Dishpan hands is a condition characterized by dry, red, sometimes flaky skin on the hands, usually from excessive exposure to water and various soaps. People who wash dishes regularly may experience some degree of irritation on their hands because soaking the hands in water and soap constantly can deplete the natural oils in the skin and cause dryness. Some people find their skin is more irritated by exposure to the different kinds of soaps used, and discover that using a gentle dish detergent can help this problem immensely.
Once dishpan hands occur, people can have a few options for treating them. Moisturizers and lotions made for dry or damaged skin can help. People affected may want to choose hypoallergenic and fragrance free skin treatments so that raw or dry hands aren’t irritated further. Others advocate the use of natural substances like aloe vera, which may be effective for minor cases. Most important is not exposing the hands to further dish washing and using waterproof gloves or reassigning this chore to someone else.
Sometimes skin irritation gets very significant, and some people who think they have dishpan hands could actually have fungal infections. Exposure to constant moisture creates a perfect environment for fungi to thrive. If the problem doesn’t resolve with a few days’ treatment with moisturizer, or if it worsens and skin starts peeling or is very uncomfortable, people who are suffering with this condition should see a medical professional.
Another condition that can be confused with this condition is contact dermatitis, which may result from exposure to chemicals in dish soap. Severe fungal infections and forms of dermatitis may require prescribed medications for treatment. Delaying proper treatment for either of these conditions can make them worse and lead to great discomfort.