Psoriasis may cause skin on your hands to become dry, itchy, and uncomfortable. Sometimes, the skin may crack and bleed. Treating cracks and bleeding is important for preventing infections and promoting healing.

Psoriasis is a chronic condition that causes scaly, inflamed patches of skin. It most often affects skin on the scalp, elbows, and knees, but it can also affect other body parts, including your hands.

Here are eight steps you can take to treat and prevent cracked skin from psoriasis on your hands.

If you have a crack or cut on your hand that’s bleeding, wash both hands with soap and water.

Then place a sterile piece of gauze or another sterile dressing on top of the crack or cut. Gently apply pressure to help stop the bleeding. Elevating the injured area above your heart may also help stop the bleeding.

If you bleed through one layer of gauze or dressing, don’t remove it right away. Instead, place another sterile dressing on top of the first and continue applying pressure. Apply as many layers of sterile dressing as needed.

Apply pressure until the bleeding stops.

After the bleeding is under control, hold the cracked or cut skin under running water to clean it. You can use soap to clean the surrounding skin, but try not to get soap in the crack or cut.

Use clean tweezers to remove any debris embedded in the crack or cut. Clean the tweezers with rubbing alcohol before you use them.

After you clean the crack or cut, gently hold the edges of the injured skin together.

Then apply a liquid bandage or a piece of water-tight medical tape to seal the crack or cut. If you don’t have these supplies on hand, you can use the sticky part of an adhesive bandage to seal the injury.

You can find liquid bandages, medical tape, and other first-aid supplies at many pharmacies.

Monitor the crack or cut for symptoms of infection, such as:

  • increased pain, swelling, or discoloration
  • warm skin around the injury
  • discolored streaks around the injury
  • pus or yellow or green discharge

Contact your doctor if you think the crack or cut develops an infection. They may prescribe antibiotics or other treatments. In rare cases, infections may spread and cause serious complications.

Exposure to certain triggers may worsen your psoriasis symptoms and increase your risk of dry, cracked skin. Taking steps to protect your hands from triggers may help limit your symptoms.

Some common triggers include:

  • skin injuries, such as cuts, scraps, bug bites, and sunburns
  • cold, dry weather conditions
  • hot temperatures

To protect your hands from these triggers:

  • Put work gloves or other protective equipment on your hands when you’re doing tasks that could scrape or cut them, such as yard work.
  • Apply sunscreen to your hands before you go outside during daylight hours.
  • Spray bug repellent on your hands when you’re spending time in buggy areas.
  • Wear gloves or mittens to protect your hands from cold, dry weather.
  • Use lukewarm water rather than hot to wash your hands.

Chemicals in cigarettes and other tobacco products may also trigger psoriasis symptoms on your hands.

If you smoke or use other tobacco products, taking steps to cut back or quit may help reduce psoriasis symptoms and provide other health benefits. Your doctor can help you learn about resources to help you quit.

Taking steps to manage stress is also important for preventing psoriasis flares.

Regularly applying moisturizer to your hands can help treat and prevent dry, cracked skin.

Choosing a moisturizing cream, lotion, or balm free of fragrances, dyes, and other common skin irritants may be helpful. Consider asking your doctor if they have any recommendations.

You can also look for moisturizers and other skin care products labeled with the National Psoriasis Foundation Seal of Recognition. Manufacturers formulate these products for people with psoriasis or sensitive skin.

In addition to moisturizer, applying a medicated cream, ointment, or another topical psoriasis treatment to your hands may be helpful.

You can buy low dose hydrocortisone cream from a pharmacy without a prescription. This is a topical corticosteroid that helps reduce inflammation from psoriasis. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you learn how to use it safely.

If low dose hydrocortisone cream isn’t effective for managing your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a higher dose topical corticosteroid or another topical psoriasis treatment.

It’s generally best to avoid using high dose topical corticosteroids for more than 4 weeks. Talk with your doctor to learn about other treatments that may reduce your need for corticosteroids.

Your doctor may also advise you to apply an antibiotic ointment or another topical treatment to cracks or cuts on your hands to help promote healing.

If topical treatments are not enough to manage psoriasis symptoms, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • phototherapy
  • oral medication
  • injectable medication

Phototherapy uses ultraviolet light from a special lamp or light unit to treat psoriasis.

Let your doctor know if you develop new or worse psoriasis symptoms or are unhappy with your current treatment plan. They can help you learn more about your psoriasis treatment options.

Psoriasis may cause patches of skin on your hands to become dry and cracked. The skin may also bleed. To treat cracks or cuts on your hands:

  1. Gently apply pressure with a sterile dressing to stop the bleeding.
  2. Then clean the injured area under running water and remove any visible debris.
  3. Seal the injury using a liquid bandage, water-tight medical tape, or the sticky part of an adhesive bandage.

To help prevent cracked skin and limit other symptoms, take steps to protect your hands from psoriasis triggers. Regularly apply a moisturizing cream, lotion, or balm to your hands to hydrate your skin.

Applying a medicated ointment, cream, or another topical treatment may also help reduce psoriasis symptoms. In some cases, your doctor may recommend other treatments.