a cut finger bleeding, painful fingertip cracks

When the weather turns cold and heating dries out the air, many people suffer painful fingertip cracks. When the skin of thumbs and fingers cracks, simple tasks like buttoning a shirt, typing a message or playing the piano become excruciating. What can you do to heal those splits quickly?

Managing Painful Fingertip Cracks:

Q. I have had issues for years with cracking on my fingers, like deep little cuts. The only thing that ever helped was New-Skin liquid bandage.

It burns when I first put it on, but it seals the cut and keeps it from getting bigger and deeper. Within a few days, the split heals.

A. Many other readers like liquid bandage for healing cracked fingertips. Some also report success with household instant glue (cyanoacrylate). Doctors now use a medical grade of instant glue to close some wounds.

Instant Glue for Cracked Fingertips:

Carol from Evanston, IL, shared these ideas:

“Instant glue is great for skin splits on fingers. It’s much cheaper and works better than liquid bandage. I take it along when I travel and I have found it in various countries.

“Remember to put any healing product on your fingers every time you wash your hands or put them in water – even in the middle of the night. Use very thin exam-type gloves when you’re cooking so you don’t have to wash your hands every two minutes. Try to use those thin gloves whenever possible for everything under water such as washing your face in the morning. It’s better to prevent if possible, rather than try to heal painful fingertip cracks.”

Disposable Gloves to Protect Fingertips:

Others are also enthusiastic about those thin disposable gloves to protect hands from moisture during daily chores.

Here is what Sally in Seattle says:

“You had someone write in about cracks in fingertips and using liquid bandage. I get cracks on tips of my thumb and forefinger in winter, particularly after lots of dishwashing. Without giving a free commercial, I have had wonderful results using O’Keefe’s Working Hands cream. It’s the ONLY thing that works. Its consistency is very like Chapstick. It’s not greasy or creamy, but it does the trick. I put it on at night, or even during the day, and then wear surgical gloves. That way I can continue to prepare food or do housework, allowing this to soak in and do its magic. I’ve never liked the heavy, dishwashing type gloves. Instead I buy a box of surgical gloves at Costco, and can still feel what I am doing, while protecting my cracked fingers.”

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  1. GeeCee

    another remedy I’ve used successfully to keep cracked finger tips from enlarging is to use tea tree oil. I use it in the a.m. and p.m. and during the day if I feel the finger start to sting or it looks like it may be worsening. I use tea tree products for a toner and facial wash, but just straight tea tree oil in the tiny bottle dripped on to the finger. It dries quickly and although it has a distinct odor, it’s not unpleasant.

  2. Pat

    Another product I have had success using is Udder Cream — available through Feedstores — it stops the discomfort of cracked fingertips overnight and promotes fast healing as well. It’s inexpensive and effective!

  3. JimP
    Winchester, VA

    I used to use New Skin, super glue and bandages on my split finger tips. I used to wear rubber gloves to wash dishes. A couple of years ago, I started applying Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20 (with 20% urea) every night. In really cold weather, I’ll apply it in the morning, too. It keeps my finger tips soft and the skin doesn’t crack any more. I even gave up wearing the rubber gloves to wash dishes. Because Udderly Smooth comes in several different formulations, make sure you get the Extra Care 20 with the 20% urea. Articles on the internet say that urea (and some other emollients) “attract and hold water in the top layer of skin.” It actually improves the quality of my skin, even after I wash it off, which other hand creams don’t do.

  4. Freida Goodrich

    I’ve worked as a nurse for 10 years and a cna for 2 years prior to becoming a nurse. Even though I’m no longer in the medical field I still wash my hands A LOT, which dries my hands out horribly. I’m also prone to getting chapped skin during the colder months. My 3 sons are prone to chapped cheeks. We also get chapped noses frequently. I use vasoline exclusively. I believe it is the best moisturizer out there as it does not leave you greasy or oily but rather provides moisture, gives a layer of protection, and traps in moisture. It will not cause you to break out with pimples as I’ve heard many people say as I stated above its not greasy or oily.

  5. andrew
    Herefordshire, UK

    Vitamin E soap does the trick for me. As a village shopkeeper my hands are washed dozens of times each day, and as soon as winter comes so dothe splits, but very rarely after vitamin E Soap.

