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How Do I Heal Cracked Fingertips?

Healing cracked fingertips starts with gentle cleansing and moisturizing. Use a thick, fragrance-free cream and wear cotton gloves overnight to lock in moisture. For deeper cracks, consider a healing ointment with lanolin or glycerin. Avoid harsh chemicals and stay hydrated. Curious about more in-depth remedies and preventative care? Discover how to protect your hands year-round in our comprehensive guide.
Patti Kate
Patti Kate

Cracked fingertips in the wintertime may be caused by exposure to the cold. A good way to allow cracked skin to heal is by protecting your hands from the elements by wearing thermal gloves. In addition, wear garden gloves when doing yard work. To promote the healing of cracked fingertip skin, apply a lotion that contains shea butter and vitamin E. In extreme cases, a physician may give you a prescription medication for healing cracked fingertips.

If the skin on your fingertip is broken, you can prevent infection by applying a small dab of triple antibiotic ointment to the area. Some cases of cracked fingertips may bleed or be very slow to heal. To form a seal and barrier against dirt and germs, apply a liquid bandage to the fingertip area.

Cotton swabs can be used to apply oil to cracked fingertips.
Cotton swabs can be used to apply oil to cracked fingertips.

Moisturizing lotions such as shea butter or cocoa butter are excellent for healing chapped skin. If the skin is broken, it is best to use a lotion that is non greasy. Your dermatologist or physician may give you a prescription for a dimethicone cream that can help promote healing. Apply a small amount to your fingertips, allowing the cream to be absorbed into the skin. If you prefer to use an over the counter cream, try hydrocortisone, which may relieve the inflammation associated with cracked fingertips.

Aloe gel is a great moisturizer.
Aloe gel is a great moisturizer.

Try a natural treatment for skin cracks, such as aloe. Buy a tube of pure aloe vera gel and apply it liberally to your cracked fingertips. Alternately, you can buy an aloe plant for the same purpose. Simply extract the juice from the leaves of the aloe plant and apply it to your skin. Aloe has remarkable healing properties and feels very soothing as well.

You can also apply some concentrated vitamin E oil to your cracked finger skin. You can find this liquid concentrate at most nutrition stores and pharmacies. Apply the oil to your cracked fingertips using a cotton swab or eyedropper.

Wearing rubber gloves when washing dishes may help prevent cracked fingertips.
Wearing rubber gloves when washing dishes may help prevent cracked fingertips.

If your physician suspects your cracked skin is caused by a fungal infection, he may prescribe anti-fungal medication. A cream that contains triamcinolone is good for treating fungal infections. This antimicrobial cream should only be used as directed by your doctor.

Take preventative measures to ensure your hands stay soft and hydrated. Protect your hands from further damage by wearing rubber gloves when you do dishes. Over-washing your hands can make them excessively dry and cracked, so use moisturizing hand soap. Avoid using hand sanitizers that have alcohol, as this may make your cracked fingertips even more painful.

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Discussion Comments


I live in Arizona where it's super dry, and I've had this as a chronic problem for years. (Never happened to me back in my native, humid New York!)

I'm telling you now: Forget the fancy lotions and cremes-- I tried all of those. Save your money. I just recently found the miracle cure: glycerine. Ask for a bottle at your local pharmacy. I started rubbing it into my hands every night, and after just a few days the cracks were gone! I have never since had those cracked and painful fingertips. It works, period. (Caveat: If you have bad splits, it does burn a little the first couple of times you apply it, but as your cracks heal, the pain goes away and it just feels good). Just make sure it's the last thing you do before you go to sleep, since obviously your hands will be all greasy from it.


This is great! Wash your cracked cuts with soap and water and trim all dead edges off. Now pack the cuts with chapstick! Can you believe it? It's not just for chapped lips. It makes them feel better instantly and actually heals it! --Arlene


@SarahGen-- Can't you wear gloves while working?

If my hands are so badly cracked that they start to bleed, I usually apply antibacterial ointment, followed by lotion and then put on cotton gloves before I go to bed. My hands are very soft by morning and doing this back to back for a couple of nights heals the cracks really well.

Something else that works well is baby rash cream with zinc oxide, like sudocrem. But any brand will work fine. Baby rash cream has antibacterial properties and it also moisturizes and relieves pain. So it's an excellent cream for cracked hands.


@simrin-- I second that! I live in Maine and I don't think it gets as cold here as it does in Iowa. But I have really dry skin in general and I have to work outdoors, so cracked fingertips is a common occurrence for me in winter.

I also like coconut oil a lot, but my favorite is shea butter. I use vaseline as well, but usually on top of shea butter. It works really well that way, keeps all the moisture in like you said.

Have you tried getting your hands dipped in wax? That is also an excellent way to prevent cracking.


I live in Minnesota where it gets extremely cold during winter months. When I first moved here, I didn't know how to deal with hands that crack from the cold. I used to live in the South before this, so I had never experienced it before.

At first, I started using any hand lotion that came my way but realized soon enough that most lotions didn't do anything for cracked fingertips. So I started asking friends and family for good moisturizers and I was told to use natural moisturizers instead of ones with mineral oil / glycerin in it.

Glycerin is the most common ingredient in moisturizers but it doesn't actually moisturize the skin. It just shields the skin from losing the moisture it has. Which was none in my case.

So I started using moisturizers made from natural oils like olive oil, coconut oil and almond oil. The first one I got was made with coconut oil, honey and beeswax. This moisturizer healed my cracked hands in a few days and prevented my skin from cracking again.

So if anyone out there has cracked hands and fingertips from the cold, start using natural moisturizers immediately. It's the best remedy ever.

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    • Cotton swabs can be used to apply oil to cracked fingertips.
      By: Sergey Yarochkin
      Cotton swabs can be used to apply oil to cracked fingertips.
    • Aloe gel is a great moisturizer.
      By: sassyphotos
      Aloe gel is a great moisturizer.
    • Wearing rubber gloves when washing dishes may help prevent cracked fingertips.
      By: aleksandra_1981
      Wearing rubber gloves when washing dishes may help prevent cracked fingertips.
    • Petroleum jelly, when applied to cracked fingertips, is a soothing remedy.
      By: Graça Victoria
      Petroleum jelly, when applied to cracked fingertips, is a soothing remedy.
    • Moisturizing hand lotion helps heal cracked fingertips.
      By: roblan
      Moisturizing hand lotion helps heal cracked fingertips.