Finger Cancer, most likely.
August 20, 2008 8:27 PM   Subscribe

For the love of God, what is wrong with my finger?

This patch sort of peeled, and seems dry, and is dark with distinct light spots. There is another patch on the web between my pointer and thumb. I haven't done anything unusual recently with it, um, I don't think.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
do you smoke? are the spots near where you'd hold a cigarette?

the last time i had what you described it was a callous of some sort, a wear spot from where/how i rested my hand on the edge of my desk when using the computer. look for something like that?
posted by tremspeed at 8:35 PM on August 20, 2008

Sometimes I get something similar from skin exposure to harsh chemical cleansers
posted by sondrialiac at 8:44 PM on August 20, 2008

eczema, probably. i used to have a similar patch on the side of my wrist, and it eventually (after ~1.5 yrs) went away. is it at all itchy?
posted by sergeant sandwich at 8:49 PM on August 20, 2008

Perhaps a fungal infection? This sounds close-ish (quasi-NSFW photo in article)
posted by 0xFCAF at 8:55 PM on August 20, 2008

I've had this kind of thing twice from burns. Once when I passed the flame from an acetylene torch over my hand. This I noticed right away and you'd probably remember something similiar. The second time wasn't so obvious but I think it was a friction burn from a nylon rope that slid through my fingers.
posted by Mitheral at 8:56 PM on August 20, 2008

If it was me, and if it had been really warm and humid, I'd suspect a fungal infection.

The stuff you use for jock itch or athlete's foot should take care of it.

Of course, seeing as it's you and not me, I'd get yourself to your family doctor.

In the picture, it doesn't look too flaky or swollen. Like the sarge said, is it itchy at all or does it ache/burn? If it's itchy, I'd suspect a mild surface infection. If it burns or hurts when you run your finger softly over it, I'd suspect a mild chemical burn. Lots of mild chemical burns happen without you knowing about it, then manifests later. How long have you noticed this condition?

If it's just a chemical burn, a little lotion/moisturizer and a couple of days will do the trick. The epidermis on your hands heal very quickly.

Skin cancer typically does not manifest this way.
posted by porpoise at 8:57 PM on August 20, 2008

I have some of that, too, I think it's eczema. Keeping the area moisturized helps; exfoliating, oddly enough, just seems to make it worse.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:06 PM on August 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

i get a reaction like that when i'm bitten by insects on my finger. if it itches, it's possible that you got bitten and just didn't notice it until your body reacted to the bite.
posted by tastycracker at 9:24 PM on August 20, 2008

I'll third eczema. I tend to get it on my right pointer finger and my right pinky especially and often in the winter across the webs. Heavy, rich hand cream may help; sleeping with a cotton glove over the hand cream is also good. If it gets bad (flaky, itchy, constant), a doctor can prescribe a cream steroid.
posted by pised at 9:42 PM on August 20, 2008

Response by poster: It doesn't itch, I don't smoke, it has been a bit humid lately, when I'm bitten by fleas or mosquitoes I usually toootally know. It's been there for three weeks, and it doesn't hurt when touched, though it's a little bit rough. I have had mild Dyshidrotic Eczema in the past, which is danged similar, but these spots do not seem to be blisters. I am suspecting a fungus because of those weird white spots.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:53 PM on August 20, 2008

I second eczema as well. Had eczema as an infant, it went away. Then, out of nowhere, at the age of 17 it started happening again just like yours. I can't remember if it itched, but it was hard-ish, darker than my "normal" skin, and kind of flakey if removed. I went to the doctor, they gave me some ointment, and it went away and has been gone for 2 years now. Ointment was pretty cheap, too.
posted by okaasan at 10:29 PM on August 20, 2008

I can't see anything in the photo, to be honest...I would strongly doubt cancer, but I also strongly believe in going to the doctor strictly for a "peace of mind" reason -- you know -- you are pretty sure there's nothing wrong, but you're still fretting, and maybe actually hearing someone in the white coat saying "you're right, nothing's wrong" is the only thing that will snap your brain out of it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:57 AM on August 21, 2008

Best answer: It's not uncommon before a breakout of hypoaquatic eczema to get fluid-filled white bumps on the area, especially when the affected area is thick skin like hands. In fact, it always happens to me and that's how I know to reach for the hydrocortizone cream.

My vote-- it's a normal manifestation of eczema (which, as you've said, you've had), but one that you haven't seen yet. First time for everything.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:16 AM on August 21, 2008

Based on the photo only, I'd think you didn't wash off your self-tanner well enough.
posted by for_serious at 6:34 AM on August 21, 2008

Best answer: I've gotten very occasional little patches of eczema that are as you describe, roughness, non-hurting, white spots. By occasional, I mean every several years -- not enough to be expecting it.
posted by desuetude at 9:36 AM on August 21, 2008

Do you work around a source of cooking heat? I used to work with a panini grill every day, and I had marks like that on my knuckles from lightly broiling myself 30 times a day for months.
posted by Darth Fedor at 9:56 AM on August 21, 2008

i recently did a google search trying to find answers to this too and came across replies of eczema too.

i've had this same problem and mine is finally starting to fade after about 3 or 4 weeks. small patches only on of two my left hand fingers and the space (web) between my index and thumb had turned really red/purpley, leathery and somewhat flaky.

i am seeing a physical therapist for a (non-related) injury to my other hand and she's had no clue as to what it looks like. when i followed up about it to the hand specialist/cosmetic surgeon he said it looked like i must be doing hard or manual labor with my hand(s) to make it look calloused and dark, although all i do is sit at a computer all day. my primary doctor didn't seem too concerned and wondered if it's a result of an iron or other vitamin deficiency. (i've recently been borderline anemic).

also, it became really irritated and started to burn when i was handling some chilis recently. it almost felt as if that part of my skin was a lot thinner where the "bruises" were.

since i've started taking lots more vitamin e its cleared up considerably and even smoothed out some. i have had minor bouts of eczema in the past limited to my forearm area in summers past, but never thought it would affect my hands. the more i'm seeing these responses, the more i'm also thinking eczema.
posted by lunachic at 10:47 PM on August 25, 2008

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