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Skin fissures are areas of dried, cracked skin that thicken over time. They appear as tiny cuts or cracks in the skin. The surrounding skin is usually thickened and calloused. They most often occur on dry areas of the skin like the heels, fingertips, and between the toes.

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Skin fissures are the result of very dry skin, also known as xerosis. Fissures begin as small cracks and can deepen, becoming more painful. You may notice a callus form, especially if you experience fissures on your heels. The thick callus may appear yellow or dark brown.

Because skin fissures are small skin wounds, they put you at risk of developing an infection in the skin. If the fissures are not treated, they can worsen and turn into skin ulcers. This results in an open wound and is especially risky for people with diabetes since it raises their risk for infection.

The best way to treat skin fissures is to prevent them in the first place. Good moisturizers are the first step in preventing dry skin that could lead to skin fissures.

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Why Do I Have Cracked Skin?

Cracked skin always begins as dry skin. As the skin becomes thick and calloused over time, it loses elasticity, and tiny cracks form. Left untreated, these cracks can deepen and lead to bleeding and infection.

Skin fissures are often found on skin that is under stress. For example, the heel of the foot supports the weight of the body and is a common place where skin fissures form. Pressure on the pads of the feet can lead to the feet expanding sideways, stretching the skin and causing cracks.

You may be more at risk for heel cracks and fissures if you spend prolonged periods of time barefoot or wearing high-heeled shoes. Further, chronic conditions like diabetes, psoriasis, and eczema can change the hydration of your skin and increase your risk of fissures.

Eczema, combined with overwashing of your hands, can also lead to cracked skin.

 

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Environmental Causes

Environmental causes of skin fissures include:

  • Weather: Living in a cold, dry climate can be drying to your skin and raise your risk of skin fissures. You may also notice that your skin feels drier in the winter months.
  • Overuse: Any area of skin that is continually used or washed is at a higher risk of becoming dry. For example, walking barefoot increases the stress on your feet and puts you at a higher risk of developing heel fissures.
  • Water exposure: Frequent exposure to water, such as handwashing, can dry out your skin and raise your risk of experiencing eczema and cracking. A 2020 study of healthcare workers found that 70% reported dry skin on their hands and 39% had skin fissures as well.4
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Vitamin deficiencies can lead to dry, itchy skin that does not heal as quickly as healthy skin.5 Talk with your primary care doctor if you are concerned that you are experiencing any type of nutritional deficiency.

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Soak your feet in lukewarm water for a few minutes and apply Aloe Vera gel after patting it dry. Leave the gel on your feet overnight by wearing socks. Doing this for a week will ensure a better condition for your feet as Aloe Vera soothes dry and dead skin. It heals the ridges and cracks that have formed and increases collagen synthesis.

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References

  1. https://www.verywellhealth.com/skin-fissure-5194881
  2. https://doctor.ndtv.com/living-healthy/7-effective-tips-to-treat-cracked-heels-1801156