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Cracked Fingertips Add To Winter's Misery

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Compared to most health problems, cracked fingertips seem trivial. But anyone who has ever struggled with sore painful fingers will tell you they can turn normal daily activities into agony.

A reader confided: "It is very frustrating and sometimes depressing to be in so much discomfort and have to refrain from peeling and eating an orange, washing dishes, buttoning clothes, putting on jewelry and other normally enjoyable activities."

It is not entirely clear why fingertips sometimes split open. This problem is most common in winter, so dry skin is the usual suspect. People who wash their hands a lot, from mechanics to health care providers, are especially vulnerable. When thyroid hormone levels drop too low, dry skin, particularly cracked fingertips, may result.

Fungal infections may be an unsuspected contributing factor, as one reader discovered: "While using the antifungal shampoo Nizoral for a dandruff condition, I noticed the cracked skin on my hands also improved tremendously. Now when symptoms appear I wash my hands using Nizoral (ketoconazole) three times a week. I've tried everything my dermatologist had to offer but this is the only treatment that actually worked."

Nizoral shampoo is available over the counter. A Baltimore reader used a prescription drug: "I had a prescription for nystatin and triamcinolone cream. After applying it to my fingers several times a day they healed quickly. I suspect the cracks may be caused by a fungal infection, since nystatin is an antifungal medicine."

Another reader uses a natural product: "Fingertip splitting can be very painful, especially since I'm using (and washing) my hands a lot as a massage therapist. I found that applying tea tree oil to the splits helps them heal in just a few days. It takes much longer when treating with moisturizers alone. I now apply the oil at the first sign of cracks and haven't had much pain from them in years."

Tea tree oil has antifungal activity, which may explain the success. Beware, though, that some people break out in a rash when they are exposed to tea tree oil.

A quick fix may be as close as your lip balm. One person shared this: "ChapStick works for temporary relief of cracked fingertips."

Many readers have discovered that sealing the cracks can help them heal faster, too: "I am a carpenter and I have had split fingers and thumbs every winter for years. I read about instant glue being used by medics in Vietnam so I tried it. It works great to seal splits and make the pain go away. This approach is easy and cheap."

Household instant glue may be irritating for some. Liquid bandage could accomplish the same outcome and be safer, though more expensive.

Protecting hands from water and detergent is also important, as one reader reports: "What helped me most was rubber gloves. Now I never put my hands in water, except to shower. This is a great preventive measure, and well worth the cost and the inconvenience."

A latex-free protective glove called DermaSoft is especially comfortable. Information is available at

Moisturizers are also important in the fight against cracked fingertips. Adding some of these other tricks may help ease winter discomfort.

If you find these sorts of practical, affordable home remedies of interest, you may wish to subscribe to our *free* online newsletter. It offers questions and answers about drugs, home remedies, nutrition and non-drug approaches to healing; commentaries on the most pressing health issues of the day; special alerts on breaking health news as it happens and coverage of the top health headlines of the week. 

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A friend of mine switches to Dove bar soap from liquid soap for washing his hands in the winter and it seems to reduce the amount of skin cracking. He thinks the antibacterial soap may be the problem.

Best thing I've found is pure hydrous lanolin, tube or jar, from any pharmacist.

The only thing that I've found that will heal the cracks around fingers is to apply antibiotic ointment and wrap with a bandaid. This will take about 2 days putting fresh ointment and bandaid the second day.

A product called "Zims Crack Cream" works well, as does "Bag Balm" used to soften a cow's udders. Comes under several different names.

I find using Working Hands hand cream helps heal cracked fingertips very quickly.

Plain old petroleum jelly has kept the skin on my hands and feet from cracking through many winters.

I am a paddler and it seems as if cold water aggravates skin cracks on my fingers. For years I used Zim's Crack Creme which worked very well in promoting healing.

Then a few years ago, the formula for Crack Creme changed. It used to include Canadian Willowherb which is now patented in Canada and too expensive for them to use. Without this it dosen't work nearly as well as the original formula.

I still have a couple of bottles of the origonal Crack Creme. I don't know what I will use when they are gone.

For years we have used Corona, lanolin-rich Antiseptic Ointment. It's in the same catagory as Bag Balm but much better. One can purchase it at feed stores or similar places. Great stuff!!

A sure cure for cracked fingertips is to take Flax oil. I use the 1200 mg softgels. Since taking these I do not get the cracked tips any more. Nothing worked before, including many prescriptions from doctor.

The best thing is to moisturize following each hand washing, to prevent the problem. I like to put a small amount of olive oil on my cuticles; massage it in, followed by any good, thick moisture cream. The cream mixes nicely with the oil, aiding the absorption.
If I neglect to do this even once during the winter, I get the cracks and split cuticles. The only thing that helps me at that point is to use Nexcare Skin Crack Care, which seals the cracks. Note that it probably won't work with the use of creams or lotions...

I used to have at least 4 fingers cracked all the time. It turned out that if I wore cotton gloves when reading the newspapers every time I picked one up I never cracked again. I do get dryer hands in winter but the cracks were from the acid or ink in the paper.


A number of years ago, my old physician was treating me for hypothroidism & found it necessary to prescribe a daily Synthroid pill for me, but after he'd passed away, it was necessary to seek another GP.

I've always had Mediterranean Anemia, which is
hereditary from my mother. Although I am periodically tested because I'm on a daily regimin of
75 mg of Plavix Tab, Avalide 300-12.5 Tab, Verapamil 240 mg er Tab., but my GP continues to tell me my thyroid is OK. Since I've stopped taking
Synthroid, my hair has thinned out terribly & my skin is extremely dry, in addtion to the constant splitting of my finger tips. I've found it necessary to use bag balm on my hands & often apply Triple Antibiotic Ointment on my split finger tips & wear bandaids on my finger tips to heal the splits.

Although I've complained to my GP about these conditions, he's advised me there's nothing wrong w/my Thyroid. I personally feel I'm in dire need of some sound advice.

I don't know if you received my previous message about cracked finger tips, but the only thing that helped my wife for her cracked finger tips, after trying many so called remedies, was when I had a water softner installed. It's been several years now and her fingers are fine.

I also have cracked skin on the tips of my fingers. I have tried many products. The only success I have had is with these products: Zims Crack LIQUID SKIN Care when the cracks first start. After the crack has closed, Gold Bond Ultimate healing Aloe. I hope this will help someone else.

My fingers were in terrible condition with splits when a good friend said for me to try "Corn Huskers Lotion". It is a miracle worker, keeps my hands soft and the splits disappear.

The only sure cure for me has been to cover the crack with plain adhesive tape for a couple of days. (It's so hard to make a band-aid stay on a finger-tip.) Oddly, the same tape (Johnson & Johnson Waterproof) was also the apparent cause of my most persistently recurring case of finger-tip cracking, when I left it on for 9 solid days over a bad cut; maybe I'm allergic to the "dry natural rubber" in the product. But a couple of days of it is curative rather than harmful.

I usually have cracked, dry, bleeding hands and lips in winter. Over the past 20 years, I have probably tried 20 different remedies. Finally settled on Chapstick which I used to use on fingertips and lips. But it seems they changed the formula about a year or so ago. Now use Gold Bond Ultimate Healing and love it. It is the best.
Comes with or without aloe. Both seem the same. It works great. And unlike Chapstick, you only have to use it once about every 36 hours or so.

I have used many cuticle moisturizers, from Avon to over the counter. The one thing that helped with them all was to wear the cotton gloves all night to hold in the moisturizer. Also soaks with Skin So Soft and Epsom Salts helped.

I have three painfully cracked fingers right now and it's hard to even type, dig in my purse or even button my shirt. Thanks for all your tips...

My husband recently finished radiation treatment for throat cancer and the Dr. recommended Aquaphor, made by Eucerin, to treat the burns on his neck. His fingertips had developed deep painful splits and he tried the Aquaphor there too. It did a wonderful job of quickly healing his neck and his fingertips. It works great for my dry winter skin. No more cracked heels.

I had hard, peeling, cracking skin on 3 fingers for over 1 yr. Nothing would work. Then I heard about figs, ate about 7 of them, 2 days later my skin was mostly healed with no more abnormal growth!

