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What Causes Peeling Hands?

What Causes Peeling Hands?

Peeling on your hands can be caused due to a number of conditions depending on your symptoms. In some cases your symptoms can be presented with blisters, which go on to pop, causing your skin to peel. Other conditions are caused by irritants that can dry your skin, causing them to feel itchy and as a result peel. When you go to your doctor, she will need to know your exact symptoms, how long you've had your symptoms and if there is a family history of this type of condition. These are the most common causes of peeling hands:


A form of eczema known as hand dermatitis is characterized by peeling skin on the palms and back of the hands. Hand eczema is caused by genetics, injury and allergies. You can also contract hand dermatitis if your hands are constantly exposed to certain irritants like cleansers. Eczema of the hands is common in industries like mechanical work, health care, salons, metalwork, catering and cleaning. Symptoms include itching, itchy papules, fluid-filled blisters, scaly or cracking skin and swelling.


The Mayo Clinic explains that psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects the life cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis occurs when cells build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, appearing scaly, causing itching and dry, red patches. According to DermNetNZ, psoriasis typically runs in families and affects people of all ages.

Dyshidrotic Hand Dermatitis

Dyshidrotic hand dermatitis is characterized by blisters under the skin, most prominently on the sides of the fingers and on the palms. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, dyshidrotic hand dermatitis is produced in the body, rather than on the skin, and appears to worsen when the person is under stress.

Tinea Manuum

Tinea manuum is an infection that can affect one or both hands. DermNetNZ reports that it's often misdiagnosed because of its similarity to hand dermatitis, psoriasis and exfoliative keratolysis. Tinea manuum is characterized by an inflamed rash that often has raised borders. It frequently causes extended periods of peeling and mild itching on the palm. Some people experience a blistering, sticky fluid-filled rash on their digits or palms. Tinea manuum is contagious and can be caused by contact with someone who has the infection. People who perform manual labor are more like to get tinea manuum.

Exfoliative Keratolysis

Exfoliative keratolysis is characterized by peeling on the digits more than the palms or soles of the hands, according to DermNetNZ. It typically occurs during the summer and affects young adults more than other age groups. Exfoliative keratolysis starts with a superficial blister that pops, causing a circular mass of peeled skin. This condition is often recurring and can be aggravated by using household or industrial solvents and detergents.

Your skin is regularly exposed to environmental elements that can irritate and damage it. These include sun, wind, heat, dryness and excessive humidity. Repeated irritation can lead to skin peeling. In babies born past their due date, it's not unusual for them to experience some painless skin peeling. Peeling skin caused by dry skin or mild sunburn is likely to improve with over-the-counter lotions and usually doesn't require medical care. If you have any doubt about the cause of peeling skin or if the condition is severe, call your doctor before trying over-the-counter lotions or home remedies.