23 answers

Treatment for Severe Eczema and Painful Cracking on Hands

Hello Ladies,

I've been battling with severe eczema on my hands for almost a year. I've been to the docs but they can't seem to find a solution that works.
The cycle is this: Hands dry up, get extremely itchy and then start to crack, A LOT, at least 3-10 cracks per finger and on knuckles. I have used Rx Cortisone cream off and on, changed to soaps and detergents for sensitive skin, use gloves whenever I clean or wash dishes and moisturize with special hand cream like it's going out of style. The water is very hard where I live and I will be moving in the next six months, so it's not worth it to install a softener. I'm desperate for a solution. So any and all, natural or medical, remedies are very much appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!

M. P

I should probably add that I have a long history of allergies( mostly nasal-type allergies). I've had allergy tests before so that won't help because it's too hard to tell which allergen is causing which problem.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My daughter has eczema on her legs and feet. She loves to swim and is in the pool everyday for the first 6 weeks of summer. Her eczema cleared up completely while she was in the pool. Call me crazy but I swear it was the clorine. I was amazed how her legs looked. You wouldn't even know she had a problem.

I use the prescription (generic) Clobetasol Propionate Cream. No idea what it is but it works wonders. A little dab on the crack and it heals that day. I think it is a steriod cream, my dermatoligist prescribed it a couple of years ago. I have been dealing with eczema for 35 years and mine is stemmed from food allergies and pollen counts too. Good luck!

More Answers

I suffer from this and so does my mother and 4 of my aunts. What works for us is: extreme dilligence in NOT touching anything with chemicals. Always use yellow plastic gloves with white cotton gloves (found in the pharmacy section) underneath for cleaning. You must use the cotton gloves or your hands will sweat in the plastic ones making the breakout worse or causing it all together. I also keep a box of vinyl (latex makes it worse) gloves in the bathroom closet. I use these for when I'm putting in hair product, when I'm touching raw meat, or anything else I don't want on my hands. I also apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream at night or anytime I have touched something I know will irritate my skin. I only use dove soap for washing my hands, and all dye free/perfume free products for myself and my family. I have been breakout free for over a year, now I can be much more relaxed with what I touch. I am always sure to put on the cream each night though. Stress and my period seem to be triggers for me, if you can figure out what your are you can better manage it that way also. Good luck, I know how painful and discouraging it can be. We need our hands! Don't stop searching until you find what works for you. :)

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with the posts about the Renew lotion. This is a Melaleuca product and a membership is required to purchase it. (like Sams or Cotsco) My middle daughter had red cracked skin in the creases of her arms and legs and irritating bumps all over from excema. We battled it for a little over a year with every cream known to man. I tried everything in an effort to avoid steroid cream because of the negative side effects that could cause. (She was 1-2 y/o during this time) When I heard of the Renew lotion, I had to give it a try. I was shocked by the results. The red in the creases of her arms was gone within a week. Nothing else that I had tried had completely done away with the red, helped a little maybe, but no where close to completely clearing it up like the Renew lotion did. As long as I keep Renew lotion on her daily her excecma stays in check. They have since released a few more Renew products including hand wash and baby oil. I will be a Melaleuca customer for life because of this lotion. PM me if your interested and I'll show you how you can order this product.

1 mom found this helpful

My 2 year old has severe eczema so I know your pain. We went to her doctor and a dermatologist several times and finally I asked for a referral to a childrens hospital. The dermatologist there said to put fluocinolone cream on as soon as she gets out of the bath, not to dry her off because we want to keep the moisture in her skin and to use Cerva lotion. The prescription is only $17 a month and the lotion is $20.00. I would put the cream on your hands before bed and put gloves over it so it will stay on and not get greasy stuff all over your bed. Her eczema has completely cleared up and you'll see results within a couple of days. I hope you get some relief from it!

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter has eczema on her legs and feet. She loves to swim and is in the pool everyday for the first 6 weeks of summer. Her eczema cleared up completely while she was in the pool. Call me crazy but I swear it was the clorine. I was amazed how her legs looked. You wouldn't even know she had a problem.

If your "doc" hasn't figured it out then go to a new doc. I would recommend a dermatologist. You need allergy testing as well. Lots of people get these same symptoms from nickel allergies. Eczema can be controlled with combinations of medications so you shouldn't have to suffer with it if that's what it actually is. However, it could be something more so keep trying to look into it. Again, don't go to a PCP; go to a dermatologist.

