ZocdocAnswersWhy are my knuckles so dry?

Question

Why are my knuckles so dry?

I don't have dry skin anywhere else in my body, but my knuckles are all messed up. They are dry and are cracking. I use lotion but it doesn't make it go away. Why is this happening?

Answer

Dry and cracking skin on the knuckles is a very common problem. Often, this occurs in people who work with their hands and it results from damage to the skin and stripping away of the skin's natural protective oils. For example, it is common in dishwashers or others who have their hands immersed in water for long periods of time. It is also common in those who work with chemicals, such as in the cleaning industry. You may want to try to wear protective gloves when performing these tasks. Also you will want to try using a good moisturizing product multiple times through out the day, especially after washing your hands. A common error that people make is to use a regular lotion as their moisturizing solution; however, these lotions are water based and they do not provide enough protection to the skin. You will want to switch to a thick 'vaseline' like product, which will provide better protection. When you wash your hands, avoid very hot water, dab your hands dry (don't rub them vigorously), and then immediately apply the moisturizer. In the meantime, I recommend making an appointment with your primary care doctor or dermatologist. He or she can examine you and determine what treatment, if any, is necessary. Good luck!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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