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Skin Care and Diseases

Hyperpigmentation and dry skin

09/21/2006

Question:

What can I do about hyper pigmentation and extremely dry skin. My hand are so dry that they peel and at time become extremely sore.

Answer:

Your hand problem is probably the result of frequent washing or using irritants topically, or even possibly allergens.  I would urge you to use nonirritating cleansers such as Cetaphil or Purpose bar, or waterless lotions by those two manufacturers, or possibly Dove unscented soap, after which you probably need to apply at least hydrocortisone ointment and possibly use a barrier cream such as Kerodex 71.  You really need to be examined by a dermatologist so that the precise cause of your hand dryness can be determined accurately.  Sometimes psoriasis, fungi, etc. may be involved.

Hyperpigmentation is a result of low-grade irritancy and/or allergy. Stimulating the melanocytes supplies more color.  The basic treatment is to avoid the precipitating agent and in time the normal color  match usually returns.

It is very important that you be seen by a knowledgeable person at your earliest convenience.

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati