Dry Skin Between Fingers

Dry skin between fingers is a common skin complaint and can be caused by various factors. Depending on the specific cause, dry skin in this area can often be treated with a topical solution.

What is dry skin between fingers?

People can experience dry skin anywhere on their body but there are some areas which are more prone to dryness. The elbows and knees, for example, are commonly affected by skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis. In addition to this, the skin on the hands is often affected by dryness, redness, and irritation.

When individuals have dry skin between fingers, it is the webbing between each digit which is affected. Although people may experience dry skin between fingers without any other skin problems, they may have dryness on other parts of their hands or body.

What are the symptoms of dry skin between fingers?

When people have dry skin on their hands or between their fingers, they may notice a number of different symptoms, such as:

  • Dry or scaly skin between the fingers
  • Redness and irritation
  • Cracked or broken skin
  • Bleeding
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Restricted movement in the hands or fingers
  • Increased infections

When dry skin occurs between the fingers, the area may become red and irritated. If the area is particularly dry, the webbing between the fingers may take on a scaly appearance and the skin may be shed in flakes.

When skin is dry, it is typically releasing too much moisture or releasing moisture too quickly. As a result, the skin can crack or break. This often causes pain and discomfort, particularly when the fingers and hands are affected. If the breaks in the skin are large enough, bleeding may also occur.

If the skin between the fingers is broken, patients may also be prone to infections. Although the skin normally prevents bacteria from entering the body, broken skin is unable to do this. As a result, bacteria can enter the affected area and infection may take hold.

Due to the discomfort associated with dry skin between fingers, patients may find that they are unable to move their fingers and hands as freely as they normally would. Dry skin often feels tight and this may prevent patients from using their fingers in a standard way. In addition to this, moving the fingers may lead to the skin to crack further and may appear to exacerbate existing symptoms.

What causes dry skin between fingers?

When patients have dry skin between their fingers, they often want to know what is causing the condition. In fact, there are numerous causes of dry skin between the fingers, including:

  • Eczema
  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Excessive handwashing
  • Fungal infections
  • Bacterial infections

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is an extremely common skin condition which typically causes dry skin, redness, and irritation. Although eczema often appears on the knees or elbows, it can affect the body as a whole and may be apparent on the hands. Whilst atopic dermatitis could affect the webbing on all the fingers, it may also affect just one or two of the fingers at a time.

If patients have allergic contact dermatitis, their dry skin is likely to be caused by an allergy of some sort. When the webbing on their fingers comes into contact with a particular allergen, it reacts by becoming irritated and dry. Patients with this skin condition may notice that their symptoms flare-up at certain times and that the skin between their fingers is not always dry or painful.

Skin sensitivity can also result in dry skin between the fingers. Every day, our hands are exposed to harsh temperatures, chemicals, and water. This can naturally dry the skin and may lead to discomfort. Individuals who have fairly dry skin may have increased sensitivity, which could lead them to develop dry or irritated skin. As the skin between the fingers can be more sensitive than other parts of the hand, the patient’s symptoms may affect this area before they develop anywhere else.

Excessive handwashing can also cause dry skin between the fingers, particularly if individuals use harsh soaps or chemicals to wash their hands. Although handwashing can prevent the spread of germs and bacteria, repeated handwashing can dry the skin. Individuals should wash their hands at regular intervals but should ensure they do not damage their skin in the process.

Although bacterial infections can occur because of dry or broken skin between the fingers, dry skin can also occur if a bacterial or fungal infection has been present. Similarly, medications used to target these types of infections can sometimes cause skin to become temporarily dry.

How can dry skin between fingers be treated?

Dry skin between the fingers can usually be treated successfully but effective treatment will depend on the cause of the patient’s condition. If a bacterial or fungal infection has resulted in dry skin, for example, antibiotics or anti-fungal medications will resolve the original infection, which should also treat the patient’s dry skin.

Alternatively, patients with eczema may need to use a medication cream or ointment to add moisture into the affected skin. By doing so, they can relieve the dryness and the associated pain and discomfort. If necessary, steroid treatments and antihistamines can also be used to minimize the patient’s symptoms. Although eczema is usually a chronic condition, these measures can help to manage the condition on a long-term basis.

Patients with allergic contact dermatitis can also use moisturizers to treat a flare-up of their symptoms. However, they will need to determine what allergens trigger their symptoms and avoid them in the future, in order to prevent further flare-ups.

If patients have a skin sensitivity, rather than a particular allergy or skin condition, they can also use over-the-counter moisturizers to relieve the symptoms of dry skin between fingers. In addition to this, individuals should modify their habits so that their hands are exposed to fewer chemicals. Wearing gloves whilst performing household chores and protecting the hands in cold weather can help to reduce dryness between the fingers, for example. Similarly, if patients notice that handwashing is causing their skin to become dry, they should switch to a milder soap and be sure to moisturize their hands after they’ve washed them.

How can dry skin between fingers be prevented?

In order to stop skin becoming dry, patients should engage in a regular skincare routine. Hand creams and moisturizers are often particularly rich, as it’s common for people to have dry skin on their hands. By using a cream or lotion regularly, individuals can prevent the dry skin between fingers and will ensure that their skin stays as healthy as possible.

Although it may not be possible to prevent some conditions from occurring, such as atopic dermatitis or allergic contact dermatitis, maintaining a good skincare regime can help to reduce flare-ups of the condition. Similarly, using an appropriate moisturizer on a regular basis and protecting the hands when possible can help to prevent the patient’s symptoms from recurring and may ensure that chronic skin conditions enter a state of remission.