Why Is My Foot Skin Peeling, And How To Take Care Of It

Causes Of Peeling Feet
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All The Possible Causes Of Foot Skin Peeling?
- Reaction To A New Soap
- Sun Damage
- A Side Effect Of Medication
- Shoe Contact Dermatitis
- Athlete’s Foot
- Psoriasis
- Dry Skin
- Eczema
- Hyperhidrosis

How To Prevent Your Foot Skin Peeling
- Avoid Walking Barefoot
- Keep Your Feet Clean And Dry
- Exfoliate Your Feet Regularly
- Apply A Healing Ointment Or Cream
- Wear Loose-Fitting Shoes And Socks
- See A Podiatrist

The Best Ways To Treat Peeling Feet
- Stay Hydrated
- Avoid Injury To Your Feet
- Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals On Your Feet
- Take Breaks If You’re On Your Feet All Day
- Add Greens To Your Diet

We go to great lengths to take care of our skin, from spending fortunes on skin care products to religiously following a CTM routine daily. But one area that we tend to neglect unconsciously is our feet.

We often forget that our feet, too, need the same amount of care, if not more. Our feet are constantly exposed to the elements and suffer a lot of wear and tear daily. This often leads to cracked heels, dry skin, and other problems. 

collage showing different causes of foot skin peeling in a post about Foot Skin Peeling

All the possible causes of peeling feet?

Skin peeling off your feet is, at best, a gross and bothersome issue. At worst, it can be painful, itchy, and downright dangerous.

Therefore, it’s crucial to identify what’s causing the problem, so you can take proper steps to address and fix it. 

a foot being cleaned with soap in a post about Foot Skin Peeling

Reaction to a new soap

Peeling is a common reaction when your skin comes into contact with a new cleanser. It's also known as skin purging and usually means your new soap is working.

The outermost layer (known as the stratum corneum) is stripped away when you wash your skin. Typically, our skin cells are constantly renewing themselves, so losing these cells isn't a big deal. However, sometimes the cells can't keep up with the rate of exfoliation, which can lead to dryness and peeling. To prevent this, we suggest trying Organic Coconut & Shea Butter Soap.

In most cases, this peeling skin is nothing to worry about and will resolve itself once your skin has had a chance to adjust to the new soap or detergent. However, suppose the skin irritation persists, or you develop other symptoms, such as redness or swelling. In that case, it's best to consult a doctor or dermatologist to rule out any other possible causes.[2]

Skin peeling in a post about Foot Skin Peeling

Sun damage

When you're exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays, it damages the collagen in your skin, which leads to inflammation and skin cell death.

This damage causes your skin to try to repair itself by creating new healthy cells, and the old, damaged ones are shed. This cell turnover process causes your skin to peel. If you’re one to spend a lot of time outdoors, wear sunscreen or clothing that covers your feet to lessen the risk of sun damage.[3][4]

Medication in a post about Foot Skin Peeling

A side effect of medication

Many medications often result in skin peeling. Including those used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, and thyroid conditions. The good news is that it's usually not a severe problem and can be easily managed. 

Foot skin peeling can also be a side effect of certain medications. If you take a new drug and notice that your foot's skin starts peeling, you must talk to your doctor. They may be able to prescribe a different medication that won't have the same effect. In some cases, peeling skin on foot can also signify a more serious medical condition, so it's always best to get it checked out by a doctor.[5]

A foot with red, irritated skin in a post about Foot Skin Peeling

Shoe contact dermatitis

Several conditions can cause foot skin peeling, but shoe contact dermatitis is the most common. This condition is caused by an allergic reaction to shoe materials, such as dyes, adhesives, or metals.[6]

A foot with characteristic athlete’s foot  in a post about Foot Skin Peeling

Athlete’s foot 

Athlete's foot is a skin infection caused by a fungus called dermatophytes. This fungal infection is common in people who frequent public places barefoot, like locker rooms or showers.

The fungus thrives in moist, warm environments and can cause your feet to itch and peel. In severe cases, the Athlete's foot can spread to your toenails, causing them to become thick and discolored. [7][8]

A foot with patches of psoriasis in a post about Foot Skin Peeling


Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes the skin to grow and shed at an accelerated rate. This means cells build up on the skin's surface and form thick, scaly patches.

