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Instant Glue Can Serve as Remedy for Painful Split Fingertips

If you've ever experienced split fingertips you know how incredibly painful they are. People have lots of favorite home remedies, especially instant glue.

Every year as we move into the winter months, we hear from readers who suffer painful split fingertips. When the heat kicks on, the air dries out. This year, with all of us being more diligent than ever about washing our hands, we suspect many people will be looking for remedies for dry skin and cracked fingertips. Some readers are enthusiastic about using instant glue to seal those cracks.

Testimonials About Remedies for Split Fingertips:

A reader finds that split fingertips make it hard to use the mobile phone:

Q. Instant glue is the only effective treatment I’ve found for split thumb tips and fingertips. I have suffered every winter for nearly a decade. The pain is intense, so bad that I can’t even swipe my phone screen, button a shirt, or type on a keyboard.

Lotions don’t work quickly, and most just cause more pain. O’Keeffe’s Working Hands helps, but only if I use it every single night.

A drop or two of instant glue takes the pain away within minutes. That’s long enough for the split to heal itself, in most cases. The same active chemicals are found in liquid bandage, but glue costs much less and lasts longer. It keeps the wound sealed and clean too.

A nurse is dealing with damage from constant hand washing:

Q. I am a nurse, and the constant hand washing and antibacterial hand gel give me cracks at the corners of my thumbnails. They are painful, and I am always afraid of picking up an infection through the broken skin.

To protect myself, I clean the area first and then use two or three thin coats of instant glue. If the area is rough I smooth it with a fine nail file. This closes the cracked skin, and I think it heals faster.

A. Cracked or split fingertips can be quite uncomfortable. They make it hard to button a blouse, type on a keyboard or play an instrument. The rough edges may snag on fabric.

Many other people report that instant glue can be helpful for cracked fingertips. Such products contain cyanoacrylate.

Joe in Rhode Island offers this report:

“After reading a lot of the remedies for cracked finger tips on your website, I went with the Super Glue. What a difference! I wouldn’t even be able to type this if it wasn’t for the Glue. I used the Gel Super Glue from walmart for about 3 dollars. Much much better and thanks for the tip!”

Hondo in New Orleans says:

“I used to have problems with cracked fingertips only during the cold months, but as I get older, this became an all-year-round painful issue. I tried almost every cream and moisturizer for my cracked fingertips, but they provided little help.

“I started using Finger Care and Liquid Skin with some good results, but the cracks kept coming back. I experimented with Super Glue (original formula) and it works great and provides instant pain relief. I use Super Glue as soon as I notice or feel the crack coming back and continue using moisturizers as often as possible.”

Cautions About Instant Glue:

These products are not designed for use on skin and might be irritating for some people. That is why we generally suggest liquid bandage instead.

Other approaches to split fingertips include heavy-duty moisturizers, such as petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or similar products (Aquaphor) applied at night under cotton gloves to protect the sheets and keep the jelly in place. The challenge with such products is greasiness. Anyone who has to type on a keyboard knows how messy petroleum jelly can be. It can also gum up a mouse pretty quickly. If you need a moisturizer during the day you might want something less greasy.

We have also heard from readers who use manuka honey to heal cracks in fingertips.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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