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What is pompholyx?

This is a skin condition that is marked by the presence of tiny blisters that are fluid-filled on the soles of your feet, palms of your hands, and your fingers. These small blisters are referred to as vesicles. It is also known as dyshidrotic eczema and Dyshidrosis of the hands and feet. Although anyone of any age can have pompholyx, it appears that people of age twenty to forty are most susceptible to developing this condition. Children are more prone to developing this condition. When children have pompholyx they usually outgrow it when they reach adolescence. It is a form of hand eczema that appears to affect women more than men. This skin condition is a common form of eczema.


The primary symptom of pompholyx is the formation of those small fluid-filled blisters on the soles of your feet, the palms of your hands, and your fingers. Usually you will see these tiny blisters on the sides of your toes and fingers. They develop first as small itchy bumps and then transform into blisters.

In acute or mild stages these blisters:

  • May not burst
  • May merge with one another
  • May go away without any further problems except with a small amount of peeling

In severe cases these blisters:

  • Break open and merge with other blisters
  • The skin that is affected may peel, crust over, crack, and harden
  • The tiny blisters are painful
  • Swell
  • Cause cracks in your nails

There may even be secondary infections with severe cases of pompholyx.


At first, researchers thought that excessive sweating caused pompholyx, but in later research, this was found not to be true. It is a skin condition that has unknown causes, but some things appear to trigger episodes of pompholyx. It has been linked to other forms of eczema.

Some of the triggers that are thought to cause pompholyx include:

  • A high level of stress
  • Scratching
  • Using certain detergents for washing clothes or dishes
  • Infection at a distant site such as your scalp or feet
  • Having an allergic condition like allergic rhinitis or asthma
  • Fungal infections
  • Exposure to harsh sunlight
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Chlorinated water
  • Allergies to certain foods like chocolate, cocoa, soy products
  • In some the consumption of carbonated drinks, tea, coffee
  • Dust mites
  • Having bowel problems like ulcerative colitis
  • Intestinal yeast infections

In some people with seasonal allergies they may see breakouts of pompholyx.


There is no instant cure for pompholyx, and there is no single treatment that will work. To treat pompholyx, the physician will use a combination of different methods for treatment based on the nature and severity of the case in each person. If it is an acute case of pompholyx, you can apply cold compresses to help soothe and dry the blisters up on your hands and feet. For the cold compresses your physician may have you use weaken solutions of aluminum acetate one percent, vinegar, potassium permanganate, etc. The compress will need to be applied three to four times each day for a total of ten to fifteen minutes each time. If you have dry eczema, you need not use cold compresses. You may also be given oral steroids. If the blisters become large, your physician may drain them with needles and give you a prescription for antibiotics if you develop a secondary infection. It is a skin condition that can reoccur.

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