Atopic dermatitis (also called eczema) causes chronic skin irritation. It is often found in infants, teens, and adults. This disease often runs in families (is genetic). It may also be linked to allergies, such as hay fever and sometimes asthma. Patches of skin become dry, red, itchy, and scaly. In older adults, abnormally dry skin is often called xerosis. Sometimes eczema is only on the hands or feet. It often improves when the skin is well hydrated and gets worse when the skin is dry. You can help control symptoms by practicing good self-care. Avoid anything that causes flare-ups (such as sunburn or vigorous scratching).

Dyshidrotic eczema is an ongoing (chronic) skin condition. It causes a burning, itching feeling. Severe dyshidrotic eczema may also cause a blistering rash. It can affect your palms, the sides of your fingers, and the soles of your feet. It’s most common in people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, but can happen at any age.

Skin has several layers. The outermost layer is the epidermis. Under this is the dermis. The dermis contains blood vessels, nerve endings, hair roots, and sweat glands. With eczema, your skin becomes inflamed. Inflammatory cells of your immune system invade the epidermis. They irritate and destroy some of the tissues there.

Dyshidrotic eczema is a certain form of this skin inflammation. It can cause mild to severe symptoms. In some cases, it causes symptoms that go away in a few weeks with no treatment or with use of hand lotion. More often, it happens over many months or years.