Peeling fingertips is a condition that affects many people and it can be irritating, embarrassing and painful. Get the causes, treatments, home remedies and prevention tips including in babies.
Poor care of the skin around the fingertips and fingers is the main reason for this condition besides other causes we are going to discuss.
Knowing causes is important. This will help you decide on the ideal treatment options you can use. Some of these causes include the following:
Eczema or atopic dermatitis refers to the inflammation of the skin and it is usually accompanied by itching and rashes as its main symptoms. Scaling, redness, cracking, are other common symptoms of eczema. Therefore, if your peeling fingertips is accompanied by patchy, peeling, red, cracking and scaly skin, you can possibly blame eczema.
Hand eczema can be triggered by chemical irritants, trauma and handling paper and it can last for several months before it could vanish completely.
Note that chronic cases can also lead to the development of some other skin problems. Therefore, protecting your hands from irritants or wearing gloves is a good preventive solution for this condition.
Another possible cause is keratosis pilaris. It normally makes your finger skin to develop a sandpaper-like rough texture, which is usually itch during cold weathers and low humidity conditions. Livestrong.com states that Keratosis Pilaris is an inherited condition. About 40% of American usually suffer this condition.
In case you fall a victim to this condition, using ointments containing lactic acid, topical retinoids or urea can help manage this condition.
Laser treatment, sun tanning or avoiding certain foods make up the other treatments and remedies for keratosis pilaris.
Allergens for instances are substances that trigger body reactions in some people but not all. They may include certain types of foods, chemicals, nickel, latex etc.
When people allergic to any of these and many other substances come in contact with them, their immune system will recognize such substances as allergens and fight them back. This is what causes allergic reactions.
These allergens can irritate your skin and hence trigger peeling in various parts of your body including the skin on your fingers. It is therefore upon you to determine the substances that you are allergic to and try avoid them.
Vitamin deficiency in some cases can be the reason. However, only severe vitamin deficiency that can lead to peeling skin. Vitamin deficiency can be linked to the skin which will after sometime flake and peel off.
For instance, while serious deficiency of vitamin B3 and niacin may trigger dry skin, deficiency of vitamin B7 can trigger psoriasis and eczema that have the potential for this problem.
Contrarily, an overdose of vitamin A can also lead to peeling skin, therefore the intake of this vitamin should be controlled.
Environmental factors such as low humidity, poor air conditioning and exposure to the sun can rob moisture from your skin making it become very dry including the one on your hands and fingertips.
In some circumstances, some conditions such as hypothyroidism may cause your skin to become dry and peel off. This can show up in various parts of the body including fingertips.
Apart from the above factors, there are other common factors include:
- Certain infections such fungal infections such as athlete`s can cause flaky skin and lead to severe peeling. Bacterial and viral infections can also be a cause.
- Medical conditions such as scarlet fever, Kawasaki disease, erythroderma, and ichthyosis can also lead to skin peeling
- Wearing gloves that are too tight also cause it.
- Certain medications such as anticonvulsants, griseofulvin, isoniazid, nitrofurantoin, penicillin, phenothiazines, salicylates, streptomycin, sulphonamides, chemotherapeutic agents
- Frequent hand washing
- Staph infection
- Biting the nails
In babies and children
One of the key cause of peeling fingertips in many babies and toddlers is the finger sucking. For the children who have developed this habit, it will happen on top of the finger to the middle.
To make it more clear, peeling skin will be seen in the part that spends most of the time in the baby’s clammy mouth. This problem will only resolve when the baby will have stopped this habit.
It is also equally important to acknowledge that, this problem in a child can be a symptom of allergies, inflammation, infection, or skin damage. More severe causes include allergic reactions, drug reactions, and infections.
Peeling fingertips in children can lead to some serious complications such as:
- Permanent change in skin texture or scarring
- Permanent skin discoloration
- Spread of infection
- Bacterial or fungal infection of the skin
- Open sores and lesions
Dry cracking and peeling
Some of the conditions such as hot temperatures may make your hands become dry. If such a condition is summed up with other conditions such as exposure to allergens, excessive washing or hereditary traits, dry skin can turn from mild redness into a painful cracking and be peeling skin trouble.