Earlier I recommended covering the cracks with adhesive tape for a couple of days for a reliable but temporary cure. Since then I've tried ketoconazole, recommended by another reader, and it seemed to provide a cure that has lasted maybe 3 weeks so far.

I have suffered from cracked fingers in the winter time only, for a number of years. The only sure-fire remedy for me has been to cover the cracks with a plain bandaid for a couple of days, like another writer in your "reader comments section" mentioned. I have tried a number of products to combat the problem, such as liquid bandage, and various creams, but nothing has been a real success. I am sure that in my case the cause of these cracks is the wearing of gloves made from synthetic fleecy liners. I never had cracks when wearing gloves with natural product liners like rabbit fur, but these are almost impossible to find these days. I am still looking for a suitable preventative solution short of not wearing any gloves in cold weather.

On Jan. 21 I wrote that ketoconazole seemed to work. I don't think so anymore, though it's hard to be sure.


Guaranteed remedy... coat with vicks vapo rub, wrap well with bandaid; pain stops almost immediately. Do the same at night, and for most splits, it's healed in the morning!!

My fingertips get hard also, then dry out and then crack. Tried many things over the years. Haven't found a cure yet, but will try some of the recommendations here. However what I have found is the best bandage for healing them: "BAND-AID Active-Flex premium adhesive Bandages." I buy them by the carton. Everyone on this form will thank me when they try them. Good luck!

My husband used to have cracked skin on his hands every winter. One year we realized he was using a lotion with lanolin on his dry hands in the winter. He is allergic to wool. He stopped using lotion with lanolin and has not had cracked skin since.

I suffered from cracked fingertips for over a year until I read about pycnogenol, an over the counter supplement, in your column. After I began taking two in the morning and two at night, my problem went away within two weeks. I also use plenty of moisturizer.

I still get a crack now and then, but rarely.

I am looking for rubber tips to put on my cracked fingers.

My Mom use to do that many years ago.

I will buy rubber gloves if there are no rubber tips. Dish washing is killing my fingers. Gloves are not my favorites. No one mentioned them.

I have tried many of the above .

I swear by Hemp Hand Protector from The Body Shop -- it clears the cracks within 12 hours. Hemp is a natural Hydrocortisone and so does not do the same damage to the skin that a chemical hydrocortisone can do.

For the person looking for rubber finger tips... they are called finger cots... postal workers use them to make handling paper easier...

My husband use to get painful cracks on his heels and I would rubbed crack creme into them. It totally cured him and his heels never cracked again. Instead both my thumbs and middle fingers crack all the time. (typing right now hurts!) Bag balm, crack creme, etc. Nothing has worked. He gave them to me. The cure must be to pass them along. I wish it could be so easy. I'd give them right back! Thanks for all the good tips.

I have cracked fingertips every time the weather gets cold. The skin on my finger joints and knuckles will even split. I found a product called Badger Balm at the auto parts store and it is wonderful. I try to grease my hands in it at night and wear gloves to bed when having this problem. The only negative on this for daytime, as with all balms, creams, etc., is when you work with paper or equipment all day (can't do your job with gloves on) you can't keep them greased since it gets everything you touch greasy. BUT, it's the best thing I've found so far. It really relieves the soreness pretty quick as well as heals fast, too.

pure zinc oxide cream has worked for me for several years. there are diaper rash creams that contain it, but they contain so many other ingredients, they don't work. insist that your pharmacist
order (inexpensive) pure zinc oxide cream for you soon. (it's becoming hard to find.) it's messy; use it when you can rest your hands.

Vicks vapo rub? that sounds painfull! Does it sting at all?

I've suffered from cracked finger tips and knuckles every winter for a number of years, and the doctor keeps prescribing moisturizers which I use every night, without much effect. I shall try some of the suggestions left here and hopefully get some relief at last!

I accidentally discovered that the cracks on my fingertips foamed markedly when I got 3% hydrogen peroxide on them. If I apply H2O2 every morning, the cracks may or may not foam, but they never open up or cause trouble. Not a cure, but 100% effective control. My best guess is that the cracks are playing host to some organism that produces catalase (which makes H2O2 foam), and the peroxide kills it, or inhibits the production or activity of some enzyme that weakens the tissue.

I had the same problem every year. This year I'm great.I think taking flax seed oil helps. I'm taking flex seed oil (1 tbs)with 6 tbs of yogurt.
it's great for many things as I see for cracks too.

I just read your article from the man who said he and his wife had painful cracked skin. I am 65 and have had cracked, bleeding, painful cracked skin for all my life. This past year I tried Diabetic's Handcream made by Stanmar Laboratories in Kansas City, Mo. I haven't had one open sore all winter. I couldn't even cut my fingernails because they would crack open and the split would feel like someone holding a knife on them. I can only use two household products without using Mr. Clean latex gloves and that is Palmolive dish detergent (purple kind) and Mr. Clean (the yellow lemon scent). I feel like I found a miracle.

The response posted by JC is on top of the situation. Cause and effect is something I learned in school. The cause is the soap you are using in the winter time. Switch to Dove soap with moisturizing cream and kiss the painful cracks on your fingers goodbye.
If you have a crack on your finger and want it to heal quickly use Nature's Bounty vitamin E-liquid. Put a drop or two on a band-aid and in a day or two it will be healed. It also works on burns, etc. leaving no scar.
Also, using liquid soap causes hangnails.

For over 30 years I have been using Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream (known in our family as "pink stuff") for cracked/cut fingertips, small cuts, corner of the mouth cuts and lips. Dab it on, cover with a bandage if possible. It now comes in a tube, making it easier to use for this purpose.

Cracking, bleeding finger tips is called Eczema. I had them too. Dermatologist gave me Mometasone ointment . It works but expensive to use forever. When I ran out, I found using just petroleum jelly works just as well. Rub it on you finger tips as often as you can. My bleeding stopped in a day or two.

My husband and I both suffer from this problem....and we have the same fingers that crack and bleed. Our home remedy is to put a small amount of zinc oxide on the finger and put a bandaid over it. It usually stops the pain, and it heals up. The problem we have is that once we get ours healed, within a week or so, they are showing signs of cracking again. I am going to try the Vick's Vapor Rub like some of the others have. Thanks for sharing these remedies.....counting the days till spring so I can have normal fingertips once again.

my hands are really bad in the winter, so last night i cocoa butter inside a pair of plastic gloves (medical ones). I had put loads and i mean loads of the cocoa butter on my hands as the skin was really bad ,my hands are a lot better today (still bit rough and cracked) but not as bad as yesterday.

I've suffered from cracked fingers for several years now. I am a preschool teacher so not only do I wash my hands a lot I'm always making and playing with play dough (salt---OUCH), painting or using other such materials. I've tried many different kinds of lotions and treatments and nothing seems to work. I have tubes of Avon silicone glove, corn huskers oil, Aquaphor, Mary Kay "pink stuff", Aveeno Hand Cream, Eucerine, oils and the list goes on.

I have a history of a very over active Thyroid but that has been a problem longer than the cracked fingers. We have "teacher soap" at school that is not antibacterial and I put lotion on each time I wash my hands. Liquid Bandaid has been the most helpful, the cracks don't heal but it keeps them from bleeding and the cracks from getting deeper.

I just used Lip Medex, which is an ointment for the lips (it also prevents cold sores). I rubbed it on my fingers and fingernails last night, and when I woke up this morning, the pain was gone.

I moisturize from the inside out by taking an Omega 3-6-9 (1,200 mg. Borage, Flax & Fish Oil) supplement each day. This keeps my skin hydrated since I don't eat much fish, and fish oil pills make me burp. I use to scratch my legs with a hair brush because they itched soo bad, but not anymore. When I started taking 3-6-9 five years ago, it took about one week at the start to see/feel the difference.

I rarely use moisturizer at all anymore on my legs or arms. However, I still have cracked finger tips from having my hands in water so much. I apply Johnson&Johnson First Aid Cream at night and cover with a Clear Water Block Plus Band-Aid and the crack is gone by morning. But then I start the cycle again from having my hands in water the next day cleaning, cooking, etc. Within a week, another crack appears. Moisturizers and band-aids come off in water. Gloves are annoying. I use finger cots (found in the first-aid section) and rubber finger tips (from an office supply store) but water gets in them too.

