Eczema on Hands

Skin Care

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) is a skin condition in which patches of your skin become inflamed and red, causing itching and discomfort. The condition can cause a negative effect on day-to-day life, if left untreated.

There are many causes of eczema, linked to an overreaction of the nervous system to an external irritant. Below are some of the most common irritants that can trigger eczema on your hands.

What Causes Eczema on Hands?

1. Excessive Hand Washing

This is particularly common for people who work hands-on jobs, such as Builders and Gardeners, and those who have to sanitise regularly, such as Doctors and Nurses.

2. Harsh Soaps

Harsh soaps can strip the skin of natural oils, leaving them dry and irritated.

3. Cold Weather

Cold weather can dry out the skin, as well as indoor heating creating dry air.

4. Cleaning Chemicals

Chemicals can create allergic reactions when they come in contact with the skin.

5. Latex Gloves

Latex can irritate the skin, as you can be allergic to the protein found in natural rubber latex.

6. Hot Water

Using hot water during washing up and showers can dry out the skin, causing irritation.

7. Hard Water

Scientists have proven that hard water damages the skin, raising the risk of infection and potentially contributing to skin conditions such as eczema.

8. Contact with Metal

Contact with certain metals such as nickel and cobalt can cause irritation on the hands, especially when wearing rings every day.

9. Perfume

Certain perfumes can irritate the skin and cause flare-ups of eczema on the hands, neck and face.

Top Tips for Preventing Eczema on the Hands

Use rubber gloves – This is to protect your hands when washing the dishes to avoid your hands drying out and becoming irritated.

Use moisturiser after washing your hands – You can find a list of NEA Seal of Acceptance™ approved products here.

Avoid antibacterial soaps – As they often include alcohol which dries out the skin.

Shower in lukewarm water – Rather than hot water, as this prevents irritated skin.

Clean your rings often – The dirt can often get trapped underneath the ring and create irritation.

Invest in a water softener – You can trial a Harvey Water Softener for three months to see whether your skin condition improves with soft water.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hand Eczema

Is Atopic Eczema genetic?

Yes, it has been found that if one or both parents suffer from eczema, their child is more likely to suffer from the condition.

How can I prevent Eczema at work?

Where possible, use hand sanitiser instead of washing with water. This will prevent the wet-dry cycle, in which your hands are repeatedly stripped of moisture. Apply a moisturiser during your break to lock in moisture. Wear waterproof gloves for all jobs which require getting your hands wet. You can also request latex-free gloves from your manager to remove contact with this allergen.

Which is the best moisturiser for Eczema?

Moisturisers with low water content are best for your skin. The high water content in certain moisturisers will evaporate and dry out the skin, whereas a greasy, oil-based moisturiser will help to lock in moisture. Petroleum jelly is known for its protective and soothing properties, as well as rich emollient creams.


A water softener may help to ease the irritation of the skin by removing harsh minerals in the water, such as calcium and magnesium, and transforming it from hard water to soft water. Get in touch with our team to find out how a water softener could help you.

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