Why is My Skin Peeling? Causes and Treatment

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Why is my skin peeling? What am I doing wrong? If this is you, don’t worry, it just might be nothing or at least something we can help you treat.

Peeling skin is the result of damage to and loss of your skin’s top layer

Peeling skin may develop as a result of direct skin injuries, such as sunburn or infection.

It might also be a symptom of an immune system problem or another illness.

Depending on the severity of the peeling, it might damage either a small part of the skin or the whole body.

Over-the-counter (OTC) skincare products may be able to help with peeling skin, but you may need to address an underlying illness, problem, or condition.

Why is my skin peeling? 5 Causes of peeling skin

There are a lot of things that could make your skin peel and to treat it, you have to figure out which one is to blame.

If your skin is peeling or flaking, don’t worry, you’ll learn how to treat them.

Here are the common causes of peeling skin.

1. Sunburn

“Peeling will begin after the first stage of sunburn, that is when the skin is red, painful, and maybe hot to the touch.

This is because the skin is attempting to restore its upper layer,” says Dr. Presley.

“Those sunburned cells are basically going to die, which disrupts the skin’s barrier.

“Normally, the cells would be ‘glued’ together, but these dead or dying cells begin to lose their ‘glue,’ sort of,” she adds.

And it’s only after these injured skin cells unglue that you’ll observe any peeling.

However, if your sunburn is more severe, meaning it’s a darker shade of red and much more painful, the inflammation is deeper into the skin.

If this happens, your skin will most likely blister before sloughing off.

Related: What Causes Itching Of The skin? Treatment for Itchy Skin

2. Eczema

When a patch of peeling skin becomes itchy, excessively dry, red, and inflamed, it might be due to eczema, a chronic illness in which the skin’s barrier fails to defend against microorganisms and irritants.

A lot of people confuse eczema with typical dry skin since it has a similar look and occurs more commonly in the winter.

However, eczema has triggers (such as allergies) and will most likely need further treatment.

3. Dry skin

Some people have skin that is naturally dry. But the truth is that anyone can have dry skin.

If you live in low humidity areas, use harsh soaps, or have hot showers, you might have dry skin.

Even if you have naturally normal skin, these things can strip your skin of its natural moisture, which, as Dr. Presley says, can lead to a damaged skin barrier.

When the skin barrier is broken, the body loses water to the environment and gets dry

This produces symptoms such as skin tightness, itching, fissures in the skin, and a tendency for the skin to flake and peel off.

4. Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when your skin reacts to an allergy.

When you come into contact with something you’re allergic to, your skin reacts by breaking out in a rash. This is called allergic contact dermatitis.

Irritant contact dermatitis, on the other hand, is caused by anything that destroys your skin’s protective barrier to the point that it develops a rash.

According to Dr. Kelly, irritating contact dermatitis is often triggered by rubbing alcohol, fertilizers, or drying hand washes.

Eczema and contact dermatitis have similar symptoms, making it difficult to tell them apart. Eczema sufferers are also more likely to acquire contact dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis is more likely to occur if your skin is dry and prone to irritation, Dr. Kelly explains.

Contact dermatitis is distinct from eczema in that it often does not respond to the usual first-line therapies, such as moisturizing.

When a patient’s eczema appears like usual eczema but isn’t responding to existing therapies, Dr. Kelly says he assumes it’s contact dermatitis.

Related: Dry Eyelids: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

5. Psoriasis

If you have psoriasis, your skin will be red, dry, with itchy patches called plaques.

So because this skin is denser than, say, skin with patches of eczema on it, it’s more likely to flake rather than peel.

“Psoriasis is a condition where our bodies start attacking our own skin cells,” says Dr. Kelly.  “That makes our skin renewal process go a lot faster.”

The skin cells will be able to shed in four days instead of 28 days.

That’s why people with psoriasis have very flaky, peeling skin.

Why is my skin peeling? Treatment for peeling skin

The treatment for peeling skin depends on the underlying cause.

1. Treatment for Sunburn

Take an anti-inflammatory pain medication like Ibuprofen within 24 hours after becoming sunburned if it’s severe.

Your dermatologist may also recommend a topical steroid.

Do not pick at your sunburn, no matter how bad it is.

2. Treatment for Dry skin

Dry skin may be treated by repairing the skin’s barrier and hydrating it.

To begin, Dr. Kelly suggests using a thick cream-based moisturizer to dry areas of the body after each shower or bath.

The best time to apply a moisturizer is after your bath.

Putting moisturizer on damp skin and then drying it off is the key, she explains.” If you use a moisturizer, the skin will be hydrated again.

Additionally, you may prevent your skin from drying out by using a humidifier and showering in warm water rather than hot water.

In the winter, Dr. Kelly recommends that you wear gloves to protect your skin from the drying effects of the cold weather.

3. Treatment for Eczema

When you have eczema, moisturizing your skin is a must according to Dr. Kelly.

But she says that people with eczema should also make sure to keep their skin clean, avoid irritating things like harsh cleansers and fragrances, and stay away from any known allergens.

If you have eczema, talk to their dermatologist when they have a flare-up of their skin.

Eczema should be treated as quickly as possible with topical steroid creams or ointments, according to Dr. Kelly, since they may help reduce inflammation.

Related: Dry Scalp Treatment: Prescriptions and Home Remedies

4. Treatment for Contact dermatitis

If you have contact dermatitis and are having a flare-up, your dermatologist can give you a topical steroid to help with the inflammation.

In the meantime, Dr. Kelly says that it’s important to keep your skin moisturized and use hypoallergenic products as often as possible to keep it safe and healthy.

5. Treatment for Psoriasis

If your skin doesn’t get better with moisturizing, get in touch with your dermatologist if your skin isn’t getting better.


Your skin could be peeling for a lot of reasons, dry skin, eczema, and the rest. If your skin is peeling, you should see a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment accordingly.

If you have questions about this article? Kindly drop it in the comment box below, we will be happy to help you.

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