Anneka is completely correct. You need a dermatologist, and allergy testing. Exema is usually caused by a food allergy, although not always. Mine flares up in the spring. When the rest of the world is getting hay-fever, I'm breaking out, so my trigger is pollen. The only way to know what yours is, is the allergy testing.

Have you tried a rheumatologist? Tested for any autoimmune conditions? I have something similar when I'm in a flare. It may be worth asking.

Renew lotion. It has taken care of mine and son's dry skin problems. This lotion is truly incredible and helps you skin heal from inside out and is not greasy like many of the others.

There is a prescription medication that is not a cortisone that has helped my granddaughter's eczema clear up. I can't remember it's name.

Have you tried slathering on a heavy duty emollient cream or better yet, Vaseline, on your hands at night and wearing cotton gloves over the cream? Not all creams are created equal. You need a really heavy one such as Eucerin. There are generic ones that are less expensive. Again, slather your hands before putting on rubber gloves. Always have cream on your hands.

My granddaughter's eczema is on her legs and arms. When it was bad we kept her skin covered with vaseline. First a bath and then smear on the vaseline while the skin is still damp. This seals in the moisture.

Vaseline now has a product out that is creamy and also contains aloe vera which might work even better.

What worked for me is raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar from the health food store. I took a fine mist spray bottle & mix half water & the other apple cider vinegar spay it on before bed. May sting a little at first. During the day I use organic coconut oil. Clears it up. I also drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 5 ounces of water with a little honey twice a day. My best friend & her son have eczema & just use coconut oil only to clear theirs up. You can google apple cider vinegar & coconut oil for eczema to read about it. Hope you find something that works for you.

I agree with the suggestion of a dermatologist if you haven't already been. General primary care providers are really not trained deeply on dermatological issues and may not be able to appropriately recommend the correct treatment.

That being said, our daughter's been to a dermatologist since she was around 1 year old for eczema. She has been able to control it with an OTC lotion called Vanicream. You can get it anywhere (though you'll likely have to ask the pharmacist to order it for you). A tub costs ~$10.

The other recommendation was using Aquaphor. A trick many spas use/recommend is to get a pair of spa gloves, put your favorite lotion - Aquaphor is a good hydrating agent, put the gloves on and sleep overnight to hydrate without washing the moisture off during normal daily activities.

My husband has skin like an alligator's on his hands during the winter, and it's worked well for him.

More important than switching to sensitive skin detergents, would be to switch to products that are plant rather than petroleum based. Sun & Earth, Ecover and 7th Generation are good choices. I make my own lotions so I know exactly what's in them, but you could use coconut oil, olive oil or vitamin E oil straight out of the container as a moisturizer.

Your condition is an allergic reaction and you will need to find the cause. Traditional medicine will alleviate symptoms but not necessarily cure you until you get to the root of the problem. I would start with elimination diets.

I went through severe eczema about a year and a half ago. While what happened to me may not be the answer for you, maybe it will shed some light. My body suddenly started reacting to dairy. All allergy testing came back negative. What was actually going on (because hindsight is 20/20) was sludge in the gallbladder making it difficult for my body to process many fats with dairy fat being one of the biggest culprits. It took about 8 months of elimination diets and herbal liver cleanse teas to get through it. Liver herbs are burdock root, dandelion root, yellow dock root and milk thistle seed.

The one thing that cleared things up the quickest for me...mega doses of multi-B vitamins. B vitamins are for stress (and your body is definitely stressed right now). It is water soluble, so you cannot take too much. Your body will eliminate what it does not need through your urine.
Get a full blood panel done and take a close look at your liver enzyme numbers. I'm betting they are probably high right now.

Best of luck in your healing journey!

Get allergy tests done. You might be able to eliminate something from your diet that will help. The Vaseline or Eucerin should help and there's also something called Bag Balm, that I've heard is good.

Arbonne has several products that work great on Eczema (also psoriasis, rosacea, acne and more). I had it but it is now gone. I can email some before and after pictures of eczema before Arbonne and no eczema after. Private message me your email address and I will get those sent to you. No membership required to purchase the products unless you want a discount!

M. P,
Your problem is definitely starting from the internal. There are a couple of products that I have used for skin conditions. One that can be used both inside and out, LeVive-Green. You can drink two ounces in the morning and two in the evening along with applying to your hands.Here are some of the ingredients in the LeVive-Green ----Aloe Vera and Milk Thistle.

