Cracked fingertips are one of the worst winter skin problems. Here’s how to fix them.
If you’re battling arctic blasts, working with your hands a lot, or are just prone to extremely dry skin and cracked fingertips, you probably already know the problem isn’t just an issue aesthetically — it can also cause real physical pain and damage.
“Dry, cracked skin on the hands and fingertips is very common in the winter,” explains Dr. Gary Goldenberg of Goldenberg Dermatology in New York. “Almost every patient I see in winter time suffers from this at some point. Cold, dry weather and lack of moisture in the environment and in the home is largely responsible. Harsh soaps and predisposition to eczema and psoriasis make this problem worse.”
It’s not just a predisposition to dry skin or skin irritations that causes cracked fingertips, though, says Dr. Anca Tchelebi of Park Avenue Medical Spa in Armonk, New York. “If dry skin is causing fingertips to crack, the key is to avoid factors like solvents, washing in hot water, dry air, and always moisturize.”
READ MORE: 10 Ways to Make Hands Look Younger
Treating cracked fingertips is more important than you think, because both doctors say agree cracked skin can lead to superficial infections. They recommend trying these simple steps to keeping hands silky smooth through even the coldest winter chills:
Apply moisturizer every single time you wash your hands
If you’re constantly washing your hands, you’re stripped your skin of natural oils and protective layers that help keep cracked fingertips at bay. Try moisturizing after every single wash, at least five times a day, with a rich hydrating hand cream like Bastide Creme Intense Deep Repair Hand Cream.
Avoid using hot water
If dry skin is a problem for you in general, steer clear of hot water hand washes, baths, or showers. Heat strips natural oils from your skin, potentially leading to painful cracked fingertips and other skin woes.
Pair a rich balm with gloves overnight
Forget all the talk of coconut oil solving every issue in the world — sure, it’s nice, but it won’t seal in quite as much moisture as a dose of a thick, hearty natural balm will overnight. The key is to apply it generously, like this all-natural formula by Lavido, and then keep a pair of cotton gloves on for at least six to eight hours. You’ll wake up to significantly softer, less cracked hands.
If you work with your hands, do this one thing
Wear gloves. Constantly exposing your hands to extreme temperatures, rough materials, and harsh elements can damage your skin and cause weak, cracked fingertips that lead to infection and nail growth issues. “We use our hands all the time, says Tchelebi. “They undergo a lot of mechanical strain and are less protected from environmental factors. Constant use means more exposure to UV radiation, dry and frigid air, chemicals, and other irritants – all known to cause dry skin.”
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