Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Peeling skin can occur as a reaction to a number of inflammatory processes of the skin or damage to the skin. Sunburn is a classic example, but other conditions that can cause peeling skin include various forms of dermatitis, eczema, and certain infections. Burns of any degree of severity can result in peeling skin. Some types of medications, such as topical retinoids used for acne, can cause peeling skin. Adverse reactions to medications such as cancer chemotherapeutic agents can also lead to peeling skin. Any condition that results in the formation of a blister can result in peeling skin at the area of the blister. Although peeling skin is not typically associated with a rash, some skin rashes may be associated with peeling skin. Treatment is dependent upon the underlying cause.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Causes of Peeling Skin
Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a skin infection caused by the ringworm fungus. Symptoms include itching, burning, cracking,...
Burns (First Aid)
Burn types are based on their severity: first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns are...
Dandruff (seborrhea) is a skin disorder that results from neither too much moisture nor too much oil. Dandruff can be treated...
Dry skin (xeroderma) may be caused by external factors, like cold temperatures, low humidity, harsh soaps, and certain...
Eczema refers to skin inflammation. There are many different types of eczema that produce symptoms and signs that range from...
Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating of the underarms, palms, or soles of the feet. Treatment may involve over-the-counter...
Jock itch is an itchy red rash that appears in the groin area. The rash may be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. People...
Kawasaki disease is a rare children's disease characterized by a fever that lasts more than five days and at least four of the...
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales....
The term "ringworm" or "ringworms" refers to fungal infections that are on the surface of the skin. A physical examination of...
Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina)
Scarlet fever, a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash with...
Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition. Symptoms and signs include a red, scaling rash on the scalp, face, ears, and...
Sunburn (Sun Poisoning)
Sunburn is caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. UV rays can also damage the eyes. Repeated overexposure to UV...
Other Causes of Peeling Skin
- Bacterial Infections
- Cutaneous T Cell Lymphoma
- Erythroderma (Exfoliative Dermatitis)
- Fungal Infections
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
- Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis
- Vitamin A Toxicity (Hypervitaminosis A)
Examples of Medications for Peeling Skin
Find out what women really need.