  6. Marie

    I’ve tried liquid bandage as well as white glue and they don’t help much. O’Keefe’s Working Hands is all right, but nothing works as well as A & D Ointment for cracked thumb and fingertips as well as split skin on knuckles and cracked heels. I rub it in and give it five minutes to soak in. It usually soaks in quicker than that. Although A & D Ointment is traditionally used on babies, it works great on adults, too. And it has the added benefit of being inexpensive. I use it more often in winter but I only need to use it every few days the rest of the year.

  7. Colorado Conservative

    Liquid Bandage did not work for me, however, the Curad Spray Bandage did so I use it instead.

  8. Alice

    New Skin doesn’t help me. I put vaseline thickly on my fingers and wear cotton gloves at night. Then I use Gold Bond hand cream during the day.

  9. Juno

    For cracked fingertips I use the homeopathic remedy Petroleum by Boiron, available in health food stores and online. In 2 days deep cracks visibly heal from bottom up. Also applying Gold Bond Ultimate Healing to my fingertips and cuticles several times a day and at bedtime prevents cracks. And wearing gloves outside when temp is below 50!

  10. Maggie
    Springfield MO

    Another customer in a drug store recommended using hydrous lanolin on finger tips to quickly heal and prevent further cracking. It relieves the pain immediately (!) and the lanolin leaves the skin soft and pliable so it doesn’t crack. A small tube costs less than two dollars. My drug store doesn’t usually carry it, but they order it for me in just a day or two. I buy three tubes at a time to keep in purse, kitchen and bedside table.

  11. Bill

    O’Keefe’s Working Hands works for me. Great stuff for cracked fingertips.

  12. Mrs. G
    Pacific NW

    I used to get horrible cracks on my fingers and hands, year round. They would get worse in the winter. I have always worn gloves to do dishes, dust, and clean, but I would still get painful cracks. This year, I found that taking a vitamin C supplement helps my skin to heal and the cracks don’t come back. Even hangnails diminish.

    My husband and I both eat more oranges and take Emer-gen-C and my hands are no longer cracked. Even the backs of my hands are becoming softer. I started giving my children lots of citrus fruit every day, and their hangnails have diminished as well (I think they are too young to tolerate the mega dose in Emer-gen-C).

    We used to eat lots of tomatoes and peppers, but stopped because they seemed to make my arthritis worse. I think that may be when our vitamin C levels started going down. It’s easy to miss a vitamin C deficiency. The body can’t build collagen without Vitamin C, so skin repair will be harder.

  13. Gina

    Vaseline and a bandaid at bedtime does the job for me if I haven’t neglected it, usually healed by morning.

  14. Janie
    Fort Wayne IN.

    I agree 100% with Sally from Seattle. O’Keefe’s is great stuff. It is truly the one way I can treat and prevent the cracks on the tips of my fingers.

  15. Mary Jane

    I have long used New Skin, and recommend it.

  16. Linda
    Meadville, PA

    As a dairy farmer, hand washing is continual. Cracked finger tips are very painful. Chapstick (of any kind) can be kept in a pocket and applied often. It also is very thick and stays in the crack best. All natural peppermint is very soothing!

  17. Kirk
    St. Paul, MN

    I never had much luck with liquid bandage. Don’t know if it was solvents in it, or what. I have had the best luck with triple antibiotic ointment with pain reliever (I suppose plain petrolium jelly may work as well) and a good fingertip bandage. Another important factor is to keep from getting dehydrated. I avoid caffeine (it can act as a diuretic), and carry tea (decaf) with me all day at work, as my job is physical and I can quickly dry out. Not only have I had less occurences, the palms of my hands are much less dry and flaky. Nitrile gloves aren’t a bad idea, but in my case something in them (mold release agent?) Irritates the backs of my hands causing burning and itching if I have them on too long. A name brand diabetic lotion is also great for skin dryness. You don’t have to be diabetic to use it. It’s pretty amazing how it works on even rough flaky skin. If I drink enough fluids during the day, I generally won’t need the lotion. Avoiding or at least minimizing use of harsh soaps (degreasing types especially, like mechanic’s soaps,can help in avoiding fingertip cracks also.

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