I have been suffering since 1977 and I want to prevent the cracks from starting. I already have an excellent way of healing them overnight. I love some of the suggestions posted and will try many of them. I had no idea anyone else had the same problem. Many thanks to those who have posted their successes. Keep them coming and I will check back again and again until I find "my" success. Thanks!

I found cracked skin on finger and thumb tips responded very well to simply spraying hair spray (any brand) on them . It stings for a second but works. Needs to be repeated after putting your hands in water a few times. But protection is almost immediate.

Sometimes at bedtime I have used either Vicks or Vaseline then covered hands with white socks. By morning much better. But not always "cured" so on to the hair spray...

I feel like my fingers are cracking from the inside out. When they split, they bleed. When they seem to be healing up, they will just split again. Wearing gloves as much as possible does help.

Thank you all so much! I have been doing tile project on my house, and my fingertips have a couple of amazaingly painful cracks that just won't heal for more than a week now. I will try the suggestions here. I'm glad to know it is not just me.

I have tried tripple atibiotic ointment & cream for cracked fingers and thumbs. Also bandaids and cotton gloves when I sleep. For pain camphophenique is great. It is also an antiseptic. After reading some of the comments I am going to try an anti fungal cream.

I have tried many hand creams, foot creams, vitamin E oils and more. I can't say any of them worked for this problem. They always heal up in one or two days only to crack again. I want a preventative. I take a lot of vitamins and other supplements and drink a lot of water, but I still get cracked finger tips all winter long.

Bought a package of 20 disposable vinyl gloves at Home Depot for $1.00.
Cut off the fingers of the gloves. Before I go to bed, I dip my cracked fingers into a jar of vaseline and slip a glove finger over each one. In the morning I remove the glove finger and put on Zims Crack Cream which I can get at WalMart. Have to do this about twice a week.

I work in an Indian Health Service Hospital and the Nurses introduced me to Superglue. Hold the crack shut and apply a miniscule amount of superglue and it seals it. In health care it's important to seal them to avoid MRSA and other infections.

I have come to believe that newspaper as well as stress may be the culprit. Last year I moved and had all my china in newspaper my fingers split when I packed and were a mess for weeks then they were okay until we had to unpack and again my fingers split. This fall we moved again and of course wrapped everything with paper and wouldn't you know it, my fingertips split and my hands were so chapped that they didn't even absorb handcream!!

I found a few things that work..the lipbalm that is in the little pots like medex the one with the yellow lid (don't remember the name) also polysporin with painrelief, and when washing vinegar and then moisturize with one that says 24 hour moisturizer and use it every time you wash. I don't know why the vinegar works but it works great on sunburn too, so it must have some antiseptic quality.

Coconut oil helped me to avoid cracked skin on my hands in the winter. My wife likes it too because it's a food and can be used on her hands even in the kitchen when she is preparing food. If the room temp is above 78 degrees--it will become liquid--clear like water.

I've had cracked, bleeding fingertips on and off for years...never really found a consistent solution, but I will be trying some of the above suggestions.
I am convinced that my fingertip troubles are associated with my computer use... there are three fingers on each hand that crack and these are my main keyboard and mouse fingers... I teach computer art and use various computer sometimes all day/night.

It's the only thing i can think of that would explain why my pinkies and thumbs don't crack. I often catch myself absentmindedly resting my middle three fingers on the keyboard in between typing.

I've heard that computer keyboards and mice are very dirty generally, so I try to remember to clean mine, but it's kind of tough if they don't "look" dirty.

Anyway, just wondering if any of you notice some correlation with computer use. I also think I might be sensitive to the rubbery/latex-like buttons on remote controls... when I go through a tv-watching period a few times a year my right (remote) hand gets worse.

mysterious fingers.

My husband's fingers are cracked and he has tried everything. Last night I gave him Bath and Body Work's Heel of Approval to try because it really healed my heels.

I had suffered from peeling skin on my fingers for the past 9 years and have tried almost all types of cream. Thank goodness they are not contagious!

My dermatologist said it was some type of psoriasis. So I have tried prescriptions after prescriptions, and nothing helped. I also tried many drugstore creams, from Corn Huskers to the German brand Weleda, but those didn’t help either. Then about a year ago, a friend recommended Gloves In A Bottle.

You can read more from my blog:

p.s. this is not a paid endorsement... but just want to share my experience. Thanks :)

"Nutiva" Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil (Organic)

Not a joke. It can't just be any coconut oil. It has to be organic, extra virgin, and coldpressed.

I use it for everything skin related. It kills bacteria, so when I recently got this "fungus", and started getting painful cracks on my fingertips, I started putting it on mostly at night before bed, but during the day too if it started to hurt. It's been 3 days, and the cracks have almost completely disappeared.

You can get it at vitamin shops, or a whole foods store, like "Whole Foods Market"

I have tried tea tree oil and loads of other stuff, with out much luck.

A friend told me about Gloves in a Bottle years ago. I never looked back to using anything else.

Once in a while my fingertips still crack and bleed, but when I apply GIAB, it heals much faster. Usually in 3 days or less. Only thing is I wish I had known about it sooner.

DECOLORIZED iodine is what my mother always used when she had these cracks on her fingertips (on me, it's usually my thumb(s)). It won't stain like the regular brown iodine tincture. You have to ask for it at the pharmacy counter, and it's becoming increasingly hard to find. It stings like heck for a minute but removes the pain right away, and heals quickly!

where can you get that stuff...GIAB and how much is it?

Hi Nancy,

In California it's available at Kaiser Pharmacy. You don't have to have Kaiser health insurance to buy from their pharmacy either.

About $15 per bottle of 8 oz bottle.

Or you can get it online here -

Good luck!

Does anybody's fingertips ever start to be infected? Mine is not only cut, but swelling and almost getting black. I wonder if remedies still apply.

Also, my skin was dry for sure and fingers sensitive, then, made the mistake of using an industrial purple cleaning liquid without wearing gloves! Immediately made splits and oh the pain.


I always have at least one cracked fingertip right at the corner of my nail. I use a tiny mini drop of superglue, then hold the crack closed, the pain immediately stops, allows the crack to heal. I tried the bag balm, vicks with a bandage and all the other greasy solutions, but they are so messy and the bandage keeps coming off, and those little splits hurt for days while they are healing. The glue works great. stopping the pain is important to me cause I'm really active and like everybody else, need all 8 fingers and 2 thumbs without wincing in pain every time I touch anything. Palmers Shea Butter helps a lot and it isn't greasy, try it in combination with the glue.

What I really want is to cure the cause, what causes this, is it a shortage of something in ones diet?

When my husband and I get cracks on our fingers I noticed that the skin around the crack is thick. It has helped us to use an emery board to file down the hard skin as much as possible before applying any creams or lotions. This allows the skin to flex so it won't re-crack. Follow up with Bag Balm at night or Gloves in a Bottle for the day so your hands aren't so greasy.

Gloves in a Bottle hasn't worked for me. My problem is more than dried out, winter skin. I actually have patches of thickened, occasionally itchy, spots on fingers, elbows & knees. I tend to peel them and inevitably end up with very sore spots. Dermatologist says psoriasis. Some things help temporarily, but where is the CURE? Evidently, this is an immune system disorder. I wonder if there is a connection to artificial sweeteners.....

Hi bca,
I wonder if the peeling makes it worse? Have you tried using "handmade" soaps? These soaps are much more moisturizing. Try one that is made with goat milk and with NO added fragrance. The less ingredients the better.

Another soap I like is Nature's Plus Natural Beauty Cleansing Bar - it has Vitamin E and allantoin. I've used it to wash my hands and it's help. I even shampoo with it too.

Also try to avoid eating refined carbs and sugar. These could aggravate your condition.

Please note, just sharing my own tips and opinions. It is not to be taken as medical advice. I am also not endorsed by any company or person for my review of products.

Good luck!

Several years ago when it first became available, the skin lotion, Vaseline Intensive Care, had zinc as one of its ingredients and completely healed the cracked and bleeding skin on my hands and fingers each winter almost overnight, and in 3 days max, just by applying once a day before going to bed. However, it obviously worked too well as it didn't require that much use and thus not that much lotion to get true healing, and the manufacturer, now Unilever, removed the zinc.

The new formulations with various exotic ingredients don't work nearly as well and take much longer, requiring much more lotion, to provide what is very little relief in comparison. Thus Unilever sells much more product which provides much less relief! Capitalism gone GREEDY - isn't it wonderful!? The comments about using zinc oxide ointment reminded me of that once great product!

