The Independent Pharmacy

How To Treat And Prevent Eczema Flare-Ups On Your Hands

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2024

If you’re struggling with the discomfort and distress of itchy eczema on your hands, please know there’s hope and many paths to relief. There are effective treatments and preventive steps you can take to improve the health of your hands and how to get rid of eczema on your hands.

A helpful first step is to generously moisturise your hands with over-the-counter emollients (moisturising creams or ointments) like Cetraben or Balneum after bathing or washing them. Wear cotton gloves at night to lock in moisture and hydrate the cracked, inflamed skin. It’s vital to identify and avoid triggers like contact with harsh soaps, hot water, chemicals or latex gloves that can worsen eczema symptoms. Ask your doctor about prescription topical corticosteroid creams to reduce inflammation and itching.

With some trial and error using these treatments and protective measures, you can successfully control the irritating eczema on your hands.

Let’s explore different remedies, barrier techniques, and coping tips to improve your skin health.

Key Takeaways:

  • Moisturising daily, avoiding irritants that trigger flare-ups, and using medications as needed can help control frustrating eczema symptoms on hands. Be patient, finding the right personal care regimen.
  • Protecting your skin barrier using gloves, gentle products free from dyes/fragrances, and purified water sources minimises everyday exposure that worsens eczema.
  • Notice connections between your outbreak patterns and seasonal changes, stress levels or diet adjustments. Keeping a symptom journal allows you to customise preventive steps.

Advanced Treatment Options for Hand Eczema

Prescription Medications and When To Use Them

If using daily moisturisers and avoiding environmental triggers does not control your hand eczema flare-ups, the next step is to discuss prescription medication options with your doctor. Prescription topical corticosteroid creams and ointments are very effective at relieving inflamed, cracked, blistering, and itchy skin caused by severe eczema.

When over-the-counter emollients (moisturising creams) do not adequately hydrate and protect your skin barrier, stronger topical steroid formulas may get frustrating chronic hand eczema symptoms under control. One especially potent prescription option often used for short-term relief of severe flares is Betnovate. This extra-strength corticosteroid cream can quickly calm angry, painful inflammation. However, stronger topical steroids should only be used for limited periods to avoid side effects like skin thinning or lightening.

For milder or intermittent hand eczema cases, a low-potency hydrocortisone cream from your pharmacist may adequately reduce swelling and irritation. Make sure to carefully follow the directions for the frequency and duration of application and monitor for any worrisome reactions. Topical prescription treatments should not be stopped abruptly, so speak to your doctor about safely tapering usage if discontinuing long-term therapy.

If you have tried topical steroids alongside lifestyle changes without success, new types of oral and injectable eczema medications are now emerging. There are treatments in the form of pills or injections that work throughout the whole body to calm the symptoms. Discuss all your treatment options thoroughly with your dermatologist.

Additional Therapies To Try

While medications remain the most conventional medical approach, other remedies can complement prescription therapy:

  • Phototherapy exposes skin to specific wavelengths of UV light under medical supervision to dampen immune reactions. Consistent outpatient ultraviolet light treatments can effectively control chronic hand dermatitis when other options have failed.
  • Traditional Chinese medicine utilises acupuncture, herbal formulations, dietary strategies and massage techniques to promote wellness. Although clinical evidence is limited, some patients report success in easing eczema flares through this alternative approach.
  • Dietary modification to avoid triggering foods like eggs, nuts, or dairy may benefit some sufferers. Tracking your personal health notes while methodically eliminating and then reintroducing foods can uncover whether any dietary components aggravate your sensitive skin. A nutritionist can help oversee this elimination diet process.

Collaborating closely with your doctor, you’ll explore various treatments together, discovering the approach that brings you comfort and aligns with your lifestyle. The key is paying attention to your own symptoms and being willing to adjust methods if needed. Patience, commitment and proper care are vital for getting irritating eczema flare-ups under control.

Maximising Efficacy of Home Remedies

Keeping Skin Moisturised

Remember, alongside using medicated creams for flare-ups, nurturing your skin daily with moisturisers can help prevent the pain and irritation of dryness. Your daily care is a form of self-love and an important step in healing. Think of moisturisers and ointments as protective barriers shielding sensitive skin.

Thick ointments like petroleum jelly and mineral oil create “seals” to lock in moisture and prevent water loss. Look for products containing thickening ingredients like shea butter. Lotions with glycerin or colloidal oatmeal pull water into the outer skin layers.

Read labels carefully and avoid alcohol, perfumes or chemicals that may sting. Choose simple products with easy-to-say ingredients. Apply moisturisers generously, even when the skin looks clear, to keep your skin’s protective barrier healthy.

