Cracked Fingertips

If you wear the cream under latex gloves at night, and as much as
you can during the day, after a few days even the worst case of
cracks can be healed.

I spend most of the day outside with farm work, horse and stall
things, water etc. It’s super bad here in the Winter (near Buffalo,
NY). I have really dry skin, but I use a cream I make up and use
latex gloves, because they allow the cream to soak into my skin not
the cotton gloves, and I can type with them and do lots of things
like sawing, punching, forming (usually wear them under my leather

Hope this helps,

Try Burt’s Bees Hand salve. I use it before I leave the house for
work and when I get home. Feels greasy at first, but by the time I
get to work it’s not. It has made a world of difference in my hands.
It is available at Walgreen’s Drugs or Borders Book stores.

Hi Kathy and others;

I made a discovery a few years back pertinent to the cracking hands
issue. I noticed my hands getting raw, and those of another jeweler I
worked with. When I visited another jeweler in the area, he had the
same problem. The common denominator? Anti-Bacterial hand soap.
That’s that sort of eerie radioactive orange colored goop in the pump
dispenser, sold under various brand names. The stuff is very good at
stripping all the natural oils from your skin. I recommend using
waterless hand cleaner like Goop or Go-Jo. Use it without water. Wipe
it off with cloth, not paper towel. Get those red shop rags from
paint, hardware, or automotive supply stores. Launder them when you
first get them to soften them up. That will cut the polishing
compounds and remove the worst black. Then, you can wash your hands
with water and a gentle soap like Ivory or that clear glycerin soap.
Again, I prefer cloth to dry with. I’ve still got thick calluses, but
I haven’t had the cracking problems in a long time and I don’t suffer
from the raw, redness on the back of my hands. You can get a pumice
block to sand down the calluses before they get too thick and develop
cracks. Also, in winter, keep your hands in nice warm, dry gloves
when outdoors. Happy Holidays!

David L. Huffman

For those in the US and Canada try Bag Balm

I think UdderCream is pretty much the same thing. I find it all
over: Trader Joe’s, Sav-on, Rite-Aid, etc… very inexpensive and


When my fingertips crack (ouch!), it is usually in an area where the
skin has dried and thickened a bit. In my experience, no amount of
cream or salve will soften the calloused skin enough to allow the
crack to pull together and heal.

The skin shrinks as it thickens and dries, which actually forces the
crack to stay open. This makes it almost impossible to pull the
crack back together to heal.

What I find most effective is to emery away the dead skin that has
thickened at the crack site, then apply a cream or salve. It will
heal by the next day. My husband gets deep cracks on his feet, and
the calluses that crack through are so thick that he uses a sanding
disc on the flex shaft to remove the dead skin so that the cracks
can heal.

Hmmmm, yet another use for the flex shaft tool!

Karen Olsen Ramsey

I have found that Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Hand Cream (sold in
most drug stores) works well, especially if you wear it overnight. I
use the fragrance-free and it soaks in leaving a soft waterproof
feeling on your hands. The other product that I like is Shea Butter
Hand Cream by L’occitane ( It is very
expensive, but comes in a big tube and works well also. I always
feel like I’m pampering myself when I use the shea butter cream and
it has a very light pretty smell.

Happy holidays!


I find that I use far less of my hand creme this time of year,...
I can't be contaminating my work and every tool or piece of metal
I pick up.

This is why I like painter’s tape so much - fingertip protection
with no irritation & no slipperyness- and most important it helps
avoid the cracking in the first place. Make sure your fingers are
perfectly dry when you put it on.

There are two hand creams I use AFTER working and whenever else
possible that are not as greasy as vaseline, aquaphor, etc - Sally
Hansen 18 Hour hand cream (nice orange smell) and Glysomed
(unscented, at CVS). Both form a smooth non-oily coating that seems
to last. They are very creamy but you need some of that for

Plus, I find that Hot Wheels bandaids help, but not when your
working. Really. It gets people to ask you how you trashed your
fingers, and then you get to pitch your work!

Good luck.

Linda Frueh

I like to doctor up my own recipe for cracked fingertips. I mix EQUAL

Neosporin (or similar)
Shea Butter
Vasoline intensive care lotion, unscented

I slather this concoction on overnight with cotton gloves, and
within 1-2 days the cracks are healing, thanks to the neosporin.
Works on top of superglue great as well.

Also, Restoration hardware sells a product called “no-crack” and it
works really well for daytime, not too greasy, but still a lotion. I
don’t know about you, but I wash my hands during the day far too
often to reapply.

Mary, who is seeing the light at the top of the mountain. Come on


Hello Orchidians in dry areas,

Yup, those cracks in finger tips and heels can be downright painful.
It’s been mentioned that removing the thickened skin around the crack
helps and indeed it does!

As long as we’re sharing skin care tips, I’ll thank some Orchidian
who suggested using a product called “Nothing Like It” made by the
Cut Heal company - they originally made it for horses! I’ve been
using the stuff since then, and like how it softens and heals my
hands and feet. I had to mail order mine. I’ll bet a google search
will locate several suppliers.

Judy in Kansas

Try using some hand cream before using the laser.

