Cracked Skin: Symptoms, Causes, and Natural Treatments
Cracked skin isn’t just unsightly, itchy, and inconvenient. Without treatment, this condition can lead to more serious problems. It may even be a sign of a disease or disorder. That said, there’s no need to stress if you’re struggling with dry, cracked skin. You can improve the health of your skin with the right cracked skin natural treatments and possibly medical intervention.
The first step is to understand what causes the issue, how you can protect your skin, and when you should seek medical attention. You’ll find all that information and more right here in your guide to cracked skin.
What is Cracked Skin?
Cracked skin is the condition in which skin becomes dry or damaged to the point of cracking. While this problem can appear anywhere on the body, it occurs most frequently on hands, feet, and lips.
In many cases, cracked skin is the result of dryness. Those who suffer from mild cracking can treat the problem with specially formulated moisturizers and skin protection strategies.
However, cracked skin may also be the result of a disease or disorder. It can be chronic, and cracks (or fissures) that extend to the deeper layers of the skin may lead to more serious issues such as tearing, bleeding, and skin infections.
Symptoms of Cracked Skin
If your cracked skin is merely the result of dryness, cold weather, prolonged standing, or other non-medical causes, you will experience simple symptoms such as:
- Cracks in the skin
- Dry skin
- Irritated skin
Additional symptoms that suggest a possible medical condition include:
- Scaly skin
- Crumbling nails
- Crusting sores
- White or silver plaques
- Joint pain
- Loss of feeling in the feet
- Excessive sweating
- Pain or burning
- Warmth or swelling
If you experience any of the above symptoms, speak to your doctor before beginning your own cracked skin natural treatments. You may require doctor-prescribed medications or ointments.
Who Gets Cracked Skin?
Anyone can experience cracked skin. However, the likelihood of suffering from extremely dry skin increases over the age of 40. Individuals who live in cold climates are likely to deal with this condition, as well.
Cracked skin is also a common symptom of several different diseases and disorders.
What Causes Cracked Skin?
There are several possible reasons you might be suffering from cracked skin. Lifestyle and environmental factors are often the culprits. However, it is possible you have a medical condition that requires attention.
Non-Medical Cracked Skin Causes
Non-medical causes of cracked skin all relate to dehydration or excessive pressure on the skin. Skin cells require regular hydration to remain soft and pliable. When stripped of their moisture through chemicals or environmental factors, cells lose their flexibility. This causes cracking.
If you experience cracked skin and do not have a medical condition, possible causes include:
- Excessive sun exposure.
- Long periods of standing, as prolonged pressure on the skin of the heels can cause your heels to crack.
- Open-backed footwear that allows heel expansion, leading to straining and cracking of the skin.
- Walking barefoot.
- Dry or cold weather.
- Abrupt temperature changes.
- Exposure to hot water.
- Exposure to harsh soaps and chemicals.
Medical Cracked Skin Causes
If your cracks deepen or bleed, or if you experience additional symptoms, consult a physician right away. You could have a medical condition such as:
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- Fungal infection
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Hormonal imbalance
- Nerve damage
When to Seek Medical Attention
If your cracked skin is clearly the result of dry weather or another minor environmental cause, you should be able to treat it safely with a moisturizer. However, if you experience severe cracking or additional symptoms, contact your doctor.
Seek medical attention if:
- The affected area is oozing pus or other fluids
- The affected area becomes warm, tender, or swollen
- The affected area is throbbing
- The cracks have deepened and formed fissures
- The skin on your lower legs has become thick, rough, and scaly
- You are a diabetic and have deep fissures in your foot
- You experience excessive pain or burning
- You are sweating excessively
- You feel joint pain
- You lose feeling in your feet
- There are blisters, sores, scales, or plaques in the affected area
- Your nails are crumbling
Cracked skin can lead to a range of possible complications, including sepsis, a bacterial blood infection that can be fatal. If you experience any of the following signs of sepsis, seek medical attention immediately.
- Severe pain
- Chills and trembling
- Passing out, lethargy, unresponsiveness, and other changes in consciousness
- Fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
Cracked Skin Diagnosis
In order to diagnose the cause of your cracked skin, your doctor will examine the affected area. He or she may decide to perform a biopsy or other lab tests. Your doctor will likely ask several questions related to the progression of your condition and the presence of additional symptoms.
As you approach your doctor’s visit, it helps to be prepared with information such as:
- When you first developed cracked skin
- How long you have had cracked skin
- Whether the condition has been constant or comes and goes
- Additional symptoms you have experienced, even if you are not experiencing them currently
- Any allergies you have
- Whether you have had a fever
- Recent insect bites
These details help your health care provider narrow down likely causes and track your progression.
Complications Resulting from Cracked Skin
Even if you and your doctor determine that you have a mild case of cracked skin, prompt treatment is imperative. Neglecting your cracked skin now may lead to serious complications later.
Cracking may become more severe, creating deep fissures in your skin. Fissures can lead to bleeding and deep-tissue skin infections. You could even experience scarring, disfigurement, or a life-threatening bacterial blood infection.
Fortunately, the vast majority of people with cracked skin can avoid these complications with the right cracked skin natural treatments.
Cracked Skin Natural Treatment
The best treatment for cracked skin depends on your doctor’s diagnosis. He or she may prescribe any number of medications to treat the underlying medical condition which may be resulting in skin dryness. However, if you merely suffer from cracked skin due to environmental and lifestyle factors, you can heal and prevent dry skin with some basic day-to-day strategies, such as:
- Use Delfina Skin cracked skin natural treatment twice a day for 2-3 weeks to completely address and resolve cracked or dry skin. Continue to use 2-3 times a week to be free of dry skin.
- Using a humidifier in dry months.
- Avoiding contact with the affected area, including scratching, poking, or picking.
- Protecting your skin. Guard your skin against harmful UV rays with sunblock, wide-brimmed hats, and long sleeves. In winter, protect yourself from harsh winds with scarves, hats, and gloves.
In many cases, cracked skin doesn’t have to be dangerous, embarrassing, or permanent. With a smart approach and a quality skincare routine, you can overcome this frustrating condition.