A dermatologist explains the best way to solve the problem of cracked, dry, unsightly bleeding knuckles from winter exposure and any other time of year.

Not only are cracked, bleeding knuckles unsightly, but they’re uncomfortable. And preventable!

The cracked areas tend to be mostly at the knuckles because the skin in this area stretches a lot more than elsewhere on the hand.

“If your knuckles are dry and cracked to the point of bleeding, the first step is to pinpoint what is causing your hands to dry,” says Dr. Janet Prystowsky, MD, who’s a board certified dermatologist in New York, NY, with 30+ years’ experience.

“Cleaning without gloves and doing outdoor work in cold weather are likely culprits. It’s incredibly important to protect your hands going forward.

“When washing with soap, water or other chemicals, you should use gloves to keep your hands dry. Otherwise the washing will strip your hands of its natural protective oils.”

There are gloves on the market for just this purpose.

Dr. Prystowsky continues, “When working outside, use thick gloves that will keep your hands humid, warm and dry. Cold weather will dry your hands out, especially if your hands are wet. It is okay for your hands to be humid in your gloves, as long as they remain warm and protected.”

Morning Ritual to Help Prevent Dry, Cracked, Bleeding Knuckles

“Apply a thin layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor over your hands every morning and evening,” advises Dr. Prystowsky.

“This will help seal in moisture on a microscopic level.

“You do not need a thick layer. It will not be more effective and will ruin your gloves.

Be sure to get full coverage over every crack in your hand.

“It could take a few weeks for your hands to heal. If you’re still experiencing dryness, try using a heavy cream like Eucerin after you wash your hands.”

Don’t assume that short stints of bare hands in the cold, such as when wiping snow off your car in the morning, are harmless.

All exposure can add up to dry, cracked and bleeding knuckles.

In combination with her focus on early skin cancer detection and removal, Dr. Prystowsky provides a wide range of revitalizing and rejuvenating treatments.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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