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A hand rash, also called hand dermatitis or hand eczema, may be caused by many different factors. Hand rashes are extremely common. Many people start with dry, chapped hands that later become patchy, red, scaly and inflamed. Numerous items can irritate skin, including overexposure to water, too much dry air, soaps, detergents, solvents, cleaning agents, chemicals, rubber gloves and even ingredients in skin and personal care products. Once skin becomes red and dry, even so-called harmless things like water and baby products can irritate and worsen the rash. Your doctor will try to find out what substance in your everyday routine could be causing or contributing to the problem. Often, your skin will get better by changing products or avoiding an ingredient completely.
A tendency to get skin reactions is often inherited. People with these tendencies may have a history of hay fever and/or asthma. They may also have food allergies and a skin condition called atopic dermatitis or eczema. After contact with many substances that might not bother other people’s skin, their skin can turn red and become itchy, indicating an allergy.
Hand eczema is not contagious. Although some fungal infections may look like eczema, it is important to have your rash checked by a dermatologist who can do the appropriate testing. Hand rashes sometimes temporarily look worse while they are healing – and sometimes rashes just come back. Try to remember which substance or what activity triggered the recent flare-up and tell your doctor know about it. Since many hand rashes can be stubborn, it’s important to keep up with your medication, to stay in contact with your doctor and to not get discouraged.