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Peeling Skin on Fingers: Possible Causes and Home Remedies

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Nov 23, 2023

Peeling Skin on Fingers: Possible Causes and Home Remedies

You can consider managing peeling fingertips at home using natural, easy-to-find ingredients such as honey, aloe vera, and coconut oil. However, if a skin disease causes peeling skin on fingers, you must consult a doctor for a proper treatment. Learn more about peeling skin on fingers here. 

Your fingertips can peel, crack, and bleed if the skin gets exposed to harsh chemicals or hot water frequently. Peeling or flaking may also occur if you have an underlying medical condition. In order to treat peeling skin on your fingertips, you need to understand the cause of the skin damage .

Possible Causes of Peeling Fingertips

In most cases, peeling skin on fingers doesn’t occur due to a serious condition. However, there are also instances when it is a sign of underlying health problems. Below are the possible causes of peeling skin on fingers:

1. Dry Skin

Sometimes, cracked fingertips may bleed from being too dry. Dry skin is more common during the cold weather or when the air is dry. You may also be prone to dry skin if you shower with hot water. The harsh chemicals in soaps or other cleaning solutions can also contribute to dry skin.

Besides flaking fingertips, other symptoms of a dry skin may include:

  • Itching
  • Chapped skin
  • Tight skin
  • Red or dark skin

2. Excessive Hand Washing

Excessive hand washing can lead to cracking and peeling of the fingertips, especially if you use soap each time. The chemicals in the soap can erode the lipid layer on the surface of the skin, leading it to irritation and flaking.

Peeling skin on fingers will be worse if you use hot water and do not moisturize after. Wiping your hands using paper towels with chemicals or scent can also trigger irritation.

3. Strong Chemicals

Certain chemicals in moisturizers, soaps, shampoos, and other beauty products can irritate the skin, leading to flaking on the fingertips. Common chemicals that can cause fingertips to peel include:

  • Scenting agents
  • Isothiazolinone
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine
  • Antibacterial topical medications
  • Preservatives such as formaldehyde

You may not be allergic to all of these chemicals. So, if you go to the doctor, your doctor will have to do a test to see which chemical is causing you irritation.

peeling skin on fingers

4. Prolonged Sun Exposure

Peeling fingertips can be caused by exposure to the sun. Prolonged sun exposure can cause sunburn. This condition can cause the skin to become hot, red or pink, and peel off after a few days. Sunburned skin can take a few days or even a week to heal. So, if you want to avoid it, you can apply sunscreen thoroughly before going out.

5. Weather

A climate that is too dry and cold can cause the skin of your fingertips to become dry, flaky and cracked. However, extremely hot weather also has a significant effect on the skin. During the summer months, flaking of the fingertips can also occur because of sweating. 

6. Thumb Sucking

The habit of thumb sucking can cause dry and flaky skin in children. Even some adults still have this habit. If you find yourself sucking your fingers so much that your skin is peeling, find ways to limit this habit and see your doctor for intervention.

7. Imbalance in Vitamin Intake

Having too little or too much of a certain vitamin can trigger peeling skin on fingers. A lack of vitamin B3 (niacin) in the body can cause pellagra, a condition that leads to skin inflammation, diarrhea and even memory loss .

People who take too much vitamin A can also cause skin irritation and cracked nails. Other symptoms of excessive vitamin A include:

  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

8. Eczema

Eczema can cause peeling skin on fingers. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis , a chronic skin disease. Eczema can cause skin irritation and other signs, such as redness, cracking, itching, flaking, and skin that is tender to the touch.

Eczema can occur after exposure to certain harsh chemicals, but it can also be hereditary.

9. Allergies

Peeling skin on fingers might happen  if you come in contact with an allergen. For example, the nickel in some jewelry can cause the skin to become red, itchy, swollen, and flaky. In addition to nickel allergy, latex allergy can also affect the skin of the hands.

10. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic dermatological disease where skin cells regenerate too quickly, forming silvery scales on the surface of the skin. The condition can likewise cause skin lesions and flaky patches.

11. Exfoliative Keratolysis

Exfoliative keratolysis often occurs during the hot months. This disease can cause blisters and the fingertips to peel and crack. This condition may be worse if you are exposed to a harsh chemical.

12. Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease is a rare condition that mainly occurs in children under 5. The disease lasts several weeks, with three stages presenting different symptoms. The characteristic symptom of the first stage is a high fever that persists for more than five days. Peeling skin on fingers is often a sign of the second stage. In stage three, the palms and soles are usually red and swollen.

Why Do Children Have Peeling Fingertips?

In kids, most cases of peeling skin on fingers are not a cause of concern. Still, the causes of peeling fingertips in adults (as listed above) can also occur in children. You need to take the child to the doctor for examination to rule out a possible case of a dermatological disease.

How To Manage Peeling Fingertips at Home

If you have peeling skin on fingers due to an underlying medical condition, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. However, if your fingers are peeling due to non-dangerous reasons, you can apply some of the following home remedies.

  • Use aloe vera:Aloe vera can help relieve irritation and flaking of the fingertips. You just need to scrape some gel from fresh aloe vera, apply it on the irritated area at least twice a day, and leave it on until it dries.
  • Use coconut oil: Coconut oil has long been a remedy for many skin problems, such as dry, flaky skin and even acne. You can apply coconut oil on your hands to take care of the flakiness. 
  • Use honey: Honey is a natural moisturizer that is very good for the skin. You just need to apply honey on the peeling fingers and let it sit for about half an hour before rinsing.
  • Drink enough water: Drinking water is a simple yet effective way to improve skin problems, including dry and flaky hands.
  • Eat healthy: Unhealthy eating habits can lead to a lot of skin problems. So, you should add nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, yogurt, legumes, and lean meat. These healthy foods will help keep your skin and body healthy. 
  • Wear gloves: When cleaning the house with harsh chemicals, you should wear gloves to protect your delicate skin.

Peeling skin on fingers is not usually dangerous, but it can also be a sign of a dangerous disease that needs treatment. Pay attention to even these smallest signs to protect your health!

Learn more about Other Skin Diseases here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Nov 23, 2023

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