A variety of common skin conditions can lead to a rash on your palm. But it’s important to determine the exact cause in order to know how to treat it.
A rash is a symptom that can cause your skin to itch, burn, or develop bumps. While not often an indicator of a more serious condition, a rash can be a sign of an infection or exposure to an irritant.
You can develop a rash all over the body, including the palms of your hands. Throughout the day, your hand comes in contact with people, the environment, and other irritants that can cause a skin reaction. Understanding the cause of your rash and symptoms can help your doctor diagnose your condition.
A rash on your palm can lead to skin symptoms such as:
However, symptoms of a palm rash may appear differently depending on the exact underlying cause.
Several conditions may cause you to develop a rash on your palm.
In the colder months, the weather can cause your skin to dry out. This can directly affect your palms, causing your hands to itch and flake.
With dry skin, scratching your palms may worsen your symptoms. In many cases, applying moisturizer can help. In other cases, dry skin can be related to another skin condition or a medication you’re taking that causes your skin to dry out and develop a rash.
Your doctor can help identify what’s causing your dry skin.
Contact dermatitis is a form of eczema that causes a rash when your skin or hands touch an irritant. Sometimes, skin rashes can happen immediately. In most cases, a skin or palm rash takes time to develop.
Contact dermatitis commonly occurs after touching:
You may also develop a palm rash from touching cleaning supplies, bleach, and certain soaps.
If you develop a palm rash that doesn’t improve or is accompanied by burning, seek immediate medical attention.
Dyshidrotic eczema is a specific type of eczema that causes small, itchy blisters to develop on your palms as well as your fingers and the soles of your feet. They typically appear in clusters and may be painful. The blisters should dry and peel within 3 weeks.
Dyshidrotic eczema is most common among women, though it can occur in men.
If your doctor suspects dyshidrotic eczema, they may refer you to a dermatologist for an evaluation. A dermatologist is an expert who specializes in treating skin conditions.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a highly contagious viral infection that often spreads among children. It can cause you to develop sores and a rash in your mouth and on your hands and feet.
Other symptoms you may experience with this infection include:
A doctor can usually diagnose hand, foot, and mouth disease based on age, symptoms, and any known exposure to the infection.
This fungal infection is a common but treatable condition. Ringworm is a skin infection that shows up as a ring-shaped rash on various parts of your body. On the palms, however, it won’t develop its characteristic ring-shaped pattern.
In addition to a palm rash, you may experience:
- dry skin
- deep cracks
- thickened skin
To diagnose ringworm, your doctor will look at the affected skin, ask questions about your symptoms, and may also take a sample for testing.
This skin condition occurs due to an overactive immune system and leads to inflamed skin on various parts of your body. When it affects the palms, it’s known as palmoplantar psoriasis.
Psoriasis can be inherited, but skin injury, other skin conditions, or an infection can also trigger a flare.
Other than inflammation on your palm, you may also experience:
If psoriasis is suspected, meeting with a dermatologist can help you get the diagnosis and treatment that’s right for you.
Other common symptoms that may accompany your palm rash include:
A severe allergic reaction and anaphylactic shock are considered a medical emergency. You should seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the more serious symptoms.
Impetigo is contagious and can spread from person-to-person contact or by touching surfaces that a person with impetigo has touched. Impetigo also causes itching and can spread to other parts of the body from scratching.
A doctor will likely be able to diagnose impetigo simply by looking at it.
The best course of treatment for palm rash depends on the underlying cause.
Some rashes can improve on their own without treatment. In other cases, treatment could be as simple as using lotion to moisturize dry skin.
If you’re experiencing an allergic reaction, allergy medication or an antihistamine can lower symptoms and reduce your palm rash.
If the rash is a result of dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis, your doctor may prescribe a topical cream to suppress the rash. For cases of eczema and psoriasis, it also helps to avoid potential triggers and keep hands moisturized to prevent dry skin.
For bacterial infections, a doctor may prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic to clear the infection and its symptoms.
While most viral infections aren’t treated with medication, taking steps to rest and stay hydrated can help your body resist and clear the infection. This should, in turn, help improve skin symptoms.
If your skin symptoms don’t improve or worsen after treatment, seek immediate medical attention.
A palm rash is often a minor symptom that can be treated within a few days. However, some cases of palm rash are signs of a more serious skin condition or infection.
If you begin to experience additional symptoms with your palm rash, or if your symptoms worsen, schedule a visit with your doctor or a dermatologist. They can help you diagnose the condition and find the treatment that’s right for you.
You can book an appointment with a dermatologist in your area using our Healthline FindCare tool.