The most vulnerable areas for dry skin are hands and fingers. This problem may also be due to atopic dermatitis, dyshidrosis, and using too little moisturizer or frequent hand washing.
The worst when is one develops chronic cracking, deep fissures, bleeding or no improvement even with extra moisturizing.
Refer to our section below to get more insight on the potential treatment for dry cracking and peeling fingertips.
How to deal with it – remedies and treatments
To deal with this problem, first, we need to know the underlying causes. This will help us in establishing the right approach. Again, the types of treatment will depend on nature and cause. It is also worthy to note that, the best approach is prevention.
Here are some of the best treatments, home remedies, and preventive measures:
Don’t cut cuticles
The first and very important step is not to cut the cuticles. The cuticles always protect the growing nails and always stop bacteria and microbes from getting into your body. Cutting them will take away that protection which will open the gate for nail infections, allergies, and other skin disorders. Just try to push them back but don’t you ever cut them.
Soak hands in water
Another wonderful tip that will help you reduce the vulnerability to this problem is soaking your hands in warm water. Soaking your hands in warm water for about 20 minutes will greatly help in managing peeling fingertips.
This would make the skin around your fingertips elastic and make the dry skin to come off during this process. To make the procedure more effective, you can add honey and lemon juice to the warm water. After soaking, you can apply vitamin E oil or other moisturizers.
Topical antibacterial products
For peeling, cracked and painful ones, try applying topical antibacterial ointment or antifungal ones depending on the cause. This should be done by applying a layer of ointment to the cuticles and covering thereafter. The ointment layer should be left overnight and washed off in the morning. Actually, this would yield some great results.
Use essential oils
You can also apply essential oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and lavender oil. These oils will act as moisturizing agents. The procedure will involve soaking your hands in warms olive, coconut or lavender oil. Be sure to rinse your hands after this process using warm water. Repeat this procedure until you achieve your desired result.
Peeling fingertips can also be prevented by using oats. You will mix the powdered oats in a warm water. Then you will soak your fingers into the mixture for about 10 minutes then wash your hands using clean water and use a soft cotton towel for drying. You can then moisturize your fingers using effective moisturizers.
Moisturizer your hands
It is also equally important to moisturize your hands. During the day, you can use some moisturizing lotion that absorbs quickly into your skin and doesn’t make it feel greasy.
Again, during the night, try applying some thicker creams hydration. You should also try to ensure that that the moisturizer isn’t rubbed off by your beddings. Soft wool gloves would be a good way.
Stop excessive hand washing
Remember excessively wash your hands can just worsen the situation so you should stay away from this. According to Wikihow.com, “Water and harsh soaps will continue to dry out your hands, aggravating the cracked skin on your fingers.” If you can stay away from a lot of washing then it would be good, but if you cannot, try protecting your hands by applying some moisturizing creams.
Trim sides of persistent cracks
Again, you can trim the sides of persistent cracks since they can trap soapy water that will rob away your skin moisture leading to peeling. Be sure to get rid of dead top skin to bring the crack to a shallow angle. This will as well help to stop trapping the soapy water or even dirt. Note, do not trim too much otherwise, this can initiate another problem altogether.
Use antihistamines for allergic reactions
For peeling fingertips due to allergies, you can try to identify your possible allergen and avoid them. Application of antihistamine therapy is just another good idea.
There are also several available foods, herbs, and plants that will help in getting rid of peeling fingertips. Some of them will include Aloe Vera, milk, and cucumber among many others.
More tips and treatments
- Avoiding biting your nails and putting your finger in your mouth
- A little bit rubbing of cuticles to enhance the some peeling relief
- Treating your nails, cuticles, and hands using hot wax
Please see your doctor for further treatment after applying some of the counter products or home remedies and your situation does not get any better.