If you’re suffering from peeling hands, there are many causes of this, says a dermatologist.

“Each and every day your hands are constantly being exposed to various elements that can cause irritation including chemicals, UV rays, weather conditions, irritants and allergens,” says Dr. Jennifer Gordon, who is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology and practices at Westlake Dermatology located in Austin, Texas.

“Repeated irritation of the skin on the hands can lead to excessive peeling, especially if you are genetically predisposed to this.”

Says Dr. Gordon. “Typically this peeling is accompanied by other symptoms like itching, burning or pain, making the situation even worse.

“Unfortunately diagnosing the source of this peeling can be difficult, as there are a number of potential root causes.”

Causes of Skin Peeling on the Hands

(no particular order)

Yes, believe it or not, stress can cause the skin of your hands to peel. “It’s not uncommon for people to experience peeling of the skin (in any area of the body, including the hands) due to periods of high or intense stress,” says Dr. Gordon.

This is because usually, stress exacerbates other conditions (following) that can lead to peeling hands.

Allergies: “Skin peeling may be the result of your skin coming into contact with a substance that you are allergic to,” says Dr. Gordon.

“Potential allergens can be found everywhere, including household items, foods and even skincare products.”

Infections: “Certain staph and fungal infections are known to cause skin peeling. Sometimes these infections occur alongside other symptoms like high fever.

“The infection may be in your skin or may be elsewhere in your body, so if you have any other symptoms, make sure to see your provider quickly.”

Eczema: “Hand eczema is characterized by a peeling of the skin on the hands as well as the fingers.

“This type of eczema is caused by genetics, but is worsened by triggers, with many individuals developing it after being in contact with chemical irritants or allergens.

“Other symptoms can include itchiness, development of fluid-filled blisters, swelling and cracking skin.”

Psoriasis: “Generally occurring due to genetic disposition, psoriasis can result in peeling along the hands.

“Psoriasis occurs with skin cell buildup in a specified area; resulting in irritating red patches, itchiness, peeling and sometimes pustules.”

Exfoliative keratolysis: “While this condition is characterized with peeling of the fingers, peeling of the palms or tops of hands is possible. Exfoliative keratolysis is mostly common in young adults and occurs during the hotter summer months.

“The peeling starts off with the development of a superficial blister which naturally pops and results in peeling skin.”

Dr. Gordon’s interests include medical dermatology, particularly the treatment and prevention of melanoma and other skin cancers in athletes. For 2016, 2017 and 2018 Texas Monthly Magazine selected her as one of the Texas Super Doctors Rising Stars. 
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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