The more I have delved into my research regarding the topic of eczema, the more I have realized that although I did have my struggles with it, I count myself fortunate to have not experienced the more severe forms of this skin condition, one of those forms being dyshidrotic eczema. When I started doing the research on this particular “flavor” of eczema, it caught my eye, mainly just because of the weirdness of the word itself…for some reason it reminds me of hydraulics…go figure. The actual condition is defined by small, red bump-like blisters that are filled with fluid appearing in a cluster form on the body, primarily in the extremeties such as the hands and feet. I have seen some seriously disturbing pictures of what dyshidrotic eczema looks like, and it can do some serious damage to the skin. It normally appears in stages, and at its worst the skin looks completely ravaged with excessive peeling and cracking. Dyshidrotic eczema is also termed dyshidrosis, dyshidrotic dermatitis, or pompholyx. Another term for the condition as it specifically relates to the hands is acute vesiculobullous hand eczema. An interesting side note is that the word “dyshidrotic” refers to the condition known as excessive sweating, which actually was one of the factors that people used to associate as a potential cause of this type of eczema, but further medical research has proven that the two are not directly interlinked; there is actually no conclusive evidence available that directly proves that excessive sweating leads to dyshidrotic eczema. As for the actual cause of this skin problem, it has not yet been conclusively proven, but most experts weighing in on the topic have stated that one of the primary contributing factors is most likely stress, especially frustration and anguish. Again, the link between stress and eczema is being recognized, and as I can personally attest, this link does have some legitimacy, because as I mentioned in a previous post, the eczema I experienced (while not as severe as dyshidrosis) first appeared during a very stressful period of my employment, and it worsened as my stress on the job worsened.
It’s amazing how those two things correlate; it seems to me that the ramifications of anxiety, stress, frustration, anguish, and other inward stressors should be much further studied in light of their effects on the physical body. It seems like, with this criteria, dyshidrosis could potentially be related to more extreme stressors, since it is a more extreme version of eczema, but this could be a somewhat exaggerated assumption. Some of the other proposed causes are allergens such as certain types of soaps, particularly those with heavy fragrances, foods containing nickel such as cocoa, nuts, and chocolate, and alcohol, due to its astringent qualities. Ingesting alcohol on a heavier basis can actually dry out the skin due to its dehydrating effect on the body; this can greatly aggravate the skin. Again, one of the main symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema is the blistering that can take place; the blisters may start off very small and tightly clustered, but can actually “merge” to become larger blisters. The blisters can become filled with fluid (also called “serum”), and are usually termed vesicles when this occurs. These blisters can bust and then crust over, and after that can lead to cracking, which can basically ravage the skin and become an eyesore to the sufferer. The itching from this condition can become unbearable, and many people are forced to wear gloves or other protective clothing to keep the condition from worsening. Dyshidrotic eczema can take weeks to heal given the proper treatment (another topic for another time), but let me tell you, it doesn’t look like any kind of picnic for anyone that has had to suffer with it. My heart truly goes out to them.