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Ending the Drought: Cracked Skin on Fingers

Updated on June 24, 2015
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Trained in dentistry, Sree is currently studying lab sciences. She enjoys researching various health topics and writing about her findings.

You use your hands for doing a lot of things throughout the day. They experience a lot of grabbing, holding, and washing, so sometimes,they get dry and even cracked. Your hands do a lot of work so they need a lot of care as well.

Dry and cracked skin on fingers may seem rather unsightly and can even cause further problems when the cracks are deep. Dry skin is also more prone to other skin problems like infections, tearing, and itching.

So what can you do to aid the dry, cracked skin on your fingers? Which of the following is beneficial for dry cracked skin?

  1. Peeling off the dry skin on your fingers
  2. Washing your hands constantly with strong cleansers
  3. Using a room humidifier

There are a few changes you can make to give your hands the help they need. Find out which of the above is the safest thing to do - and more.

Ending the Drought: Cracked Skin on Fingers
Ending the Drought: Cracked Skin on Fingers | Source

Dealing with Deep, Dry Cracks

Some people experience extremely dry and cracked skin around their fingers to the point where the cracks are so severe, they may cause bleeding. These may be considered as wounds and should be treated as such.

Make sure to clean your hands. Wash your hands with warm water. Do not use hot or cold water as this can be drying. Use a mild soap or cleanser and make sure to dilute it in water. Don't use the soap directly on the skin. Be gentle when washing your hands but ensure that every part is thoroughly cleansed.

Dry your hands with a clean, absorbent towel. Avoid using hand dryers as the warm air can further dry your skin and it may also actually carry bacteria that may infect your cracks. Be gentle when drying your hands with a towel. Pat gently instead of rubbing roughly.

After your hands are thoroughly cleansed and dried, apply an antibacterial ointment on the cracks. It will protect and help them avoid infection. Don't apply alcohol, as the hand washing is enough to cleanse and the antibacterial ointment is enough to ward off any infection.

Cold Weather Problems

Most people get dry and cracked skin around their fingers from the weather. When the weather gets cold, the air gets dry and so does the skin on their hands. Knowing that the cold and dry weather is causing your hands' lack of moisture, help them by wearing gloves or mittens. It is also better if you lather on some lotion or hand cream before protecting your hands. Make sure your lotion and hand cream does not contain alcohol in its ingredients, as this can actually do more harm than good.

The lack of humidity in the air can also dry one's skin. You can use a room humidifier to help manage the humidity in the air.

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Dealing with Deep, Dry Cracks on Fingers
Dealing with Deep, Dry Cracks on Fingers | Source

Less is Less (Harmful)

Your body has its own way of moisturizing your skin but when you wash your hands too often using soaps containing a lot of chemicals, this can strip your skin off of its natural oils. Personal hygiene is important, but don't overdo it. If you have to wash your hands, use only mild cleansers. Look for cleansers that have moisturizing properties. You don't need your cleansers to have foaming properties, deodorizing properties, colorants, and fragrances. They are unnecessary additives that may contain chemicals that can strip your skin of its natural moisture.

After washing your hands and drying them thoroughly, make sure to moisturize. Put on back the moisture that's lost when the water evaporates.


Before trimming, wash your hands with a moisturizing cleanser so the tough skin is easier to cut off. You can also moisturize your hands with a lotion or cream before or after trimming off the dead skin.

Moisturizing Oils, Creams, and Lotions: Your Hands Best Friend

Sometimes your natural oils need a little help. Lather on some moisturizing lotions or oils to nourish your dry skin. Some creams are also especially formulated for dry hands.

Look for products that have pure emollients and humectants. Emollients soothe and soften the skin. They help by reducing the moisture lost from the epidermis, or the outer layer of the skin. The protective film helps the skin stay moist and supple. Humectants work by attracting water molecules; they hydrate the skin by attracting moisture to it.

Lanolin is a substance that comes from the skin of sheep. It is secreted from the sheep's oil glands to help saturate their skin and wool. Lanolin has emollient and humectant properties that lock moisture in the skin and even absorb additional moisture from the air around it. Dry skin usually results from the lack of lipids in the skin. Lanolin is rich in lipids that fill the gaps in the skin and help it lock in more moisture.

Jojoba oil is famous for its benefits for the skin. It is best known for its close resemblance to the body's natural sebum. This oil comes from the jojoba plant and has many other benefits for the body. It is a natural emollient and because of its close resemblance to the human body's sebum, it is more easily absorbed into the skin. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it perfect for using on dry and chapped skin; you get the moisturizing you need, plus it helps fight off infection at the same time.

Plant butters are also very beneficial to skin moisturizing. They are good to use because they are natural and won't add any harmful chemicals to your system. There are a lot of plant butters available that are beneficial to skin moisturizing –coconut butter and Shea butter are among the popular natural choices.

Coconut butters and oils are naturally high in antioxidants that benefit the skin and prevent wrinkles.They can be used as a natural sunscreen which is essential for protecting dry skin. Coconut also contains caprylic acid, giving it anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties.

Shea butter is extracted from the nuts of the Shea tree. It also has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. It contains vitamins and fatty acids that help nourish the skin. It stimulates the production of collagen as well, which helps skin become stronger and suppler. Aside from its deep moisturizing properties, it helps skin regeneration and protection.

Moisturizing Oils, Creams, and Lotions: Your Hands Best Friend
Moisturizing Oils, Creams, and Lotions: Your Hands Best Friend | Source

Picking on the Problem

Now, it is tempting to pull and pick on the dry skin on your fingers, but you should really avoid doing so. You can tear the skin off and wound yourself and this will cause more problems like irritations and infections.

You can trim off some of the dead top layer of the skin so they won't snag on clothing. These protruding loose skin areas along cracks may also trap soapy water when not washed off thoroughly. The soapy water may further dry the skin and cause more problems.

Be sure to use disinfected nail clippers that are free of rust. Don't get carried away when trimming, only trim half a millimeter of dead top skin. Only trim from the tough, transparent layer of the skin and make sure your trimming won't hurt or draw blood.

Nighttime Care

If heavy moisturizers like lotions, oils, and creams are unbearable in the daytime then try to include hand moisturizing in your nighttime routine. Before going to bed, cleanse your hands and pat them dry. Apply the skin moisturizer of your choice deliberately on your hands. Let them absorb for a few minutes, undisturbed, then wear breathable cloth gloves overnight. When you wake up in the morning your hands will be soft and supple.

Your hands help you with a lot of tasks from the most important jobs to the most mundane chores. Give them the tender loving care they need to stay in top shape.

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This was a great hub on how to treat dry or cracked skin on your hands with handy and useful tips. I would never thought of cocoa butter for example. Voted up!