Something else that might work, now that I think of it, would be Head & Shoulders Intensive Solutions Shampoo for seborrheic dermatitis & dandruff, which contains 2% zinc pyrithione as its active ingredient. In addition to the healing effect of the zinc, it also has some antibacterial or antifungal action to combat the dermatitis & dandruff, and is similar in its action in that respect to the colorless or decolorized iodine and Nizoral Shampoo already mentioned by others.


I also used to use Chapstick and noticed that after they changed the formula it didn't work for chapped and cracked skin on my hands and fingers as the original formula had. The ingredient that was responsible for the healing, which they removed from the formulation, was allantoin which is from the leaves of the Comfrey plant.

I've experienced deep and painful cracks around my thumbnails for the first time this winter. I found that a big part of the problem was my overuse of alcohol-based hand cleaners. "Liquid bandage" has really helped, although you need at reapply it 2 or 3 time per day. I've also started wearing gloves while doing housework and the laundry.

I have dealt with cracked thumb tips over the years. I use tea tree oil on them now. Saturate a bandaid with the oil and keep covered for a couple of days and it heals.

After trying many remedies for cracked fingertips, I tried tree tea oil, and the cracks all closed up almost completely the same day. I was playing guitar again the very next day. Thanks for the advice!

Where do you get tree tea oil?

I have found the only thing to help numb the pain is campho & a bandaid. This eventually heals them.

Stores that sell essential oils, like GNC or Vitamin World, carry tea tree oil.

My fingers also become split and sore when I touch newspaper and some other kinds of paper. Cotton gloves work wonders in protecting my hands. I use garden gloves because the little rubber dots help me turn the pages more easily.

I have had a terrible time for several years with cracked finger tips that really hurt most of the time. I have tried many of the suggestions presented here with less than great results. I tried a product called "Gloves In A Bottle" expecting the same poor results. Instead, I found out that within 2 days my hands no longer hurt! I highly recommend the product. I finally have a cure for my winter blues!

super glue super glue! It works instantly!!!

My painful thickened, peeling skin (on my fingers was worst!) was diagnosed by a derm as psoriasis & Olus foam was prescribed, with little success. The Olus is expensive and the generic variety required by insurance burned. My mom gave me her "St Ives Swiss Formula Extra Soothing Aloe Vera Skin Therapy Lotion with Whole Leaf Aloe," and it has been a miracle cure.

However, it appears this has been discontinued (who knows where she may have bought this, possibly years ago!) I've looked on Ebay, Amazon & St Ives website. I even sent them an email but haven't heard back. I've tried aloe & other aloe products but have yet to find lotion as light, soothing & effective. My fingers had so many red, bloody, swollen spots I was totally embarrassed & wore gloves whenever I could. Now they are normal, but I dread what will happen once I use up this bottle. Anyone have any ideas?

Not having read all the comments about cracked fingertips, just to let you know what relieves the pain for mine - plain yoghurt. Keeping the fingertips dipped in the yoghurt for 10 minutes or so each evening has helped enormously in taking away the burning pain, and then eventually healing them up. Presumably if you applied yoghurt a few times a day, they'd improve quicker. Again perhaps it's the anti-fungal thing working.

FFS we have all got cracked finger tips!!!!!!

BUT what is the cure? Mine tic me off no end as I'm a joiner, but just get used to bleeding fingers! I'm not gonna die. Ow it hurts to type this, where's my tea tree oil/ super glue/ yoghurt? We need a medical answer, I think its caused by exposure to chemicals in my job and not wearing gloves. My fault. atrixo cream and lip balm sort me out but not a cure.


Split fingers Mcshane.

I just got done reading all the cures for cracks. I have tried most and now I am going to try some new ones. I will let you know if any work, this is a great site keep up the good work.

David had a posting saying to rub garlic on the split, then apply a drop of sesame oil two hours later. This worked wonders for me. The pain was gone in 2 days, and after 3 weeks the old skin sloughed off leaving my fingertip as smooth as a baby's bottom. Fingertip splits, and bleeding-chapped hands that have plagued me for decades disappeared entirely once I realized that I was allergic to cow's milk and switched to Soy and goat milk.

Thanks David, and the People's Pharmacy!


Just read all comments with interest as cracked finger tips are ruining my winter golf swing. Not important for some but deadly serious for me. Wrote down a list of things to try, but the only thing I had in the house at the time was superglue. I applied a drop awaiting the expected stinging sensation. But joy, no stinging whatsoever and as folks have stated above instant relief. I am even typing with the finger I have had stuck up in the air all day at work.

I have been using Nizoral shampoo as mentioned above for two weeks. The cracking/bleeding and reddened, peeling patches of skin on my hands were bad, and getting worse by spreading and I was ready to try anything.

Now I wash my hands with Nizoral twice a day, and then use Aveeno moisturizer, and the redness is gone, as is the splitting skin. (There are still some patches of peeling skin.) One caution, though -- the Nizoral instructions say not to use on broken, inflamed skin, and that's correct. I had one open crack that was pretty bad, and it started to become infected until I used Bactine. And after the one squirt of Bactine, everything was fine.

I think my peeling skin & cracking fingertip could be an auto-immune disease. Possibly related to something I may be allergic too via food or chemicals. My last flare up lasted 2 days versus the normal 1 week. I've been using only handmade soap for everything.

Another thing, when the cracking is bad, superglue really works to speed up the healing process.

I have had cracked skin on my hands for over 8 years and numerous dermatologists have been unable to diagnose. Unfortunately I work with my hands on wires and small connections and having hand cream on usually prevents me from working effectively. I need concrete help with my hands. If you name it chances are I tried it. This winter will be hell. Help.

As a nurse who not only washed her hands multiple times per shift and suffered from eczema for many years, this is what I discovered for me personally (may or may not apply to you):

- Harsh hand soap found in the ICU, and dish soap such as Dawn can strip hands of natural oils that can lead to cracking.
- Being in an environment where there is powder from latex gloves, mold spores, pollen and other air-borne allergens can trigger asthma as well as eczema.
- Soaking the hands in warm water, then applying Aquaphor, and wearing cotton gloves overnight helps heal cracked fingers.
- Taking Vitamin C and Omega 3 supplements daily helps prevent eczema itching.
- Avoiding wheat, and eating an orange a day, helps prevent eczema rash.
- General good nutrition (abundant colorful fruits and veggies, legumes, whole grains, and avoiding the white stuff - rice, potatoes, flour and sugar) and stress reduction are additional preventive measures.

I too, have suffered for many years with cracked and bleeding finger tips - you can imagine what that does to a guitarist/violinist. Last New Year's Day, I swore off diet sodas - amazingly, the finger cracking ceased for the most part. Now, if I have even a couple of diet pops a week, I can expect cracked skin for a few days subsequent. Thanks for all the other tips!

Thank you for such a site for we who suffer from cracked fingers. I have made my list and getting ready to head to the pharmacy! I have and do use "super glue" and it does work great or New Skin. It is not quite winter here in OH and I sit here typing with three ... 3... fingers with cracks on them. (Plain Yogurt - well, it great things health wise so why not with the fingers. I will give that a try also.)

WOW!! I was so glad to hear that my struggle with cracked fingertips is not so uncommon. One person hit it right on the nail when mentioning the struggle with buttoning shirts - in my case, pants (I wear broadfall pants and fastening the suspenders is painful!!) Thanks for the info!!

it does ...

I found the following to cure the cracking of skin around my fingernails in the winter.
1. Wear gloves when washing dishes.
2. Buy online from a sewing supply some large Jelly Thimbles made by Dill. (They are soft)
3. At night before going to bed stick the cracked finger in a jar of plain old petroleum jelly (glob it on)and then cover the finger with the thimble.
4. Tape the thimble on using paper medical tape. One turn around the base of the thimble is all you need. Remove the thimble in the morning.
After about two days your cracked painful fingers will be cured.
The thimbles are re-used. The petroleum jelly is inexpensive. The paper medical tape is easily removed yet holds well. The process takes less than a minute...and it works.. (At least for me) Good Luck...

