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Eczema on Hands: 5 Doctor-Approved Home Remedies

Hands down, hand eczema can be one of the most vexing forms of this skin disease. These expert-approved hand eczema home remedies may be just what the doctor ordered.

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super glue dripping from a tube into a yellow puddleFar700/Shutterstock

Super glue to the rescue!

Shocking, we know. But if you have the symptoms of eczema on your hands, including redness, itching, deep painful cracks, and blisters, and they tend to get worse in the winter and with frequent hand washing, you’ll try anything, right? First, try using regular moisturization and avoiding eczema triggers, says Peter A. Lio, MD, a clinical assistant professor in the department of dermatology & pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Then? “Super glue is so helpful for cracks on the hands/fingers that they actually made a specific version just for this purpose that can be great for people who need to wash their hands frequently and get splits and cracks,” he says. Apply a thin coat with a toothpick to the fissure so it doesn’t get on the non-affected skin. Squeeze the edges of the crack together and let the glue dry. Heads up: it may sting for a few seconds, but will act as liquid stitches. Here’s how to figure out if your itchy skin is caused by eczema—or something else.

foaming bar of soaptaffpixture/Shutterstock

The right hand soap for eczema

Yes, it’s really bad to wash your hands with dish soap, especially if you have eczema on your hands, says Jeffrey Fromowitz, MD, a dermatologist in Boca Raton, FL. “Be careful with harsh soaps, especially cleaning products,” he warns. Instead, choose bar soap such as unscented Dove for hand washing, adds Steven Q. Wang, MD, director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Basking Ridge, NJ. “These soaps are more gentle than liquid soap and they are not as harsh in stripping away the natural lipids.” And while you are at it, skip the antibacterial products. Take some more tips from the pros and avoid these 10 things dermatologists never use on their hands.

glass mug of nettle teamadorf/Shutterstock

Nettle tea time

Nettle tea offers many benefits, and hand eczema relief is one of them—here are some other benefits of nettle tea to know about. The plant’s antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and pain-relieving abilities can soothe eczema. You can drink the tea or brew a cup, let it cool, and apply the liquid directly to your skin.

hands above a paraffin wax bath bowlStock image/Shutterstock

A little wax

A paraffin wax bath can be very soothing for dry, irritated hands, Dr. Lio says. Paraffin is a natural emollient that softens and smooths skin. “There are many brands available and most are inexpensive, like Dr. Scholl’s Quick Heat Hand & Foot Wax Paraffin Spa Bath Kit,” he says. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label. Here are some more all-natural solutions for eczema and psoriasis.

Hand pressing down on a pump bottle of lotionVladimir Gxjorgiev/Shutterstock

Soak and smear

Soaking your hands in warm water then applying a heavy moisturizer such as Aquaphor, CeraVe Healing ointment, Theraplex or Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, and apply a thin pair of cotton gloves, Dr. Lio suggests. “This can be very soothing and helps restore the moisture and barrier to the hands or feet,” he says. Adam Friedman, MD, an associate professor of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Hospital in Washington DC, calls this exercise “hand boot camp.” His Rx? “Once or twice a week, soak hands in water for about five minutes, lightly pat dry so they are still very damp, grease up with an ointment or cream-based moisturizer, then glove up with either cotton or nitrile (not latex gloves), says Dr. Friedman. “In an ideal world, sleeping with them on would be best, but I am a realist and this doesn’t end well. I usually say watch a movie or an hour-long show with them on.” Another great way to stop eczema in its tracks it to prevent it altogether. Which of these 15 causes of eczema are you ignoring?

 

Sources
  • Peter A. Lio, MD, clinical assistant professor, department of dermatology & pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago.
  • Jeffrey Fromowitz, MD, dermatologist, Boca Raton, FL.
  • Steven Q. Wang, MD, director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Basking Ridge, NJ.
  • Adam Friedman, MD, associate professor of dermatology, George Washington School of Medicine and Hospital, Washington DC.
Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, MD, on August 15, 2019