Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"What treats thumb skin that keeps splitting?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat treats thumb skin that keeps splitting?


My boyfriend is a contractor who works with his hands all day. As soon as the weather turned cold, the skin on one of his thumbs started splitting. We've tried several solutions, but we can't seem to fix it. Is there something that can keep a splitting thumb intact?


Splitting of skin on the thumb is a common medical problem that generally occurs in physically active people who work with their hands or who exercise outside or who are exposed to irritants. Occasionally the condition requires medical treatment. The physicians who are best qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care physician or your family medicine doctor. Splitting of the skin on the hands and fingers is largely cause by dry skin, which can be worsened by hard manual labor and cold weather, both of which further dry out the skin. Your doctor will likely advise you that keeping the skin well protected by wearing gloves at all times while working is a key to proper healing. Furthermore, application of a barrier cream, such as a product containing petroleum, at very frequent intervals throughout the day may be advised to keep the skin moisturized. Occasionally, the split areas of skin can become infected. In this case, application of a topical antibiotic cream may be indicated. As always, the diagnosis and management of your specific condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care doctor or family medicine doctor is recommended.

Zocdoc Answers 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 (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.