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Creative Solutions for Cracked & Split Finger Tips & Thumbs

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Q. For years I worked in construction and my most used fingers and thumbs would crack and split at the ends near the corners of the nails. Much of my work with my hands was very difficult to do with protective gloves.

To bring healing and to provide protection to sore and cracked fingers, I used plain tan masking tape. I wrapped the ends of my fingers completely and treated the cracked areas beforehand with ChapStick.

It worked great and provided protection to the sore areas like gloves but gave me more freedom than gloves. I would also wear the tape and treat the fingers at night before bed to aid in healing.

A. Many people complain about sore, cracked or split fingertips at this time of year. The cold dry weather is largely to blame. People who work with their hands the way you did are especially vulnerable.

Many tell us that applying ChapStick to the cracks can be helpful. Others say that New Skin Liquid Bandage seals the painful splits and speeds healing. We also hear that super glue works, but some people may be sensitive to the chemicals that are use in such products.

Here are some stories from visitors to this website:

"I have had this problem for at least 20 years each winter. About 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 the pain lessens. I will try ChapStick." Barbara

"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." R.C.

"I use 100% shea butter regularly and it helps a lot." M.J.W.

"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 levothyroxine 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 put lotion on my hands unless I wash dishes without gloves for a long time. I do smooth lotion on 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." D.C.M.

"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." EL

"Have suffered for several years with cracked fingertips and as a passenger train conductor I have to use my hands a lot. I treat the cracks with antibiotic ointment, cut the tips off some cheap rubber gloves and tape them to the tips of my fingers. Heals up quick and I can still wear gloves and work with some level of dexterity. I intend to begin the nighttime treatment with the gloves as prevention and try some better hand cream daily." Rich

"This Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20% stuff is amazing! I have a type of psoriasis that causes scaling and cracking of my fingertips, and one application softened the scaling at my fingertips so that I can feel sensation again. It toned down the redness and made the scaling layers almost imperceptible. I put it on cracked, raw skin and it tingled a bit, but then the hypersensitive pain calmed right down.

"One application! I can hardly WAIT to see what my hands look like in a week!" Judi

Judi wrote back with a follow-up comment:

"Folks, eight applications of Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20% cream over two days time has done what eight WEEKS of cortisone cream couldn't. I'm flabbergasted by the improvement. I was hoping for a little relief--this is close to miraculous!"

The makers of Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20 cream put 20% urea in this product. It is the highest concentration available without a prescription.

Other readers report that 20% urea creams are especially helpful for people with really dry, rough skin and they are a lot less expensive than most other moisturizers.

You can order an 8 oz jar of Udderly Smooth Extra Care Cream with 10% urea directly from Redex Industries. This family business underwrites (sponsors) our radio show, so we want you to know that we are not impartial observers. You can reach Redex at: (800) 345-7339.

We are offering our Winter Skin Survival Kit with Extra Care 20 containing the cream (20% urea) plus our all-natural lip care products (2 berry tubes and a chocolate mint). We are offering a 15% discount OFF the individual pricing for these products for everyone who has been experiencing especially dry skin and lips this winter.

Here is a link to Special Sale for the Winter Skin Survival Kit. It would make a great stocking stuffer.

For those of you who are already fans, you may find our Deluxe Skin Care Package attractive.

By putting all these products together we can save you over 30% on the individual prices. We are also including our Guide to Skin Care with tips on treating cracked and split fingertips, eczema, psoriasis, fungal infections and wrinkles.

Why not take advantage of our super sale to get:

  • Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20 Cream (8 oz tub)
  • Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20 Cream (handy 2 oz tube)
  • 3 People's Pharmacy Natural Lip balms (2 berry, 1 chocolate-mint)
  • MoM Deodorant (fragrance-free original formula)
  • MoM Deodorant (aluminum-free floral fragrance for women)
  • Guide to Skin Care & Treatment

Pamper yourself or give a great gift this holiday season. Save over $13 (more than 30%) off the individual prices of these skin care products by clicking on this link:


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I tried all of these remedies for years. The real solution was a gluten-free diet. I have celiac disease, but many others have gluten sensitivity. This is also the solution for cancer sores, which I will bet many with the finger fissures have. Everything else is just a "band-aid." The results may take up to three months to see, but it is worth the wait. What is happening on the outside is just a sign of what gluten is doing to your small intestine -- and more.

One of the comments, included the drug Synthroid. While I am not a physician, I am a hypothyroid patient, and I would highly recommend stridently requesting your doctor have you tested for thyroxine, T3 Free, and T4 Free; the latter two of which, Synthroid does not contain. Instead, look at Nature-Throid, which is natural and contains all three. Also, foaming Dial soap is a bad offender for splitting fingers around the nail. In addition, be sure that you dry your finger tips/nails VERY well at each hand washing...I am a guitarist, and I have painfully been through all this stuff. BTW: a friend had already recommended the Udderly Smooth cream, before I saw this information, so it must be good! Any good moisturizing lotion on the finger tips from time-to-time, will help; but the Udderly might be the way to go.

