X's Q & A

Q&A: I have these small blisters on my fingers that itch and ooze a clear liquid and then dry up and become scaly. Where does it come from, how do you get it and is it curable?

Dear Denette, Although I can't make a diagnosis for sure by your description, it sounds like you have dyshidrotic eczema. It used to be believed that this was due to abnormal sweating and that the blisters were due to retained sweat but now we know that this isn't the case. However, we don't know what causes it. It can be made worse by everything that can make regular ecema worse such as harsh chemicals, too much washing/drying of the hands, sweat, etc. It is usually treated with potent topical steroids (For a description of these see my website at, click on skintopics and go to the section on psoriasis, topical treatments). In the past 6 months a new ointment called Tacrolimus (brand name Protopic) has become available which has helped many people with this condition. To say it is uncurable is a little harsh, but it does tend to be chronic which means it waxes and wanes over time. I am not aware of research being done on this topic, although that does not mean there isn't any.

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