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Overview

Peeling skin, also known as desquamation, is a common skin problem in which the epidermis (outer layer of skin) sheds fast. Internal or external causes of skin damage, such as burns or exposure to environmental irritants such as the sun or wind, are related with the process.

Skin peeling may cause flaky skin, rashes, dryness, irritation and other unpleasant skin problems.

Peeling skin may be caused by a variety of illnesses, some of which are life-threatening. It is critical to get medical help as soon as possible.

Since the body is constantly producing new skin cells and eliminating old ones from the outer layer, the loss of skin cells at the skin’s surface is a natural and continuing process. The majority of the time, this loss of skin cells is undetectable and unnoticeable. Peeling intensity varies according to the severity of the skin damage and whether it occurs on a small patch of skin or all over the body.

An untreated serious skin injury may result in blisters, discomfort, ulcers, and bare skin. An external event, such as a burn, or an interior cause, such as a pharmaceutical response or an autoimmune illness, may both induce this pattern of skin damage. Unpleasant skin problems may quickly progress to a severe or even life-threatening condition if left untreated.

Skin peeling on hands may result due to frequent hand washing. Peeling hands may be caused by a variety of medical disorders, including infections and allergies. Peeling skin on feet may result due to excessive sweating that may be caused by a variety of conditions, including athletes’ feet, dry skin, eczema, hyperhidrosis and psoriasis. Over-the-counter drugs may be used to treat peeling feet. However, if the peeling continues or you have any other troubling symptoms, you should see a doctor.

Peeling skin caused by dry skin or mild sunburn is likely to be relieved by over-the-counter moisturizers, and medical intervention is seldom required in this situation. Whether you are not sure what’s causing your peeling skin or if the situation is serious, see a doctor before attempting any over-the-counter or home remedies.

Causes

Peeling skin is the outcome of an accidental injury to the skin’s protective layer, resulting in the loss of the top layer i.e. epidermis. Direct skin injury, such as a sunburn or bacterial infection, may result in peeling skin. It might also be a symptom of an underlying immune system problem or another ailment.

The skin is exposed to a variety of environmental substances on a regular basis that may irritate and harm it. These include the effects of the sun, dehydration, wind, heat, and extreme humidity. When the skin is irritated for a long period of time, it might peel.

Furthermore, skin peeling might be the consequence of a disease or condition that is not related to the skin. This kind of skin peeling is often accompanied by itching. Sloughing skin may be induced by a variety of factors, including the following:

·       Infections

·       Allergies

·       Immune system disorders

·       Cancer

·       Genetic disorders of skin like acral peeling skin syndrome

Peeling skin syndrome is a rare hereditary disorder that affects a small percentage of the population. It may affect the whole body or only the hands and feet. The syndrome is often present from birth, although it may appear at any time throughout life.

Cosmetic treatments including acne treatment and chemical peels also lead to skin peeling.

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is also associated with peeling skin. It is a skin condition marked by redness and skin peeling. Exposure to an allergen (such as a smell) or an irritant may cause contact dermatitis.

Skin peeling may occur as a consequence of almost any cause of extended skin redness, such as an unpleasant response to medicine, demanding medical intervention.

When to see a doctor

Peeling skin may occur in conjunction with other symptoms that indicate a severe or life-threatening disease, such as toxic shock syndrome, and should be evaluated by a healthcare provider as soon as possible. If you or someone you know is experiencing peeling skin that is accompanied by any of the symptoms listed below, get medical help right away:

·       Changes in vision or eye concerns like dry eyes

·       Shift in consciousness or awareness

·       Lethargy

·       Fever

·       Hemorrhoids

·       Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat

·       Skin irritation, and itching

·       Large sheets of skin are shed or sloughed off at a time

·       Sores, lesions, blistering rash, and blisters on mucous membranes

·       Swollen lymph nodes