Skin Fissures and Split Fingertips
Although we’re leaving winter behind, many of us have been suffering from dry skin due to changes in our routine. We’re washing our hands more frequently and usually with sanitiser or detergent. The frequent washing is important but is also more likely to lead to dry, splitting skin and fissures. What are these fissures and can we do anything to prevent them?
Firstly, let’s take a look at why fingertip splitting occurs, and what is causing these fissures. Our skin, throughout the body has a level of elasticity to it. Just like a rubber band you can stretch your skin and it will go back into shape afterwards, as long as you don’t pull too hard! However, when the skin is less elastic due to dryness it causes skin fissures and nasty splits than can often be painful.
You may have heard of the protein collagen before and our skin elasticity is likely to be why. Collagen is what creates and maintains this elasticity. Essentially, this protein will make your skin appear softer and feel more supple, hence its popularity.
Furthermore, this elasticity is not the same throughout the entirety of our body. Some areas are less elastic and our fingertips are a prime example. The skin here is usually more dry and this is compounded by frequent hand washing. It is even worse for those of us who suffer from dry skin or conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. When we pull at this skin, rather than bouncing back like a rubber band, it can crack and cause skin fissures.
How To Prevent Skin Fissures
If your fingertips are splitting and causing you discomfort then fear not, there are solutions!
First step: moisturize. If you’re noticing skin fissures and splitting on your fingertips or hands, this is your skin crying out for moisture. There are many moisturizers out there but we would recommend something quite thick. Lotions are unlikely to cut it, creams will do better but you are probably best using ointments. These moisturizers are much thicker and closer to vaseline in texture. Although they may not feel as nice as a cream, they’re much better for locking in moisture and you’ll see vast improvements in your skin health by using them.
Another preventative measure would be to wear gloves. Avoiding exposure to cold air and hot water will help reduce your skin fissures. If you’re washing the dishes for example, wearing gloves will help to protect your hands and fingertips from splitting.
Consider Your Sanitizer and Detergent
Both sanitizer and detergent can be very harsh on our hands. Especially if it contains alcohol. At the moment, we would advise everyone to wash their hands thoroughly in order to prevent the spreading of diseases. However, if you’re using sanitizer, consider the effect this has on your skin. It will most definitely dry out your already dry fingertips and this will cause splitting. Although sanitizer is unavoidable, finger splitting fissures are. Be sure to moisturize thoroughly after use and this should help your skin lock in that all important moisturizer.
Speak to Our Online Dermatologists
Our final recommendation would be to speak to our online dermatologists. They are all board-certified and here to help you. Firstly, of course, we would advise you to follow the steps above but if you’re not seeing an improvement, your skin fissures could be being caused by something else. A fast check up by an expert could be all you need to resolve your skin splitting woes!
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Specialist doctor from the University Hospital in Gothenburg, alumnus UC Berkeley. My doctoral dissertation is about Digital Health and I have published 5 scientific articles in teledermatology and artificial intelligence.