Skin pathologies are very varied, from simple to very complex and many of them are manifested by some lack of control of the immune system.
The hands, as one of the most important points of contact with the outside world, are prone to many conditions, including allergies.
In the following article, we give you all the necessary information about hand allergies , their causes, and the options that exist to treat them.
What is a hand allergy?
According to the Royal Academy of Medicine of Spain , allergy is a “harmful and exaggerated reaction of an individual’s immune system to a substance that is harmless in the same quantities and under the same conditions for most members of its species” .
In the context of this definition, we could define hand allergies as those harmful and exaggerated reactions on the skin of the hands , as a response of the immune system to contact with elements that in the same amount are harmless to other people. These adverse reactions include symptoms such as eczema and itchy hands.
Causes of hand allergies
The manifestation of allergic states in the hands responds to endogenous and exogenous factors . Here we mention the most common:
1. Irritating substances
Irritating substances are those that, in brief, prolonged or repeated contact with the skin of the hands, can cause an inflammatory reaction . These substances include acids, alkaline materials such as soaps and detergents , fabric softeners, solvents, or other chemicals.
To highlight: There are very irritating chemicals that cause a reaction right after contact and other less irritating ones that can also cause after several contacts. They are the cause of atopic dermatitis.
2. Sensitivity to specific elements
Organic compounds such as pollen, pet dander, insect stings such as bees or wasps, foods with irritating compounds such as chili, including orange, lemon, and pineapple juice, among others, can cause skin allergies.
On the other hand, inorganic elements such as chemical substances, metal and non-metal elements such as water, salt, lime, ammonia, carbon dioxide, sodium bicarbonate, chromium, nickel, are elements that can cause allergies. in the hands of certain people.
Note: An article from News Medical Life Sciences describes chromium as a potential allergen and that it is used in different industries.
3. Fungal and viral infections
Infections in the skin of patients can cause certain allergies such as itching, redness and inflammation and are very common. In the case of fungal infections , they can occur due to a dermatophytid reaction, which consists of the body’s reaction to a dermatophyte (fungal) infection characterized by a skin rash.
Viral infections are scientifically known to promote the production of certain antibodies by the immune system that generate allergic reactions. Such is the case with a viral infection caused by a strain of the coxsackie virus , which causes a rash with clusters of blisters on the hands, feet, and mouth.
4. Psoriasis and scabies
Scabies or scabies is a skin condition, caused by scabies mites called sarcoptes scabiei . The allergy manifests itself in a skin rash, often between the fingers of the hands and the bottom of the wrists of the person.
In psoriasis there is a type called palmoplantar psoriasis , and it manifests with dry skin plaques and eczema , located in this case on the palms of the hands and which, due to wear and tear, end up forming thick skin and cracks.
To highlight: An article that refers to a clinical case study of a patient with palmoplantar psoriasis, describes the allergies that arise from this pathology.
5. Use of jewelry
Nickel sulfate, a metal widely used in the manufacture of jewelry, can trigger a type of dermatitis called contact dermatitis. The allergy manifests itself with the formation of small vesicles or blisters surrounded by a very itchy erythema. In severe cases, very thick scales are formed with a lot of itching.
Note: An article on “A contribution on nickel allergy” describes this alloy as causing the allergy.
6. Exposure to cold or heat
Allergies due to exposure to heat arise as a reaction to substances produced by our skin and exposure to ultraviolet radiation. A polymorphic light eruption usually appears, which manifests itself with small itchy pimples, or solar urticaria that manifests itself with the formation of plaques that usually cause pain.
For its part, allergy to cold is a pathology that produces the formation of plaques with erythemas , due to the excessive release of histamines by the immune system, causing discomfort, inflammation, irritation and eczema.
7. Constant friction of the skin
This is a type of allergy, which is very common when we must have good hand hygiene and must wash them constantly, as a preventive measure against infections and contagions.
Note: The use of soaps with components to which you may be sensitive can cause allergic reactions such as itching or blisters.
Hand allergy symptoms
The symptoms presented by allergies in the hands are very characteristic. We describe the most common below:
1. Itching, redness and inflammation
Itching or itching on the skin is usually caused by dry skin and is one of the characteristic symptoms of hand allergies. Similarly, the formation of eczema and erythema on the skin is another frequent sign of allergic reactions on the skin of the hands. They usually surround vesicles and bullae.
2. Blisters and peeling
The appearance of blisters is considered an allergic reaction as a consequence of the protective action of the immune system. These blisters are usually filled with lymphatic fluid and other bodily fluids.
Note: After the vesicles or blisters dry after an allergic manifestation, the outermost layers of them suffer a detachment of their more visible outer layers , called desquamation. This is a manifestation that we have gone through or are going through an allergic process.
3. Burning and pain
Both erythema and eczema from an allergic reaction cause a burning sensation in the most reddened area, as well as a sensation of pain when pressing on the lesion on the hands.
Treatment to eliminate allergies in the hands
The strategies for the intervention of allergic affections , can vary according to the characteristics of the symptoms that appear. Below, we mention the most used:
1. Drugs indicated by specialist
Antihistamine drugs such as cetirizine, desloratadine, fexofenadine, levocetirizine, loratadine among others are widely used to treat bothersome allergy symptoms. You should consult your doctor before using any of these drugs.
2. Corticosteroid creams and ointments
Corticosteroid creams relieve allergic skin reactions such as itching, redness, or scaling. Some low-potency corticosteroid creams are available without a prescription, but talk to your doctor.
3. Wet compresses
Applying cool, wet compresses to the allergy area can help relieve itchy skin. The advantage of this therapy is that it can cover large areas of skin that are affected by atopic dermatitis.
4. Avoid direct contact with irritating substances and elements
As a preventive measure, it is necessary to avoid contact with substances of organic or inorganic origin that are suspected to be allergenic elements, and if there is no way to avoid it, use all the safety implements designed to protect your hands.
5. Use moisturizer after washing your hands
Moisturizing creams after hand washing help keep skin moisturized to prevent dryness. It is important that the cream to be used contains three components: humectants, emollients and occlusives (to maintain moisture in the skin).
- The appearance of allergies in the hands is due to an exaggerated response of the immune system.
- It is characterized by the appearance of small vesicles or blisters , inflamed and with eczema.
- Allergies disappear once the cause of them is controlled .
- The severity of the allergy will depend on the individual responses of each patient’s immune system .
- Diagnosis and medical recommendation is very important.
- As a preventive measure, it is important to protect the hands from allergenic elements as well as keep them clean and moisturized.