Splitting Fingertips Skin Fissures

Splitting Fingertips Skin Fissures

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 and split skin on fingers near nails 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 a skin fissure.

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. The right background environmental conditions can reduce your skin’s elasticity which can lead to cracking.

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 reduce your skin’s moisture. Indoor heating also contributes to dry skin, as it lowers the humidity in your home. Split fingertips in the winter make moisturizing your hands during the cold months vital.
  • 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 finger skin splitting open. 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.

Coconut oil’s moisturizing properties can offer relief for splitting fingertips caused by dryness or environmental factors, as it helps hydrate the skin and prevent further drying when applied regularly. However, if the splitting is due to underlying medical conditions like eczema or psoriasis, coconut oil alone may not suffice.

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 for a skin fissure.

Dermatologist Recommended Hand Creams

  • CeraVe
  • Eucerin
  • Cetaphil
  • Vanicream
  • Aquaphor

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.

To heal split fingers and prevent hand fissures, 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.

Additional Reading:

Nail Brittleness

Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands | Best Dermatologist in Omaha, NE & Council Bluffs, IA | Board Certified Dermatologists

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.