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Summary

The management of chronic hand eczema is often inadequate. There are currently no evidence-based guidelines specifically for the management of chronic hand eczema, and evidence for established treatments for hand eczema is not of sufficient quality to guide clinical practice. This consensus statement, based on a review of published data and clinical practice in both primary and secondary care, is intended to guide the management of chronic hand eczema. It describes the epidemiology and pathogenesis of hand eczema, its diagnosis and its effect on patients’ quality of life. Management strategies include a skin education programme, lifestyle changes, and the use of emollients, barriers and soap substitutes. Topical drug therapy includes topical steroids and calcineurin inhibitors. Treatment with psoralen ultraviolet A and systemic therapies may then be appropriate, although there is no strong evidence of efficacy. Alitretinoin has been shown to be effective in a randomized controlled trial, and is currently the only treatment specifically licensed for the treatment of hand eczema. Recommendations for management are summarized in a treatment algorithm.