I have had problems with cracking skin for a long time. Cracked skin comes on with the dry fall weather and comes and goes over the winter until spring. Cracked skin hurts. Cracked skin hurts more when it becomes infected.
It is not a strong pain. Just a reminder every time you step or pick up something that your skin is cracked. Many people have said the obvious. Use lotion. While lotion helps, lotion does not seem to be any kind of fix. I have also been told to wear plastic gloves. Again not a good solution.
The main problem with cracking skin is thick dry skin I have found. Especially around my heels. The skin gets thick from the summer weather when I tend to go barefoot more often. Also my hand skin sometimes cracks. Usually it is on the tip of my finger on either side of my finger nail. Occasionally a crack will show up on the edge of my hand.
After so many years of trial and error, I still do not have a good method in place to prevent my skin from cracking. I have however found a method that helps. When my skin now cracks, I found I can heal my cracking skin faster than normal. This method heals up a skin crack in the fastest possible way. I will share it with you so you can try it out too.
Cracking skin left alone, because it is only an irritant and not real pain often becomes infected. Then a mild irritant becomes a major pain. Then we wish we would have done something about it before the skin cracked.
For feet and hands where the skin is thick, I find a nail file works very well. Often just filing away the dead skin keeps the skin from cracking. I also found an item that acts as a skin rasp collecting the shaved skin for deposit rather than letting the skin fall to the floor.
A nail file works well on its own. Just put a sheet of paper under the area you are going to file to catch the skin dust. The more aggressive the nail file the faster the dead skin build up is removed. I have found the nail file tends to leave live skin alone.
When my skin cracks anyway, I have found a simple solution. Hydrogen Peroxide and lotion that coats the skin, although any lotion will work. Using a few drops hydrogen peroxide on the cracked skin area disinfects the cracked skin. Infected skin does not heal well.
After a few applications of hydrogen peroxide dry the cracked area. I have found toilet paper works fine. Hydrogen Peroxide is like bleach and will bleach a colored cloth, so unless it is scrap material, cloth is not a good choice.
After the cracked area is dry, apply a drop or two of lotion. Some lotions work better than others, although even olive oil will suffice if lotion is not an option. Allow the lotion time to dry.
I have found cleaning with hydrogen peroxide and coating with lotion three times a day promotes the fastest healing. As the cracked skin heals, dead skin around the crack should be removed daily by filing or sanding. This promotes the healing process and allows the skin to mend quickly.
The most effective deterrent to cracking skin I have found is the nail file or skin rasp. Skin that is supple and not covered with callous is much less likely to crack than thick dry calloused skin that is being forced to flex.
This is the best method for managing winter skin cracks I have found. If you have fall and winter cracking skin, I hope my method helps you.