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Skin Peeling on Feet

Do you have skin peeling off from the bottom of your feet? Get to know the various causes behind this problem and find out how to stop skin peeling on feet by using simple homemade natural remedies.
Skin on hands and feet – The noticeably eccentric form of skin
Have you ever noticed that the skin on your hands and feet are distinctly different than the skin on the rest of your body? The skin on your hands and feet, more precisely palms and soles, do not have hair. Moreover, your hands and feet start looking wrinkled when you soak them in water. Unlike the rest of your skin, your palms and feet have a unique pattern of ridges called fingerprints and footprints. Apart from giving away clues to the forensic experts to solve crimes, these footprints and fingerprints help in keeping your skin intact.

Symptoms of Peeling of skin on feet

The skin on your feet may tend to appear flaky and start to peel off. This condition is often associated with itching, development of rashes or cracks on your feet and dryness. You may often notice peeling of skin on your feet after taking off your shoes once you have worn it for a long time or after taking a bath. Skin peeling associated with itching often occurs as a result of some underlying medical condition. Your feet may end up looking repulsive due to peeling off of the skin.

Causes of Skin Peeling on Feet

Most of the times, peeling of skin on feet may not be a matter of concern. However, it is not advisable to ignore this condition for a long period of time as it may lead to bleeding, be painful and cause infection. Here are some of the common reasons for peeling of skin on feet.

Buildup of excess dead skin on feet due to dryness


Excess dead skin on your feet may be produced due to various reasons like medical or environmental factors. One of the major reasons for dead skin build-up is due to lack of moisture on the skin of your feet. There are no oil glands on the skin of your feet and it is dependent on the numerous sweat glands present on the skin of your feet to keep it moisturized. Dryness of the skin on your feet may be caused due to various reasons like taking a shower in excessively hot water, medical conditions such as diabetes or thyroid, excessive cold weather in winter or low levels of humidity. Use of harsh chemicals or non- moisturizing soaps may also cause dryness and flaking of your skin. Other reasons may be environmental factors such as sunburn due to excessive heat in summer. Swimming in the beach water may also cause peeling of skin on your feet due to infections caused by various parasites luring in the sea water.



Various skin related conditions like eczema or psoriasis also results in peeling of skin on feet due to the formation of excessive dead skin. Eczema is associated with dryness, itching and flaking of skin.

Reiter’s syndrome

Medical conditions such as Reiter’s syndrome or endrocrinal problems may also lead to peeling of skin on feet. Reiter’s syndrome or reactive arthritis is a disorder that is caused as a result of immune response to bacterial infection. It causes inflammation in joints, skin, eyes, mouth as well as the urinary tract. Formation of blisters followed by flaking and peeling of skin on feet may be observed as a symptom of Reiter’s syndrome.

Exfoliative dermatitis

Exfoliative dermatitis is a medical condition which causes redness and peeling of skin on all parts of your body, including the skin of your feet. In some cases it may be caused due to various underlying medical conditions, whereas in others the cause remains unknown. People suffering from skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and seborrheic dermatitis may be at risk of developing exfoliative dermatitis. Adverse drug reactions to certain groups of medicines such as sulfa drugs, penicillin, phenytoin and isoniazid may also cause excessive skin peeling on your feet.


Certain types of cancer including leukaemia and lymphoma are known to cause peeling of skin on your feet and other parts of the body. Skin peeling is a very common observation among cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or targeted treatments. However, skin peeling due to cancer treatment is very short lived and gets cured easily by application of moisturizing creams.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Peeling of skin on the feet may occur as a long term symptom of STDs like syphilis. It is accompanied by formation of blisters and rash like sores on the bottom of the feet.

Athlete’s foot

Peeling of skin on the soles or between the toes associated with dryness can be caused due to a condition called Athlete’s foot. It is a contagious form of fungal infection. Athlete’s foot is more commonly observed in people who enter barefoot in public bathrooms, showers/ swimming pools or have sweaty feet due to use of ill- fitted shoes and socks.