To obtain a bottle delivered to your door go to: www.ardysslife.com/lljbcreativesolution

I take it daily has relieved circulation and other problems. Husband has not worn his glasses since February.

Try it,

Try Avon cracked heel cream. I know its on your hands but it works GREAT!

I know this is long but please bear with me. I love this stuffl. I have diabetes and that tends to dry out my hands and crack my heels. My son and daugher have eczema too. My daughter's hand espeically get really red, but haven't actually cracked yet. I have used everything from Aquaphor to Avons' Cracked Heel Cream to Stevens Lotion which is made especially for diabetics because they have a tendancy to get extremely dry skin. The air here is very dry and we also have hard water. None of us have issues with our skin any more.
My husband used to work for a company and they would get this lotion from Canada called Dermal Therapy. They have different lotions for different areas of your body. I would recommend, for you, the extra strength body lotion and the fingertip cream. I have given this to people and get many repeat customers. Once they try it, they always come back. I don't do it for the money because you don't have to use much so it lasts a long time! One lady said nothing ever worked for her but she decided to try the fingertip cream. She called about 6 months later and bought more fingertip cream and the body lotion and wanted to become a distributor. My photographer friend has to have her skin burned off her hands because her hands do not exfoliate. Her skin just collects on her hands. I gave her a small bottle and a few months later she bought a regular size bottle from me and that was about a year ago. Her hands look so much better and she's just barely running out of the lotion. My dad worked for a cabinet making company and, in case you don't know, sawdust can be extremely drying. My dad gave out some fingertip cream to some of his friends there. When it healed the cracks on their fingers, they asked for more. The company ended up buying it directly from the manufacturer in Canada.
I do sell it but you can also buy it on ebay and directly from the manufacturer at DermalTherapy.com. It is seriously the best product I have ever used. It seems expensive at the outset ($9.50 for a 8 oz bottle) but a little goes a long way! It does NOT sit on top of your skin but sinks deep to heal it from the inside out. I have been immediately able to open doors and work on my crafts without any sort of tranfer because the lotion sinks in the skin. I am confident this would work for you. I wish you luck in whatever you decide.

I use the prescription (generic) Clobetasol Propionate Cream. No idea what it is but it works wonders. A little dab on the crack and it heals that day. I think it is a steriod cream, my dermatoligist prescribed it a couple of years ago. I have been dealing with eczema for 35 years and mine is stemmed from food allergies and pollen counts too. Good luck!

He M. P,

I just want to let you know I used to suffer all the time from the pain and bleeding of the cracking of the skin on the hands. Anything I did, did not seem to work. Tried changing soaps, lotions, detergent, and nothing seemed to work. Well I finally found some products that are chemical free and natural and I have not had a cracked, bleeding hand since Feb. when I started. I didn't think it would ever be possible to not have it. The products I found are only sold on line. But they sell House cleaning products, bathroom products, Makeup line, Supplements, and Health Food. If your interested and I'm sure you will be if your like me and tired of the pain. Please contact my email and I'll send you the link and tell you more about it.


Have you heard of Melaleuca? They make the best lotion called Renew, it worked wonders for my little guy who used to suffer from eczema. We switched laundry detergents, fabric softener, body wash, shampoo and of course used the Renew lotion, WOW, what a difference it made. The eczema has been gone for a few years now. You don't have to use strong prescriptions that will leave you with side effects. Let me know if you want to learn about it.

You've gotten a lot of good answers.......FYI: I've used "Bag Balm" for years for cracking skin.....it's the best. You can buy it at any Walgreens, it come in a square green can....... It doesn't have the most pleasant smell but I'd put it up against anything to work......... and it's about $5.00 for a can that will last you for a long time and there's no chemicals......

I just read somewhere that Crisco works? It was in somekind of parenting or baby magazine this last month.

Good luck.

I get eczema flare ups on my hands as well, and I wouldn't wish the paon on anyone. All of the hand lotions in the world won't help--and I've tried them all. We wash our hands so much while the prescription cream works--you just can't apply it enough. Make sure tp thoroughly DRY your hands after washing every time. Use mild soap like Dove for washing.
There is a hair product--almost like an oil--called Silk Therapy by Farouk and in between Rx applications it will take the fire/pain away. Just a freaky thing that someone, somewhere discovered to work on her hand eczema. It's pricey but lasts a long time.

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