Hand Dermatitis: Review of Etiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment

A. D. Perry, J. P. Trafeli
2009 Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine  
Hand dermatitis is a common condition seen in the primary care setting. Occupational exposures and frequent hand washing often lead to symptoms that are irritating and may cause discomfort. Irritant dermatitis, atopic hand dermatitis and contact hand dermatitis account for at least 70% of all diagnoses. A unifying feature in most cases is an underlying disruption in the stratum corneum, altering its barrier function. Transepidermal water loss increases with barrier disruption and is exacerbated
more » ... and is exacerbated by additional exposure to water. Precise diagnosis and subsequent treatment present a considerable challenge, and hand dermatitis often becomes chronic. Initial treatment should be aimed at controlling inflammation and restoring the skin's natural barrier. Common management recommendations include the avoidance of irritants and potential allergens along with the use of emollients and topical corticosteroids to decrease inflammation. Simple petroleum-based emollients are very effective at restoring hydration and repairing the stratum corneum. Referral to a Dermatologist or an Allergist may be necessary for patients who require patch testing or those with refractory symptoms. (J Am Board Fam Med 2009;22: 325-30.) Corresponding author:
doi:10.3122/jabfm.2009.03.080118 pmid:19429739 fatcat:eoyenrl2sbfbvpgysxsguralzy