Pompholyx, otherwise known as dyshidrosis or dyshidrotic eczema, is a skin disorder involving the appearance of blisters on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. Pompholyx treatment consists of corticosteroid cream for the blisters and antihistamines for the associated itching. The application of wet or cold compresses may also reduce the itching. If these treatments don't resolve the problem, a doctor may use phototherapy, which is a type of ultraviolet light therapy. Immune-suppressing ointments may be used when other treatments are ineffective, and botulinum toxin injections may be considered for severe cases.
The pompholyx treatment of high-dose corticosteroid cream can hasten the healing of the blisters, and can be beneficial for the cracks that form once the blisters have dried. If the case is advanced, the patient may need to take corticosteroids by mouth. The compresses can help with both itching and can cause the corticosteroid cream to be more effective.
Psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) is the variety of ultraviolet light therapy used for pompholyx treatment. This therapy involves the combination of exposing the affected areas of the skin to ultraviolet light, and the administration of certain drugs to enable the skin to be more responsive to the light's effects. When other treatments fail, immune-suppressing ointments may be beneficial, but they can increase the likelihood of infections. In extreme cases, some doctors may use botulinum toxin injections, but this treatment hasn't gained widespread acceptance in the medical community.
Lifestyle measures can be a good adjunct to pompholyx treatment. The patient should try to avoid scratching, as frequent scratching can cause the skin to become thick and irritated, making it harder to treat. Doctors advise the patients to refrain from exposing the affected area to water as much as possible. Following handwashing, the application of a moisturizer can be helpful. Irritants such as scented lotions or dishwashing liquid should also be avoided.
For most people, pompholyx is merely a nuisance. Others, however, may experience functional limitations in the use of their hands due to the pain and itching. Additional complications that sometimes are seen include thickening of the skin or bacterial infections. Although pompholyx normally disappears, the symptoms may later reoccur.
Although the cause of pompholyx is unknown, certain risk factors are associated with it. It seems to manifest more frequently during stressful periods. The exposure to metal salts such as chromium or nickel is thought to be linked to this condition. Other risk factors include the repeated exposure of skin to moisture, experiencing seasonal allergies, and being female.