Has the skin on your feet been peeling like crazy recently — perhaps on the soles, perhaps around the sides, or between the toes, or pretty much everywhere? You may wonder if this is normal, or if there's something wrong.
Peeling Skin On The Feet Is Usually No Big Deal
Everyone's skin constantly goes through a renewal process. As new cells are made within the deeper layers of the skin, the epidermis, they begin moving upward and are shed in about four weeks. The skin on the soles of your feet is meant to be thicker than it is on other parts of your body since you walk on it. While some parts of the epidermis are just 0.3 millimeters thick, the skin on your foot soles can be around four millimeters thick.
If your feet are nearly constantly tucked away into socks and shoes and you don't pay much attention to them, scrubbing them or giving them peels, these shedding skin cells may stick around a bit longer. Peeling skin can result. Exfoliating the skin on your feet regularly with a peel or a sponge scrubber should help you out.
A lack of moisturization can also contribute to peeling skin on the feet, so use a nice foot cream to take care of your feet and avoid flaky, scaly, and dry skin every day.
Could Your Peeling Skin Be Caused By Athelet's Foot?
Athlete's foot, also called tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that can be caused by several different fungi. It results in cracked, scaly, and peeling skin that also itches a lot. Most commonly seen between the toes, athlete's foot — so called because many people pick the infection up in gyms — can occasionally even lead to blisters.
Over-the-counter antifungal medications like clotrimazole will help you get rid of this awkward problem quite quickly, but your job isn't done there. Make sure to change your socks frequently, and avoid wearing the same shoes two days in a row. Dry your feet very well after taking a shower or washing them.
Eczema can appear all over the body, including on your feet. Dyshidrotic eczema, in particular, leads to characteristic small, deep blisters on the hands or feet, along with very dry, peeling, red and itchy skin. This form of eczema has been linked to seasonal allergies, for which reason its symptoms often flare up during the spring. As with other forms of eczema, the condition can be managed with topical steroids, moisturization, and applying hot compresses. It is not contagious.
Because foot eczema is actually rather difficult to differentiate from athlete's foot, lab tests are the best way to find out what you are dealing with for sure.
Your peeling skin can also be caused by contact dermatitis, an inflammation resulting from contact with irritants. If you've suddenly developed peeling, red, cracked skin, perhaps along with itching, pain, and blisters, after you got yourself a new pair of shoes, you may have found your culprit. Rubber, leather, glues, and chemicals used during the shoe manufacturing process can all lead to contact dermatitis in some people. The contact dermatitis can also develop gradually as your feet become increasingly irritated by whatever substance they don't "like". Besides shoes, foot creams, socks, your laundry detergent, or anything else your feet come into contact with can also lead to contact dermatitis.
While topical steroids can help clear the episode up, the ultimate answer is to remove the irritant.
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