What Are the Most Common Causes of Hand Rashes?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 24 January 2019
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Hand rashes are relatively common occurrences and can have a variety of causes, including eczema, psoriasis, or contact dermatitis. Food allergies can cause a rash to appear anywhere on the body, including the hands. Scabies and ringworm are also potential causes of rashes. Symptoms of these rashes are often too similar to accurately diagnose without the help of a medical professional. For this reason, a doctor should be consulted with any questions or concerns about bothersome or recurring hand rashes.

Eczema, also referred to as atopic dermatitis, is among the most common causes of hand rashes. This skin disorder often appears during childhood, although it may develop at any stage of life, especially among those with seasonal allergies such as hay fever. Some of the most common symptoms of eczema include dry, scaly patches of skin that may itch or burn. In some cases, these lesions may ooze a clear liquid or become prone to infection.

Psoriasis is a skin disorder that may cause a painful rash on the hand, and typically affects other areas of the body as well. Dry, red areas of skin typically develop among those with this condition, and the pain associated with psoriasis can range from mild to debilitating. Painful joints and changes in the fingernails or toenails sometimes occur in those with severe forms of psoriasis.


Contact dermatitis strongly resembles eczema outbreaks in appearance but is caused by contact with a triggering agent, such as detergents or poisonous plants. Household products such as soaps, detergents, or cleaning solutions may trigger an outbreak of contact dermatitis in a person who is sensitive to the chemicals contained in these products. Plants such as poison oak or poison ivy can also cause this type of reaction.

Scabies is a possible cause of hand rashes and is extremely contagious. This condition is caused by a small mite that lays its eggs in the top layer of skin, causing an itchy rash to develop. The transmission of scabies from one person to another can occur from physical contact with an infected person or sharing clothing, towels, or bedding with someone who has been infected.

Ringworm is a type of fungal infection that causes a rash resembling a closed circle, or a ring. The same fungus responsible for ringworm also causes jock itch and athlete's foot and is considered to be highly contagious. Most people are infected by coming into physical contact with one of the lesions, although this infection may occasionally be transmitted from household pets to their human companions.


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Post 3

@SarahGen-- Psoriasis does cause a dry rash with scales, but doesn't it also cause raised patches and redness?

It might be food allergies. I'm allergic to eggs and if I eat any, I get a rash on my hands and my face. It doesn't seem like food allergies can cause reactions on the hands, but it happens. I've even had a rash on my legs from food allergies.

Post 2

simrin-- There are so many possible causes. You need to see a dermatologist for diagnosis. It could just be a case of very dry skin or it might be contact dermatitis or a mild form of psoriasis.

I had a similar rash several years ago. Mine was contact dermatitis due to hand soap and detergents. It was basically an allergic reaction to soaps. I switched to natural, mild hand soap and hypoallergenic detergents and it went away.

Post 1

I developed a rash on both of my hands last week. It's worse on some days than others. My hands are very dry and it looks like I have flakes all over my palms and in between my fingers. It kind of looks like scales but it's not itchy. What might be the cause? I can't figure it out because it happened out of nowhere.

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