Once the skin on your fingertips starts to crack or split, definitely it will be a source of concern or panic. This is not an uncommon condition, it is a condition experienced by many people around the globe. It can be caused by environmental factors as well as other controllable causes. Get to explore the causes, symptoms, remedies and more.
Cracking fingertips is so unsightly and embarrassing besides being worrisome. So what exactly results in this condition? Well, the main reason for this is the inappropriate care for the skin around fingertips and fingers but again, there are other causes or triggers as well.
Causes or reasons
What causes the cracks and splits on the ends of your fingers and what is the best way to treat them? There are many causes that can result in cracked, dry skin on fingertips. Let us learn about the causes fast before proceeding to their treatments. Remember, for you to define the effective treatment, you must have a prior knowledge about the underlying cause in the first place. That goes without saying.
The following are common factors that can lead this cracking:
Eczema also called atopic dermatitis is defined to be inflammation of the skin and is always accompanied by itching and skin rashes. Other mutual symptoms include cracking, reddening or scaling. This skin condition can be influenced by chemical irritants, allergens, and traumatic injuries. It can last for several months before it could disappear.
To reduce the vulnerability, you should avoid the irritants or generally factors that lead to eczema. If eczema is not handled with good care, complications may include other dreadful skin conditions.
More skin conditions such as dermatitis or psoriasis can also lead to cracking or splitting fingertips.
Rapid change in weather
Abrupt changes in temperature can increase the vulnerability of dry cracked fingers. Blood circulation to this area may be affected by changes in temperature. When you are exposed to dry cold air during winter, and all of a sudden, you put your hands in front of a heat source… there are dryness and loss of elasticity of the finger skin and eventually, they crack. This is due to the fact that the blood vessels may not be fast to adapt to the change in temperature.
Some hormones are directly linked to the production of sebum, an oil that lubricates the skin. When the level of these hormones vary, the production of oil may be hindered and thus no sufficient oil to lubricate the skin of fingers. This is the reason behind extremely dry hands among the aged persons.
There are many reasons that may lead to such hormonal disorder, they include certain medications, some foods, underlying condition etc. Hormonal problems are usually experienced during pregnancy and menopause.
Malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies
Nutritional deficiencies i.e. vitamin deficiencies can be the reason behind cracking fingertips. But note this, it is the only severe vitamin deficiency that can cause cracking skin. Consumption of certain nutrients can also raise the blood sugar level and this can result to the hormonal shifts we had talked about earlier.
Too much intake of vitamin A can also lead to cracking skin, therefore you should visit your nutritionist to help control the intake of generally food nutrients for healthy skin.
This another capable cause of cracking and peeling fingertips. If you suffer this condition, your fingertip skin will develop ‘sandpaper-like’ texture that may influence your skin to crack and peel. This condition is believed to be inherited. For treatment purposes, you can use lactic acid or topical Retinoids. Laser treatments can be employed in some situations.
Allergens are harmless substances that trigger an immune response in a certain group of people but not all. They comprise of certain foods, chemicals, medications even cold weather among others. They can lead to skin irritation that can make the skin on fingertips to crack. The best solutions for this disorder is to define them and avoid completely. Antihistamine medications can also be used to treat it.
There are a number of environmental factors that can dry the skin on your fingers and thus potent to trigger dry cracked fingers. These may include lowered humidity, poor air conditioning as well as prolonged exposure to moistures. Persistent moisturizing can be the most effective solution.
As we had put it before, this problem may result from several factors or conditions. So apart from the ones discussed above, below are more causes that can be blamed for cracked fingertips:
- Cracked skin on fingers may run in family and so is one of your parents had it, then you are likely to suffer it too.
- Underlying condition or diseases such as heart and kidney diseases, thyroid problems, diabetes among others
- Connective tissue disorders on the fingers
- Sucking or biting your nails may also lead to cracking due to a lot of dampness
- Washing your hands with harsh soaps or detergents
- Staph infection
- Certain medications such as anticonvulsants, griseofulvin, isoniazid, nitrofurantoin, penicillin, phenothiazines etc.
