Many people suffer from dry, cracking skin. It can be quite painful and it can even crack deep enough to bleed. The hands and fingers are often more susceptible because they are used often and not protected. Cracks on the tips of the fingers can be especially problematic because you use the tips of your fingers frequently, and this can cause the cracking to be worse. Treating the cracked fingertips, and preventing new cracking, can help you get rid of this problem.
Dry skin, and the cracking that can follow, is caused by numerous different things. More commonly, it is caused by the weather. The winter weather, with cold temperatures, can suck all the moisture out of your skin, combined with the drastic changes in temperature that occur when you go from the warmth of the indoors to the sudden cold of the outdoors. Most people require the use of their hands for many things, particularly if they work outside or part of their job is out in the cold. This makes the hands and fingers more vulnerable.
Other factors for this painful cracking include dermatitis, eczema, and sometimes diabetes. With skin conditions as a cause, the skin often dries out. Eczema flare-ups prevent the skin from retaining moisture, while the inflammation and other symptoms of dermatitis are responsible for the drying. Diabetes can result in fingertip cracking as a result of circulation problems.
Learning how to soften the skin so the cracks can heal properly will be important. Additionally, you will need to take the proper precautions to prevent new cracks from occurring. Repair and prevention efforts are minimal. You can use things you might already have access to, and you do not have to spend a lot of time trying to get it fixed.
Underlying conditions must first be properly treated by a physician before you can start to address the issue with skin cracking. Causes within your control, which is those that are not due to medical conditions, can be dealt with to avoid stripping the skin of valuable moisture. Certain things such as irritant exposure and sudden regular changes in temperature can be avoided.
Before you can work to prevent additional damage, you will need to soften the skin on the tips of the fingers. Cracks are often hard because of the lack of moisture and this prevents them from healing as quickly as other injuries. Try liberally applying a moisturizing lotion on your hands before you go to bed, and covering them with cotton gloves while you are sleeping. If you cannot find a lotion that works, you can also use petroleum jelly.
During the course of your day, put antibacterial ointment on the cracks and cover them with pieces of gauze. The gauze will help keep dirt and germs out, while the ointment works to prevent infection. In between the ointment applications, you can try using light lotions that contain coco butter or tea tree oil. Sticky bandages should not be used because they suffocate the skin. Also, you should wear gloves if your hands will be in contact with a lot of water.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is an ingredient found in many types of shampoos and soaps. The chemical is known to cause excessive dryness and products that contain it should be avoided. When you find something that works to get rid of the cracked fingertips, working to prevent them from recurring is a step in the right direction.
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