Q. My hands crack and bleed around the fingernails every winter. The cracks are very painful. What is happening and why?
A. During the winter season in most climates, heat is turned on and indoor humidity is very low. Add a few hand washings with soap and water during the day and you can easily develop hand problems.
The best treatment involves minimizing exposure to soap by using a non-soap cleanser such as Cetaphil. After hands have been exposed to water, apply a moisturizing lotion or cream. For extremely chapped hands, use something you dip from a jar rather than squirt from a bottle. Wax- or paraffin-based products are excellent (the thicker the better). Nail glue works well to close painful cracks. Apply where needed and let it remain on the hands until it wears off naturally. After a minute or two the pain should be gone