Red Skin On The Hands: What It Could Be And How To Identify The Cause

It would be fair to say that of all the parts of our body, our hands come into contact with the most different materials and surfaces, and we use many different products, soaps and sanitisers on them every day. It’s not surprising then that red, inflamed skin on our hands is quite common. There are a few things that can cause this red skin on the hands. What causes can be treated with a topical cream and when should you see a doctor? Let’s have a look at some of the more common causes and how to treat them.

Some Of The Common Causes


Allergic reactions are one of the most common causes of red skin on the hands, which can be caused by contact with something that you are allergic to. Common causes of allergic reactions are adverse reactions to an ingredient in a skincare product or cream, a plant or a chemical. Redness on the hands, particularly when associated with plants can take a few days to appear, which makes finding the source quite difficult.

Hives (also called urticaria) is another common cause of red skin on the hands. They’re another kind of allergic reaction and appear as itchy bumps that can become lighter when pressed. Although they usually resolve without much effort, they can also precede a life-threatening anaphylaxis event. Patient, an online resource with evidence-based medical advice and health topics, has some good information about hives, their cause and how to treat them.

Other skin conditions like psoriasis, lichen plantus and keratolysis exfoliative are less common, but can also be the cause of red skin on the hands.

Preventing Red Skin On The Hands

woman gardening

There are some steps you can take to avoid developing red, itchy and scaly skin on your hands:

  • If you’re working in the yard or with chemicals, always wear a good pair of gloves suitable for the activity.
  • Don’t use medicated creams unless prescribed by a doctor.
  • Try and stick to moisturising creams and products without fragrances.

Common Treatments

In general, the initial treatments for red skin on the hands are almost always a topical cream, which will vary based on the type of rash or skin condition you’re experiencing. An antifungal cream would help with fungal infections, while something that provides relief like calamine lotion or antihistamines could be used for allergic reactions.

When to See a Doctor

Red skin on the hands can be a sign of more serious conditions and shouldn’t be dismissed if it doesn’t clear up quickly or if it occurs often. Associated symptoms like a high temperature or discharge from the affected area indicate that you might need to see a doctor as soon as possible.

If your breathing is affected or if the rash and redness start to spread over your body, you should visit the emergency room straight away.

Many rashes don’t require medical treatment and will generally clear up on their own rather quickly, but don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if the redness and rash are causing you prolonged discomfort.

*This article is for information purposes only, in an emergency always ring 999 and ask for an ambulance

1 comment

  1. My mother-in-law gets red skin on her hands from gardening. I'm always nagging her to wear gloves