Q: I feel an itchy dryness in my palms and feet after washing them. It makes the hands very dry and I do not feel like using them for picking anything. The dryness comes very often in the mornings after I had beer at night or had heavy food outside. Is it just the dryness or less hydration or could it be a skin disease or digestion problem?
A:You could be suffering from:
Chronic dermatitis or
Dermatitis often results from a combination of causes, including genetic makeup (constitutional factors), injury (contact with irritants) and allergy. It is particularly common in industries involving cleaning, catering, metalwork, hairdressing, healthcare and mechanical work. Food could have little relation to your condition.
In Psoriasis the palms and soles can become very dry and thickened, often with deep painful cracks (fissures), which can significantly interfere with activities. Palmo-plantar psoriasis tends to be a chronic recurrent condition.
Broad treatment outlines are:
Where possible, avoid wet-work and contact with irritants.
Protect your hands using vinyl gloves, which are less likely than rubber to cause allergic reactions.
Don't wear these for long periods, as sweating will also aggravate dermatitis. Always make sure the gloves are scrupulously clean inside.
Use emollients frequently. A thin smear of a thick barrier cream should be applied to all affected areas before work, and reapplied after washing and whenever the skin dries out.
Coal tar: to improve the scale and inflammation. Because of the mess, often applied at night under cotton gloves.