Hand eczema: causes, course, and prognosis I

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Hand eczema is a common dermatosis. The course is often protracted. The prognosis is not well described.


To describe in detail a consecutive cohort of hand eczema patients with regard to aetiology and morphology as well as the dynamics of the hand eczema.

Patients and Methods

This prospective study included 522 consecutive patients (175 men and 347 women with hand eczema) seen in 1 year in a private practice of dermatology. 425 (81%) of the patients were patch tested in relation to the current study. Most of the remainder had been previously patch tested.


38% had mild dermatitis, 49% had dermatitis of moderate severity, and 11% had severe dermatitis. 23% had had dermatitis for more than 10 years. 33% had irritant contact dermatitis, 13% of the men and 20% of the women had allergic contact dermatitis, and 15% of the men and 16% of the women had atopic dermatitis. For 34% of the men and 29% of the women, the dermatitis was certainly or possibly occupational. There was no relationship to smoking.


The majority of this cohort of hand eczema patients had long-standing disease. Irritant contact dermatitis was the most common aetiological diagnosis.

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