Eczema that looks like blisters on skin?

Dyshidrotic eczema can be mild or severe. If you have a severe case that affects your feet, the blisters can make it hard to walk. Blisters on your hands can make it hard to do things like cook, type, or wash dishes.

While blisters may be common with eczema, simply getting blisters does not mean you have the skin condition. Eczema blisters can also form after an allergic reaction, in response to an environmental irritant, or from an infection.

The small, itchy blisters are the most noticeable sign of dyshidrotic eczema. These usually pop up in clusters. You may also have:

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Dyshidrotic Eczema

This common form of eczema, also called pompholyx (which means “bubble” in ancient Greek), foot-and-hand eczema, palmoplantar eczema and vesicular eczema, is found more frequently in women than in men.

“This fluid, referred to as serous fluid, is ultimately a blood filtration product and is similar to when there is swelling in an area such as a swollen ankle after a sprain,” he says. “In the skin, the fluid can be very concentrated around blood vessels and can be superficial enough to cause tiny blisters rather than just swelling of an area.”

Once an eczema blister forms, it takes time for the body to reabsorb this fluid, “usually through the lymphatic system,” Dr. Lio says. “Sometimes, however, they are very tense and superficial, and simply rupture, releasing the fluid outside of the skin and then needing to heal.”

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If the blisters become infected, a GP may prescribe antibiotics.

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A pharmacist can help with pompholyx

If your skin gets very itchy and it affects your sleep, ask a pharmacist about antihistamines that make you drowsy (sedating antihistamines).

Page last reviewed: 02 March 2022
Next review due: 02 March 2025

When dyshidrotic eczema is severe or flares happen often, dermatologists may prescribe light therapy, topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) or oral steroids. Occasionally, botulinum toxin injections are used to control the sweaty hands and feet that can trigger the condition.

Pompholyx (dyshidrotic eczema)

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There’s no cure, so these blisters will come and go over time. But you can manage them with medicine, moisturizers, and good hygiene. They might start to taper off once you get into middle age. And if you have a mild case, it could go away on its own.

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Dyshidrotic Eczema Symptoms

If you’ve ever brushed up against poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac and broken out in a blistery, itchy rash, you’ve experienced allergic contact dermatitis. Usually, people develop small lines of eczema blisters where the leaves rubbed against them a day or two after the skin is exposed, according to the NEA. Other common culprits are metals (especially nickel) and fragrances. These blisters may break open and dry up as a small crust.

Dyshidrotic eczema is a sudden rash of small, itchy blisters on your palms and along the sides of your fingers. This skin condition can also make blisters pop up on the soles of your feet or on your toes.

Dyshidrotic Eczema

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The blisters often go away in 2 to 3 weeks. But the skin underneath can be red and tender for a while.

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Dyshidrotic Eczema Causes

Treatment for eczema due to allergens involves thoroughly washing the skin to remove any trace of the substance that is irritating you. Also, try to avoid anything that you know causes a rash or eczema blisters to break out, the NEA recommends.

Your doctor might call it by another name, including dyshidrosis, foot-and-hand eczema, pompholyx, vesicular eczema, or palmoplantar eczema.

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