My Skin Peels Between the Toes, Why?

image001Some people may experience peeling between toes chronically, with the symptoms worsening during certain times of the year. Although skin peeling is usually partially due to both seasonal fluctuations and dry skin, other factors can also influence how this skin condition affects you. If you are able to understand the causes of peeling skin between toes, you can avoid those then and begin to see improvements in symptoms.

Causes of Skin Peeling Between Toes

If you experience mild skin peeling, you should not be too concerned. This can actually be a completely normal process in which your body sheds the dead skin cells and then replaces them with new ones. Keep in mind that even in cases where prominent skin peels by itself, this isn’t a disease; instead, it is most likely an indication of a different medical problem. In most cases, it comes along with other symptoms such as scaling, itching and irritation.

1. Environmental Factor

One of the most common causes is simply being exposed to scorching heat in summer which deprives the skin of moisture right after the dry conditions of winter. Homes without humidity inside can actually make the peeling worse, both on the toes and the fingers. When dry weather causes skin peeling between toes, you may also experience peeling, itchiness and skin dryness in other areas of the skin as well.

Treatment. The best way to avoid the environmental causes of skin peeling between toes is to ensure you stay well hydrated all year round. You should also be sure to use sunscreen to protect your feet and hands from sun exposure and be sure to use lotion during the colder, dry months of winter.

2. Dehydration Effect

One of the main causes of peeling skin between toes is dry skin and a loss of moisture. Keep in mind that while frequently washing your feet and hands using soap and water is a great habit; if you do this too often it can deplete your skin oils as well as the moisture which can in turn cause skin peeling and dryness. You will also notice the same effects if you take a hot bath for a long time.

Treatment. Instead of simply washing your feet using soap and water, consider opting for one of the water-free sanitizers or moisturizing soaps available on the market. Keep in mind that long, hot baths as well as swimming can increase the dryness so it is ideal to be sure to use lotion daily if you engage in either of these activities.

3. Allergic Responses

Allergies can be another cause of skin peeling and itchiness, especially for those who regularly swim in public pools. That is because while you walk barefoot in these areas, the skin on your soles as well as between your toes can be exposed to allergic substances. Home cleaning agents and detergents can also be a cause of skin peeling between toes as well as itching and dryness.

Treatment. If you are concerned that your skin peeling between your toes or fingers is due to allergies, try to get rid of any possible culprits. You should also visit your doctor or pharmacist to discuss antihistamines which could help eliminate your symptoms.

4. Athlete’s Foot

Both peeling skin between toes and itchiness are signs you have athlete’s foot. This condition involves the Trichophyton, a fungus, to attack your skin between your toes where it multiples and causes discomfort. The infected area will turn red, crack and flake. One of the causes of athlete’s foot is constantly wearing footwear as this creates the ideal warm and moist environment for fungus.

Treatment. If you think athlete’s foot is causing your skin peeling, visit your doctor to ask about anti-fungal creams. You should also make an effort to keep the space between your toes dry and clean. An all-natural treatment could be applying tea tree oil daily. The use of cornstarch or powder could also help eliminate the wetness which causes the fungal growth. Be sure to scrub your feet (including between the toes) using anti-bacterial soap every day, followed by using tea tree oil or an over-the-counter cream. Be sure to visit the doctor if you experience redness, pain or cracks as antibiotics may be necessary.

For more home remedies for athlete’s foot, see here

5. Toe Box Dermatitis

This is a type of dermatitis that occurs when you constantly wear shoes with a rubber toe box. That is because this toe box insulates the foot and does not allow sweat from your toes to escape. When this occurs, the excessive moisture as well as increased temperature within the shoes causes sensitive skin between your toes as well as redness, peeling and inflammation.

Treatment. If you are suffering from toe box dermatitis, examine the materials found in your shoes and consider rotating your shoes with a rubber toe box so you only wear them every other day. Do not forget to include open toed sandals in your lineup. You can also try drying agents such Onox as well as powders and sprays, all of which can help eliminate moisture. You should also be sure to frequently change your socks.

6. Cellulitis

Cellulitis is one of the less common causes of skin peeling between toes. This occurs because of bacterial infection and is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as skin peeling, warmth, irritation and redness as well as fever and pain.

Treatment. If you think cellulitis is the cause of your skin peeling, it is important to see your doctor as the most common treatment is prescription antibiotics. You can prevent the development of cellulitis, however, by keeping your skin clean and using lotion as well as treating any skin infection immediately.

7. Trench Foot

This is a type of immersion foot syndrome and can occur when your feet are repeatedly exposed to unhygienic and damp conditions, which can also cause peeling between the toes.

Treatment. The most important part of treating trench foot is prevention. You should try to avoid exposing your feet to cold and maintain a dry environment within your shoes. It is also important to try to control excessive perspiration. If you notice the signs of trench foot, go to your doctor immediately where they will thoroughly clean then dry your feet. They will also use warm compresses in order to encourage blood flow. Any ulcers or blisters that are infected must be treated by your doctor.

8. Other Causes

Although these are the main causes, there are others as well, including skin disorders, toxic epidermal necrolysis, peeling skin syndrome and a side-effect of certain medications. If you are unsure what the cause of your peeling skin is, visit a doctor.

At-Home Tips for Skin Peeling Between Toes

It isn’t contagious and will usually heal by itself in a few weeks if you take the appropriate steps. If, however, the peeling skin is persistent or unexplained, and the below remedies do not yield results, you should visit a dermatologist.

  • A natural remedy is to massage the area daily using olive oil or coconut oil.
  • In cases where the peeling is due to exposure to cold weather, applying honey could also help.
  • For cases caused by dermatitis, try applying mint juice. You can also try to soak your feet in a solution of water and apple cider vinegar.
  • Over-the-counter lotions or creams work for some conditions.