Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why is the skin on my hand peeling off?"
It isn't from a sunburn or anything, but some of the skin on the side of my hand has started to peel off. It started out just looking dry and kind of spotty, but now the peeling patch is growing. Is this dry skin or something more serious?
This sound a lot like eczema! There is a form of eczema called dyshidrotic eczema which generally manifests as peeling of the skin on either the palms of the hands or between the fingers or the soles of the feet. Dyshidrotic eczema occurs when the skin becomes dried out and inflamed, leading to the formation of small blisters under the skin which coalesce and lead to peeling, redness, and itching. Dyshidrotic eczema is often brought out by changes in the weather or by stress. Generally, it can be treated by good moisturizing of the skin and by application of a steroid cream to the peeling areas. Usually over the counter steroid creams are not strong enough to be of much use, so it is best to go see your primary care doctor, especially if the condition is spreading or worsening. They will be able to prescribe a strong steroid cream to get the itching and peeling under control. Your doctor will also consider alternative diagnoses other than dyshidrotic eczema, including contact dermatitis (from coming in contact with some irritating chemical, metal, plant, or other substance). Fortunately, most of the alternatives are also treated with steroid creams, so you should be getting better very soon.
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