The skin on my thumbs and fingertips started cracking, splitting, and bleeding in my early teens; I’m 55 now, so I’ve suffered through 40 winters of near-daily pain. I never met anyone else with this problem until the Internet came along (thank God). I don’t work with my hands or outdoors for a living, which eliminates harsh weather, newsprint, paper money ink, plastics, musical instruments, or gymnastics as causes. I’ve always eaten healthy diet with fish, olive and other oils, lots of water, scant caffeine and wine, no drugs (prescription or otherwise), never smoked, never overweight, floss, exercise nearly daily, no health ailments--all the stuff we’re supposed to do, right?

Like my fellow sufferers, I’ve tried everything, including several (useless) dermatologists. (Below is a list cobbled together from memory of tried-and-failed treatments.)*

Not incidentally, it turned out, I used to suffer from chronic canker sores. Then, purely by accident, I discovered the cause of both problems. On an extended camping trip, the rucksack with the soap, shampoo, and detergent got lost, and we had to make due with baking soda. We washed our bodies, hair, teeth, and dishes with it. Bingo! My cracked fingertips healed and my canker sores disappears within days! As an added bonus, my skin became super soft and I didn’t need a moisturizer, and my baby-fine, stick-straight, tangle-prone hair developed some body and combed easily!

I’ve washed with baking soda ever since--with modifications; for example, I rinse my hair with diluted apple cider vinegar, and mostly brush my teeth with either Trader Joe’s or baby toothpaste (b. soda is too harsh on enamel for daily use). But I still don’t need a moisturizer!

The culprits behind my cracked fingertips was sodium laurel suflate, PEG, and ingredients with “eth” in them. The culprits behind my canker sores were the above and fluoride.

Try it and see if it doesn’t clear up for your problems, too! Meanwhile, for pain (finger, mouth, even zits) the best thing hands-down, is a drop of tea tree essential oil or oil of clove (available health foods stores and Walmart).

*(Vaseline, A & D Ointment, Zims Crack Cream, No Crack Super Hand Cream, Nexcare Skin Crack Care, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, Acid Mantle Cream, New Skin, Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion, Nivea Cream, Bag Balm, Utter Balm, Chapped Heal Cream, Gloves In A Bottle, TheraSeal hand Protection, Split Finger Treatment Cream, New Skin, Super Glue, Lotil Cream, Blistex, Carmex, Rex-Eme Creme, AmLactin, anti-fungl cream, Burt’s Bees Hand Creme, Bacitracin/Polysporin/Neosporin & Band-aids/moleskin, Vicks VapoRub, petroleum jelly, mineral oil, glycerin alone & in combination, various types of lanolin & cotton gloves nightly, increasing vitamins A, C, D, E, Flaxseed oil, Cod liver oil, L-Lysine, doubling water intake, eating more extra virgin olive oil, fish; humidifier.)

Thanks Zabeth for the tips.

Since the last time I was here sharing my experiences, I've had less problems of skin cracking and peeling too. My solution I believe is to switch from commercial soaps to only handmade soaps. From washing my hands, face and body with it. I've even shampoo and brushed my teeth with them too!

Handmade soaps are made using the old fashion way in small batches. It's made with all vegetable oils, mostly olive oil and coconut oil. If you have the time and want to learn to make it yourself, there are lots of info online. You can also purchase them online or at health food stores.

Handmade soap retains all the naturally occurring glycerin while commercial soaps take them out and put a little bit back it. Commercial soaps also very drying, harsh and filled with unnecessary ingredients. They even add stuff to make it foam, which really ends up stripping your skin more.

So try handmade soap, and wait a week or more to notice the difference. Naturally occurring glycerine found in handmade soap will help keep your skin moisturized.

Grandma Zabeth,

Thanks 4 the tips :)

I am also a preschool teacher - I can't grease up my hands because my lessons are individualized and I am handling materials. I am suffering! Cracks near fingernails appear out of nowhere. I am washing my hands up to 25 times a day and wearing bandaids at night. I live at 9400 feet - the lack of humidity in the winter at this altitude is extreme. I have been humidifying the bedroom which helps overall - nosebleeds have stopped anyway. I thank you ALL for these suggestions. My only problem now is what to try first; and if I try more than one how will I know what really worked? But try I will. Thank you. Susan

I suffered every winter for years with finger cracks. The other day I was in Walgreens ready to purchase one of the regular lotions I had been applying when a young lady who worked in the beauty aids department asked if I needed any help. I told her about my finger cracks more to commiserate than anything else. Immediately she told me about CARMEX HEALING CREAM ( relatively new on the market). She said "it's been flying off the shelves since the beginning of winter." Needless to say I bought a tube and was absolutely amazed with the quick results.
I dabbed a smaller amount into the crack with a Q-TIP. Then I covered over the fingertip with a knuckle bandage (the butterfly type). Finally, I wrapped cloth adhesive tape around my finger, covering the wings of the bandage. Instant pain relief and the next morning the crack was virtually healing before my eyes.
All the supplies I mentioned cost less than $15.- and will last for many months.
Please try this simple treatment.

I have tried this also and I believe it's really works ... my regimen for years of cracked finger tips has been to soak the crack with hydrogen peroxide (hurts sometimes and foams up), then I cover it with neosporin and a bandaid. overnight. The hydrogen peroxide helps eliminate the pain and quickly facilitates healing.

Every winter my thumb tips crack. Very painful. I knew a guy that used to like to seal up cuts with crazy glue. This is effective. The problem is that it does not dry quick enough so you need to add an accelerant. Baking soda. Put a nice small glob of crazy glue on the crack. Sprinkle baking soda on the glue and it dries instantly. 2 days the crack will be gone. Make sure to close the crack before applying the glue.

As I have been diagnosed with Diabetes 2 recently I wondered if that was the cause of my cracked fingertips, but Dr. said "No". I've even had UV treatment for weeks which did nothing. Only when I took Cortisone tablets with ointment prescribed and later with a vitamin A ointment did they clear up for a while, but I can't take those tablets forever, and when I stopped they started cracking again. I'll try some of the treatments mentioned although I don't know which may be available in Australia. But I can only try. So here goes.!!

I have bad cracked fingertips, but mine are nothing compared to my aunt's. One time when she was in the hospital she discussed her problem with her roommate. The roommate said that she had the same ailment, which completely resolved when she stopped drinking diet drinks. My aunt tried it and the symptoms were completely alleviated. It seems that diet drinks can play a role in cracked fingers/hands in some cases. Unfortunately, my cracked fingertips are not related to diet drinks as a causative factor, but this info may be very useful to others.

family member with small children recommended using Boudreaux's Butt Paste (used for bad diaper rash, other skin conditions). I used it for a few days and it seemed to help clear up the problem. Then, just when those fingers seemed to be improving, the "splits" migrated to another hand! Now I'm going to try using Neosporin on them like I did in the past, and wearing cotton gloves to bed.

I have had cracked fingertips for about 5 years and they seem to only happen when winters dry weather comes about. What I do each night is to put Vicks vapo rub into and on the cracks, along with a pair of cotton gloves, that I find at Walgreens stores, at times it often throbs through the night, but, in the AM they are ready for the day, and doing the daily things like buttoning buttons, typing, and other miscellaneous things. But, I still have to wear gloves while washing dishes, cleaning with various cleaners, dusting, and what ever else needs doing. So I do whatever I have to, to keep them from re-cracking.

Zinc supplements have worked wonders for me. I take 50mg of Zinc a day and my fingers don't crack anymore after years of treating cracks in the winter with moisturizers. Zinc is inexpensive, but be sure to get capsules (not hard tablets) from a reputable manufacturer like Solaray, Carlson, Source Natural or some other company carried by health food stores. When I stop taking Zinc, the cracks return.

I have those cracks at the corners of my nails too. the skin thickens and cracks and really hurts. I don't think it is the same thing as what ails the ones with more generalized cracking and peeling. Also mine isn't just a winter thing as I live in Florida and we don't have harsh cold often. I did stay in Colorado once and developed a very painful crack in my upper lip, but Carmex worked miracles. I've tried it on my finger cracks, but it only helps a little.

After reading many of the posts with problems similar to mine, I am thinking it is a fungal or bacterial (or combination) infection. Mine is worse when I do a lot of gardening, cleaning and dishwashing, I noticed one post mention avoiding using the new "antibacterial" soaps and hand sanitizers. When they first came out with those dishwashing liquids I began noticing a bad odor on my kitchen sponges. My sister complained of the same and I suggested switching back to the old kind (and I think the old Palmolive is a good one) and it worked for her too.

