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Solutions For Split Fingertips

Old-fashioned ointments like Vicks or Bag Balm can soothe summertime rashes as well as heal split fingertips in winter.

Cracked, split fingertips are more often a problem when the weather is cold and the air is dry. Warm weather poses different sorts of challenges for the skin. Sometimes, however, the solutions can be quite similar. Many readers appreciate the healing power of economical barnyard beauty aids.

Bag Balm for Rashes:

Q. Bag Balm applied topically works wonders for red, itchy rashes in sensitive areas of the human body. It can be found at some drug stores as well as farm and feed stores.

Bag Balm comes in a square green can. It was originally developed for irritation on the udders of farm animals (cows, sheep, goats). In my view, it’s amazing and inexpensive, well worth the time it takes to find it! I pack the smallest size, a tiny can, when I’m traveling.

A. Bag Balm was introduced in 1899 by the Dairy Association Company of Vermont. The founders developed it as a treatment for cows’ chapped udders. It is now made by Vermont’s Original.

Farm families adopted its use for their own dry, chapped skin. It contains an antiseptic, 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate. Other moisturizing ingredients include lanolin and petroleum jelly. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Occasionally, people may find that they react badly to this product because of the lanolin. Some people are sensitive to it.

Bag Balm or Other Ointments for Split Fingertips:

Q. When the skin on my fingertips cracks open, the splits are painful and take a long time to heal. I went to a dermatologist for a series of different pills and lotions but nothing has worked.

This problem seems to happen more in the winter months. It just started again, with cracks on two fingertips of my left hand. What can you suggest?

Greasy Moisturizers Work Best:

A. Dermatologists sometimes recommend moisturizers, “the greasier the better.” By these standards, plain petroleum jelly should work great. But many readers tell us that Vicks VapoRub is especially helpful against splitting skin on the fingertips. The herbal oils in the petrolatum base seem to add a little extra power and oomph.

Another great greasy remedy for split fingertips is A&D Ointment. This contains vitamins A and D in a petrolatum base and seems to help fingertips heal fast.

A couple of other old-fashioned approaches for split fingertips include Bag Balm (again, this uses petrolatum as the base) or Udder Cream. Both products were originally designed to keep cows’ udders from chapping in cold weather. If you apply any of these moisturizers at night, wear light cotton gloves like the ones professional photographers use for handling negatives. They’ll keep the sheets from getting too greasy.

One last approach readers have recommended is sealing the cracks of split fingertips with instant glue. A liquid bandage product from Band-Aid is formulated for skin and might be less irritating than a household adhesive.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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