetics, lanolin, perfume or soaps. Rubber gloves can be a cause in some cases and in others they can help.
Hand inflammation can also be due to a fungal infection. Its presence should be suspected if the skin folds around the fingernails are painful and red, if there are definite red-ringed patches on the hand, particularly the palm, or the skin between the fingers is cracked and soggy. For treatment of these conditions see section on Fungal Infections, as the treatments for fungal infections differ from those used for a simple rash or inflammation.
Treatment should firstly involve removal of the substance causing the inflammation. Inflammation and pruritus need to be relieved for the comfort of the patient and to avoid scratching. The use of a protective barrier treatment can help to reduce contact with water-based irritants. Use of an emollient product will improve the skin and may help prevent recurrence.
Advice for the Patient
1. Remove contact with any substance from which an irritation or an allergy may have occurred.
2. If possible reduce the number of occasions the hands are in water as this weakens the skin’s natural resistance. If wet work is unavoidable, wear light, white cotton gloves inside rubber gloves. Keep them clean, by turning rubber gloves inside out to wash and dry them. Leave rubber gloves on for as short a period as possible.
3. Give special attention to the skin beneath rings, as they may trap irritant substances and keep the skin moist.
4. Apply Ego Skin Cream immediately after the hands are washed and dried.
5. When washing the hands, avoid the use of soap as most soaps, even the mild ones, are alkaline and may dry the skin and aggravate the condition further. It is better to wash the hands with Pinetarsol Gel, which is soothing and cleansing, and maintains the natural acid protection of the skin against bacteria and fungi. It also helps to relieve itching and irritation. Dry skin as in atopic dermatitis and chronic eczema may need QV Wash or QV Bar instead. Extreme cases of dryness, with “prune-like” skin, may need to be washed with QV Cream and water temporarily instead of soap, until the skin recovers; then use QV Wash. QV Cream should also be applied at night.
6. Even when the hands are completely recovered, the use of soap should be avoided to prevent recurrence. QV Bar, an emollient cleansing bar or QV
Products to Help (Soap Alternatives)
PINETARSOL BAR, PINETARSOL GEL
Pinetarsol Bar and Pinetarsol Gel are soap alternatives which can be used to cleanse the skin when ordinary soaps are contraindicated. Both Pinetarsol Bar and Pinetarsol Gel contain pine tar to relieve the itch and reduce inflammation.
QV BAR, QV WASH
QV Bar and QV Wash are soap alternatives which can be used to cleanse the skin when ordinary soaps are contraindicated. Both QV Bar and QV Wash contain emollients to relieve dry skin.
Products to Help (Topical Anti-inflammatories - Nonsteroidal)
Egoderm Cream is a mild anti-inflammatory product containing ichthammol. Egoderm Cream has an emollient base and is recommended for the treatment of dry, inflamed skin, particularly on the face and hands. Egoderm Cream is suitable for all age groups. Apply to affected skin 3 times daily.
DERMAID™ 0.5% CREAM*
DermAid™0.5% Cream is a topical corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory and vaso-constrictive properties that’s suitable for the majority of skin types. It contains dissolved hydrocortisone in an occlusive base which provides increased skin penetration and enhanced effectiveness for treatment of red, itchy skin. DermAid™ also contains a moisturising element which helps prevent dry skin, and it’s lanolin and paraben-free to help avoid secondary allergic reactions. DermAid™ 0.5 Cream contains 0.5% hydrocortisone.
*DermAid Cream 1.0%, DermAid Soft Cream 1.0% and EgoCort 1.0%.
- Known sensitivity to any of the ingredients.
- Chickenpox, herpes, other viral infections and other skin infections, otherwise concurrent antimicrobial therapy is required. Acne.
- (DermAid Soft Cream 1.0%) Apply a small amount to affected skin 2-4 times daily as required.
- (EgoCort 1.0%) Apply a thin layer 1-2 times daily to the affected skin.
Products to Help (Maintenance Therapy)
Silic 15 is a protective barrier treatment which contains 15% silicone (dimethicone 350). It is perfume-free and lanolin-free to reduce the risk of irritation. Silic 15 gives maximum, non-sticky protection for the skin against water and other irritants.
EGO SKIN CREAM
Ego Skin Cream is a moisturising treatment for dry skin. With a light fragrance and delicate pink colour, Ego Skin Cream is suitable for use as a daily cosmetic moisturiser. Relieves dry skin to help prevent the recurrence of dermatitis and eczema. Lanolin-free for sensitive skin.