Eczema is a family of skin conditions that are characterized by red, intensely itchy patches on the skin that can sometimes turn into blisters. Not everyone who develops eczema will suffer from blisters, but those who do get them need to be particularly aggressive in treating their eczema because the blisters are a sign that the eczema is flaring and can spread if not brought under control.
3 Different Types of Eczema
1. Irritant Contact Dermatitis
This is the result of contact with substances that contain harsh ingredients such as soaps, acids and bases. Drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, rust-deterring solutions, and windshield rain repellent all contain sulfuric acid. The result of contact with these chemicals looks and feels like a burn and blisters may result almost immediately.
2. Allergic Dermatitis
This condition is most often caused by direct contact with allergenic chemicals plants such as hair dye (paraphenylene diamine), jewelry containing nickel, latex, and some fragrance ingredients or essential oils as well as preservatives and other chemicals used in cosmetic products such as lanolin, bisabolol, benzalkonium chloride, methylchloroisothiazolinone, quaternium 15 and more.
Certain plants such as sumac, poison oak, or poison ivy can also cause severe blistering. Small blisters sometimes break out in the affected area shortly after contact. Some people only experience a small, temporary rash while others have a significantly more severe reaction. In general, if you see blisters, you need to act fast and agressively.
3. Dyshidrotic Eczema
Dyshidrotic eczema is a skin condition in which small, extremely itchy blisters occur on the hands and the feet. It is twice as likely to afflict women than men. Those who are allergic to pollen are also more likely to develop this condition. I can also be associated with stress and can be associated with allergic contact dermatitis.
The most common form of dyshidrosis is probably on the feet and is associated with excessive sweating followed by drying over and over again. This form of dyshidrosis can also be seen when one wears occlusive shoes or shoes that are made with non-breathable materials such as plastic or neoprene; surfaces that allow the sweat to sit and irritate the skin.
What You Can Do
If you develop blisters as a result of contact with an allergen or harsh substance, consider doing an epsom salt compress three times a day. Keeping the area moisturized with skin barrier optimized skin moisturizers can help prevent further skin damage as well as circumvent scarring. If you suspect that you may be suffering from dyshidrotic eczema, a visit to your dermatologist may be in order.
More than 10 percent of the population suffers from contact dermatitis on their hands, according to the National Eczema Association. This is more prevalent in those who work in occupations where they are handling irritating substances on a regular basis such as: hairdressers, cleaning staff and mechanics.
Fortunately, there are hypoallergenic lotions, cream and ointments that can greatly benefit those who suffer from this and the other blistering forms of eczema. Be sure your moisturizers do not contain any of the allergens listed above and work to restore skin barrier function by focusing on skin lipid replacement, skin pH optimization, and inflammation.