These patches can be itchy and painful and often crack and bleed. Peeling skin on your feet is one of the most common symptoms of psoriasis, and it can be debilitating for those who suffer from the condition. It can also affect social functioning and interpersonal relationships.

You must see a dermatologist for treatment if you're experiencing foot skin peeling. While there is no cure for psoriasis, many effective treatments can help to control the symptoms and improve the quality of life.[9][10]

A foot with visibly dry, flaky skin in a post about Foot Skin Peeling

Dry skin

There are a few reasons your feet might start to peel, but dry skin is the most common cause. When your skin is dry, it can lose its elasticity and begin to crack and flake off.

This can be especially noticeable on the feet, where the skin is often thicker and more rigid. If your feet are regularly exposed to extreme temperatures or harsh chemicals, they can become even more prone to dryness and peeling.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to treat dry feet and skin, from simple home remedies to medicated creams and lotions. You can keep your feet soft, smooth, and healthy with thorough care and attention.[11][12]

a foot with eczema in a post about Foot Skin Peeling


Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a condition that causes the skin to become dry, itchy, and inflamed. It can affect any body part, but it is most commonly found on the hands, feet, and face.

While eczema can be uncomfortable, it is not contagious and isn't a severe health concern. If your foot skin is peeling from eczema, you can help relieve the symptoms by doing a few things. First, try to avoid triggers such as harsh soaps or detergents. You can also apply a moisturizer to your feet regularly to help keep the skin hydrated. Blue fruits, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, can also play a role in managing eczema by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

If the eczema is particularly severe, you may need to see a doctor for prescription medication. But in most cases, eczema is a manageable condition that won't cause long-term damage to your feet.[13]

2 pairs of sweaty feet in a post about Foot Skin Peeling


Another possible cause of feet peeling is hyperhidrosis, which is a condition that causes your body to produce too much sweat. This can lead to your feet slipping and sliding around in your shoes. Excessive sweating also breaks down the barriers between your skin cells, causing them to shed more frequently.

All this moisture on your feet provides a perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to grow. As a result, your skin might constantly suffer from peeling, flaking, and cracking.[15][16][17]

A person taking care of their feet in a post about Foot Skin Peeling

How to prevent your foot skin peeling

Peeling feet is not only unsightly, but it can also be painful. The good news is that there are several things you can do at home to help heal your peeling feet and get them back to their baby-soft glory.

1. Avoid walking barefoot

When you have peeling feet, you may be tempted to go au natural and ditch your shoes altogether. Unfortunately, this is likely to do more harm than good. Walking without shoes can aggravate foot problems, leading to further dryness and cracking.

Instead, it's best to keep your feet covered. This will help prevent further irritation and allow your feet time to heal. If you must walk barefoot, do so on a soft surface like a carpet or towel.

2. Keep your feet clean and dry

Another essential step in healing your peeling feet is to keep them clean and dry. When your feet are constantly wet, it creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. This can lead to an infection, which will only worsen the problem. 

Make sure to wash your feet daily with soap and water and dry them thoroughly before putting on socks or shoes. You may also want to consider using an antibacterial foot powder.

3. Exfoliate your feet regularly

Exfoliating your feet will help remove dead cells and promote new cell growth. This will help speed up the healing process and leave your feet looking and feeling better. 

You can exfoliate your feet in various ways, but one of the simplest is to use a pumice stone in the shower or bathtub. Gently rub the stone over any areas of dead skin for 1-2 minutes per day.

4. Apply a healing ointment or cream 

Plenty of ointments and creams are specifically designed to treat foot peeling on the market. These products often contain ingredients like glycerin or petroleum jelly, which can help lock in moisture and speed up healing.

Apply them liberally after a shower, relaxing bath, or when your feet feel dry. You can find foot cream products at most pharmacies or online retailers. This is also the best way to treat Athlete's foot.

5. Wear loose-fitting shoes and socks

Always make sure you're wearing loose-fitting shoes and socks while your feet are healing. Tight shoes can further irritate the skin and worsen the problem.

Instead, opt for shoes made from breathable materials like canvas or leather. And when it comes to socks, choose ones made from cotton or other natural fibers.