Andy " The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Tool Sales / Technical
Stuller Inc
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 94194
Fax 337-262-7791

This works…use iodine (or white iodine from the pharmacist) on
the crack, seal with “Chapstick” brand lip softener to seal the
crack so no air enters, add a bandaide and see the results!

Mary Ann Archer

As long as we're sharing skin care tips, I'll thank some Orchidian
who suggested using a product called "Nothing Like It" made by the
Cut Heal company - they originally made it for horses! I've been
using the stuff since then, and like how it softens and heals my
hands and feet. 

Mea Culpa Judy :). I was focused on Cut-Heal-LOL. I have seen your
product as well at the farmers supply and hardware stores around
here-basically a farming community, but didn’t check on the
indgredients. Kind regards, Dinah-who needs more coffee before
sliding on the ice to the barn :wink:

Cut Heal products are available at Tractor Supply Company (TSC),
Agway, most Farmer Supply companies. It comes in a spray and a gel.

The nice thing is that it is pretty much natural ingredients: crude
fish oil, raw linseed oil, tea tree oil, and balsalm of fir. However,
not something I want if there are deep cuts. It is very sticky. When
we remove to re-apply on a horse, we clean with warm epsom salts and
water, then isopropal alcohol and re-apply. is website.
800-cut-heal made in Texas.

It is NOT FOR USE ON HUMANS. Not for use on food producing animals
or cats.

Kind regards, Dinah-who is still standing by my home-made safe
remedy. Skin is still porous, and any deep cracks are still subject
to ingesting toxic things.

are there any moisturizing products that soak in quickly, work
effectively and won't leave my hands a greasy mess?? 

Two thoughts:

  • I cannot stand greasy creams and the only product and I stand is
    Udder Cream (?), the stuff that comes in the white container with
    the black cow spots. It soaks in and isn’t greasy.

  • maybe a barrier cream would meet your needs. These are products
    that are for mechanics and the like, to keep oil from soaking into
    their skin. I recommend this to my students in PMC classes, as it
    keeps dry skin from drying out the PMC.

Another one I haven’t tried yet, but have heard good things about is
Hardworker’s Hand Creme. You can buy it at

A very cool catalog you will want for many reasons.


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

I am not sure of the original posting, but this problem is
particurally an issue for people using lasers. I noticed I was having
problems with cracked fingertips and my dermatologyst suggested
cuticle oil. This is much more effective than lotion and it really
does work. It stops the cracking from the beginning.

Scott Isaacs
Berry’s Jewelry Nashville,TN
Belle Meade Jewelry, Nashville,TN

- maybe a barrier cream would meet your needs. These are products
that are for mechanics and the like, to keep oil from soaking into
their skin. 

There is a product made by Oxyfresh called Skin Barrier. It’s sort
of like the old Avon Silicone Glove product, only it works much

It will keep things in OR out of the skin over which it is applied.
If you put on lotion or cream and let it soak in for a bit before
applying the Skin Barrier, the lotion will continue to do it’s job
uninterrupted for several hours. The Skin Barrier also protects the
skin against the drying effects of repeated handwashing and shop
chemicals like investment and flux. Once the Skin Barrier dries
fully (which takes about 3-4 minutes), you really can’t feel it. It’s
not greasy at all. It’s also great for preventing chemicals like hair
dyes and wood stains from staining the skin.

Yes, I’m a distributor, but only so I can get products at wholesale
for myself. I honestly love the Skin Barrier. If you would like more
info, see the bottom website below and look under ‘products’ then
‘personal and home care’ for Skin Barrier.

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Jewelry
Independent Oxyfresh Distributor

Use Bag balm. Its what farmers use on the cows utters when they get
chapped. I use it.

Ones of the causes of cracking fingertips besides the daily abuse
they take in our work - is dehydration.

I know I rarely drink enough water - coffee and sodas don’t count
they actually will dehydrate. Last year I had deep bleeding cracks in
both thumbs - kinda hard to work that way.

I think what helped the most was making sure I drank several more
glasses of water a day. Can’t hurt anyway - but don’t just leave a
glass of water sitting around to receive all the dust and dirt of the
shop and then drink that.

Just a thought.


I agree that drinking more water is helpful for dry skin, other
sking problems, digestion, etc…

The problem for many of us is that we get out of the habit of
drinking water. So here is my tip: Wear a watch that can be set to
beep on the hour, every time it beeps - drink a glass of water.

This also works well if you need to stretch frequently and tend to

Happy Holidays everyone…one thing we all can celebrate at this
time of year is the returning of the light (today is the Solstice)


I try everything someone on orchid suggest for my hands. Always
looking for the best. I find that Bag Balm has a burning sensation
on my skin, and particularly if I unknowingly touch my face. A
jeweler at the Bench Jewelers Conference in Atlanta this year said he
swears by “Burt’s Bee’s Hand Salve” Sold at most drug store’s and
oddly enough, book store’s. I have been using it since and it really
is nice. My husband noticed I have soft hands for the first time
since he’s known me. Of course I don’t use anything on my hands while
I’m working, but as soon as I’m finished I treat them. I will
continue trying everyone’s suggestion’s. So far “Burt’s Bee’s” has my