Fingertip cracks are so, so painful but they are amazingly easy to fix, and they are easy to fix with stuff you already have in your medicine cabinet, stuff like Band-Aids and practically any ointment like Vaseline, petroleum jelly, Aquaphor or even the antibiotic ointments we talk about like bacitracin and Polysporin and, as crazy as this may sound, if you catch that crack real early, Krazy Glue will fix it. In order for you to understand why these things work, you need to understand what’s going on here and what causes them. So I’m going to explain three different facts. First of all, the skin of the tip of your finger is very thick, just like the skin of the palm. Second, any time fluid comes into something, it gets larger, just like when you sprain your ankle. The ankle swells up because of all of the fluid that comes in to help heal it and, on the other hand, when you lose fluid from something, it shrinks and shrivels. That’s how a grape goes to a raisin. And third, in the wintertime, the temperature is lower, the humidity is lower and there is much more evaporation of water from all parts of our skin.
So, let’s start with this representing the curve of the tip of your finger and the thickened skin. You can see this little line. This line represents a crack. That crack can come from a simple scratch, just over drying of the skin or any other trauma that happens to the skin. But you get a crack. The surface of that crack then loses some water by evaporation. Because the skin is so thick, there is more water being lost at the top than at the bottom. As a result, the crack starts to open. Well, now the inner part of the skin is exposed so the fluid, because of the lower temperature and humidity, can evaporate from there and, as it evaporates, it pulls a raisin deal on us, it shrivels up, so the inner parts of this crack shrivel up and pull apart from each other and they keep pulling further apart as more and more water is lost. It’s a little bit like a positive feedback cycle because, as you lose more water, it opens up more, it exposes more of that inner skin but look at what else is happening, it’s getting deeper and, as it gets deeper, it starts to hit nerve fibers and that’s why it’s so painful. So how do you fix this? Just stop the leak, and we stop the leak of that inner fluid by putting bacitracin or Polysporin or any of those other ointments I mentioned right into the crack and then covering it with a Band-Aid. The Band-Aid and the ointment prevent the natural fluids inside from evaporating. As a result, the fluid accumulates inside and, as it accumulates, it causes swelling of the inner walls of the crack and,s as they swell, they move closer and closer together until they touch each other. It becomes less deep, less painful and, as a result of the two sides coming together, it actually heals. This process only takes 2-4 days of using your ointment and Band-Aids 24/7 for it to actually heal. And the reason you can’t use Krazy Glue when it’s deep and open like this is the Krazy Glue will go in too deep and it will hurt but if you use the Krazy Glue at the very beginning, it won’t hurt and it can seal it just the way the Band-Aid and ointment does. So the next time you get a painful fingertip crack, just head to your medicine cabinet, and you will be able to fix it in 2-4 days.