ZocdocAnswersIs my skin peeling because I wash my hands too much?

Question

Is my skin peeling because I wash my hands too much?

My skin on my hands is peeling. It is the fingers and the palms of my hands too. Is it from washing my hands too often? I wash them a lot because I am afraid of getting sick but I will stop if it is causing my skin to peel!

Answer

Excessive dryness of the skin can lead to peeling of the superficial layers, mostly through the harsh chemical actions of soaps together with hot water. This effect is made worse in the cold weather, which also naturally leads to some dryness of the skin. It is also possible that the peeling on your fingers and palms is the result of an underlying medical condition, known as dyshidrotic eczema, which causes small blisters to form under the skin which then coalesce, leading to areas of redness, itching, and peeling. In either case, the first line defense against either eczema of just dry skin is to back off on the degree to which you wash your hands and also to use an excellent hand moisturizer multiple times a day. It would also be a good idea to see your primary care doctor about this issue. If you have dyshidrotic eczema, for example, this often requires prescription strength steroid creams, in addition to a moisturizer, in order to clear up entirely. Your doctor can take a look at the areas of peeling and confirm whether or not you need to start using these higher potency treatments. Good luck, and I hope this clears up quickly!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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