A skin crack is an annoying problem whether it is localised in an area or a large area in the body is affected. Cracked skin is a characteristic sign of dry skin, but it can also develop due to scratches, trauma, or infection. When the skin dries up, it can become rough and flaky, with tears that can lead to deeper cracks called fissures, then extend into the deeper layers of the skin. It is very common, especially in the winter season. The most affected area is soles & feet in most cases. Proper care and maintenance are needed for a complete cure.
Signs & symptoms
- Cracks in the surface of the skin
- Bleeding from the skin
- Pain and burning sensation in the affected area
- Crumbling nails
- Crusting sores
- Redness, warmth or swelling
- Scaly skin
- Silver or white plaques
- Anhidrosis (reduced or loss of sweating) in diabetes, a chronic disease that affects your body’s ability to use sugar for energy
- Atopy (allergic skin reaction)
- Dermatitis (a skin inflammation that has many causes)
- Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes)
- Eczema (itchy, scaly skin)
- Excess body weight (extra pressure on the heels can cause the skin to crack)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Ichthyosis (a hereditary disease characterized by scaly skin)
- Inadequate moisture content to skin
- Psoriasis (a skin disease that causes itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales)
- An abrupt change in temperatures (hot to cold, cold to hot)
- Cold weather
- Excessive exposure to hot water, detergents, or harsh chemicals
- Forced-air heat
- Prolonged standing (causing pressure on the skin of the heels)
- Sandals, sling-back, or open-backed shoes (causing heel expansion on the sides that can crack the skin)
- Walking barefoot
In smooth and hydrated skin, natural oils prevent the skin from drying out by retaining moisture. But if the skin doesn’t have enough oil, it loses moisture. This makes skin dry out and shrink, which can lead to cracking.
Lab tests like blood examinations
UV light therapy
Mostly responds well to treatment. But if left untreated can lead to serious conditions that should be considered an emergency.
Deep-tissue skin infections
Scarring and disfigurement
Sepsis (life-threatening bacterial blood infection)
Spreading skin infection
Disease & Ayurveda
Not mentioned separately
Causative factors for the vitiation of Kapha & Vaata doshas
Not mentioned separately
Due to the causative factors, the vitiated doshas, mainly Kapha & Vaata get lodged in the skin and produces the disease.
Paanipaadasphutana – cracks in the skin especially of hands & feet
Tivravedana – severe pain
Saadhya or kricchrasadhya
As it is a kshudrakushtha, (a minor disease of the skin), ayurvedic treatment is explained as local applications. But cleansing therapies of the whole body is also very important in complete cure & prevention of recurrence.
Parisheka with varanahara kashayas
Lepanam with snehana dravyas
Snehanam & swedanam in suitable conditions
Raktamoksha in severely inflamed conditions
Commonly used medicines
Daily care routine of skin, especially hands and feet play an important role in the management of cracked skin. Proper cleaning and patting the skin dry is a must. Ensure enough hydration & moisturisation of the skin. Use of the following things will help reduce the cracks in the skin:
- Coconut milk
- Coconut oil
- Sunflower seed oil
- Drinking milk
- Aloe vera gel
- Petroleum jelly
- To be avoided
Heavy meals and difficult to digest foods – cause indigestion.
Junk foods- cause disturbance in digestion and reduces the bioavailability of the medicine
Carbonated drinks – makes the stomach more acidic and disturbed digestion
Refrigerated and frozen foods – causes weak and sluggish digestion by weakening Agni (digestive fire)
Curd – causes vidaaha and thereby many other diseases
- To be added
Light meals and easily digestible foods
Green gram, soups, honey, milk, ghee, butter, fresh fruits, vegetables and sesame oil.
Freshly cooked and warm food processed with cumin seeds, ginger, black pepper, ajwain etc
Protect yourself from the cold climate.
Better to avoid exposure to excessive sunlight wind rain or dust.
Maintain a regular food and sleep schedule.
Use proper chappal/footwears
Avoid holding or forcing the urges like urine, faeces, cough, sneeze etc.
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Be active.
Regular stretching and mild cardio exercises are advised without causing pain. Also, specific yogacharya including naadisuddhi pranayama, bhujangaasana, pavanamuktasana is recommended.
Regular exercise helps improve bioavailability of the medicine and food ingested and leads to positive health.
Yoga can maintain harmony within the body and with the surrounding system.
Yoga for dry & dull skin
Simple exercises for lungs and heart health
All the exercises and physical exertions must be decided and done under the supervision of a medical expert only.
Dr. Rajesh Nair, the co-founder and chief consultant of Ayurvedaforall.Com, is a graduate of prestigious Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College (affiliated with the University of Calicut), Kerala, India. Additionally, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Annamalai University.
Dr. Nair offers consultation at two busy clinics in and around Haripad, Alleppey, Kerala, the southern state famous worldwide for authentic ayurvedic treatment and physicians. While offering consultation on all aspects of ayurvedic treatments Dr. Nair has a special interest in Panchkarma, Yoga, and Massage.
Through Ayurvedaforall Dr. Nair offers online consultation to patients worldwide and has served hundreds of patients over the last 20 years. In addition to his Ayurvedic practice, he is the chief editor of ayurveda-amai.org, the online portal of Ayurveda Medical Association of India, and the state committee member of Ayurveda Medical Association of India.
Dr. Nair is a regular speaker at Ayurveda-related conferences and has visited Germany to propagate Ayurveda. You can write directly to him-
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