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Peeling finger skin may be a symptom of several different conditions, so treatment depends on what is causing skin on the fingers or hands to peel. Usually, peeling finger skin has an environmental cause, like friction or sunburn, and will heal on its own without intervention. When dry air and exposure to wind and cold causes peeling skin, using moisturizer on the affected area and protecting it from irritants can heal it. Sometimes, peeling finger skin may be caused by fungal, bacterial, or viral infections of the skin and may need treatment by a physician.
The most common cause of peeling skin is either sunburn or friction that has caused a burst blister. Both of these conditions will clear up on their own within a few days and do not require a visit to a doctor. Peeling skin caused by a blister should be covered to prevent wound infection. Using moisturizer can help soothe sunburned skin until it heals.
When environmental conditions cause peeling finger skin, hands can become raw, crack, and bleed. It's important not to pick at the loose skin, no matter how tempting it may be, because this can expose deeper layers of the dermis, and fingers may become painful, raw, and bleed. If it's too difficult to stop picking at the skin, moisturizing and then covering the area with a bandage may help protect the area until it heals. When peeling hands becomes severe, it's crucial to watch for signs of infection, such as swelling, unusual or extreme tenderness, or the appearance of pus. If these signs appear, then it's time to seek medical advice.
Medical conditions that may cause peeling finger skin include eczema, exfoliative dermatitis, or a vitamin deficiency. Typically these conditions involve additional symptoms, including dry or flaking skin on other parts of the body besides the fingers. Sometimes peeling skin may be a symptom of a rare inherited disease called peeling skin syndrome. A doctor can prescribe creams or medications to treat many of these conditions and help ease symptoms.
No matter what the cause of peeling finger skin, certain precautions can help skin heal and prevent the dryness that makes the peeling worse. It can be helpful to keep the skin hydrated from within by drinking plenty of water. Taking a multivitamin and supplementing with fish or flax oil can help skin get all the nutrients and fatty acids it needs to stay healthy. Eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables can help prevent vitamin or mineral deficiencies that can contribute to peeling finger skin.