Hands and feet with red dots signaling blisters all over them

My Experience With Pompholyx (Dyshidrotic Eczema)

Starting back in 2016 I started to get very hot and itchy hands and feet. My feet would feel like they were on fire and my hands would be hot and so itchy all the time. I would always be conscious of my terrible looking hands. I already have “Old Man Hands” from using topical steroid cream all my life, and very thin skin. I always felt that people were looking at my badly damaged hands.

Small blisters on my hands

I started to get tiny blisters on my fingers and on my palm. They were burning and extremely itchy! I wanted to scratch my hands off! I have two children and it made caring for them a challenge, bathing them and changing diapers. I worried that the blisters on my hands were contagious.

Diagnosed with pompholyx

I went to a doctor and she said I had pompholyx (dyshidrotic eczema), which is a type of eczema that starts with an intense burning feeling and itchy sensation on your hands and feet. Tiny blisters will appear on your fingers and palm of your hands. Sometimes you may also get it on the soles of your feet, which makes it uncomfortable to stand or walk. When the doctor told me this I was kind of relieved because then I knew it was not contagious.

My hands were hurting and burning

I own a fitness business selling grip strength gear and I could not train because my hands hurt so much. I could not go swimming in the ocean because the saltwater made my skin feel like it was burning.

What was causing my dyshidrotic eczema?

What was causing this? I was already suffering from red skin syndrome, which I did not know I had at the time. My eczema was out of control and my immune system was not 100%. But what was causing the pompholyx? Was it the soap? Was it what I was eating? Was it the water I showered in? Was it the moisturizer I was putting on? Was it stress? So many things that run through my head. To this day I am unsure, but I do think that my low immune system and cortisol levels were not in the best shape and that was probably the contributing factor tied with stress.

How long did I have pompholyx?

How long does it last? For me, it was on and off all the time. The blisters would finish oozing and dry out and start to heal. The itch does not stop. After it is nearly healed it comes back again.

How did I treat my dyshidrotic eczema?

What did I do to treat it?

  • I would wear white cotton gloves to bed with electrical tape around my wrists so I would not rip the gloves off and itch in my sleep. I did not get much sleep as my feet and body would feel like they were on fire! The cotton gloves did help.
  • I would put lots of Vaseline on my hands before bathing my children or having a shower.
  • I would use ice packs and just hold the ice packs in my hands to cool them down. I slept with a soft ice pack and sometimes in the middle of the night I would be going to the freezer to get another ice pack to cool down.
  • I was putting topical steroid cream on all the time but it did not seem to get better.
  • I was finding the only relief when I was on Prednisone, which is a temporary fix.

Finally! In 2019 my hands started to get better. I had some major life changes and reduced my stress. I was happier and it seemed to help with my hands and feet.

You are not alone

If you suffer from pompholyx I know what you are going through. It can be very difficult to live with. Ice packs, cotton gloves and reduced stress levels worked for me. I hope this helps anyone reading this with the same symptoms and suffering from pompholyx.

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