6. See a podiatrist 

While many over-the-counter medications can help with minor cases of peeling skin, more severe cases may require the care of a medical professional.

Podiatrists are trained to diagnose and treat problems with the feet, and they can provide you with the best possible treatment for your specific case. In addition, they can also offer advice on how to prevent feet skin from peeling in the future.

A person going for a hot stone massage in a post about Foot Skin Peeling

The best ways to treat peeling feet

Prevention is better than cure,’ they say. So why not take steps to prevent your foot skin from peeling and avoid a bothersome situation? Here are a few tips for properly treating peeling skin on your feet:

Stay hydrated

Pretty simple, isn’t it? When your body is adequately hydrated, your skin becomes more resilient. It is better able to retain moisture – which helps prevent dryness, cracking, and eventual peeling.[18]

Avoid injury to your feet

This may seem obvious, but it's worth repeating. If you injure your feet, they're more likely to peel. Be careful when trimming your nails, and avoid walking barefoot on rough surfaces or stepping on sharp objects.

If you injure your foot, see a doctor immediately to prevent infection and further damage.

Don’t use harsh chemicals on your feet

Avoid using harsh soaps, scrubs, or other chemicals on your feet, as they can damage the skin and lead to peeling.

If you must use a product with chemicals, test it first on a small skin area to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction. Also, try not to go too crazy with the pedicures – over-scrubbing can damage sensitive skin.

Take breaks if you’re on your feet all-day

This will help reduce stress on feet and prevent fatigue. In addition, standing for long periods in one position can cause your feet to swell, leading to blisters and calluses.

Sit down whenever you can, and prop your feet up when you’re lying down to give your feet a chance to rest and recover from the constant rubbing and pressure. You should also make sure you're wearing comfortable shoes that fit well.

Add greens to your diet

Moisturizing regularly can keep your feet soft and supple, but did you know that eating plenty of green leafy veggies can help too? Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C - two nutrients that are essential for healthy skin (yes, that includes the skin on your feet). So load up on kale, spinach, and arugula, and your feet will thank you!

Wrapping up

Foot skin peeling is a common problem that can be treated and even prevented with the proper care. Have you ever experienced peeling skin on your feet or even Athlete's foot?

What solutions worked for you? Let us know in the comments below. And don't forget to share this post with your friends and family who might also need help taking care of their feet!


Can Excessive Swimming Cause Your Feet's Skin To Peel?

Yes, excessive swimming can cause your feet's skin to peel. The constant exposure to chlorine and other harsh chemicals in pool water can dry out your skin and cause it to peel. To prevent this, be sure to moisturize your feet regularly and wear water-resistant sunscreen when swimming.

Is It Necessary To See A Doctor If The Skin On my feet is peeling?

Not necessarily, but it is a good idea to see a doctor if the skin on your feet is peeling and you are experiencing other symptoms, such as pain, redness, swelling, or pus. Peeling skin on the feet can be caused by a number of things, such as athlete's foot, dry skin, fungus infection, psoriasis, or stress.

Guest Author


Myrtle Bautista

Myrtle is a journalism major, a social media marketer and is now exploring freelance writing. She's fond of anything related to health and wellness, and when she's not writing, you'll find her doing long-distance cycling, ultramarathons, hiking, or in a local cafe enjoying a good cold brew.

Contact her at myrtlebautista.writes@gmail.com.


  1. University of Sheffield: Soap-induced damage
  2. Pubmed: UV Damage of Collagen
  3. Cleveland Clinic: Peeling Skin
  4. Pubmed: Palmoplantar exfoliation due to chloroquine
  5. Pubmed: Allergic contact dermatitis to shoes
  6. Pubmed: Athlete's foot
  7. National Library Of Medicine: Athlete's Foot
  8. Pubmed: Diagnosis and management of psoriasis
  9. Pubmed: Diagnosis and management of psoriasis
  10. National Library of Medicine; A new wrinkle on old skin
  11. Mayo Clinic: Dry skin
  12. Pubmed: Eczema
  13. Mayo Clinic: Hyperhidrosis
  14. Webmd: Common Complications of Hyperhidrosis
  15. uspharmacist: Don’t Sweat It
  16. higherdose: IS WATER ENOUGH?

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