The skin on your hands takes a lot of wear and tear, from harsh soaps and cleaning chemicals to stress and sun exposure. Since your hands are frequently exposed, it's difficult to hide a red, blotchy rash that can appear on your hands from any number of reasons. Tackle an uncomfortable and unsightly rash by learning some common causes that may be easily treatable, as in the case of winter dry skin, or more complex, requiring prescription medication.
One possible cause of red blotchy patches on the hands is simple dry skin. Exposure to soapy water, harsh chemicals and extreme temperatures are common causes of decreased levels of protective skin oils. It is possible for skin dried by the elements to develop dermatitis, which can become serious if not treated. Keeping your skin moisturized in very cold or very hot weather is essential for preventing the blotches associated with dryness.
Effects of Eczema
Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is thought to be a disorder of the immune system. Eczema leaves your skin feeling rough, dry and often very itchy. It can also alter skin pigmentation, leaving red blotches that later turn brown. If not properly treated, eczema leaves dry, cracked and broken skin open to infection. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, the disorder is often associated with allergies and usually appears in childhood, though adult-onset cases do occur. The most frequently affected areas are the arms, legs and hands.
Skin affected by psoriasis rapidly builds up dry, dead cells that look like thick scales. Sometimes accompanied by arthritis, psoriasis is a chronic condition. Other symptoms plaguing psoriasis sufferers include stiff joints and thickened, ridged fingernails. Psoriasis outbreaks may occur for several weeks or months, then cease and return later. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that most people get psoriasis between the ages of 15 and 30, and that most people who are likely to develop psoriasis will have psoriasis by age 40. Stress and certain medications, such as beta blockers and lithium, may exacerbate symptoms.
Dermatitis is a general term for a rash caused by skin irritation. Contact dermatitis is caused by an irritant such as soap or chemicals. Atopic dermatitis is common in arid climates, while seborrheic dermatitis occurs on parts of the body rich in sebaceous, or oil-producing, glands. Lack of B vitamins or an excess of vitamin A can lead to symptoms of dermatitis.
Banishing Blotchy Skin
Take brief, lukewarm showers instead of soaking in hot baths to keep your hands from becoming red and blotchy. Apply moisturizer to your hands and wear gloves when you clean or go outside in cold weather. Drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water each day to keep your skin hydrated and help prevent skin problems. Consult your doctor if self care does not improve your condition.