Recently my boyfriend bought some Antibacterial dish soap and now he is having the same problem. We also frequently sit in a hot tub. I've noticed that ruins my fingers and nails too. It must be bad, it seems to eat the hairs off our bodies! It seems anything that dries out the skin leaves it open to the invading infection which lingers on and reoccurs.

The dandruff shampoo idea sounds like a good one to me or using any ointment, maybe even jock itch or diaper rash products (or natural product that is anti fungal/ antibacterial).

Foods like Diet sodas are so full of chemicals and I think regular use of them is detrimental for several reasons and I would not be surprised if they upset some chemical or PH balance in the body and eventually it produces any number of 'symptoms'. Most sugar substitutes give me an upset stomach right away. It always pays to "eat right" and your body will try to heal itself.

I am having an attack recently because I've been moving and doing a lot of extra cleaning and using harsh chemicals. I hate wearing gloves, so am paying the price. I do find that applying a "triple antibiotic" type ointment that includes something that is for fungus too has helped me a lot. I apply it at night and anytime of day after I'm through with dishes or cleaning.

Good luck to you all. I know how much it hurts and I think you just have to try to think about the many places that you are exposed to chemicals that do harm and experiment to find the right thing for your cure.

Try wiping your computer keys with vinegar to neutralize them and kill germs. I'm not a germaphobe, but if you're having a problem with finger infections try to think of all the places you use your fingers the most and clean them with something that won't irritate. As one post said simple natural soap products may work. They help kill germs too and you don't have to fall for the Kill ALL germs hype you hear now. Humans are supposed to be exposed to many germs and be able to have some resistance to the common ones if you're healthy.


I live in Florida too and have the same problem with both thumbs, index, and middle fingers. My Dermatologist has given me a prescription for Taclonex and told me about an OTC cream called Nouriva Repair cream.

I have had this problem since 2005 and this past September - November was the first time I actually saw real improvement when I tried the Nouriva. I ran out of the Nouriva cream in November, and it has been on back order till this month. I was putting the taclonex on at night with vinyl gloves and using the Nouriva during the day. For all the users, this Nouriva cream is not really greasy and dries within a minute or two, which is nice.

I am going to try the zinc pills that the poster above you mentioned. I have tried antibiotics, skin creams, wearing band aids, using glue, and I even quit drinking milk and eating ice cream for over 6 months to see if I had a milk allergy. The only thing I have found that truly made a difference was Nouriva. I found that Publix can order it for me. Some of the pharmacies don't carry it.

One of the fastest and most effective ways to heal finger cracks is to use the shaving aid called a Styptic Pencil, which is used to instantly heal nicks and cuts produced when shaving with a bladed (as opposed to electric) razor. It is available at most pharmacy stores and comes in a clear plastic tube attached to the brand's card.

You can find the product in the shaving section with the razors and razor blades. To use it just run some water over the end of the pencil/stick and then rub the wet end firmly into the cut so that it is completely soaked inside and out with the white liquid produced by the water on the pencil. Then let dry; it won't take more than two minutes. Then wipe off the powdery residue with a damp paper towel. If necessary, use the zinc oxide ointment mentioned by others before going to bed. Or use the diaper rash ointment called Balmex which also contains zinc oxide. After rubbing in put on a disposable vinyl glove. Then just remove and discard when you get up for your day and wash off.

My cuticles grew faster than normal and began to peel off to the surrounding skin. This area became red and sore. I tried all kinds of creams, thinking it was just dry cuticles to no avail. I next tried hydrogen peroxide applied with a Q-tip and bandaging the sore areas.

The areas which had minimal symptoms cleared up within days. The applications of hydrogen peroxide would result in white foaming action. The more heavily distressed areas improved but it took a week or so of applying hydrogen peroxide and keeping them covered with a bandaid to become well.

I don't know whether this was a fungal infection, dry skin, allergy to ?,
result of going to a nail care shop? If this condition returns, I possibly will make an appointment with my Dermatologist.

I have suffered for well over a year with thumb, index, & middle finger cracked & bleeding... I work w/ money... wonder if allergic?? to MONEY!! I tried lots of remedies, will keep trying. Might see a Dr. although not much hope w/ a skin Dr. they are guessing also... will finally try super glue... sounds like it will give me time to heal.. I have 3 pages now of ideas.. thanks to all!!!

I have had this problem since December 2010. On my two index fingers, the crook of the thumbs, and my middle finger - tips only. I have been to the dermatologist twice now and after I demanded Prednisone, and took it for 2 weeks - this - whatever it is - completely went away. It was heaven - shear blessed heaven. I felt normal. No more bandaids, no more Vaseline, no more gloves - I could type without pain (as I am in right now because yep, you guessed it, it came back), I could shift my car - all of it. One week off the Prednisone and it is back - I could just scream.

Between the $35 copay for the Dr., the 2 different unresponsive creams he issued to me, and the the money I have spent on over the counter finger cots (finger condoms we call them at work!), the bandaids, the bandages, the rubber tips (Staples has them in their mail room supply section), I am fit to be tied. Yesterday, I located another Dermo from a major medical center closer to my house and left an email that I wanted an appointment. It is obvious the guy I saw has no clue what I have - but I know I have something. It went away with meds. It came back without meds. (so, it turns out did my heel tendonitis which was also heaven and that has healed tremendously!).

I ordered Porters Hand Cream 2 nights ago and will give that a shot but I am hoping to just get more Prednisone and an answer. Right now, I have about what looks like paper cuts on my finger tips that are absolutely the worse pain I have felt. (Oh, I also am using liquid bandage - works, but it is messy and very very smelly!)

I have experienced for the first time ever peeling of the skin around my nails. After trying many different home remedies and none worked; I visited my Dermatologist. My condition was diagnosed as an inflammation due to my wearing acrylic nails. I was given a cream, Clobetasol, to rub in around the peeling area and suggested that I have the acrylic nails removed.

I did have the acrylic nails removed and have now started using a non-acrylic gel product which acts the same as the acrylic tips. The peeling has all but stopped -- within less than a week and my new gel nails do not seem to cause a problem.
I Hope this suggestion helps someone with a similar problem.

I had an extremely Cracked and flaky Fingertip on my index finger for the best part of 2 years, I don't know what brought it on but, I tried almost everything and every cure that was recommended with no results.

Then one day I just decided to buy a tube of NEUTROGENA concentrated hand cream (Norwegian formula), applied it about 4 or 5 times a day (I did not rub it in at first) to the finger tip and let it soak in until there was just a thin greasy film on my finger tip then rubbed that in, around two weeks later to my astonishment it worked and my finger is back to normal.

I'm still using the NEUTROGENA cream as I'm a bit paranoid of it returning to a Cracked and flaky Fingertip but, I will stop using it in about a months time and check the results for permanency.

The psoriasis spots on my hands and fingers has been cured by Desonide cream-.05% prescribed by my derm. Beware of the ointment variety as it is messy-use the cream. It absorbs in immediately & leaves skin supple, not greasy. I also NEVER wash dishes without gloves and use DOVE brand bathsoap, also recommended by my derm. What a blessing to FINALLY be relieved of this embarrassing ailment!

After reading all the comments and suggestions, I had felt my use of crazy glue was the answer. Well I tried nivea lip balm and it healed overnight! I am now using that lip balm on all my areas that usually crack in the winter and put white gloves on my hands at nite to help stop the cracks before they come. Years ago a Dr advised Crisco solid and white gloves.
Thanks everyone for the help!

My fingertips were peeling and deeply cracked for the past month. They also itched on the sides of my nails. They hurt so badly. I hadn't made any dietary changes, so couldn't figure out why this was happening. I found this website and tried some of the suggestions. The hydrogen peroxide just made it dry and itchy. Then I noticed someone recommended lotion with zinc.

I realized my Head & Shoulders shampoo has pyrithione zinc. I had stopped using it about 2 months ago because it was fading my color-treated hair. I washed my hair once with the H&S shampoo and the itching stopped on my fingertips. For the past two days I've just washed my hands with it twice a day. What a miracle! The cracks are gone. The peeling is almost unnoticeable. They are almost completely healed. Please try a soap or shampoo with zinc. If you could see how bad my hands were you'd be amazed at the improvement. I hope this helps someone who is suffering with this very painful issue. Good luck!

