Peeling Skin on Feet and Hands

Peeling skin on the hands and feet can be due to various underlying conditions, diseases or disorders. Find out the various causes and treatment options for the same in this article.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
3 things you should know about the skin on your hands and feet
  • It is different from the rest of the skin of your body as it has ridge patterns. These patterns help you in holding, grabbing and catching stuff.
  • It is considerably thicker than the rest of the skin on your body due to the presence of keratin.
  • It is hairless, and more prone to getting wrinkled when wet for a long time.
Our skin is made up of three layers, namely the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. The outermost layer of the skin, which is the epidermis, gives away every few days and is replaced by a fresh layer of skin. Certain allergic and fungal infections can cause peeling of skin on the hands and feet. It is a normal and temporary condition, which heals on its own within a few days, in most cases. However, excessive peeling of the skin can be a cause of concern.
Fungal Infection
Fungal infections normally affect the skin, hair and the nails. This is because fungal infections live off keratin, a protein found in skin, hair and nails. Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection which causes peeling of skin on the feet, especially between the toes. The common symptoms include peeling feet skin accompanied by redness, itching and a burning sensation on the affected area.
Environmental Conditions
Another cause behind this condition may be due to extremely cold weather conditions. Due to excessive cold, the skin becomes dry and in some cases, results in peeling. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause dry skin, peeling and sunburns too. Playing for long hours in the sun is one of the major reasons of peeling feet and hands in children.
Side-effect of Medication
Certain medicines such an acne removal medicines and even antibiotics, can cause the skin to peel in some people.
It could be due to an allergic reaction caused by the usage of certain beauty products, soaps or detergents, which have strong chemicals in them. An allergic reaction to certain food items such as milk and wheat is another reason behind this condition.
Excessive sweating of the hands and feet can cause your skin to peel off and make it appear scaly. This is caused due to a number of reasons such as wearing tight shoes or gloves, not taking bath everyday or due to a medical condition known as hyperhidrosis.
Peeling Skin Syndrome
Peeling skin syndrome is a genetic skin disorder, which is quite rare. If a person experiences peeling of skin on the feet and hands, along with skin peeling all over the body, it could be due to this disorder.
Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis
This is a rare, life-threatening dermatological condition caused by a drug reaction. In this medical condition, blisters occur all over the body, including the hands and feet. When these blisters rupture, they cause skin peeling all over the body.
Skin Disorders
Certain skin disorders can cause the skin on the hands and feet to peel off. Psoriasis, eczema, kawasaki disease, scarlet fever and erythroderma, are some of the skin disorders which may produce these symptoms.
Here are a few home remedies to treat peeling of skin on the feet and hands at the comfort of your home.
  • Massaging the affected skin area with coconut oil or olive oil, every day, will moisturize the skin, and thus, prevent this.
  • For skin peeling caused due to cold weather conditions and excessive sun exposure, you can apply honey on the affected area. For effective skincare, leave the honey on the skin for about half an hour and then wash off the area with cold water.
  • A healthy diet which is rich in vitamins A and B as well as iodine and iron, can help prevent peeling of skin.
  • For curing skin peeling caused due to eczema or dermatitis, apply mint juice on the affected area, let it dry and then wash it off.
  • For peeling skin on your hands, use mild and gentle soaps that do not contain chemicals.
  • To avoid detergents or dish washing soaps from coming in contact with your skin, wear gloves to protect your hands.
  • After washing your hands pat dry them and apply a moisturizer to keep your skin smooth.
  • One of the most effective remedies is to soak your hands and feet in water mixed with apple cider vinegar. This will help in killing the microorganisms which feed on the skin cells.
Peeling skin on the hands and feet is not contagious and usually heals on its own within a few weeks if proper care is taken. Sometimes, certain over-the-counter creams or lotions are also prescribed to treat the condition. However, if you have unexplained or persistent skin peeling on your hands and feet which does not heal within a few days, even after following the above remedies, it is recommended that you consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.