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Cracked Hands & Fingers

Cracked Hands & Fingers Cracked Hands & Fingers

Overview

Dry, cracked skin on your hands and fingers can cause discomfort and embarrassment. Dry skin is not a serious problem,  but you have several options for treating and preventing excessively dry skin that has caused your hands and fingers to become cracked. If your skin dryness is severe or chronic, consider seeing a dermatologist to get a diagnosis and discuss your long-term treatment options.

Causes

Several factors can cause cracked skin on your hands and fingers. Dry skin is more common in the winter when reduced humidity and indoor heating dry out your skin, leading to cracked hands and fingers. Excessively dry skin could also be a sign of bathing too frequently or a skin condition such as eczema, according to MedlinePlus.

Treatment

You can treat your dry, cracked hands and fingers at home with an over-the-counter moisturizer. This may be enough to heal your skin, or you may need to see a dermatologist for further treatment. A dermatologist may prescribe a prescription-strength moisturizer or suggest you use a cortisone cream to clear up irritated dry skin. In cases of severely cracked skin, a doctor may prescribe wet dressings to help your skin contract, heal and prevent infection.

Prevention

You can prevent the skin on your hands and fingers from becoming dry and cracked, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Try shortening your baths or showers to keep your skin from drying out. Wash your hands with warm, not hot, water to keep natural moisture in your skin and prevent dryness. Use a mild cleanser when you wash, avoiding harsh soaps. Pat your hands dry with a towel after washing them and apply a moisturizer within three minutes of washing to lock in moisture.

Considerations

If you have severe itching or pain in your cracked hands and fingers, see a dermatologist. Itching and pain can be signs of serious medical problems. Dry, cracked hands can also be a sign of certain conditions, such as psoriasis, or even thyroid disorders.

Expert Insight

The American Academy of Dermatology offers these suggestions on choosing the best moisturizer for your dry, cracked hands and fingers: Look for moisturizing lotions and creams that contain lactic acid or urea to help your skin lock in moisture. Moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid, dimethicone or glycerin work to draw water into your skin, restoring moisture.

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