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Solution for Cracked Fingertips

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Q. The skin around my nails becomes dry and rough, and within a few days the skin cracks open. I've found that using a nail file to smooth away the rough skin helps to avoid the cracking. If the cracks still appear I put on a dab of Polysporin and a bandage at night and the crack usually heals within a day or two.

A. Readers of this column have been offering remedies for split and cracked fingertips for years. Some of their favorites include instant glue or liquid bandage to seal the split. Others use ChapStick or a heavy-duty moisturizer. Rubber gloves can help protect hands from detergent, which is very drying.

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31 Comments

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Have had this problem for at least 20 years each winter. About t that time I saw a dermatologist and he suggested super glue. that got rid of the pain but left the cracked skin so rough it was worse. Have bought just about every lotion for "rough and cracked skin" and none have worked. The only relief I get is when the humidity goes up - the cracks close somewhat and not pain. Will try chapstick.

I use Vaseline on the cracked skin around my fingernails and then put a bandaid around the cracked skin at night. It instantly makes the open 'cut' feel better and it also promotes healing. Sometimes one night treatment will do but on severe cracks it may take a couple of nights.

After dealing with my mom's illness and the overly frequently hand washing, my hands were cracked, split like cat scratches all over the knuckles and into the back of my hands and fingertips too. I finally bought some goat's milk soap instead of the foaming Dial I had been using. After a few days my hands started to heal. I also used a very emollient cream and wore cotton gloves at night.

The liquid bandage works too as well as heel crack cream, Aquaphor, any super moisturizing cream with the gloves.

Good Luck.

I use a dab of Preparation H ointment on my cracked fingers and cover with a bandaid and it heals over night. Works great!

I too have a severe cracking problem with finger tips. Couple of things I do are: 1. I use "total foot recovery cream" at night on my finger tips. In the morning they are mostly healed including the ones badly cracked open. 2. Keep your fingers out of your mouth... I think that saliva is acidic and contributes to the the cracking problem. 3. Keep hydrated in winter. 4. Wear gloves when out in harsh weather

she/he probably is allergic to some soaps... or different dish soaps.
try olive, almond or argan oils on your fingers. Also, it is possible lack of some vitamins and or minerals: magnesium, zinc etc.

I have a friend that is a diabetic. She gave me a lotion for "fingertips" that she got from the pharmacy... you might ask. Diabetics used to have to prick their fingertips for testing... and the tip of the finger would get sore... that is why this product is available... The lotion I had was "Just for Fingertips" Also eating a good cereal in the morning with MILK is a good source of healthier skin. I am always amazed at how many people do not eat cereal before going off to work.....

I have periodic outbreaks of psoriasis which causes cracked fingers & my nails end up short as they split. Lubriderm ointment helps a lot, so I don't have reoccurrences as often.

I find using chapstick on the cuticles works great. If tender and sore to begin, I use Vicks to deaden and then the chapstick.

I use Aquaphor ointment by Eurcerin purchased at any major pharmacy over the counter. One can apply once to twice a day or more often. It works the best of anything I have tried.

Years ago, there was a product called New Skin, which I remember as being effective. Have not seen it for years! Was it taken off the market for some legitimate reason?

If I don't use antibacterial soaps, my finger tips are fine. Just a few
occasions of harsh soaps, and I have splits. Just keeping liquid softsoap, at each basin seems to take care of the problem. If I forget, it's back to creams & band aids at night.

I use 100% shea butter regularly and it helps a lot.

I had severely cracking and bleeding fingertips in the winter for more than 25 years. I thought my dry skin was a problem caused by my hypothyroid condition, and I wondered why my prescribed synthroid or levothyroxin medication did not help my cracked fingertips (and cracked heels) in the winter. I started lotioning my feet and hands with Amlactin cream, which helped somewhat. However, my problem of cracking finger tips ended completely when I started taking a daily vitamin D3 supplement.

I started at 1,000 iu per day, then went to 2,000, and now I take 35 iu per pound of body weight, as recommended by many vitamin D researchers. I no longer need to lotion my hands unless I wash dishes without gloves for a long time. I do lotion my feet after showering to keep moisture in my skin. My skin is less dry now, and my dosage of thyroid medication has not changed.

I use lotion with lactic acid in it, it works great on cracks around my fingernails, will heal them right up. The lotion is a bit more expensive, but well worth it.

I work outside at night in the coldest of cold nights in Minnesota. I find what works best is Vaseline applied several times during the night. When I get home I apply liberally again and then put on inexpensive cotton jersey gloves when I go to bed. My sheets stay clean and my cuticles are pain free all winter long.

I have also had a problem with dry, rough, cracked skin around my nails for years. I tried Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream with Apricot Oil, and it works great. It can be found in all major drugstores. Massage a dab around the nails and it smooths out that dryness immediately.

