Cracking can occur when your skin barriers are compromised. It is usually a sign of dryness and irritation of the skin, but there are many reasons for it. Your feet, hands and lips may be particularly prone to cracking. However, depending on the cause, cracked skin can also form in other areas of the body.
Most of the causes of cracked skin can be controlled with home remedies, but if your cracked skin is severe or you have any side effects, it is better to see a doctor. According to Health Line, let’s help investigate the various causes of cracked skin along with ways to relieve it.
What is the cause of cracked skin?
Depending on the cause of the cracked skin, it may be accompanied by various other symptoms. Paying attention to these symptoms may help to accurately diagnose the cause.
Dry skin is the most common cause of cracked skin. On smooth and damp skin, natural oils prevent the skin from drying out by retaining moisture, but if your skin does not have enough oil, it loses its moisture, which causes the skin to dry out and shrink, leading to cracking. Dry skin can be caused by the following:
In winter, humidity and low temperatures can dry out your skin, and indoor heating also reduces moisture in the home.
Chemical stimuli. Many products, such as dish soap and laundry detergent, can contain harsh chemicals that can damage skin barriers and cause dryness.
Showering or washing dishes with warm water can reduce skin moisture.
Dryness may be a side effect of some medications, such as topical retinoids.
Excess moisture. It can actually irritate and dry the skin when your skin is constantly exposed to moisture. This can also happen after wearing socks and sweating your feet for a long time because water irritates the skin.
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Eczema is a skin condition that causes redness and itching, also known as atopic dermatitis. It can occur anywhere on the body, but most often affects the face, hands, and the folds of the inner arm and back of the knees. This condition makes the skin look very dry which can lead to cracking. Other symptoms of eczema include:
Rough and scaly pieces
Psoriasis is a disorder of the immune system that causes the skin cells to grow rapidly. As excess skin cells accumulate, they become scaly and inflammation plays a large role. Rapid accumulation of cells can lead to dryness and cracking, along with:
Silver white scales
Itching in some cases
These symptoms can occur anywhere, but are most common in the following:
Heel splitting is a common complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This condition can lead to diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage caused by diabetes. In diabetic neuropathy, your nerves cannot properly control skin moisture, which can lead to dryness and cracking, especially in the feet. Other symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include:
Numbness in the feet or hands
Pain in the legs or arms
People with diabetes are prone to skin infections. In many cases, dry feet can be the result of an athlete’s foot or baldness.
Another cause of foot cracks is athlete’s foot, a skin infection caused by a fungus. An infection that usually occurs between the toes or the soles of the feet can cause cracking of the skin. Other symptoms include:
Athlete’s foot often affects people who have wet feet regularly, such as swimmers and runners, and is also common in people with diabetes.
Dry and cracked lips
When your lips are very dry or irritated, they can crack or flake, and in some cases become swollen, itchy, or sore. Inflammation or dryness of the lips occurs for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes of cracked lips are:
Frequent licking of the lips
Allergic reaction to lip balm or other product
Peeling keratolysis causes peeling on the hands and feet. This condition usually affects the palms of the hands, but it can also affect the soles of the feet. The skin loses its natural barrier as the top layer separates, which can lead to dryness and cracking. Other symptoms include:
Home remedy for cracked skin
There are several different ways you can treat cracked skin at home if the condition is not too severe. Depending on the cause and location of the cracked skin, you may want to try one of these skin care methods.
Moisturizing ointment or cream
Because dry skin can cause it to crack or get worse. It is important to keep your skin well moisturized, which you can do with frequent use of the moisturizer. Creams and ointments are more effective because they can help keep your skin hydrated. You can also try products with ingredients like the following:
The battery object
Use a moisturizer two to three times a day, including immediately after a bath, especially on the driest parts of your body.
Vaseline treats cracks by sealing and protecting the skin. This jelly has the ability to absorb moisture, which helps heal cracked skin. To use this treatment:
Apply Vaseline on the areas where your skin is cracked.
Cover the area with a bandage or gauze. If you rub Vaseline on cracked heels, wear socks afterwards.
Repeat this three times a day, especially immediately after bathing.
Vaseline is an excellent option, especially for dry lips. Before using this product, be sure to read the list of ingredients to make sure this product does not contain allergens.
Topical hydrocortisone cream
Topical hydrocortisone cream can be a good option for leaving skin with red spots or itching. This type of cream contains corticosteroids that reduce irritation and swelling. Hydrocortisone creams are available in a variety of strengths, the mildest of which are available as over-the-counter therapies, but you will need a doctor’s prescription to make a stronger hydrocortisone cream. Read the package instructions when using hydrocortisone, you can also combine this treatment with a moisturizer. First, apply hydrocortisone cream and add moisturizer. Before using a topical hydrocortisone cream, it is best to talk to a dermatologist to see if it helps your specific condition.
A fluid bandage on the skin can heal deep cracks in the skin. This over-the-counter treatment accelerates healing by holding cracked skin together. Read the instructions on the package to use the liquid bandage. Avoid using it with other creams or ointments as the liquid band should stick to your skin.
Gentle exfoliation can remove dry, dead cells from the surface of your skin. This treatment is often recommended for cracked feet and heels. To peel the legs:
Soak your feet in water for 20 minutes.
Gently remove dry skin with a loofah or foot stone.
Then dry your feet and apply moisturizer.
Exfoliate once or twice a week to get started.
If you think you have athlete’s foot, you can start a topical treatment for the fungus.
Complications of cracked skin
If your cracked skin does not improve with home care and treatment, it can cause other problems. Possible side effects include:
Deeper skin damage
Bacterial infections such as cellulite
Pain when walking or standing
When to see a doctor?
Mildly cracked skin can be treated at home, but if your cracked skin does not get better or even worse after 2 weeks of treatment, be sure to see your doctor. If you have cracked skin with one of the following conditions, you should seek medical attention:
Full of dirt
It becomes redder or more irritated
Along with fever
in the end
In many cases, cracking is caused by skin that is very dry, inflamed or irritated. This happens when your skin loses a lot of moisture which breaks down. Most people get cracked skin on their legs, arms and lips, but it can affect any part of your body. You can treat cracked skin with treatments such as Vaseline, moisturizing creams, mild hydrocortisone creams and liquid bandages, but see your doctor as soon as possible if the crack does not get better or you have signs of infection.
Translator: Elahe Zarei