I handle tons of cardboard and get dry fingers and splits. I soak them in Epsom Salt for about 15 minutes or longer. Wake up the next day and it's almost gone. If it's deep with a "V" shape, I use sandpaper to remove the dry dead skin then the usual routine, soak in Epsom salt, and the next day use moisturizer after washing hands.

STOP using anti-bacterial soaps, whenever it is practical. My husband and I both had this problem which completely disappeared years ago when I read that killing the good bacteria on our hands will cause the cracking on the fingertips. My husband has to use the killing soap at work but we don't have it in the house ever. Good old fashioned soap is just as good as the killing soap and has been for thousands of years. Keep your skin healthy and let it do the job it was designed to do, protecting you.

The problem is a substance called sodium laurel sulfate. It is in liquid hand soaps and in many hand lotions and creams. Beware of it. Sodium laurel sulfate causes the cracks in your fingers and thumbs. I first became aware of it because it is in many toothpastes and causes cold sores and lesions. It is really popular with manufacturers as it somehow improves the consistency of these personal products.

Then I reached the breaking point with the cracked thumbs and did some online research. Another person mentioned the substance and said to avoid it. As I was already aware of it from the toothpaste problem, I started reading labels and discovered it in my liquid hand soap and also in some hand creams. Get it out of your house, don't use anything containing sodium laurel sulfate and your problems with cracked thumbs and fingers will resolve quickly.

I also have a thyroid condition, terrible fingertip cracking and my hair has recently begun thinning, yet my doctor tells me my thyroid level is normal (I take levothyroxine). I would love to find an answer for this - the fingertips are so painful and as soon a the four I recently had have started to feel better and heal I find I am getting 2 more! I really need some help.

My son is 10 yrs. old and suffers from split fingers and very dry hands. We have tried many different lotions and creams but when they are that dry it burns too bad for him to even use them. Any advice on something that will heal with out the burn?

A reader of yours wrote in that soaking feet in epsom salt and warm water for about 30 mins. would help cracked heels and dry feet. To my surprise, I found it helped enormously & am going to try it for cracked fingers as well. I dried my feet off after soaking and rubbed a hand cream on them.

Try A&D diaper ointment with zinc. It's in the baby section of stores, about $3 for a good size tube. The one without zinc works well but the one with zinc works better. My husband and I started using it after I noticed my hands felt better after putting it on my baby. Stay away from liquid soaps. Try a moisturizing bar soap from a health food store (something natural). The A&D ointment says it is good for cracked skin. It stops the pain from the really chapped and cracked parts of your hands. Helps to apply liberally at bedtime. Also stay away from dish soap like Dawn. Try Palmolive instead and wear rubber gloves (although I don't imagine your 10 year old does lots of dishes!) Good luck!

My knuckles have always gotten cracked in the winter, but it wasn't painful. The only time the start to bleed is if I scrap them, then a week later my cracks split. I've managed to avoid that for 7 years, but not this year. I'm going to use somethings I've read to see if it helps. Honestly, I forgot how bad this hurts. Everyone that goes through this yearly needs a hug!

Wow--someone should write a book on this subject! I can't believe all the different solutions offered to help sufferers cope with this painful problem. I too suffer from these painful skin cracks come winter and I agree that the antibiotic and bandaid method is one of the best and fastest ways to get relief. If I don't use the antibiotic cream, I keep the affected finger wrapped in a bandaid until the skin has healed. The other effective method I have used with success is the Crazy Glue method mentioned here. However, the next time I use it I will try the advice offered to use baking soda as an accelerant in order to get the Crazy Glue to dry more quickly.

Wow, thanks for the many tips. I've had this problem for over 20 years. Originally caused by handling metal implements at work [zinc and nickel in particular, no problem wearing gold :) ], and it occurred year-round. If I minimized contact with keys, tools, etc., the cracking could be kept under control. But the problem has returned, even after leaving my previous job. So a metal allergy is not the only culprit.

There's that day in September when you first feel Fall in the air - I feel it in my hands. They tingle and burn. At its worst, I beg off of cooking dinner, because it is very painful to handle so many foods. This year was moister than most, and my hands did not seriously start to crack until the weeks before Christmas, so I suspect that more cooking/baking/frequent hand washing is a contributor.

Regularly taking fish oil has helped the last several years. My doctor prescribes a hydrocortisone cream, but it loses its effectiveness after several months.

I have not had success with Corn Husker's lotion, Bag Balm, petroleum jelly, Aquaphor, Gold Bond lotion, Neutrogena products. Most lotions contain alcohol, which is very painful on open cracks and also contributes to drying.

Am going to try some of these tips. Thanks

My fingers and especially my thumbs crack every winter. My skin is very dry. I am going to try some of the things you all suggested here. My thumbs are so sore I hurt all the way to my elbow! I know that washing them with a strong grease cutting dish detergent is the problem, but working with animals on our farm makes for some really dirty hands. We do have a filter on our water and the only time I have this is in the winter for some reason. Thanks for all the info!

I tried using BLISTEX lip balm on my thumbs and am crack free for the first winter in a long time. Get bad cracks healed while wrapped with a bandaid and then use the BLISTEX a couple of times a day to keep them from cracking. Easy to carry with you, and not greasy.

As a letter carrier, our hands and fingers get crackes and paper cuts all the time. Someone told me to try Listerene mouthwash. Just the fingertips for about 30 seconds then follow up with a moisturizer.

Have your doctor test your thyroid antibodies. They don't routinely do that. You may have subclinical hypothyroidism. You could also go to an endocrinologist.

I have had painful cracks on my thumbs and fingers for years. I just tried tea tree oil and gloves and it worked wonders! I put the oil on a cotton ball and put the gloves on with the cotton ball in place at the cracks for about 2 hours. I did it once a day for 2 days and they are almost gone - no more pain.

Because I work in the museum world I had cotton gloves. You can get those at Gaylord Brother Archival Supplies
They have disposable ones and ones you can wash and they come in different sizes.

I have a real problem with cracked fingertips this time of year, in the cold weather. My job means I often have my hands in water, which makes things worse. I read that vitamin e oil may help, so I am going to try this

Your comment was posted 5 years ago but I hope more people will see it. I was looking for more of a confirmation of what I had found was true for me. I suffered from cracking, bleeding, and then thickening fingertips for about 3 years. Went to dermatologists and allergists who found nothing. Said it was dry skin!! Please! Told me to use creams, wash less, etc. I asked them why some of my fingers were not dry at all, how could that be when I took care of all of my fingers the same way?!

I knew it was not dry skin - how ridiculous! Anyway, I finally figured out (on my own) that it's newspaper ink that I'm reacting to. When I don't touch them (or use gloves) I do not have a problem. If I touch them even for a second my fingers crack again.

I want to go to all the doctors and ask them if they'd like to know what causes this when other patients come to them - because I can tell them!

I have found what works for me. Every winter I get these painfull deep splits on my thumb and fingers and this is the first year no cracks! Ontario gives me cracked fingers and Florida takes them away. I thought it was the soft water. While in Florida I bought "O'keeffe's Working hands" Specially formulated for cracks and splits. I use it every day and I have been back in Ontario over a month and still no crackes. I bought it at Home depot or that other home store, Can't remember the name. Lowes?

About 4 or 5 years ago, I read in a People's Pharmacy article a suggestion from a reader about using a vinegar/water solution for cracked skin on heels and hands. I found this has worked unbelievably well for heel and finger skin cracks as well as a skin softener and it can even temporarily lighten up wrinkles! I use a spray bottle filled 2/3 with ordinary white vinegar and 1/3 water. Shake well. I use this at the end of my shower. I spray my heels, rub it in the skin lightly for a few seconds and then rinse. This has greatly reduced heel and finger cracks and I rarely have a problem with cracked skin. And I am never accused of smelling like potato salad.

I've had this problem. My dermatologist told me about 10 or 15 years ago to do the following when it's cold outside (i.e. less than 40 degrees): WEAR GLOVES. (I wear mittens.) I haven't had a cracked thumb or finger since!