Soothing Home Remedies

Home treatments can supplement medical care:

  • Make a cold milk compress by wetting a soft cloth and holding it on the skin for 5-10 minutes. The milk proteins soothe while the cold constricts blood vessels to reduce swelling.
  • Drink plenty of water and chamomile tea, which may calm flares thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Take nightly oatmeal baths for 10 minutes using lukewarm water. Colloidal oatmeal forms a temporary barrier, soothes itchy skin and cleanses.

Note which home remedies give you the most relief and review them with your doctor.

Preventing Flare-Ups: Beyond the Basics

Lifestyle Changes for Better Health

While your medical regimen is vital, tending to daily habits can also impact eczema outbreaks. Avoiding personal triggers, protecting your skin barrier, reducing stress and supporting your emotional health provide key foundations.

Take notes on which soaps, fabrics, foods or materials create skin irritation or worsen your eczema rash. Fragrances, wool, nickel and latex gloves are common triggers. Customising your lifestyle can reduce contact with things that provoke flare-ups.

At home, work or school, take precautions to safeguard sensitive skin from irritants. Wear soft cotton gloves during chores. Prioritise gentle, fragrance-free cleansers. Install purified water filters for bathing to avoid excess chemicals. Adapting your environment can minimise everyday exposure.

Finding healthy outlets like exercise, sufficient sleep and relaxation techniques such as meditation helps minimise internal stress that can negatively influence your skin condition. There are many complementary ways to support overall well-being alongside your eczema treatment plan.

Nutrition for Skin Health

Being mindful of what you eat and drink can be another area to nurture skin resilience. While evidence on eczema-friendly diets varies, many patients track symptoms while modifying their intake of common problem foods.

Common eczema triggers include dairy, eggs, nuts, wheat, soy, seafood and citrus fruits. A nutritionist can guide you through the process of finding out if certain foods cause your flare-ups by temporarily removing them from your diet and then slowly adding them back in. Staying hydrated with water and consuming fruits and vegetables high in nutrients vital to the skin, like Vitamins A, C, and E, supports overall body balance as part of an integrated approach to care.

Coping With Seasonal and Emotional Challenges

Eczema is often a long-lasting condition with periods of improvement and frustrating flare-ups. As seasons shift, skin irritation may worsen with temperature changes. Indoor heat and sweating in summer and winter dryness also impact sensitive skin barriers.

Have candid talks with your health provider to adjust treatment plans by season. In drier months, boost moisturising and protective steps. Logging your personal outbreak patterns over the years allows you to apply preventive measures proactively.

Living with a chronic inflammatory skin disease also affects emotional health. Support groups, counselling, writing in a journal, or mobile apps like Itchy provide positive outlets to share your experiences with others managing eczema.

While setbacks still occur, staying patient and hopeful is important. Medical understanding of eczema continually expands. Consistently apply thoughtful lifestyle adjustments and personalised skin care recommended by your pharmacist or skin doctor.

Take the Next Step With The Independent Pharmacy

Living with the challenges of hand eczema can feel isolating and deeply frustrating, but you’re not alone. Customised support, understanding, and effective solutions are available to help you find your way to relief and comfort. The compassionate pharmacists at The Independent Pharmacy understand the specific challenges this condition causes in your daily life. Their goal is to provide personalised solutions tailored to your situation that can help you finally find relief.

An important first step is completing The Independent Pharmacy’s online eczema self-assessment. This questionnaire allows you to openly share details about your outbreak triggers, past treatments you’ve attempted, and the symptoms that bother you most. Providing candid details is vital for receiving care recommendations designed for your unique needs.

Based on the specific profile uncovered in your assessment results, our experts will suggest targeted over-the-counter and prescription options to help control your stubborn symptoms.

Finally, conveniently order suggested products through The Independent Pharmacy’s online platform for confidential, direct home delivery of the eczema-friendly items that provide you the most relief. Get in touch with us today. Collaborating with our compassionate, knowledgeable team gives you the greatest chance of overcoming your hand eczema challenges.


Why am I getting eczema on my hands?

The exact cause of hand eczema is often unclear, but contributing factors like skin irritants, genetics, allergies, environmental conditions, stress, and chemicals may play a role in disrupting skin barriers and triggering symptoms.

What clears eczema up fast?

Prescription topical steroids like betamethasone applied for short periods may provide the quickest relief for sudden severe eczema flares. Oral steroids should not be used long-term. Other options like emollients (moisturising creams and ointments), protecting your skin and avoiding triggers support healing.

Which vitamin deficiency causes hand eczema?

No vitamin deficiency directly causes eczema, but some supplements may help soothe eczema outbreaks. For example, oral or topical vitamin E’s antioxidant properties help aid healing. Vitamin D also modulates immune reactions, influencing skin health. Vitamin C assists in wound healing.


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