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What Causes Eczema on Hands?

Updated on June 19, 2012

Though the causes of eczema are not well understood by doctors and medical researchers, the majority of sources state the causes as a combination of genetics and environmental triggers. When people understand what might be the causes of eczema on hands for them, they may be able to reduce the frequency of their eczema rashes.

Eczema cannot spread from person to person. It is not an infectious disease. People may observe that several members of a family have this condition, but that is because eczema has a hereditary cause. A person with eczema often has a family history that includes eczema, asthma, or allergies.

A lot of misinformation and myths about the causes of eczema are spread on the Internet. Though an author may claim to be an expert or even a doctor, the reader should be wary of misleading information that may be used to sell products.

Another cause of hand eczema is handling harsh chemicals or materials that trigger eczema rashes. If the person has a history of eczema, the person may be at risk of hand eczema when touching irritating substances like detergents, perfumes, cleaning chemicals, dyes, certain metals, or even some fabrics.

Hand eczema sometimes is referred to as occupational eczema since it is often triggered by substances that have to be handled in the workplace. Occupational eczema is not a specific kind of eczema. If the person is required to touch materials that are causing an eczema flare-up, the person should wear protective gloves.

The workplace is not the only environment where people can be exposed to materials that trigger hand eczema. Everyday cleaning solutions and laundry detergents in the home could cause eczema on hands. People who are prone to eczema rashes should was their hands immediately after handling chemicals such as cleaning products and detergents.

People with eczema also may develop allergies. Those who have never broken out in hives after handling chemicals or harsh substances may start to do so. This happened to me. Though I had a history of eczema since childhood, I did not breakout in hives until I was in my thirties. Being in the habit of washing any skin that comes in contact with chemicals can reduce the likelihood of an allergic reaction.

An allergic response can be serious and even life-threatening. If the rash or hives is accompanied by difficulty breathing or vomiting, the person should seek emergency medical care as this can be a sign of anaphylaxis. For people with an eczema rash, the doctor should be notified if there are signs of infection such as a fever or heat emanating from the rash.

If the person cannot pinpoint what is causing eczema, they won't know what chemicals or other materials to avoid. A doctor may be able to help the person identify the causes of eczema on hands in order to prevent future rashes.


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    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Very interesting. My older son had eczema on his arms and hands growing up, but it seems that he's outgrown it. His father's side of the family has been plagued by it. Thank you for a very interesting hub. Voted up and more.