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Ways To Heal Cracked Skin From Thumb Sucking

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Most parents are aware that persistent thumb sucking can cause dental problems and even speech impediments. But until it happens, they may not be aware of the potential effects on a baby or toddler’s skin, including dry, peeling, and cracked skin on or around the base of the thumb.

Damaged skin is more prone to infection, so it’s important to help your child’s skin heal properly. However, many adult skin remedies are not appropriate and may be dangerous to children. Here are some gentle ways to heal cracked skin from thumb sucking.

Why Skin Cracks

Chapped and cracked skin results from constant exposure to moisture followed by exposure to air that dries out the skin. While grown-up hands can get chapped from dishwashing or being out in the rain and snow without gloves, infants or toddlers who suck their thumbs are exposed to moisture via the saliva in their mouth.

If your child is a thumb-sucker, anything that gets on their hands can end up in their mouths. That’s why hand hygiene is so important. Make sure you rinse your child’s hands thoroughly to remove soap and dry the hands completely to reduce the potential for chapping.

Natural, Edible Oils and Fats

If your child’s thumbs become chapped and cracked from thumb sucking, treating the affected area with natural, non-toxic, edible fats or oils like olive oil or vegetable shortening can help moisturize and restore the cracked skin. Try applying the oil while your child is already asleep. This makes it less likely that the child will lick all the fat off while sucking their thumb to soothe themselves to sleep.


Cracked and chapped skin is dry and flaky. Gently remove the flakiness with a preparation of oatmeal. When ground into a powder in your blender, oatmeal serves as a useful gentle exfoliant to remove flaky, dry skin and allow new skin to develop.


The best way to treat cracked, dry skin from thumb sucking is to keep it from occurring in the first place. While most children abandon thumb sucking as infants or between the ages of two and four, some kids maintain the habit into their elementary school years.

If you are worried about the effect on your child’s teeth, mouth, jaw, or skin, the best treatment is to break the thumb-sucking habit. The TGuard device to stop thumb sucking takes away the pleasurable sensation of suction that thumb-suckers crave. Read more about how it works, and shop for an AeroThumb treatment kit today.