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Peeling Fingertips

Peeling fingertips is a condition which occurs when the skin on the fingertips dries and flakes off. This can happen due to a variety of reasons and is a very common problem. The skin on the fingertips is generally soft and gentle compared to the other parts of the hand. If the fingertips are not treated with care the skin can start peeling off, causing discomfort, embarrassment and pain.

Symptoms of Peeling Fingertips

Symptoms associated with peeling fingertips include:

  • Dryness of the skin – The skin on the fingertips gets very dry causing cracks on the skin which results in the skin peeling off. Dryness is usually due to acute loss of moisture.
  • Pain and Inflammation – Pain and Inflammation happen when the dried, flaky skin peels off and the skin underneath which is not fully mature comes in contact with deleterious external factors. Also, dry skin cause cracks. When these are exposed to any acidic substance inflammation and pain are inevitably felt.
  • Bleeding – The area from which the skin has been peeled might sometimes bleed. The cracks formed due to dry skin can also run deep, and turn into wounds. Bleeding is followed by pain and inflammation in the fingertips. There might also be a burning sensation when the area gets rubbed against something.
  • Itching – When the outer skin starts to dry up it causes itching. This happens when the area around the fingertips becomes tight and lose moisture which causes the skin to become itchy.
  • Redness – The itching can also lead to redness of the skin. The area around the skin cracks turns red since there is a lot of blood flow to the fingertips in order to speed up the healing process. The redness can also be due to the formation of pus-filled blisters on the whole fingers and palm. These blisters are very painful and need a lot of care.
  • Rashes – In some cases rashes spread over the entire fingers. These rashes might cause raised skin, swelling, and redness. They are extremely itchy and make the skin dry. Flaking and peeling of skin might sometimes spread to the whole hand.

Picture of Peeling Fingertips

What Causes skin on the fingertips to peel off?

There are a lot of reasons that might lead to the peeling of skin from the fingertips. They include:


There are a huge number of allergens that can cause bad skin reactions like peeling fingertips. Nickel is one such allergen that negatively reacts when the hands come in contact with it. Other implicated allergens include rubber, especially latex. Which can cause allergic reactions in people who wear rubber shoes or gloves.

Fungal and yeast infections

Fungus and yeast cause small, red, itchy bumps on the skin and make the whole area dry. This leads to the skin breaking and flaking out. These bumps are very itchy and can spread to any part of the body. The fungus is still present in the dry skin that peels off the fingertips and might spread the infection to another person when they come in contact with it.


Skin diseases like Psoriasis can lead to the skin becoming dry and flaky. The dry skin is also filled with small, itchy bumps. These bumps surround the area in which the infection is present. They start in between the folds of the skin and might spread to all parts of the body. The affected area might experience unpleasant burning sensations when it comes in contact with external substances like soap.


Eczema is another skin condition that is responsible for the peeling of the fingertips. Also known as atopic dermatitis, it is characterized by dry and itchy skin that mostly has a burning sensation to it. An infected person might also develop pus-filled blisters that need to be drained in order to heal.

Dry Skin

Some factors like exposure to the sun, increase in temperature, lack of moisture or the use of chemicals leads to the skin becoming dry. The use of harsh soap and detergents can also lead to the fingertips becoming dry and peeling off.


Dermatitis is a skin disease that might be the possible cause of peeling fingertips. For the sufferer, the skin becomes dry and thick. The outer layer develops small bumps that later fall off.

Sucking on the fingers

Babies and many adults have a habit of sucking their fingers. The skin on the fingertips become dry and flake off after the person stops sucking on it. In adults this can cause a lot of discomfort and embarrassment.


After showering or swimming a person develops shrinkage of the skin. This happens to skin that has been exposed to water for a long period of time, and most especially affects the fingertips. If this happens regularly, the fingertips eventually become dry and harsh. Later on they start peeling, causing redness and burning sensations.


Winters are the harshest season of all and particularly harsh on the skin. The humidity in the air is very low and this leads to dry skin. After showering in winters the fingertips shrink. The low levels of humidity soon cause them to dry out and peel off.

Vitamin B deficiency

Vitamin deficiency is one of the biggest reasons for the peeling of fingertips. Vitamins are the micronutrients that play a big role in all the processes of our body. Vitamin B deficiency is the reason for skin diseases like eczema. Vitamin deficiency also leads to dead and dry skin that easily peel off.


Diabetic people are the ones that usually suffer from issues like peeling of the skin. Diabetes leads to a reduction in perspiration, causing the skin to get dry and cracked. As the fingertips have softer skin than the rest of the body it cracks rather easily and peels off.

Bacterial and viral infections

Some bacterial and viral infections also have adverse effects on the skin. Sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS can also lead to peeling fingertips. HIV causes severe deficiency in the immune system of any affected individual, and trigger a host of other diseases.


Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that usually affects the skin and joints. Lupus rarely affects the fingertips. It is however responsible for causing rashes and dryness to the skin. This dryness can lead to peeling of the fingertips.


Stress is another factor in causing peeling fingertips. If you are unable to find an actual cause for the peeling of your fingertips, you might want to consider your stress levels. Stress causes lots of adverse effects on the skin and this might be one of them.

How to stop fingertips from peeling off

There are a lot of ways to stop peeling of the skin. These can be either medical treatments or home remedies. The peeling skin is usually not that serious and can be easily treated within three to seven days. Ways of stopping peeling fingertips include:

  • Lotions and ointments – For the peeling that happens due to dryness of the skin, a moisturizing lotion is prescribed by the doctor. The hands need to be kept moisturized in order to reduce dryness and cracking of the skin. In some cases, the lotions have anti-inflammatory properties that are helpful in providing relief from burning sensations. In cases where the skin has been damaged and is bleeding, antibiotic ointments are given in order to stop any infections.
  • Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs – In the cases where the damage has been caused by bacterial and viral infections, medicines in the form of oral supplements are given. They are mostly antibiotic and anti-inflammatory tablets that help kill the microbes and reduce inflammation of the fingertips.
  • Antihistamines – Antihistamines are drugs that are responsible for stopping the production of histamines in the case of an allergic reaction. They are also known as anti-allergens.
  • Warm Water soaks – Soaking the fingertips in warm water for some time is the best way to treat peeling skin from the fingertips. The warm water increases blood circulation in the area, thereby making the skin supple. In addition to this, the dry skin falls off due to the soothing action of the warm water, without any itching or burning sensation being experienced. After soaking your hands in the warm water for about 10 minutes, pat the hands dry. Do not rub them harshly against the towel as this causes loss of oils that are essential to keeping skin moisturized.
  • Cucumber – Cucumber when applied on peeling fingertips help relieve inflammation due to its cooling properties. It also heals and moisturizes the skin.
  • Aloe vera – Applying fresh aloe vera gel on the fingertips regularly cools and soothes them. This will reduce dryness, pain, and inflammation of the skin. Aloe vera is also a great ingredient for retaining the moisture of the skin.
  • Drinking lots of water – Drinking plenty of water is very helpful for bringing back moisture to the skin. What you eat and drink is more important in healing your peeling fingertips than what you apply on it. So, drink lots of water and eat a balanced diet.
  • Avoid drinking – Beverages like alcohol, coffee and tea should be completely avoided as these cause dryness of the skin. And as you know dryness is the main cause of peeling fingertips.
  • Milk – Milk is found in everyone’s kitchen and is useful for a wide range of activities. It is also one of the best moisturizing agents available. Dipping the hands in cold milk for some time not only moisturizes the fingertips but also reduce inflammation. You can also drink milk with some nuts to keep the body warm and hydrated.

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