How can you treat cracks and fissures over hand eczema?

Example of hand eczema. courtesy of Wikipedia user Haendels.
Example of hand eczema. courtesy of Wikipedia user Haendels.

Cracks, fissures and splits often occur over hand and foot eczema that has been left untreated.  Here are some tips to help prevent cracks from appearing and to reduce the pain from cracks.

Prevent the eczema from occurring in the first place!

Practice good dry skin care practices.  If there is sign of eczema starting, catch it early and treat it before the cracks develop.

Seal up the cracks

The cracks hurt, especially when they come into contact with water.  You can seal up the cracks with liquid bandage, or keep them protected with an ointment such as Aquaphor Healing Ointment or

Liquid bandage can be used to seal small cuts, fissures, and cracks including those on the hands and fingers.
Liquid bandage can be used to seal small cuts, fissures, and cracks including those on the hands and fingers.

Vaseline.  The ointment may need to be frequently applied.  To learn how to apply liquid bandage, click here.

Wear gloves

You may need to use your hands for work or chores.  Reduce the amount of irritation and exposure to these cracks by adding a protective layer.  You can slip gloves on over protective ointment as well.

Treat any infection that may be present

Bacteria, especially Staph bacteria, likes eczema.  If there are signs of infection over your eczema, you may need an antibiotic ointment or even an oral antibiotic.  Let your healthcare provider guide you on the appropriate therapy.

Hand eczema tips

Example of hand eczema. courtesy of Wikipedia user Haendels.
October is eczema awareness month — makes sense since the weather starts to get dry around now. I thought it would be appropriate to have a second post on eczema, but this time focusing on hand eczema. Here are some tips tailored specifically for hand eczema.

– Avoid unnecessary hand washing. Limit hand washing the amount of time needed to clean hands and avoid scalding water.
– Avoid fragrances and harsh detergents and other potential allergens.
– Wear gloves when cleaning the dishes, doing handiwork, etc.
– Liquid bandaid or even a superglue can help seal cracks in the skin.
– Keep hands moisturized. After washing, immediately apply an emollient. Thick moisturizing creams are good (hydrated petrolatum, creams made by Cerave, Vanicream, Eucerin, Cetaphil, etc.) Vaseline is also good. Those creams can get expensive though. If you’re looking for something more cost effective, try Crisco. Yes, that thick stuff you use for baking.
– Don’t scratch.
– See a dermatologist who can prescribe you special medications to put on your eczema and recommend certain pills to help calm the itch. Your dermatologist can also assess whether there is any sign of overlying infection.