Why Are My Feet Peeling?

Have you ever removed your shoes and found that your skin is peeling off your foot? You might be thinking to yourself why and what to do about it. Depending on the underlying cause, there may be a very simple solution or you may need medical attention.

When skin is peeling on any area of your body, it is often accompanied by a rash or dry and itching skin. Your skin may have suffered damage due to an infection or sunburn. You can also be suffering from a disease that is affecting your immune system. If the condition does not go away on its own after a short period or with in-home treatment, you should see your doctor.

Why Are My Feet Peeling?

1. Sunburn

People often forget to apply sunscreen to their feet, which is unfortunate because this area has sensitive skin that is rarely exposed to sun rays. Feet are often bare when you are at the pool or beach, so when you are putting sunscreen on your face, arm, legs and the rest of your body, don’t forget your toes and feet. Otherwise, they will peel if burned just like all the other skin on your body.

2. Dryness

A common reason your feet might be peeling is dryness. There are several possible issues that can trigger this reaction. If you live in a dry environment with extreme hot or cold temperatures, your skin can be more vulnerable. When moisturizing the rest of your body, don’t forget to apply lotion or cream to your feet.

3. Dead Skin Exfoliation

Your feet naturally exfoliate dead skin like the rest of your body. Since your feet are enclosed in socks or shoes, the skin builds up and peels away. You can gently buff off the dead skin yourself with a dry brush or with a cloth during a shower. Getting regular pedicures also helps.

3. Eczema

Eczema is a skin condition that can dry out your skin, causing it to peel and itch. This can include the soles of your feet. If over-the-counter remedies do not work, you should seek medical advice. You may need to use a prescribed medication or steroid cream, but only a doctor can determine so.

4. Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s foot often occurs in people who play sports on a regular basis or must wear heavy shoes for work. Sweat gets trapped and activates a fungal infection. This usually causes itching, odor and peeling. You can prevent the development of this condition by wearing shoes that allow for air flow or using powders designed to absorb moisture.

5. Fever

Why are my feet peeling? Believe it or not, a fever might be the culprit. High fevers can cause water blisters to form in the thick skin of the soles of your feet. These blisters eventually dry out and the skin starts to peel away. Most likely, your feet won't need any medical attention, but the underlying cause of the fever should be addressed if it does not go away.

6. Rubber Toe Box Shoes

Some occupations require employees to wear foot gear with a rubber toe box. This causes sweat and warm air to become trapped near your feet, which can lead to odor, itching and peeling of the skin. It can lead to athlete’s foot or other fungal infections.

7. Reactive Arthritis

Reiter's syndrome is a reactive arthritis disorder that triggers inflammation of the joints, mouth, eyes, urinary tract and skin. Sometimes it can cause small blisters on the soles of your feet. As they dry out, they cause your skin to peel off. The disorder needs to be addressed by your doctor in order to prevent reoccurrence.

Remedies for Feet Peeling

1. Drink Water

Why are my feet peeling? Excessive dryness is one of the top reasons. Drinking the recommended daily intake of water, which is eight 6-ounce servings, can go a long way in helping your body and skin stay hydrated.

2. Moisturize Your Feet

If extremely dry skin is the cause of your peeling feet, a moisturizing lotion, cream, oil or gel can go a long way in resolving your issue. You should apply twice a day, with one of the best times being after a warm shower.

  • Aloe Vera gels are effective if your dry skin is caused by a sunburn as they can also soothe your damaged skin.
  • You should also look for moisturizers that contain urea, lactic acid or cocoa butter.
  • Natural conditioners include almond and coconut oils. You can apply after a bath or when you go to bed for the best results.

3. Soak in Apple Cider Vinegar

To keep your feet free of bacteria, soak them in warm water mixed with a small amount of apple cider vinegar. It moisturizes your feet, too. After a few minutes, take your feet out and dry with a clean towel.

4. Scrub with a Pumice Stone

Why are my feet peeling? It could be dead skin cells that have built up over time. This is a normal occurrence, which happens all over your body. It is more evident in areas that are exceedingly dry or are exposed to too much moisture. You can use a wet pumice stone to gently scrub the dead skin.

5. Try Anti-Fungal Medication

If your feet are peeling due to a fungal infection, it can typically be remedied by applying an over-the-counter anti-fungal medication. Follow the directions and the infection should clear up in a couple of days. If not, you should contact your doctor, especially if you have pain, tenderness, oozing, fever or suffer from poor blood circulation or diabetes.

6. See Your Doctor

Sometimes you will be unable to resolve your feet peeling issue yourself. Do not put off seeing your doctor. For example, if the cause is a condition like psoriasis or eczema, you will need to see a dermatologist.

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