Cracked skin on your hands can prove uncomfortable and painful, and it detracts from the appearance of your hands. In addition, chronically cracked skin can pose a health risk, offering an entry point for bacteria, viruses or fungi to go into your body. While cracked hands can develop for a number of reasons, a number of vitamin deficiencies can contribute to cracked skin on your hands.
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One vitamin deficiency that might cause cracked skin on your hands is a deficiency in vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Deficiencies in vitamin C lead to a depletion of collagen in your skin tissue, which can lead to wounds and cracking. In addition, the loss of collagen prevents your skin from healing properly, so even small skin lesions on your hands could develop into larger noticeable cracks. The deficiency can also affect the skin on other parts of your body, and also harm your teeth, bones, gum tissue, blood vessels and cartilage.
Vitamins B-1 and B-5
Deficiencies in thiamine, or vitamin B-1, and pantothenic acid, or vitamin B-5, might also contribute to cracking of the skin on your hands. Like vitamin C, these nutrients help the skin on your hands to heal itself. Without proper consumption of these vitamins, small hand nicks and cuts that occur as a result of your daily activity can fail to heal, potentially developing into cracks. Deficiencies in these vitamins can also cause fatigue, nausea and decreased cognitive functioning.
A biotin deficiency might also lead to hand cracking. Biotin -- also known as vitamin B-7 or vitamin H -- helps to maintain healthy, moisturized skin tissue. A biotin deficiency causes dry, rough skin. Since the skin on your hands already likely comes into contact with other drying agents -- such as detergents or antibacterial gels -- a deficiency in biotin can potentially lead to extremely dry hand skin, which can lead to cracking. The deficiency can also affect other tissues, causing dry, brittle nails, cracking at the corners of your mouth, and brittle hair.
While vitamin deficiencies can certainly cause dry, cracked hands, skin lesions can develop for a number of other reasons. Medications, protein deficiencies or exposure to chemicals can all affect your skin, causing cracked skin on your hands. If you suffer from severe skin cracking, visit a physician to determine the underlying cause. Never try to treat cracking skin with vitamins without first consulting a medical professional, since some vitamin toxicities can actually worsen dry and cracked skin.
- Linus Pauling Institute; Vitamin C; Dr. Jane Higdon; January 2006
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Wounds; Dr. Steven Ehrlich; June 2010
- Colorado State University; Water-Soluble Vitamins; J. Anderson et al,; August 2008
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Vitamin H (Biotin); Dr. Steven Ehrlich; June 2009