It’s bad enough that it’s frigid outside and the weather is gloomy. On top of that, having splitting fingertips – Skin Fissures makes everything that much worse and the winter seem that much longer. Splitting (fissuring) of the fingertips is a very common problem affecting many of us, most often in the extremely dry winter months.
Splitting fingertips (Fissures) can cause substantial discomfort, particularly frequent pain. The pain from cracked fingertips can make it difficult for you to carry out your normal daily activities. It also seems that those of us who tend to do activities with our hands, whether it be work-related functions or recreational things, tend to suffer the most from fingertip splitting. People with skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and psoriasis are prone to dry, cracked skin, which may result in skin fissures.
Splitting Fingertips – Skin Fissures
It’s worth taking just a moment to discuss why these splitting fingertips (Fissures) occur in the first place. The skin throughout the body normally has a certain amount of elasticity—its ability to bounce back to its normal position after stretching. Think of your skin like a rubber band. You could stretch that rubber band and as long as you don’t pull it too much it will spring back to its normal shape after you’re done pulling.
What Causes Fingertips to Split?
Certain areas of the skin tend to have less elasticity, and this is especially true for the fingertips. With the right background environmental conditions that elasticity can further dwindle down to very low levels.
Dry air and cold weather in the winter can cause dry hands and feet and dry out our skin, making it less elastic. Some of us are particularly prone to dry and sensitive skin causing even more susceptibility to this problem. Others may have skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis that further compound the problem. And then what happens?
When you pull or stretch that skin, rather than easily bouncing back, instead it more easily tears and splits open causing fingertip fissures.
Dry Skin Causes
- Cold weather – During the fall and winter months, cold temperatures and low humidity can cause your skin to dry out. Indoor heating also contributes to dry skin, as it lowers the humidity in your home.
- Chemical irritants – Many products such as dish detergent and laundry soap oftentimes contain harsh chemicals. Chemical irritants can cause dryness and damage your skin’s barrier.
- Hot water – Washing dishes with hot water or taking hot showers reduces the moisture on your skin.
- Medication – Some drugs such as topical retinoids can cause your skin to dry out.
- Excess moisture – When constantly exposed to moisture, your skin can easily become irritated and dry out.
Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands Omaha & Council Bluffs
We at Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands know how incredibly uncomfortable splitting fingertips can make you. We are happy to report that there are several different things that you can do to improve your skin health and get skin fissure spots to heal.
How to Keep Fingertips From Splitting – Home Remedies
Fortunately, there are a few at-home remedies that you can try to help prevent skin fissures in the first place.
Moisturize your Hands Multiple Times a Day
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Moisturizing your fingertips is one of the best home remedies to heal cracked and painful splitting fingertips. It is best to moisturize your hands throughout the day, especially at bedtime. In some cases, it is best to heal cracked fingertips by applying a liquid bandage first to seal cracks and then moisturizing.
When selecting a moisturizer, the thicker the product the better it may be for you. The best dermatologists know that lotions are the weakest moisturizers, with creams being better, and ointments being the best.
Dermatologist Recommended Hand Creams
Soak your Hands in Lukewarm Water
In the case of severe dry skin on the hands, especially if that is causing the splitting of the skin, we will often have patients soak their hands in lukewarm water for three to five minutes at bedtime. After soaking your hands in lukewarm water, not hot water, immediately coat your wet hands in petroleum jelly (Vaseline), then put on soft white cotton gloves.
Soaking your hands in lukewarm water, then applying Vaseline nightly for a period of time, and using the same pair of gloves (without cleaning the gloves) can help to soften the hands, increasing their elasticity.
Protect your Hands
When things get particularly bad with dry hands and splitting skin, try to minimize activities that put great strain on the fragile skin. This includes various mechanical activities.
Avoid exposure to the elements (cold outdoor temperatures), and also avoid frequent hand washing (only washing your hands when necessary). Repeat wet-dry cycles, as you get with washing dishes, cleaning, and doing mechanical work where you wash your hands afterward is one of the most common causes of cracked fingertips.
Consider wearing gloves for activities that can cause cracked hands. Wear work gloves for heavy mechanical activities and thinner disposable gloves for household activities. Nitrile gloves are often good for this and can be bought by the box.
Contact Us – Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands (Omaha, NE & Council Bluffs, IA)
If these measures don’t do enough for you, consider seeking medical advice from us here at Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands. In some cases, more aggressive treatments may be needed, resulting in great improvement.
Again, we know how bad winters can be, especially on the fingertips. Splitting fingertip fissures can be extremely uncomfortable. We hope this information has been helpful to you, and if you still have difficulties, we have appointments available to evaluate and treat your problem at our offices in Omaha, Council Bluffs, and outreach locations in both Iowa and Nebraska.
For any information or to make an appointment please contact us.