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Cracked Skin


Cracked skin means dry skin on your lips, hands or heels of the feet. Cracked skin can be dry skin on the hands, lips or heels of the feet which require moisture and hydration. But cracked skin also denotes some kind of infection or something more. Most causes of cracked skin may be dealt with home remedies. When cracked skin gets severe or you find any complications, it is always best to visit a doctor.

Causes of cracked skin

Dry skin

Dry skin, also called xerosis occurs from decrease of water content in the top skin layer. Your healthy skin has outer layer known as skin barrier which prevent water loss from the body. It prevents infections, chemicals, toxins and allergens from entering into your body.

Sometimes your skin barrier becomes weak which causes dry skin. Common causes are the following:

  • Chemicals and pollution: Face wash, scrubs, bodywash, household cleaners, dish soap and air pollution has chemicals that could dry out your skin.
  • Exposure of sun: Sunburns or spending time in the sun without any protection may increase the loss of water and oil from your skin.
  • Indoor heating and cold weather: The combination of low humidity and cold temperatures with low humidity from indoor heating usually makes your skin dull and dry.
  • Hot water: The exposure to hot water at the time of washing dishes and taking showers draws excess moisture from your skin.
  • Remain wet for long time: When you spend hours in swimming or wearing damp clothing, this may cause your skin to wrinkle, cause irritation and dry out.
  • Footwear, walk barefoot or clothing: The pressure from clothing like walking barefoot or straps may cause irritation to your skin. This causes cracks, blisters or rashes in your skin.


Eczema or atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory condition of your skin which leads to red, dry and cracked skin. It usually affects skin on the arms, hands, face and behind the knees.

Common symptoms of eczema are:

  • Blisters
  • Cracked or dry patches
  • Peeling
  • Itchy skin
  • Redness


Psoriasis is a condition when the skin cells build up and form dry or scaly patches. It occurs due to autoimmune response when the body attacks healthy cells, by mistake. Psoriasis may become worse due to cold air, infection or stress.

The patches generally happen on your knees, lower back, elbows and scalp. Other symptoms include – itching, redness and silvery-white scales.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Uncontrolled diabetes might be the reason for complication to neuropathy. This causes nerve damage in the hands or feet. People who have uncontrolled diabetes are more likely to suffer from cracked heels and get infections on their feet.

Other symptoms are the following:

Fungal Infections

Certain skin infections such as athlete’s foot or yeast infections may lead to itching, redness, rashes and cracked skin.

These fungal infections are more common in people who suffer from diabetes or who are constantly in damp clothing.

Exfoliative Dermatitis

Erythroderma or exfoliative dermatitis is a severe skin cell disorder that causes top layers of your skin to shed or exfoliate. It covers nearly 90% or more of your body due to medications, preexisting skin problems or cancer.

Common symptoms include the following:

Athlete’s foot

This is a skin infection caused due to fungus. It generally develops between the toes or at the bottom of the feet leading to cracked skin. Athlete’s foot can affect people who suffer from constant damp feet such as runners and swimmers. It is very common in people who have diabetes.

Other symptoms are the following:

Chapped lips

When the lips become dry or irritated, they may flake, crack and get itchy, sore or swollen.

Dryness or inflammation of the lips occurs due to various reasons. Some of these are:

Diagnosis of cracked skin

In order to diagnose cracked skin, the healthcare provider examines you carefully and then asks questions about your medical history such as:

The healthcare provider may take a sample of your affected skin or any fluids around the area in order to test for infection.

Once the diagnosis is made, the healthcare provider will develop a suitable treatment plan. Cracks caused from  dry skin can be treated easily at home by using moisturizers or other remedies that can address the cause of dry skin.

Home remedies for your cracked skin

How to solve the problem of cracked skin

What do mean by a crack in your skin?

Skin fissures are actually cracks in your skin that occur in dry, calloused or thick areas such as heels. It is necessary to treat skin fissures quickly as deep fissures may lead to ulcers or infections.

How long will your cracked skin last?

Most cracks get healed within 1 week after the treatment. Deep cracks will heal in almost 2 weeks when you keep them covered with crack sealer.

Can Vaseline heal cracked skin?

According to dermatologists, you can use petroleum jelly for treating dry skin which includes eyelids and lips. The dry skin may crack, itch, bleed and flake. As ointments are more effective and less irritating when compared to lotions, you can put petroleum jelly on dry skin, including your lips and eyelids.

Can dehydration lead to cracked skin?

Your skin can get cracked and dry due to lack of moisturizer and low humidity, even if you drink sufficient amount of water. But dehydrated skin can lack moisture from the inside. It may appear itchy, dry, uneven, dull and wrinkled. You can even detect dehydration through the skin.

Can drinking water treat cracked skin?

When the outermost layer of epidermis do not have sufficient amount of water, the skin begins to lose elasticity and feel rough. Despite this connection, there is inadequate research work which shows drinking extra water has an impact on your skin appearance

Why is your skin dry and cracked?

Your skin becomes dry and cracked when you live in cold or low-humid climates where you scrub or bath a lot. You take hot and long baths or showers or scrub your skin often which can be the reason for dry skin. By bathing more than once a day, you remove natural oils from the skin.

How can you remove cracked skin from the heels?

You can remove cracked skin from heels by using physical or chemical exfoliants. The chemical exfoliants that may dry skin are lactic acid and glycolic acid. You may rub body scrub, loofah or pumice stone over the heels to remove your dead skin cells.

When you need to visit a skin specialist

It is possible to treat mild cases of cracked skin at home. But when the cracked skin doesn’t get better after 2 weeks of treatment or it becomes worse, make sure you see a doctor.

You need to seek for medical attention when you have cracked skin that is: