Peeling fingertips and hands may be caused by dehydration, wrinkling, lupus etc. Sunburn, in severe cases, can also lead to your fingers peeling off. Immune disorders have also been linked to skin peeling on different parts of the body. Here are the causes and remedies to get rid of skin peeling off your fingertips.
“Peeling skin is unintended damage to and loss of the upper layer of your skin (epidermis). Peeling skin may occur because of direct damage to the skin, such as from sunburn or infection. It may also be a sign of an immune system disorder or other disease. Rash, itching, dryness and other irritating skin problems may accompany peeling skin”. [Mayo Clinic]
The problem of peeling fingertips is a common yet painful situation. You will experience it when you don’t take proper care of the skin around the tip and on the fingers. This condition can be painful and even bleeding if left untreated or picked, so it is important to get familiar with all causes of peeling skin on fingers to take proper preventive measures.
In the event that you experience the following symptoms on the skin near your fingertips, then you are likely to face peeling of skin on your fingertips:
- When the skin around the fingertips is feeling dry and scorched, the skin will start to peel off
- The skin will feel irritated and sensitive
- The skin may become reddish and blotchy
- There might be itching sensation
Skin peeling on fingertips causes
Why are my fingertips peeling? Fingertips peeling is not a good indicator to our bodies. Any time that this takes place, there is a communication that your body is trying to communicate for immediate action. According to reference.com, skin peeling on the fingertips may be a result of several things that include
- Immune disorder
- An infection
Skin irritation from lack of moisture, sun burn or an allergic reaction can also cause peeling on your hands and fingers. According to WebMD, peeling of skin on the fingers and other areas of your body is a common reaction of the body to allergens as well as to environmental elements like the sun, wind and humidity.
Overexposure can lead to repeated skin irritation and dryness, which in turn results in skin peeling. In some situations however, skin peeling can be associated with immune disorders and some infections to your body. The following singled out conditions lead to peeling of skin on the fingertips:
Environmental factors like lack of humidity, air conditioning, sun exposure and use of harsh soaps could cause your skin to lose moisture and become dry. At times, dry skin could also occur due to conditions like hypothyroidism.
When you are washing your hands frequently or when you use harsh soaps or medicated ointments, the skin around the fingertips becomes dry. In the presence of wrong conditions, such as:
- exposure to allergens
- excessive washing
- hereditary traits
Dry skin can turn from mild redness into a painful cracking and peeling skin problem.
Vitamin B3 deficiency
Niacin, or vitamin B3, is essential for the health of skin. A severe deficiency of niacin can lead to pellagra, which is a skin condition characterized by scaly skin sores. As the skin cracks, you might experience peeling, raw skin and a dark rash. You might also experience peeling of the tongue and lips. A niacin-rich diet should include:
- plenty of canned white tuna
- green peas
Vitamin B7 deficiency
Biotin, or vitamin B-7, which is also an essential vitamin for the health of your skin. A biotin deficiency can cause scaly skin. As the deficiency progresses, dermatitis becomes more pronounced, leading to inflammation, loss of hair and dark scales. Lack of biotin can also worsen symptoms of eczema and psoriasis, which in turn can lead to more peeling skin.
In as much as deficiency of vitamins leads to skin conditions, an excess could also have an impact on your body. Too much of vitamin A can cause skin to peel. This happens when you apply vitamin A topically in the form of creams or gels, but it also happen if you take large dosages of vitamin A orally
The effects of streptococcus on the skin at the fingertips is different from the one that leads to sore throat. To the skin, it leads to impetigo and cellulitis.
Impetigo is an infection of the top layers of the skin and is most common among children ages 2 to 6 years. It usually starts when the bacteria get into a cut, scratch, or insect bite. Impetigo is usually caused by staphylococcus, a different bacterium, but can be caused by group A streptococcus.
Symptoms start with red sores or pimple-like lesions (sores) surrounded by reddened skin. These lesions can be anywhere on the body, but are found mostly on the face, arms, and legs. Lesions fill with pus, then break open after a few days and form a thick crust.
Cellulitis on the other hand is inflammation of the skin and deep underlying tissues. Erysipelas is an inflammatory disease of the upper layers of the skin. Group A streptococcus is the most common cause of both conditions.
With erysipelas, a fiery red rash with raised borders may occur on the face, arms, or legs. Skin will be hot, red, and have sharply defined raised areas. The infection may come back, causing chronic swelling of arms.
Scarlet fever is also brought about strep. During healing, the skin on the tips of your fingers and toes often peels after you get better.
Fungal infections can be a cause of concern and worry that begins with flaky skin surface leading to severe peeling of the skin. Fungal infections like jock itch and other fungal infections can damage your skin and cause severe itching.
There are two major causes of fungal infections of the skin and nails: yeast and dermatophytes.
- Yeast infections of the skin and nails are generally caused by an organism called Candida albicans. This organism normally makes a residence for itself on your skin and it is of no bother to your daily life.
You carry this organism on your skin (and in other places such as our mouth, our gastrointestinal tract (gut), and the vagina).
Occasionally Candida albicans multiplies uncontrollably, causing a yeast infection (also known as candidiasis). Yeast infections of the skin can cause a red, itchy rash that may leak fluid. Yeast nail infections can lead to pain and swelling, and may cause the nail to separate from the finger tips or toe.
- Dermatophytes are fungi that only live in dead tissue, such as your nails and dead skin cells. Dermatophyte infections can also be called tinea. Dermatophyte infections of the skin can cause a round, scaly rash that may also have blisters. When dermatophytes infect the nails, the nails become thick, split, become dull, and may fall off.
Fungal skin infections may also be caused by a fungus called Pityrosporum orbiculare. These infections, also called tinea versicolor, lead to scaly patches that vary in colour from white to brown.
According to US National Eczema Association, hand eczema also known as dermatitis is a common condition that affects around 10% of the US population. Both Genetics and contact allergens play a crucial role in triggering this condition.
It affects mostly people who work in cleaning, catering, hair dressing, health care and mechanical in which they come into contact with chemicals and other irritants. Apart from that, eczema is not contagious and therefore, you cannot transmit it to another person or receive it from an infected person.
The more specific eczema that leads to peeling of fingertips is the hand eczema. This can be indicated especially if your itchy hand is accompanied by rashes. You can also witness patchy peeling of the hands skin, that is also reddish that is usually caused by trauma and chemical irritants and handling of the paper.
It can take several months to recover from this condition of hand eczema completely. Try to protect the hands from the cleaners and soaps and wear a pair of gloves for the protection in cold weather.
“Stress can aggravate the skin and trigger unexpected flare-ups that, in effect, create more stress for patients. Learning how to manage the effects of stress on your skin can help alleviate some of the anxiety and symptoms.” Dr. Mayoral.
When a person becomes stressed, the level of the body’s stress hormone (cortisol) rises. This in turn causes an increase in oil production, which can lead to oily skin, acne and other related skin problems.
In a study in the January 2001 issue of the Archives of Dermatology entitled “Psychological Stress Perturbs Epidermal Permeability Barrier Homeostasis,” found that stress has a negative effect on the barrier function of the skin, resulting in water loss that inhibits the skin’s ability to repair itself after an injury.
Infections cause peeling of skin on hands and feet in children. Peeling skin on hands and feet in children may be caused by infectious diseases, such as:
- Candida yeast
- Scarlet fever
Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (blistering and shedding of skin due to a serious staphylococcal infection)
- Tinea infections (athlete’s foot)
- Viral infections
Antibiotics like penicillin despite their importance in dealing with some conditions of fingertips peeling, could lead to peeling in the long run. This is because they initiate some allergic reactions that lead to irritation. You end up scratching yourself and the fingertips that it results in abnormal peeling. However, the allergy has been found to be very limited to some few individuals.
Allergic reactions can also affect the skin on the fingers and hands, severe sweating, washing of the dishes without gloves or even washing your hands with harsh chemical or hot water can lead to irritation of the skin thus causing peeling off on the skins fingertips.
Peeling skin on fingertips for no reason
There are times when the fingertips peel off without any particular cause. When you realize that this is happening, it could be that the kind of environment you are exposed to is not favorable for your body system.
For instance, sun burn could lead to peeling of outer skin in order to give room for newer skin to develop. When this happens, it is just an adaptation in order to accommodate the underlying condition that are present.
Age which is a physiological process could also precipitate peeling of skin. When this happens, the body is trying to renew itself by shedding off the old and limited function that the normal skin ought to perform in our bodies.
Apart from that, peeling of the skin is an adaptive mechanism of the body to survive extreme conditions like cold and extreme heat. The skin will always do what it can to ensure that the underlying organs of the body are well protected at all costs.
Remedies to get rid of peeling fingertips
There are various approaches that can be used to cure or manage peeling of fingertips. They include both home remedies as well as medications designed to particularly handle the condition. The various simple and straight forward home remedies that you could effectively employ are listed below:
1. Warm Water Soak
There are two benefits of this simple remedy. First, the skin around your fingertips will become supple, and secondly, the dry skin will start falling off.
- Soak your hands in warm water for about 10 minutes every day to deal with peeling fingertips.
- For best results, add some honey and lemon juice to the warm water before soaking your hands in it.
- After soaking, pat dry your hands and put on some good-quality moisturizer, or simply vitamin E oil.
- You can also apply some olive oil to maintain the moisture level of your hands.
Cucumber can also be used to treat peeling fingertips. It will help keep your skin fresh, moisturized and smooth.
- Cut a fresh cucumber into thick slices.
- Gently rub the slices on the affected skin so that the juice absorbs well into the skin.
- You can also apply grated cucumber over the affected skin for about 30 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water.
- Repeat daily until you are satisfied with the results.
3. The use of Oats
This is yet another kitchen item that can be used to treat peeling fingertips. This remedy will effectively remove dead skin cells from your fingers and make them soft and smooth.
- Mix a handful of powdered oats in a large bowl of warm water.
- Soak your fingers in it for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Wash your hands with clean water and pat dry gently using a soft cotton towel.
- Apply a gentle moisturizer.
- For best results, follow this remedy daily before going to bed.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an excellent home remedy for a number of skin problems including peeling skin. It moisturizes your skin and keeps it soft and supple. It contains medium chain fatty acids that allow it to penetrate quickly into the skin. Thus, it combat dryness, itching and flaking. In addition, its antifungal and antibacterial properties protect against infections.
- Simply apply coconut oil generously on your peeling fingertips several times a day.
- For best results, leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning.
Milk is a luxurious treatment for peeling fingertips. Before going to sleep, drink a glass of warm milk with some honey. This will help you to enjoy better and relaxing sleep while also treating skin dryness.
As milk is a natural skin moisturizer, you can also apply milk on the affected skin. For this remedy, use milk with higher fat content.
- Mix two tablespoons of milk and one tablespoon of honey.
- Apply this mixture on the skin and massage gently. This will help the skin hold in moisture.
- Another option is to soak your fingers in warm milk for 10 minutes daily and then wash it off with water.
- Follow up with a moisturizer or just vitamin E oil.
5. The use of Aloe Vera
This is a simple remedy for treating peeling fingertips. Normally, it is good to use pure aloe vera gel. Aloe vera has cooling and soothing properties that will help treat dry, painful or irritating peeling fingertips. It will also lock in moisture and protect the skin from different types of infection.
- Extract the succulent gel from an aloe vera leaf
- Apply it on the affected skin a few times a day.
- You can also drink two tablespoons of aloe vera juice daily.
Bananas have long been used to treat a variety of different afflictions with the skin. Bananas are great to use as a remedy for peeling fingertips and will dramatically improve your condition. Mixing a ripe banana with a half cup of sour cream applied to the fingertips is one common home remedy. Eating bananas is also a good way to get your body the nutrients it needs to prevent peeling fingertips from happening in the first place.
7. Mint Juice
Mint juice is refreshing not just for you, but for your skin as well. Mint juice acts as a natural moisturizer and is great for cases of peeling fingertips that are caused by eczema or other skin disorders. It helps to get rid of dry, flaky skin in a most refreshing way.
8. Use Olive oil for treatment
Olive oil is a great moisturizer for dry skin. Soaking your fingers in warm olive oil will deeply moisturize and nourish your skin. Being rich in vitamin E, it will also promote skin healing.
- Slightly heat one-half cup of extra-virgin olive oil in a microwave or double boiler.
- Pour the warm oil in a bowl and add three drops of lavender essential oil.
- Soak your dry fingertips in the warm oil for 10 minutes.
- Gently rinse your hands with lukewarm water, pat dry and then apply some moisturizer.
9. Add moisturizer to your cleaning routine
Through the day you might be washing the hands several times but you do not follow it up with a moisturizing routine. If you have peeling fingertips caused by dry and flaky skin, it would be good if you:
- Use moisturizer after every wash
- The moisturizers made of natural ingredients or petroleum jelly will help to preserve the moisture in the skin
10. Drying the hands gently
Immediately after you have washed your hands, the hands need to be dried gently. Often, we do not give a thought to how we dry our hands. You might squeeze it on our clothes or rub the hands against a coarse towel. It is best to:
- Dry the hands gently so that they are not wiped dry completely
- The moisture should be left behind on the hands and not dried off completely
You are in most cases advised that the hands are patted dry gently on a soft piece of cloth or towel
11. Ensure you drink water
When it comes to dealing with peeling fingertips, it is not so much what you put on your hands but what you eat and drink as well. Peeling fingertips could be a sign of dehydration and lack of adequate fluids in the body. Therefore;
- Water should be consumed in adequate measure
- Drinking enough fluids and water will keep the system hydrated and help to flush out the toxins
12. Ensure you only take healthy drinks
When you are drinking to keep the skin looking supple and healthy you need to stay away from:
- Caffeinated beverages
- Soft drinks
It is best to supplement one’s diet with fruit juices, coconut water and natural water.
In the event that the peeling of fingertips is caused by a medical condition, it is prudent that you consult a medical practitioner for advice. Usually, treatment of the underlying medical condition is always the prescription. The above home remedies usually work best because they are not limited to a particular underlying condition. Instead, they are intended to treat the finger peeling in the long run. Before consulting a doctor, always try the above treatments and monitor how they work for your body.
Reference and Sources