Cracked Or Dry Skin

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  • Cracked skin (hands, feet and lips) OR
  • Dry, rough skin (of entire body surface)

Causes of Cracks in the Skin

  • Most cracked skin is found on the feet, hands or lips.
  • Feet. The soles of the feet are most commonly involved. Most often, cracks occur on the heels and big toes. This is called tennis shoe dermatitis. Deep cracks are very painful and can bleed. The main cause is wearing wet or sweaty socks or swimming a lot.
  • Hands. Cracks can develop on the hands in children. Can happen with children who wash their hands often or wash dishes. Can also occur from working outside in winter weather. The worse cracks of the fingers occur with thumbsucking.
  • Lips. The lips can become chapped in children from the sun or wind. If the lips become cracked, it's usually from a "lip-licking" habit. The skin around the lips can also become pink and dry. This occurs especially in children who suck on their lips.

Causes of Dry Skin

  • Dry skin is a common condition.
  • Mainly caused by too much bathing and soap (soap dermatitis).
  • Soap removes the skin’s natural protective oils. Once they are gone, the skin can’t hold moisture.
  • Dry climates make it worse, as does winter weather (called winter itch).
  • Genetics also plays a role in dry skin.
  • Dry skin is less common in teenagers than younger children. This is because the oil glands are more active.
  • Dry, rough, bumpy skin on the back of the upper arms is called keratosis pilaris.  It’s made worse by soaps. Treat with moisturizing creams.
  • Dry pale spots on the face are called pityriasis alba.  These are more prevalent in the winter time and are also made worse by soaps. Treat with moisturizing creams.
  • Eczema. Children with eczema have very dry itchy skin.

Liquid Crack Sealer For Deep, Chronic Cracks

  • Liquid plastic skin bandage is a new product that seals wounds. It is a plastic coating that lasts up to 1 week.
  • It is the best way to relieve pain and promote healing. As the crack heals from the bottom upward, it pushes the plastic seal up.
  • After the wound is washed and dried, put the liquid on. It comes with a small brush or with a swab. It dries in less than a minute. Then apply a second coat. It's waterproof and may last a week.
  • You can buy this at any drug store. Many brands of liquid bandage are available. No prescription is needed.


The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
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    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

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