What Causes Skin on Hands to Peel Off?

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When you notice that the skin on your hands is going to peel off, you may worry whether it is related to certain health condition. The good news, it can be caused by something in environment or linked to lifestyle factors. As well we know, the skin is the outermost barrier of the body that can get constantly exposure to heat, dryness, sun, wind, low humidity or too high humidity.

All these environmental elements with other poor skin care may lead to repeated irritation. And this can increase the risk of peeling skin. The problem can affect any areas of the body, and the skin on hands is one of the most common areas where the problem can occur.

Health problems and certain conditions associated with peeling skin

While many times peeling skin on hands is associated with environmental elements or lifestyle factors, it also can be a sign of certain health problem.

Dry skin

It is a common skin problem and also common cause behind peeling skin. Mostly, it is often triggered by lifestyle and environmental factors – though there are also some health problems that can put you at high risk of having dry skin.

Fortunately, most cases of dry skin are controllable. It usually responds to lifestyle measures.

Allergic reactions

Some people suffer from allergies. The exact cause of most cases of allergies is not fully understood yet – though it is often associated with the over reactive immune system.

The symptoms of allergic reaction can vary, and one of these is skin rash. If you continuously get contact with your allergen (such as latex or certain fabrics), eventually this skin rash may peel off! In a few cases, eating food that you are allergic may also cause the same problem.

image_illustration171In addition, there is a condition called contact dermatitis. As the name implies, it is an allergic reaction that is triggered by a contact with something that causes the reaction.

The triggers of the reaction in contact dermatitis vary. The possible causes include jewelry, certain plants (like poison oak), fragrances, cosmetics, or even soaps.


There are several types of eczema, and atopic dermatitis is the most common type of the disease. If compared to other types, atopic dermatitis may be more often associated with peeling skin.

Currently, there is no answer for the exact reason of why eczema can occur. But it is thought as a consequence of combination from different factors such as genetic, immune dysfunction, dry skin, and some environmental conditions.


Many experts think that it is a kind of autoimmune disease – thought exact answer for the reason of why the disease can occur is not fully understood yet. Like eczema, psoriasis also has several types.

Hands and feet can be affected by psoriasis – see this section for more detailed information! In these areas, the disease can cause crackling, swelling, and blisters.

Scarlet fever

It is caused by the same bacteria behind strep throat. Therefore it is usually accompanied with a high fever and sore throat. It is more common in children with strep throat at the ages of 5-15 years old.

Many times, it causes red rash that usually starts from neck /face and then it can spread to other parts of the body such as arms, trunk, and legs. This symptom feels like sandpaper and looks like sunburn – and when you press it, it may turn pale.


Another possible cause is sunburn, painful-red skin that usually feels hot to touch! It is caused by too much exposure to sun (UV – ultraviolet) or some artificial sources like sunlamps. It usually occurs a few hours after you get the exposure to too much UV radiation.

Mild sunburn usually improves and fades on its own way without treatment – this healing process may take several days or longer. However, even though for mild sunburn, it can be serious if you get it frequently. Repeated sunburn increases the risk of some health conditions, especially such as skin cancer.

Toxic shock syndrome

It is caused by bacterial infections ‘A streptococcus (strep) bacteria in a few cases, and staphylococcus aureus (staph) in most cases’. It can be a life-threatening condition. Fortunately, it is very rare.

In general, there are two major groups of toxic shock syndrome; non-menstrual type and menstrual type. Non menstrual type can affect both women and men, even children. Menstrual type is usually linked to menstruation and the use of tampon.

A person with this disease can appear very ill. Skin peeling off can be one of the symptoms that may occur. This symptom usually affects soles of feet and palms of hands.


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