Dry skin always a problem in my Irish family. Cracked feet? Soak feet before bed in warm water and apply Vaseline and 2 pairs of socks every night, winter and summer. You get used to it. It works.

This seems a little "far out" but I discovered if I eat a little pumpkin, as in the canned variety, every day from October thru March, I don't have those throbbing cracked splits in my fingers...the problem doesn't bother me in the warmer months. I told my daughter, and she too has had the same results.
I work outside in the cold weather and also do my share of cleaning..and still no cracked fingers. The pumpkin can be used in cookies, pies, muffins or however you want to include it in your diet. I would guesstimate about 2 tablespoons daily is the amount that helped me and I am also guessing that sweet potatoes eaten daily would give the same results.

Been using ANHYDROUS LANOLIN for 29+ years since it was recommended by our Lamaze coach. As a trumpet player who attended grad school in Michigan, I found I could perform successfully even with it coating my lips. If my hands are really cracked, I've sometimes successfully coated them with anhydrous lanolin and worn surgical type gloves overnight. Chapstick didn't really work well because I had to remove it before playing and reapply before going outdoors. Chapstick also contains a petroleum based oil, if I recall correctly.

The produce manager at my local health food store used plain GLYCERIN from a drug store, although some folks are allergic to it..

I fight cracked finger tips every winter. I have tried super glue, Chapstick, band-aids, liquid bandaid, and (at bedtime), Vaseline or Neosporin with rubber gloves. I've also tried finger cots but the rim becomes too tight after a while. Now I roll a finger cot on and once in place I snip & tear off "just the rim". It's the rim that hurts the fingers anyway. If the cot is tight enough on the finger, it stays on without the rim. I have complete use of my fingers and they stay dry when using water. Note: When you floss your teeth..... use a holder or pick, not your fingers. Floss cuts into finger tips!

I'm allergic to nickel and must avoid skin contact with metals that contain it, or I develop cracked and bleeding hands, etc. I use pure coconut oil on my very dry skin, and that works well for me.

I saw the info about using Vicks VapoRub on the soles of my feet for coughing. I wish I had seen that info earlier since my cough was actually a bit better when I tried it. I only applied it to the ball of my foot since I didn't want to use socks on my feet.

I coughed hardly at all that night and a couple following and got a good sleep.

It could maybe do double duty on chapped or cracked feet as well?

For years I've had the same problem. I found a pair of thin cotton gloves at my local pharmacy. Each night at bedtime I apply a small amount of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to my hands and thoroughly rub it into each hand and finger and then put on the gloves to keep the jelly from gettin on anything else as I sleep. So far this season I haven't had any problem with cracked skin. I also apply a moisturizer a few times during the day.

Plain masking tape works great! Used it on my thumbs every winter during my days as a FedEx courier. All you need is 4 to 6 inches, and the tape will soften up after applied. It also is water resistant, so working in the rain or washing your hands won't usually take it off. Cheaper and more durable than anything else I ever tried.

Nobody has mentioned working this dry skin problem from the inside.

Since I have been using 2 TB of coconut oil daily (in a homemade hot chocolate) my skin is amazing-even with the cold weather. Over the 13 years or so that I have been using it I have also lost a LOT of weight.

Even my family Dr. of 20+ years has commented on my good skin. Not bad for an old 68 yo broad!

My husband has also suffered with cracked skin and he found that before going to bed, spreading vaseline over his hands and then putting on plastic gloves to works the best. He keeps them on all night. I can see for myself how the cracking has disappeared. He does this every evening, especially in winter. One important thing, make sure your hands are very dry before applying.

I was a grave digger for 25 years in the Chicago area. Had to deal with hot summers, cold winters, and wet springs. I can't say what the weather did to my skin in the mixed company of this forum, but I can say that Bag Balm took care of dried, chapped, and cracked skin. For the un-initiated, it's a product similar to Udderly Smooth. It's for use by dairy farms for chapped udders. I doubt if, on the worst weather days, my hands were exposed to what a cow's udders might be exposed to.

One product that is especially formulated for this sort of problem is Corn Huskers' Lotion, found inmost drug stores. It is fragrance free for those who have that problem.

For dry and cracked winter skin I highly recommend Bag Balm (comes in a green tin). Great stuff.

I have had cracks to both my thumbs every winter... I use sudocream and cover with a tube bandage every night. They heal after a couple of nights....

I bought my husband something called butt paste. It's similar to desidin for a baby's diaper rash. He says that works better then all the other things he's tried.

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