A common ill-effect of extreme winter is the condition of cracked skin on fingers. The condition is aggravated when hands come in contact with water or harsh detergents and the like. Also, this condition can be indicative of a deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals in the body. Medical conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, fungal skin infection, athlete's foot, dry skin, scaly skin, contact dermatitis and Sjogren's syndrome, could also be responsible for causing the same in some people.
How to Heal or Treat Cracked Skin
- Treatment involves application of good amount of moisture to the affected areas. Do not be lured by pricey moisturizer creams. A simple petroleum jelly from your local health store would suffice. You would also need a pair of lycra-based cotton gloves, apart from the jelly. Before going to bed, wash your hands with a mild soap and warm water. Pat dry the hands properly, and apply a heavy layer of the petroleum jelly on the cracked areas, and some on the rest of your hands. Thereafter, cover the hands with gloves and leave them overnight. This remedy can also be adopted during the day, if you don't plan to go out.
- You may also use almond oil or coconut oil, instead of petroleum jelly.
- It is also important to avoid extreme temperatures. Do not bathe using hot water as it may dry the skin more, and this might aggravate the problem. Before going out in the cold, it is wise to cover the hands with gloves, after smothering them with petroleum jelly.
Some Quick Home Remedies
- Prepare a mix of vitamin E oil and almond oil. Soak hands in warm water and then treat them with this preparation.
- Put mashed banana on the affected areas.
- Heal and soothe the cracks by applying a mixture of cocoa butter and coconut oil.
- A mashed avocado when applied on the affected areas, helps in enhancing the body's oil production, and speeds up the healing period.
- Get beeswax, lanolin, and castor oil and melt them together. You can use the mix on the cracked spots after it has cooled down.
- Honey is a good source of vitamins and minerals, and so are egg yolks. Beat the yolk with the honey and apply it on the cracked skin for about 10 minutes.
- Vitamin C helps in restoring skin's balance and dairy products are known to keep the skin well-hydrated. So, one more remedy is a mix of plain yogurt and lemon juice.
If the problem of cracked skin is caused by environmental conditions like cold weather, water or detergents, then the above tips are good enough for the treatment. However, these methods may not be effective enough if the condition has been caused by some underlying disease. For instance, if eczema, is causing it, then the patient can go with over-the-counter anti-itch medications. But for severe cases, prescription-strength drugs are required, which may include corticosteroid creams or ointments, antibiotics, oral antihistamines, and immunomodulators. Phototherapy, which exposes the skin to controlled amount of natural sunlight, could also be involved in the treatment of the condition.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.