ZocdocAnswersCan the cracks in my hands let bacteria and germs in?

Question

Can the cracks in my hands let bacteria and germs in?

I have some dryness and cracking on my knuckles. Could they get infected? Can germs and bacteria get into your skin just from cracking and small wounds like that?

Answer

Sorry to hear that you are having so much trouble with dryness and cracking of the skin on your hands! I would recommend that you talk to your doctor about this, either a dermatologist or your primary care doctor, as they should be able to help you come up with a strategy to heal up your skin. Cracks like the ones you describe rarely get infected, but it is possible. Any break in the surface of the skin theoretically puts you at higher risk of a skin infection, so you do need to be careful (wearing protective gloves, for example, when working with your hands). If you notice that the skin around any of the cracks becomes very red, warm, or painful, these might be signs of an beginning infection, and you would need to see your doctor about that right away. Your doctor can also help you solve the problem of the cracking in the first place, which is probably the result of some eczema. Eczema can be treated with good skin moisturizing as well as the application of a topical steroid cream, a medication which your doctor can prescribe for you. Make an appointment with your doctor at your earliest convenience!

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

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.