- Ill-fitting gloves
- Other medical conditions such Kawasaki disease, erythroderma, and ichthyosis can also trigger nail peeling.
- Skin infections
There are several symptoms that can signify the presence of pending cracking of fingers. There are also post-symptoms that can also reveal the occurrence of previous cracked hands. One fundamental point worth to be noted is that the symptoms will solely rely on the underlying causes. Such symptoms can be mild or severe but remember, accurate diagnosis is important for proper medication. See the common symptoms of cracking fingers below:
- Dry fingertips or the skin on fingers
- A yellow color of the nails may be a symptom of a fungal infection
- Itching, burning sensation or pain on the skin on fingers
- Inflammation of fingers
- Thickening of the skin around the fingertips
- In severe cases, bleeding may be another symptom
- Severe sores may result from secondary infections if the cracks get infected
Another point we must not forget, this condition may be due to something occurring on the fingertips or may be due to systemic conditions affecting the whole body. If the systemic conditions are the cause, the resultant symptoms may be more severe than we can imagine. Now, this is the trick behind this. When you suspect that the symptoms start to be unbearable at home, please immediately consult your GP.
Some symptoms may be life-threatening so make sure the symptoms are managed at early stages.
Cracked fingertips treatments and remedies
To relieve heal cracking fingertips, first as we laid before, we must have advance knowledge about the causes. This will prevail the right treatment tactic. The severity of cracking, medical history of the patient and age are some of the few factors that can also be considered. However, mark this. This best treatment option in our case is prevention.
Explore the effective medications (over-the-counter and prescribed treatments) and home remedies that can be used to prevent or treat cracked hand or fingertips.
Apply essential oils
Essential oils contain mega nutrients that can help to nourish the skin on fingers as wells moisturizing and soothing the same skin. These oils involve coconut oil, aloe vera oil, lavender oil or olive. The application of this oils involve soaking your fingers in a warmed oil. Leave them to stay for some time and then rinse with warm water.
To prevent dry hands or fingers that may crack, join us to propose that moisturizing is essential. The moisturizing creams or lotions acquired over the counter can be applied during the day or night. After application, you should protect the moisturizers from being rubbed away. Wear soft wool gloves to help in such situations.
Avoid extreme or improper hand washing
Over washing your hands, this may trigger dry hands but at the same time, many people think that this enhances good hygiene, ooh no, this is wrong. What you should therefore do is to try to avoid excessive hand washing or apply best hand moisturizers after washing.
Treat underlying diseases
Sometimes as we had discovered before, cracked hands or fingers may due to certain diseases. We think in such cases, treating cracked skin on hands may not help but instead, we should focus on treating the underlying diseases or conditions. You may see you, doctor, to do proper diagnosis in order to identify such disease from other conditions so that, they can be properly treated.
Certain foods are essential for healthy skin but again there are also those foods that we should avoid for good skin health. Now, it is your time to see your nutritionist for proper advice on what good diet means.
Over the counter treatments
There are many medications available over the counter that you can try to relieve some of the symptoms of cracked hands or fingers such inflammation, itching, pain or the burning sensation. They include antihistamines for allergic reactions, topical antibiotics, topical antibacterial or antifungal among others. These treatments can be available in the forms of hand creams, lotions, gels or soaps.
More tips for healing cracked fingertips
- Avoid finger sucking or biting your nails
- You should trim sides of persistent cracks
- Use oatmeal soaks, egg yolks or whites, tea tree oils among other natural home remedies
It is time to see your doctor or dermatologist
Dry cracked fingertips is usually a condition that may not demand prescribed treatments since they can be easily managed at home. Try to apply the above home remedies alongside other over the counter treatments, if your symptoms become unresponsive to such treatments then, see your GP immediately.
Remember, in such serious cases, cracking fingers may due to the said underlying diseases that usually require advanced treatments beyond the scope of the home treatment options.