The skin on the palms of your hands is some of the most sensitive on the body, yet it is also subject to some of the heaviest use. You use your hands constantly, and if the skin on the palms of your hands is itchy or inflamed, this can have a serious effect on your ability to go about your daily activities.
A relatively common cause of itchy skin on the palms is an allergic reaction to jewelry -- such as metal rings on the fingers -- or to commercial toiletry or detergent products. Writing in the journal "Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology" in February 1994, a group of researchers from the Procter & Gamble European Technical Center in Belgium reported that allergic reactions could occur in response to clothing or bedding being washed in commercial detergent. In order to avoid skin reactions to detergents, use a gentle or hypoallergenic detergent and rinse your laundry thoroughly.
According to author, Brady Barrow, writing in the 2002 publication "Rosacea Diet: A Simple Method to Control Rosacea," dietary factors commonly contribute to the development of red and itchy skin in sufferers from the skin condition rosacea. Rosacea may manifest on the palms of the hands, in addition to the face and other parts of the body. Certain foods aggravate the condition and cause itching -- spicy foods such as curry trigger skin itching symptoms in susceptible individuals.
According to an April 2006 study published in the peer-reviewed journal "Contact Dermatitis," environmental factors influence the development, healing and aggravation of skin itching. This study found that workers in arid environments developed skin rashes and irritation as a result of the low air humidity. If your palms are itchy and irritated, use a humidifier at home or at work to alleviate symptoms.
If you are susceptible to itchy palms, keep your hands out of water as much as possible. Hot water, in particular, makes itchy palms worse with repeated or continuous exposure. Bathe in cool or warm water -- not hot or cold -- and avoid activities that keep your hands submerged in water for a long period of time, such as washing dishes in hot water.
Itchy skin anywhere on the body -- including the palms of the hands -- can be caused by any one of a range of medical problems. Treatment for each skin condition which could be causing your rash may be very specific. Therefore, obtain an accurate diagnosis from a dermatologist, or your doctor, before attempting to treat a skin condition. Certain treatments can worsen your condition if they are wrongly applied.
- "Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology;" Skin Effects Associated with Wearing Fabrics Washed with Commercial Laundry Detergents; C. Rodriguez et al.; February 1994
- "Contact Dermatitis;" Low Humidity Occupational Dermatoses; R. J. G. Rycroft et al.; April 2006
- "Rosacea Diet: A Simple Method to Control Rosacea"; Brady Barrows; 2002