Toe box dermatitis

Wearing shoes that have a rubber toe box causes the warm air and sweat to get trapped inside the foot thereby causing redness and eventually peeling of the skin on the toes and between fingers. Toe box dermatitis can be avoided by using shoes that have toe box made of breathable material.


High fever associated with sweating may lead to peeling of skin on the bottom of your feet. This occurs due to retention of sweat on the sole as the skin on the sole is thicker than the skin on any other part of the body. Blister formations may occur followed by peeling off of the skin.


Cellulitis is a condition that occurs when bacteria enters your skin due to a cut or scratch on the skin. If there is a cut on your feet, the bacteria may enter the skin of your feet and cause itching, redness, swelling and peeling of the skin on your feet and toes.

Peeling of skin on feet of toddlers and pregnant women

Peeling of skin on the feet of toddlers occurs due to shedding of the outer layer (epidermis) of the skin. Peeling of skin on feet is a very common condition in babies born past due date. It may be caused due to some form or allergy or as a natural process of development of skin. Many women reported drying of skin especially on their feet during pregnancy. This can be avoided by applying moisturizer on the feet.

How can peeling of skin on foot be treated?

The symptoms of skin peeling on foot may appear to be very mild at first; however it may cause serious problems if left untreated. Sometimes, worsening of skin peeling on feet may cause the heel to crack, thereby causing difficulty in walking and pain in the joints.

Treatment of peeling of skin on feet mainly involves the diagnosis of the underlying reason for this occurrence. If you naturally have dry skin, you can treat the skin peeling by applying moisturizer or essential oils on your feet. Lotions, except baby lotion, are not advised to treat dry skin as lotions generally contain alcohol which increases the dryness of skin.

If the peeling of skin on your feet has occurred due to fungal infection, you may have to use topical antifungal medications to get rid of the fungal infection. However, if the topical medication seems to be ineffective, you may have to visit a medical practitioner and use a combination of oral and topical antifungal agent.

If the skin on your feet is peeling due to some underlying medical conditions like psoriasis or diabetes, immediate medical help should be sought so as to root out the cause of skin peeling.

Home Remedies

You can cure the peeling of skin on your feet using these simple home remedies:

  • Soaking your feet in hot water containing around two tablespoons of vinegar may help in removing the excess dead skin easily. Alternatively, you can use a homemade foot scrub prepared using lemon juice, ripe banana, avocado and orange peel. Lemon juice and orange peel has a very mild acidic effect on the skin and helps in removing the dead skin easily. Olive oil and lavender oil are also reported to be effective in removal of dead skin. A pumice stone, a foot shaver or a soft brush can be used to rub off the dead skin cells after application of the foot scrub. After the dead skin cells are removed, apply a natural moisturizer like coconut oil or almond oil to keep the skin of your feet soft.
  • Applying plant extracts that have antibacterial properties and help in maintaining good skin conditions may be used. For instance, garlic oil which has potent antibacterial and antifungal effects may be applied on your feet to protect your feet from infections.
  • Taking a few precautionary measures like using shoes that fit well, applying sunscreen before exposing your feet to sun, taking shower in lukewarm water can help in prevention of peeling of skin on your feet. It is advisable to avoid sauna, steam bath or excessive exposure of feet to heat.
  • Staying hydrated and regularly applying moisturizer on your feet helps in maintaining appropriate levels of moisture on the skin of your feet.
  • While running or walking for longer period of time, it is advisable to wear shoes that fit well and are made of breathable sweat-absorbent material to protect the skin of your feet from dryness and skin peeling.
  • It is preferable to avoid alcohol and caffeine that increases the itchiness. It is essential to resist the temptation to scratch the affected area.
  • Applying ice packs to the affected areas may help in reducing the itchy feeling. Most importantly, keep your feet clean and free of any bacterial or fungal growth at all times. Skin peeling may also occur due to vitamin deficiency, therefore it is essential to include food rich in vitamins, especially vitamin A and E, in your daily diet.

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