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Chronic hand eczema

Michael P Sheehan, MD
Section Editor
Joseph Fowler, MD
Deputy Editor
Rosamaria Corona, MD, DSc


Hand eczema or hand dermatitis is a common inflammatory disorder involving skin of the hands [1]. The term chronic hand eczema is appropriate in cases that persist for more than three months or recur two or more times within a 12-month time frame [2]. Typical clinical signs include redness, thickening of the skin, scaling, edema, vesicles, areas of hyperkeratosis, cracks (fissures), and erosions.

Hand eczema is the most frequent occupational skin disease, especially among workers exposed to "wet work," such as healthcare workers, food handlers, and hairdressers. It can have profound economic consequences, including medical costs, costs associated with disability, workers’ compensation, and rehabilitation, absence from work, and job loss [3]. Severe hand eczema can affect the patients’ psychosocial functioning and general wellbeing.

This topic will review the clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and management of chronic hand eczema. Acute palmoplantar eczema, irritant contact dermatitis, and allergic contact dermatitis are discussed separately.

(See "Acute palmoplantar eczema (dyshidrotic eczema)".)

(See "Irritant contact dermatitis in adults".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 05, 2016.
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