I have a small humidifier in the bedroom on at night. Also, the heavy duty moisturizer and cotton glove treatment really does the trick. I bought a bundle of cheap "factory workers" cotton gloves. Works wonders!

Someone asked if New Skin is still available. It certainly is, plus I believe there are one or more competing products also available now. I just purchased New Skin in the lotion and in a new spray. I have been using it for years to seal up cracks in my fingertips in winter.

I have tried and used every product mentioned above and the cracks, splits and pain still keep happening. Only thing that gives any relief is "paper tape" but it is a pain to use and looks terrible. It seems that the tape smothers the problem temporarily. Then it comes back and you start over. I had gone to a couple dermatologist and tried salves, prescriptions, the ultra violet light and about every lotion possible and still very little relief. Sure would be glad for someone to find what our problem is and a permanent fix. The problem appears to be Eczema.
hsb Painful

I've found that a cuticle cream (not oil, too messy) has done wonders, including keeping a crack from getting to the bleeding stage. You have to use it at least 3 times a day, but it stays put, doesn't goo up everything and it WORKS! I'm thrilled... cuz I've tried everything else. Just about any cream will do.. I'm using Sally Hansen (available at most stores) and I know Burt's Bees has one as well.

I am a physician who hunts a great deal in the winter. I only have a problem with my fingers splitting open when I am outside a lot in the cold weather. I tried a lot of stuff. The very best thing I have found is
Okeefes Working Hands. I apply it heavily to my fingertips every night and a light coat on my hands. Works great to heal and prevent.

My husband had the same problem for years. Taped them all the time. They would heal up... then when the air got to them, crack open again. Found out it was a yeast infection. He treated it by avoiding sugar and some other foods. You can google what to avoid for yeast infections. Might try going to the health food store and consulting with someone about what you can take. Just a suggestion. He hasn't had any cracking of his fingers for many years now.

AVON Silicone Glove is an excellent product to use for anyone whose hands are exposed to chemicals, or substances such as: concrete, plaster, etc... It is absorbed quickly & will heal your hands overnight. For hands that are just tired & sore, you feel relief as soon as you apply it. I am not a AVON rep. now, but I was many years ago & Silicone Glove is great stuff.

I have been living with cracked, splitting nails and red chapped hands for as long as I can remember. Olive oil or Almond oil solved my problem. I put olive oil in a small bottle by the sink and use it like hand lotion. A small teaspoon in the palm of your hand and rub in all over your hands, nails and cuticles every time you put your hands in water. You may need to rub the palms of your hands with a paper towel afterwards.

I have just in the past few months started having really dry/cracked fingertips. It is very painful at times. It has gone and come back again. I have no idea what has started it but I would love a solution. I had gestational diabetes and cholestasis of the liver during my last pregnancy (baby now 11 months) so not sure if any of this could have affected them.

My chronic cracked, fissured, bleeding fingertip problem started 6 years ago. All the above approaches are familiar - some helped but not much. I've also tried all sorts of vit, mineral & herbal supplements without success. My friends described my fingertips as "chopped meat".

Prescription steroid creme worked pretty well, and oral prednisone worked great - that was encouraging but neither is sustainable. "Natural" anti-inflammatories didn't work at all.

Completely out of ideas, I tried a "shotgun" digestive supplement. Big improvement within 10 days. I assumed it was the enzymes but it turned out to be the HCL (stomach acid). I still have a hard time believing this since I've never had any obvious digestive issues, but I've cycled the syndrome on and off multiple times by now, so there's no doubt that Betaine HCL works wonders for me. Maybe this unusual approach will help some of you.

I too had bad cracked fingers and not just in the winter time. What help me was Zinc supplement and using Vaseline and latex gloves to bed at night.

I developed cracked fingertips & hand rashes after a bout with pneumonia many years ago. Figured that it was because of immune system failure. The dermatologist put me on prednisone which took care of the cracked finger problem but made me gain much weight. Gonna taper off the prednisone per my doctor's recommendation and try some of you guys ideas. I will let you know if any of them do the trick...thanks

To GLV: 2nd reply... I started using Betaine HCL 648mg twice a day and after about 10 days my hands are 90% cured. Like you, steroid cream worked as long as I did not stop using it... unacceptable. I have cut back on prednisone to 2mg adt (alternate day therapy). Also, I have had no digestive problems, like you... weird. Bought the NOW HCL Good luck all

I got here mostly by accident but absolutely swear to the effectiveness of Betain HCL. I had one badly cracked foot ever since Vietnam in the 1970's and searched endlessly for a cure. Until Betain HCL the best I could recommend was Omega 3 fish oil internally and Miracle II hand cream to yield moderate relief. After taking Betain HCL my bum foot was noticeably improved the next day, substantially improved in a week and after about a month was virtually the same as my other, virtually perfect for it's 70 year age, foot. I knew of but never used Betain HCL as a digestive aide but was blown away by its virtual immediate and effective cure of my one groady foot. Best wishes to you all, Steve

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