What’s Causing the Rash on Your Hands?

Do you have a rash on your hands that seemed to crop up out of nowhere? We often associate a rash with illnesses like the measles or chickenpox, but rashes can be caused by a number of reasons and not all of them are as severe as a viral infection. Take a look at some of the following conditions and treatment methods that may be a good fix for the rash on your hands.

Skin Allergy or Sensitivity

If the rash on your hands is a recent development, meaning that it isn’t something you’ve dealt with off and on your whole life, then there’s a good chance that you may simply have a skin allergy or sensitivity. Even if you don’t consider your skin to be particularly sensitive, your hands may come into contact with elements that are much more irritating and damaging to the skin, such as chemicals, detergents, and extremes in temperature. Ask yourself if you have recently come into contact with a new soap, such as dish or laundry soap, or even a new hand lotion or disinfectant product. These items can cause excessive dryness and general irritation to the skin cells on your hands, especially if chemicals or harsh perfumes and colorants are used. This causes inflammation to develop and thus a rash is born!

Certain plants contain toxins that can cause a rash to develop on the skin, such as nettles and poison ivy/oak. If the rash on your hands started around the same time you did some work in the garden, spent time hiking, or even went camping, then it is very possible that the rash has developed as the result of contact with one of these plants.


In some ways the human body is vulnerable, but the way that it handles everyday physical and emotional stress is actually quite amazing. Stress can be translated into several different physical manifestations; tense shoulder muscles, stomach cramps, hair loss, and—you probably guessed it—rashes. The most common rash associated with stress is called hives. Hives may differ slightly in appearance depending on the severity of the reaction. For some it shows up as a condensed area of raised, reddened skin. For others, the hives may be circular or half-moon shaped raised bumps on the skin that pop up at random, disappear, and then reappear in a new area. Hives tend to be very itchy and embarrassing, especially if they spread from the hands to other parts of the body—which is often the case. Fearing the onset of hives may lead to more stress thus actually triggering a hive outbreak. Hives will disappear naturally and rarely require medical attention. The best thing to do to get rid of the hives is to find a place where you can call down and de-stress yourself.


Psoriasis is a condition that you’ve probably heard about before. This is an inflammatory condition, which means that it is created as a result of the body having an overactive immune system. Psoriasis has a very strong genetic tie, so if you have a parent or grandparent with this condition then you should seriously consider asking your doctor for an exam and possible diagnosis of psoriasis. Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body but it is not uncommon for it to be limited to the hands and/or feet areas. The symptoms of this condition include thickened skin that has a pinkish under-layer with grey-white flaking of the topmost layer. The flaking or scaly appearance of the skin, along with cracking, swelling, and blisters that form a rash-like appearance are tell-tale signs of psoriasis.

Products designed specifically for the treatment of psoriasis, usually in the form of a topical cream that may be rubbed into the skin, can be very effective at controlling psoriasis outbreaks. Coal tar items creams or even “t-gel” shampoo can be applied to the affected areas to reduce inflammation and scaling, bring down swelling of the skin, and soothe the itchiness that often occurs with this condition. If these remedies don’t seem to do the trick then you might find it helpful to speak to a dermatologist, who can provide prescription-strength creams or ointments specifically designed to treat the symptoms of psoriasis.

Fungal Infection

If the rash on your hands occurs in a circular patch or several circular patches, then you might actually be suffering from a fungal infection called ringworm, or tinea infection. The affected area is usually very red underneath a scaly top layer of skin. Ringworm can be caused by malnourishment, excessive moisture on the skin (especially if you frequently wear gloves), or it can be transmitted from person to person or animal to person. Ringworm is commonly transmitted from cats to people.

Ringworm can be treated using over the counter fungal creams, such as those designed to treat athlete’s foot which is caused by the same fungus. Be sure to carry out the treatment exactly as the instructions say, as failure to continue treatment for the specified duration can result in relapse of the infection. Try to wash your hands regularly and keep them dry as much as possible.