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Tissues on your finger can build up and harden as a response to certain skin injuries and conditions. You can manage many cases of hard fingertips at home, but some may warrant a trip to the doctor.
Some common causes of hard skin on your finger include:
- contact dermatitis
Read on to learn more about how to recognize and treat these conditions.
Calluses are the most common cause of hardened skin on the fingers. They’re a common reaction to repeated injury or friction.
Callus symptoms include:
- a waxy appearance
- slight tenderness (but not pain) when pressed
How to treat them
Mild calluses tend to resolve on their own without medical treatment. The trick is to stop the suspected activity that’s causing it. You can also use modifications when needed. For example, if your job is hands-on and is likely causing your calluses, you can wear protective gloves while your calluses heal. This will prevent new ones from forming, too.
For more stubborn calluses, you can try gently exfoliating the area with a pumice stone. You can find these on Amazon. Try going over the area with a pumice stone a few times. Be careful not to overdo it, as this can leave your skin raw and irritated. Learn how to safely use a pumice stone.
If mild exfoliation isn’t working, make an appointment with a doctor. They can either cut off the hardened skin or prescribe a salicylic acid gel to help dissolve the extra layers of skin.
Warts are another common cause of hardened skin on your fingers. These are rough skin growths that appear on your hands and feet as a result of the human papillomavirus.
Warts can look like:
- grainy bumps
- black dots
- flesh-colored bumps
- tan, pink, or white bumps
Warts are spread through direct skin contact, as well as sharing items like pumice stones and towels with others who have warts. They are spread more easily between cuts in the skin, too.
How to treat them
While warts themselves are harmless, they often continue to grow and become uncomfortable. According to the Mayo Clinic, most common warts disappear on their own within two years. In the meantime, though, the original wart can spread and create more warts in the surrounding area.
For a quicker solution, you can try applying over-the-counter salicylic acid treatments, such as Compound W. If you’re interested in a more natural solution, try one of these seven essential oils.
If home treatments don’t work, a doctor can also help to remove warts using:
- cryotherapy, which involves freezing warts
- prescription-strength salicylic acid treatments
- laser treatment
Warts are treated with one or more of the following options:
- cryotherapy (freezing) of the warts by a doctor
- over-the-counter (OTC) salicylic acid treatments, such as Compound W
- prescription-strength salicylic acid
- laser treatment
Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema that’s caused by a reaction to an allergen or irritating substance. The reaction usually causes a red, itchy rash that makes your skin feel hard and scaly.
Other symptoms of contact dermatitis include:
How to treat it
The best way to treat contact dermatitis is to avoid potentially irritating substances. These include household cleaners, soaps, cosmetics, metal jewelry, and fragrances. According to the Mayo Clinic, your symptoms should heal on their own within about four weeks. In the meantime, you can apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, like this one, to relieve itching. Learn more about treating contact dermatitis.
Scleroderma is a rare condition that can cause areas of hardened skin. This condition also affects your organs, blood vessels, and joints. Hard skin is just one of many symptoms associated with scleroderma.
Other symptoms include:
- hardened skin that extends from your hands out to your arms or face
- thick skin between your fingers, as well as your toes
- difficulty bending your fingers
- changes in skin color
- sores and blister-like lesions on your fingers
- hair loss that occurs on affected areas only
- swollen hands and feet, particularly upon waking up
How to treat it
There’s no cure for scleroderma. But a variety of things can help to manage its symptoms. Scleroderma is often treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil), to reduce swelling. These can also help alleviate any pain you experience around the joints of the affected fingers.
In more severe cases, a doctor might prescribe corticosteroids to help with pain and mobility or immunosuppressive medications.
Exercise can also help get your blood flowing while decreasing joint pain.
Like anything that’s used frequently, your hands are vulnerable to wear and tear. This can often result in hardened skin on your hand or fingers. Several conditions can cause this, and most are treatable at home. If you have persistent hard skin that won’t go away with home treatment, consider seeing a doctor. They can offer other suggestions for removal. You should also see a doctor if an area of hardened skin starts showing signs of infection, such as:
- oozing pus