Q: My daughter, age 3½, has recurring blistering on the bottom of her left foot. We have been to two dermatologists and they believe she has dyshidrotic eczema. She has nothing on her hands or her right foot, just the left foot. She was given a steroid cream called Cutivate that seems to help when the eczema flares up, but I did not get any information on possible prevention or things I can do to help.
A: Dyshidrotic eczema (a.k.a. pompholyx) got its name when people thought the blisters were filled with sweat from plugged up sweat ducts. They are not. Instead, they are usually due to a very focal inflammation of unknown cause. Sometimes they pop out from skin fungus infections, atopic dermatitis, irritations, or even contact allergies. Apparently your dermatologists felt these were not likely. Sometimes sweaty feet and tennis shoes aggravate the problem, too. Cortisone-based creams often help heal the skin but usually do not stop the unpredictable recurrences. Your daughter will likely “outgrow” this problem eventually. Sometimes applying a cream containing 10% urea (e.g., Carmol 10 cream or Nutraplus lotion) every day can slow outbreaks, but may cause some harmless stinging when applied to broken skin.