Skin fissures

Skin Fissures: What Are They and How To Treat Them?

Skin fissures are small cracks or crevices in the skin that can be very painful, and are often symptomatic of dry, cracked skin. They occur when the skin is exposed to excessive amounts of moisture, humidity and friction, causing it to tear or split. They are particularly common in areas of the body like the hands, feet, and elbows where the skin is naturally thin and delicate.

Fissures may be a sign of other skin diseases and should be carefully monitored, as they often require medical attention. However, they can often be treated at home with natural remedies or over-the-counter products.

What Causes Skin Fissures?

Skin fissures are caused by a variety of factors, some of which include:

  • Excess moisture – Moisture that is trapped in the skin or is in contact with the skin can cause the skin to become dry and weak, leading to fissures.
  • Friction – Prolonged contact with surfaces, clothing, or tools can put stress on the skin, leading it to tear and form fissures.
  • Dry skin – Dry skin is more prone to tearing, making it more prone to fissures. It also lacks the natural lubricants that help keep the skin supple and protected.
  • Excessive heat – Constant exposure to high temperatures can dry out the skin, increasing the risk of fissures.
  • Harsh soaps and cleansers – Products that strip the skin of its natural oils and protective barrier can increase the risk of fissures.
  • Skin conditions – Certain skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis can make the skin more prone to tearing and fissuring.

How To Treat Skin Fissures

Skin fissures should generally be treated by a dermatologist, but some cases can be treated at home. Here are some tips on how to treat skin fissures:

  • Keep the area clean – Clean the area gently with a mild soap and warm water to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Use a moisturizing cream – Apply a thick, oil-based moisturizing cream to the affected area to keep the skin hydrated and to help protect the area from further damage.
  • Avoid soaking – Avoid taking long baths or showers and soaking the affected area, as this can cause additional dryness and irritation.
  • Avoid friction – Wear loose fitting clothing and try to minimize contact with other surfaces to reduce friction on the affected area.
  • Use an occlusive dressing – An occlusive dressing like an adhesive bandage can help keep the area moist and protected while healing.

If home remedies don't provide relief, or if the fissures become infected, contact a dermatologist for evaluation and treatment.