How To Heal Painful And Cracked Skin On The Fingertips At Home

Easy-to-follow treatments that can help you deal with the cracks on your fingertips.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Saloni Vora-Gala, MBBS, DDV
By Shaheen Naser

Cracked fingers can be due to cold weather or a symptom of a medical condition. Either way, it is annoying, painful, and uncomfortable. The good news is that there are a few home remedies for cracked fingers you can try to get rid of them. If you develop some possible health complications, you should consult a doctor for further treatment. In this article, we take a look at some quick and simple remedies for cracked fingers you can try at home!

What Causes Cracked Skin On The Fingertips?

Although peeling or cracked skin on the fingertips is not much of a concern, it might have painful consequences. A number of factors could cause the skin on your fingertips to peel off. They are:

  • Dry skin, especially during winters
  • Repetitive washing of hands
  • Use of soaps and other products with harsh chemicals
  • Sunburn (it is often followed by dry and peeling skin a few days after the first burn)
  • Dry, hot, and cold weather
  • Sucking on the thumb
  • Chopping vegetables
  • Contact with detergents

Peeling and cracked skin may also be due to some underlying medical conditions like:

  • Allergies: If your skin comes in contact with an allergen, it may begin to peel.
  • Niacin (or Vitamin B3) deficiency.
  • Vitamin A toxicity: Consuming too much vitamin A may also cause your skin to crack and peel.
  • Hand eczema: Genetics, as well as exposure to certain chemicals, can cause hand eczema.
  • Psoriasis: A skin disorder that may appear as silver plaques or lesions on your skin.
  • Exfoliative keratolysis: A skin condition that causes blisters, which may later begin to peel.
  • Kawasaki disease: A rare disease that usually affects children under 5 years of age.

Let us now learn how to deal with this condition using natural remedies.

How To Heal Cracked Fingertips At Home

  1. Vaseline
  2. Paraffin Wax
  3. Epsom Salt
  4. Coconut Oil
  5. Tea Tree Oil
  6. Castor Oil
  7. Diaper Cream
  8. Flaxseed Oil
  9. Super Glue
  10. Liquid Bandage
  11. Gloves
  12. Chapstick
  13. Flexitol

Home Remedies For Cracked Fingertips

1. Vaseline

Shutterstock

You Will Need

Vaseline (as required)

What You Have To Do

Take some Vaseline and apply it gently to your fingers and hands.

How Often You Should Do This

You can do this a couple of times daily, especially when your hands begin to turn dry.

Why This Works

Vaseline is also referred to as petroleum jelly. In addition to instantly moisturizing your dry and cracked fingertips, it forms a layer on your skin and protects it from further infection (1).

2. Paraffin Wax

Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • Paraffin wax
  • Gloves
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a block of paraffin wax and heat it.
  2. Wash your hands with mild soap and moisturize them.
  3. Immerse your hands in the wax and leave them in for a few seconds.
  4. Take your hands out and repeat this process 3 to 4 times.
  5. By now, a paraffin glove must have formed on your hands.
  6. Place your hands in a plastic cover and let them dry for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Pull the cover off gently and remove any remnants of the wax from your hands.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this once every week or two.

Why This Works

Paraffin wax has emollient properties that keep your hands soft and supple. It also traps moisture and helps in getting rid of dead skin cells (2).

3. Epsom Salt

Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1/2 cup of Epsom salt
  • Water (as required)
What You Have To Do
  1. Fill a bucket or basin with warm water.
  2. Add about half a cup of Epsom salt to it.
  3. Soak both your hands in the water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. You can also exfoliate your dry hands with the coarse grains of Epsom salt.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this thrice a week.

Why This Works

Epsom salt is widely used for soothing and rejuvenating the skin. Soaking your hands in an Epsom salt solution can help in the removal of dead skin cells from your skin, thereby helping treat cracked fingertips (3).

4. Coconut Oil

Shutterstock

You Will Need

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Take a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil and massage it into both hands.
  2. Allow your skin to absorb the oil completely.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this once daily, preferably after taking a bath.

Why This Works

The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil have excellent emollient and moisturizing properties, which help soothe the dry and cracked skin around your fingertips (4). Additionally, the antimicrobial properties of coconut oil protect your skin from infections (5), (6).

5. Tea Tree Oil

Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Add two to three drops of tea tree oil to coconut oil and mix well.
  2. Apply this mixture to your fingertips and leave it on overnight.
  3. Wash your hands thoroughly the next morning.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this at least once daily, before going to bed.

Why This Works

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic with excellent antimicrobial properties (7). Hence, it can speed up the healing of cracked skin and protect it from microbial infections.

Caution

Do not use tea tree oil without diluting it in any carrier oil as it might cause irritation.

6. Castor Oil

Shutterstock

You Will Need

Castor oil (as required)

What You Have To Do
  1. Take a little castor oil and massage it gently into the affected area.
  2. Wash it off after 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. You can also keep the oil on overnight.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this at least once daily.

Why This Works

Castor oil is a rich source of ricinoleic acid and vitamin E. These nutrients impart amazing emollient and healing properties to it that can help heal your skin. The oil can also keep your hands soft and moisturized for a long time (8).

7. Diaper Cream

You Will Need

Diaper cream (as required)

What You Have To Do

Apply diaper cream to your hands before going to bed and leave it on overnight.

How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily, before going to bed.

Why This Works

Your baby’s diaper cream that is used to prevent rashes can also be used to heal the dry and chapped skin on your fingertips. This is mainly because most diaper creams contain zinc. Zinc not only helps in healing cracked skin but also softens the skin with its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (9),(10).

8. Flaxseed Oil

Shutterstock

You Will Need

A few drops of flaxseed oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Take a few drops of flaxseed oil and apply them to the affected areas.
  2. Massage the remaining oil on both hands.
  3. You can also take flaxseed oil supplements after consulting your doctor.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Flaxseed oil is derived from the flax plant. It contains fatty acids that heal dry skin and keep it soft. The powerful anti-inflammatory properties of flaxseed oil can help reduce inflammation and redness (11).

9. Super Glue

Shutterstock

You Will Need

Super glue

What You Have To Do

Put a drop of super glue on the painful cracks on your fingertips and allow it to dry.

How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily, before sleeping.

Why This Works

Super glue can be a quick fix to heal cracked fingertips. Just a dab of it will keep your skin covered (12). However, some glues may be made of ingredients that can irritate your skin. So, make sure you look at the packaging before going ahead with this remedy.

10. Liquid Bandage

You Will Need

Liquid bandages

What You Have To Do
  1. Use liquid bandages to seal the deep and painful cracks on your fingertips.
  2. If you do not have liquid bandages handy, normal bandages will also do the trick.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once every 1 or 2 days.

Why This Works

A liquid bandage forms a polymeric layer that binds to the cracked fingertip. This locks the moisture in your skin and protects it from dirt and microbial infections, thereby helping your cracked skin heal faster (13).

11. Gloves

Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • Hand moisturizing gloves
  • Petroleum jelly (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Wear a pair of moisturizing gel gloves that are specially made for treating dry and cracked hands.
  2. If you cannot find such gloves, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to both your hands and seal it using cotton gloves. Leave it on overnight.
How Often You Should Do This

Wear these gloves daily for faster results.

Why This Works

Gloves help lock in the moisture in your hands and protect them from the harsh weather outside during winters. Moisturizing gloves are also available that keep your hands moisturized for most of the day and aid quick healing of dry and peeling skin.

12. Chapstick

Shutterstock

You Will Need

Non-flavored chapstick

What You Have To Do

Apply a thick layer of chapstick to your cracked fingertips.

How Often You Should Do This

You can do this multiple times daily, almost as many times as you apply it to your lips.

Why This Works

Most chapsticks contain emollient and moisturizing components like beeswax, camphor, and vitamin E. These ingredients possess excellent healing and softening properties, and are hence one of the best options to heal chapped skin, including that on your fingertips (14).

13. Flexitol

You Will Need

Flexitol

What You Have To Do

Apply flexitol to the affected areas.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this twice daily.

Why This Works

Flexitol is a concentrated moisturizer and exfoliator that can help in keeping your skin soft. Regular application can also help in getting rid of cracked fingertips. Flexitol is antifungal and can thus protect your chapped fingers from microbial infections as well.

For most people, cracked and peeling skin is mostly a result of weather changes. If it is that time of the year again when your skin has begun to turn dry, you can take the following precautions.

Tips To Prevent Cracked Fingertips

  • During cold weather, try and cover your hands whenever you go outside.
  • Always keep your hands and feet moisturized.
  • Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.
  • Use warm (not hot) water to wash your hands.
  • Do not use harsh soaps – instead, opt for mild moisturizing ones.
  • Try not to use sanitizers as they tend to dry out your skin.
  • Use a humidifier inside your home.
  • Do not over-wash your hands.

Mild symptoms associated with the condition can be easily treated with the above tips and remedies. Nonetheless, if your symptoms turn severe, and you experience severe pain or bleeding, you must visit your doctor immediately as this could be a result of some underlying medical condition.

Home remedies for cracked fingers work by moisturizing the skin and cutting down the risk of further infection. Allergies, vitamin B3 deficiency, psoriasis, and hand eczema may trigger cracked skin. You can heal cracked fingertips with vaseline, Epsom salt, paraffin wax, and super glue. Tea tree oil, coconut oil, castor oil, and flaxseed oil can also be used. Flexitol, liquid bandage, gloves, and chapstick can also manage cracked fingers. In addition, you can keep your fingers from cracking by moisturizing your hands, covering your hands in cold weather, and staying hydrated.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you heal cracked hands overnight?

Apply a thick layer of a cream, gel or lotion with ingredients such as wax, petroleum jelly or shea butter before going to bed to improve cracked hands overnight.

Is salt good for cracked fingers?

Salt as a mild natural exfoliant that can help clean up dead and flaky skin on cracked fingers. It is important to apply it in combination with natural oils suitable for the skin and not by itself.

Is Vicks good for cracked fingers?

Yes, Vicks may help heal cracked fingers as it contains a petroleum jelly base, which acts as an emollient and moisturizer.

Is olive oil good for cracked fingers?

Yes, olive oil is a natural skin moisturizer.

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author
Shaheen holds a postgraduate degree in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from Bharathiar University. She is a Geneticist with proficiency... more

Dr. Saloni Vora-Gala

(MBBS, DDV)
Dr. Saloni Vora-Gala has over 8 years of experience in the field of dermatology and cosmetology, managing and treating common... more

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