Peeling skin on your hands and fingers can cause pain, especially when your skin becomes raw. Everything from the weather to certain medical conditions can cause the skin on your hands and fingers to peel. If you’re unsure of the exact cause, you may need to visit your dermatologist for an exact diagnosis.
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Hallmarks of Peeling Skin
When the skin on your hands and fingers begins to peel, you may notice flakes of skin and it may appear red where skin has flaked off. You may also experience itchiness due to skin irritation and dryness. It may hurt to bend or move your hands frequently as the skin may feel very tight. The open wounds on your hands from the skin peeling make your skin more susceptible to infections.
Cold and dry weather, as well as too much sun exposure, can zap the moisture out of your skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. This is so common, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, that your hands usually show the effects of the environment you live in. Frequently washing your hands, especially in winter months, can dry them out, causing your skin to peel. Submerging your hands into hot water on a regular basis can also dry out your skin, as the hot water strips your hands and fingers of naturally produced essential oils.
A variety of medical conditions can cause the skin on your hands and fingers to peel. Fungal infections, such as jock itch or athlete’s foot, can occur on the hands, causing itching and peeling skin, especially between fingers. Allergic reactions can cause the skin on your hands and fingers to peel. Kawasaki disease, which normally only affects children under the age of five, can cause skin on the hands to peel.
Treatment and Prevention
If environmental factors are causing your skin to dry out, apply a moisturizer to your hands and fingers frequently. Moisturizing your hands and fingers can help prevent your skin from becoming dry, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Wearing gloves while outdoors can also help protect your hands and fingers from becoming dry and chapped. If a medical condition causes the skin on your hands and fingers to peel, talk to your health care provider about possible treatment options.
When to Consult Your Doctor
If the peeling skin begins to show signs of infection -- such as pus, oozing fluids or crusting -- contact your health care provider immediately. He may prescribe a topical medication to treat the infection and help moisturize your skin at the same time. Never pick at the peeling skin as this could lead to infection and worsen your skin condition.