Thank you for the useful information...I have very successfully treated cracks and splits on my fingertips with zinc oxide ointment (used also to prevent diaper rash). Overnight, the healing begins, and within 2 days, there is no more pain, though still tenderness and healing of the lesion. But I will now try the tea tree oil as a preventative, and if that fails, will try the petrolatum based products.

USE antibiotic cream and eat multivitamins for 2 weeks trust me it works

First cover the basics such as drinking enough water and getting enough good oils in your diet (flax oil is best). These didn't fix my problem. My skin would crack open and turn very very painful when I was stressed. I tried salves and creams from drug stores that did nothing. I then tried manuka honey. nope. then I tried a 2% tincture of iodine. this worked. I had to apply it for over two months. this killed off most of whatever was in my skin. I then tried now foods fresh green black walnut wormwood complex applied topically. wow, this killed off the rest.
So to sum up:

iodine 2% tincture

now foods — fresh green black walnut wormwood complex

Both applied to skin until cleared up.

In deperation, I just tried the superglue thing, and I am amazed at how instant the pain stopped!
Thank you so much for the tip.
I have also brought some Dove hand soap to use in Winter from now on.

I suffered for more than two years. Tried all the remedies everyone was recommending to no avail. Two months ago I changed my after shave balm to Nivea Replenishing After Shave Balm. Within a week the cracks healed, the pain disappeared and since then my fingers are perfectly healthy.

I use Liquid Bandage to close cracks and, thus, reduce pain. Then my fingers have the chance to heal up. This is in addition, of course, to Vaseline and other moisturers.

So what worked? My index and 'tall man' fingers are hard, split and bleeding. It hurts so badly!! I too am a preschool teacher but my culprit is diaper wipes. I can't imagine putting super glue on these open wounds. thanks, C

Exactly. The only way mine heal is with Polysporin and a bandaid or surgical tape over top.

I have been busy reading all of these posts and taking notes as to which products to now try because I wear tape on 6-8 fingertips nearly all the time. I too, am plagued with the winter splits, which makes it nearly impossible to knit, sew, turn small knobs, etc. While I was busy compiling my lists to remedy a nearly life long winter ailment, my husband called me to view this product on the TV DVR:
The following day it took me attempts at 5 stores before I found this at a local Bed Bath and Beyond. I came home and immediately used this product on my nasty finger tips. Then had lunch and took a nap. By the time I got up, there was already relief. Overnight, more relief. I will be going back to buy the product for feet! The hands version is found in a lot of hardware paint departments, geared for mechanics and the like. Good luck everyone! I think this is the miracle product of the century!

Skin on fingertips splitting for six months. Tried bacitracin, vaseline, Aquaphor, eucerin, curel, cerave ,lubriderm, cortisone cream, and cotton gloves at night. What worked for me, Porter's Lotion from Bozeman, Montana. Purchased online. After two weeks hands look normal and feel good!

I have suffered from cracked fingertips for several months, having tried nearly all the above remedies - without much success, have finally found my solution - SCHOLL CRACKED HEEL REPAIR CREAM - job done - simples !!!

As some one by the name of Holly mentioned Vick's Vapo Rub or a generic brand works for me. It doesn't burn me. I rub it on my hands after I finish getting read for bed. I wash my hands only partially drying them and then apply the Vick's and wear plastic gloves to seal in the moisture. My hands are better in 2 to 4 days but I have be sure to not skip. It also helps if during part of the day you can wear the plastic gloves after applying hand cream.

Many people here are hungry for a cure (some even put it in ALL CAPS) but as with any problem, prevention can't be overlooked. I think it's really important to look at what soaps and lotions you're using (the problem for me has become much worse since taking a full-time office job where I'm regularly using a commercial soap to wash my hands). Since leaving a bottle of chemical-free (including Sodium Lauryl Sulfates) soap into the bathroom at work, the problem has really decreased.

Steering clear of chemical-filled lotions seems to make a difference on the rest of my body and I'm going to try it on my hands. (After decades of suffering from a very itchy back I switched, on the advice of a well-known beauty editor, to a Burt's Bees lotion. It turns out a lot of the itching was coming from ingredients in the allegedly super-healing lotions.)

As far as treatment, I recommend buffing away dry skin on your finger and thumb tips using whatever you use for calluses on your feet before embarking on your preferred treatment regimen. If I do it morning and night (on dry skin) it really helps. Go gently around the edges of the crack -- it may be a little ouchy at first but only for seconds, and it's worth it.

Once I've buffed away the dry skin the edges of the crack can knit together and heal much more easily. After cleaning with soap and water or rubbing alcohol, I moisturize with Burt's Bee's Res-Q balm or, if it's a more serious situation, I dab on a little Liquid Bandage or Crazy Glue (which totally goes against my go-for-natural remedies thing and I think is ultimately counterproductive but sometimes a person gets desperate!).

I have suffered for years both winter dryness as well as summer gardening with dry cracked, split finger tips including thumbs. It is a real pain just doing normal daily activities. The pain is unbelievable. I never realized just how many activities involve using the hands, fingertips.

I have used hand lotions, petroleum jelly for years and nothing helped. Finally I stumbled on Nystatin or an antifungal cream. Relatively cheap, no scrips, OTC from your local pharmacy. Viola, after 6 years of being in misery and avoidance of daily activities I am finally healed.

Trust me what have you got to loose. Slightly more than hand cream or Vaseline which never provided me with any relief.
Hope this helps

An extraordinarily common ingredient in body lotions, hair products and creams — even supposedly hypoallergenic formulas — is silicone or variants thereof (dimethicone, trimethicone, etc.). Patch testing by a dermatologist can reveal if one is allergic to it — I was!

I recommend U-Lactin lotion, available online or by special order through a pharmacy. The formula is free of silicone additives whereas the active ingredient, lactic acid, works to heal dry, cracked skin with daily application. Although pure shea and cocoa butter will help in a pinch, U-Lactin lotion, which is PH balanced, provided complete relief to my spouse, whose cracked, split fingers persisted year around in spite of Bag Balm, Noxema and many other supposed remedies. Amlactin is a bit more expensive and more readily available, but is a bit harsher — acidic enough to impart a burning sensation on extremely dry or sensitive skin. U-Lactin is the gentler, less costly alternative.

If a fungal infection is suspected, daily soaks with warm water, epsom salts, apple cider vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil will help bring it under control (followed by the U-Lactin cream). The pH of human skin is 5.5 whereas the vast majority of soaps and so-called skin care products on the market aren't suited to support the skin's natural, protective mantel, typically because they are too alkaline. ACV, Urea, Lactic Acid — work to more closely align with the pH of human skin.

Just about any product with sufficient quantities of Urea or Lactic Acid, specifically, ought to do the trick. Finally, consider adding high-quality EFAs to one's diet, be it flax, fish (EPA/DHA), olive oil and/or borage oil (for GLA content).

You can also purchase finger rubbers at the dollar store of Walmart.

Get some "Skin Shield" (it smells like clear nail varnish and may very well be the same thing) and put a couple of coatings on your cut. It will sting at first but, like super glue, will hold the cut together and keep the water out; also dries very quickly and stays put on your finger all day and night. Cuts clear up in a couple of days. I used to suffer from these cuts all the time and used endless band-aids but this cures them and is a blessing.

Try using badger balm soothes in minutes best stuff I've ever used.

My fingers were cracked and bleeding with nothing helping for years. I read some of the suggestions here and decided to try the nizoral shampoo and the vicks vapor rub. What a relief my fingers are almost completely healed and the vicks relieved the pain immediately. They started healing right away. It has only been about 4 days.

I live in AZ, where it's super dry, and I've had this as a chronic problem for years. (Never happened to me back in my native, humid New York!) I'm telling you now: Forget the fancy lotions and cremes-- I tried all of those. Save your money. I just recently found the miracle cure: GLYCERINE.

Ask for a bottle at your local pharmacy. I started rubbing it into my hands every night, and after just a few days the cracks were gone! I have never since had those cracked and painful fingertips. It works, period.

(Caveat: If you have bad splits, it does burn a little the first couple of times you apply it, but as your cracks heal, the pain goes away and it just feels good). Just make sure it's the last thing you do before you go to sleep, since obviously your hands will be all greasy from it.

A couple of mentions of glycerine soap appear below, but nobody really touched on using pure glycerine. It has not only healed them, but is maintaining my fingers crack free. As a musician, this is extremely important to me!

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