Peeling Skin: Causes and treatment


Skin peeling isn’t an uncommon issue for most of us but it isn’t a chronic issue for most of us at the same time.

While in certain cases it can be a sign leading to a skin condition that needs attention. Nevertheless, it’s always important to know why your skin is reacting a certain way, it’s the biggest indicator of what’s going on inside your system and you need to listen to it.

We will start from the common causes of skin peeling, the first in this being Dry skin. Even if a person is born with oily skin, environmental factors such as the weather, or pollution can definitely result in a brief period of having Dry skin. That’s why it’s so important to keep your skin hydrated from the inside by drinking lots of water, and by moisturizing it topically. Especially if you constantly have dry skin, you need to moisturize at all times, increasing the care you give to your skin during the winter. (1)

Treatment: The obvious treatment would be to moisturize your skin, avoid having a bath with hot water, warm water is preferable and prevent excessive scrubbing.

Excessive sweating if turned chronic will become a condition that you need to seek medical advice for. However, in other cases, excessive sweating on your palms, underarms, and forehead, can lead to the peeling of skin. This could happen throughout the year for people who constantly sweat excessively, in which case it’s better to get it checked, for certain people it happens only in summer, where the peeling of skin on the palm could also result in burning and itching.

Treatment: If you know that you’re prone to excessive sweating and skin peeling in the summer, make sure you drink plenty of water and stay away from heavily salty food. You can use ice to cool your skin, it helps with the burning.

Another common reason during summer can be Sunburns. This can happen at any other time of the year also in case you come from a place that’s dry and sunny. This is why it’s important to wear sunscreen at all times, make sure you protect your skin with sunscreen and physically by covering yourself. Try to avoid the sun at peak hours that’s from 10 am to 1 pm, if you’re out at that time to try to stay in the shade as much as possible. (2)

Treatment: Aloe vera is the best-known way of treating a sunburn. Before applying it make sure you wipe your skin gently, taking away all the extra peeled off skin. Have a bath in lukewarm water, not hot water. Moisturize your skin after this and prevent excessive scrubbing.

Infections due to yeast such as Ringworm and other infections due to bacteria in our own body such as Staphylococcal Infection are some of the common infections that cause the skin to peel. Moreover, if skin peeling results in your skin breaking then bacteria could enter these cracks resulting in more infection.

Treatment – The common treatment for Staph Infection is antibiotics to kill the microbes causing it, for Ringworm, it’s mostly OTC that’s used.

In severe cases, skin peeling could be due to conditions such as Psoriasis, Eczema, Seborrheic Dermatitis, etc. In these situations, it’s best to get medical advice. These conditions may include a dysfunctional immune system, for which you’d need medical treatment. In these cases skin peeling isn’t the only symptom, it may also have inflamed skin, with redness, itching etc. (3)

Treatment– For Psoriasis the treatment includes Photodynamic treatment, For Eczema it may include avoiding hard soaps, over washing and moisturizing your skin, For Seborrheic Dermatitis the main treatment is moisturizing with Aloe Vera.

Other than these causes any malfunction in your thyroid could cause an imbalance in your hormones resulting in dry skin as one of the reactions to this. If in case you’re allergic to anything in particular, for example, most people are allergic to certain kinds of metals, then your skin could react when it comes in contact with these metals. There are other everyday causes that could result in dry skin, such as over washing, hand soaps, and extremely hot water could also cause dry skin. (4)

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Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.