Rhagade – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment


rhagade or fissure is a deep tear in the skin , often caused by very dry skin , but often also a side effect of other diseases. Deep injuries must be treated properly because, in the worst case, blood infections can follow.

What is a rhagade?

fissure is a classic symptom of dry skin, but it can also be a skin reaction to injury and infection. If the skin is severely dehydrated, it can become brittle and cracked.

Small cracks then widen and become noticeable fissures that penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. The onset of rhagades is usually preceded by a chain reaction: dry skin often leads to dandruff , which begins to itch and the affected person scratches, which leads to deeper injuries. The causes of rhagades can be varied.

It can be due to diet, dry or cold weather, dermatitis , hormonal fluctuations, allergic reactions or other disorders. Chemicals such as alcohol or many skin diseases also lead to rhagades, e.g. psoriasis , eczema or Sjögren’s syndrome . Deep injuries can lead to dangerous blood infections .


Rhagades can be triggered by environmental factors. The dry room air in the cold winter months is particularly noteworthy here. Some diseases also promote rhagades, particularly those that affect the nervous system, cause dehydration , or reduce sweat production.

A common side effect of diabetes , anhidrosis reduces perspiration in the skin, which can cause it to become dry and cracked. Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin with similar consequences that can have many causes. Diabetic neuropathy is often diagnosed when blood sugar levels are high and affects the nerves.

If the skin is only exposed to a particular stressful situation and develops injuries as a result, the consequences can be treated with simple therapy. However, if the rhagade is a symptom of another cause, special treatment may be needed.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

A fissure appears as a skin tear. This skin tear can vary in size and depth. In any case, it cuts through all layers of the skin. These skin tears do not necessarily occur as a result of an injury, but are more a phenomenon of skin that is too dry and bad weather conditions.

These cracks can usually develop over a longer period of time. The affected person first feels a feeling of tension in the corresponding area, but does not yet see a tear in the skin. In principle, a rhagade can occur on any part of the body, but it is particularly common in the corners of the mouth. Here, the skin tear can also lead to pain and a feeling of tension.

Most rhagades in this area are characterized by the fact that they heal very poorly. The symptoms of a skin tear intensify with the strain and stretching of the corresponding part of the body. The skin tears can also appear between the fingers or toes. If there are rhagades on the anus, it is usually referred to as a fissure. The fissures can bleed if they go deep into the tissue.

The accompanying symptoms of the skin tear are often dry skin in the vicinity and itching . In addition, existing cracks are susceptible to secondary infections.

Diagnosis & History

The complete treatment of a fissure depends on the specific cause of the injury. If it is related to another, more serious disease or disorder, that is what needs to be treated first.

To clarify the circumstances of the rhagade, the doctor may ask the following diagnostic questions: How long have you had the rhagade? Do you also have these injuries on other parts of the body? Did you have redness , itching and pain ?

Does the affected area feel warm? Has the affected area already bled? Have you had or do you have a rash ? Did you have herpes or something similar on the affected area? Have you had or do you have a fever ? Do you suffer from an allergy ? Have you been bitten by an insect?


In most cases, there are no special complications with a rhagade. However, incorrect and, above all, unhygienic treatment can lead to serious infections or even blood poisoning. In the worst case, this can lead to the death of the patient. Those affected suffer from severe cracks in the skin with this disease.

The cracks can occur in different parts of the body and possibly also significantly reduce the aesthetics of the person concerned. This can lead to inferiority complexes or reduced self-esteem. Furthermore, the skin itself is dry and cracked and often affected by itching. Fever or rashes on the skin can also occur and have a very negative effect on the patient’s quality of life.

Treatment of the disease takes place without complications with the help of creams and ointments. In the case of inflammation or infection, antibiotics are given. As a rule, the course of the disease is positive. The patient’s life expectancy is also not negatively affected by the disease. However, it is possible that the disease may come back despite treatment.

When should you go to the doctor?

Since a rhagade usually does not heal itself, this disease should be treated by a doctor. Proper treatment is the only way to prevent further skin complications. In the worst case, the affected person can suffer blood poisoning and die from it if left untreated.

A doctor should be consulted if the patient suffers from severe cracks in the skin. The cracks can appear on different parts of the skin and have a negative effect on the aesthetics of the person concerned. If these cracks appear over a longer period of time and do not disappear on their own, it is essential to see a doctor. The cracks can also appear at the corners of the mouth. Since the rhagade indicates another underlying disease, a doctor should always be sought early to determine this underlying disease in order to avoid further complications. Itching on the skin can also indicate a rhagade and must be examined by a doctor.

Treatment & Therapy

For a rhagade that has no more serious causes, certain precautions and care tips can be followed to improve the situation. Moisturizing creams and oils, such as olive oil, keep irritated skin elastic and support the healing process.

Wearing rubber gloves when washing dishes or similar activities prevents the skin from drying out further. Contact with chemicals or alcohol on the skin should also be avoided. If the skin injuries become too deep, the dermatologist should be consulted to get appropriate treatment. Cortisone ointments are a common form of initial treatment.

Its use reduces redness and swelling, allowing the injured skin to heal. If there is evidence of infection, antibiotic ointment may be prescribed to fight bacteria entering the wound. For dyshidrosis , a lotion containing lactic acid can also be used to prevent flaking and peeling of the skin. These creams are usually applied once or twice a day and may have to be continued for weeks.


If the rhagade is related to another disease or skin problem, it cannot really be prevented. In general, dry and chapped skin, especially during the winter months, should be treated in good time with moisturizing creams to avoid potentially worse injuries.


Rahgaden can often be very painful, especially since they usually occur in sensitive areas such as the anus or mouth. These are usually caused by a lack of moisture. If this is the cause of the appearance of a rhagade in sufferers, they can treat the rhagade with a commercially available moisturizer.

Simple ointments or oils can also be used to treat the fissure. Lactic acid and lotions were also found to have a positive effect on rhagades. However, if the rhagade occurs due to another cause, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist. He will then treat the rhagade accordingly. In most cases, cortisone is used for this.

In some places where the rhagades can occur, there is a high risk of infection in those affected. In the worst case, these can lead to the death of those affected. For this reason, rhagades should always be examined and treated by a doctor. In many cases, those affected are sometimes given a special antibiotic. This should be taken by the person concerned strictly according to the instructions given by the attending physician. Rhagades must never come into contact with sharp substances. This should be avoided by wearing gloves.

You can do that yourself

Rhagades, also known as fissures, can be very painful because they tend to occur in sensitive areas such as the mouth or anus. In addition, although they are usually small, they are always very deep and separate all layers of the skin. Rhagades develop in places where the skin is no longer elastic enough to follow natural movements or they develop as a result of a skin disease such as eczema.

If there is only a lack of elasticity, the patient can use commercially available moisturizing creams, ointments and oils to ensure that the affected area becomes supple again. Lotions with lactic acid have also proven themselves here. If the rhagade is based on a skin disease, it should be examined by a dermatologist and treated with specific means. Cortisone is often the first choice here.

Depending on where the rhagade is located, there is a risk of infection. Such infections can even be fatal, so these rhagades urgently need medical treatment. In many cases, the doctor will then prescribe an antibiotic for his patient. It should also be taken consistently by the patient according to the doctor’s instructions. Rhagades should not come into contact with chemicals or harsh detergents. For example, if you have them on your hands, you should wear gloves when washing up or cleaning to prevent the skin from drying out further.

Lisa Newlon
 | Website

Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.