Exfoliative Keratolysis (Peeling Skin): Causes & Home Remedies

A beautiful hand with nice and thin fingers can add personality to one’s style. On the other hand, a skin that is prone to peel off can make your hands look ugly and dirty. Exfoliative keratolysis is such a problem that gives a bad feeling to the beholders of the affected hands. Exfoliative keratolysis mainly attacks and is common during the summer months. No worries! There are some home remedies to get rid of this problem. Before that, we should know what it really is.


What Is Exfoliative Keratolysis?

Exfoliative Keratolysis

Exfoliative keratolysis is the medical term of what we have commonly known as skin peeling disease. This is a very common disease where the skin starts to peel off automatically causing eruptions and dryness to the palms of hands and, sometimes, to the soles of feet. It can also affect the whole fingers and fingertips at the advanced level. Normally, it’s not painful but swelling blisters or inflamed layer of skins can cause pain to the body. So, we should take care of the skin and look after the affected area gently.

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Symptoms of Peeling Skin Syndrome

If the skins of the palms and the soles start to peel off, that’s the first sign of exfoliative keratolysis. Initially, it doesn’t cause any pain or abnormality but gradually some air-filled blisters take over the skin of palms and/or soles. Then, the blisters burst and it leaves a hollow and blank space underneath the skin. These hollow spaces are actually the peeked areas. The skin may swell and become red due to inflammation. Thus, the skin peels off and sometimes cause pain too.


Causes of Peeling Skin

No advanced study has been carried out about what might be the cause of exfoliative keratolysis. It’s because people don’t consult a doctor or go to the clinic with this type of minor sickness. The latest research on exfoliative keratolysis suggests that there is a link between corneocytes and exfoliative keratolysis. The disruption and premature separation of corneocytes are responsible for this disease. And, a less confirmed theory says that this is somewhat related to the genetic inheritance.


Home Remedies

There has been no conventional drug proven to be effective to heal exfoliative keratolysis. This disorder doesn’t respond to any drugs except an oral Soriatane. This oral Soriatane (Acitretin) has been reported as the only one effective drug that has shown improvement when used to treat this disease. So, there is actually little room to apply drugs. Home remedies or preventions are more effective with respect to this problem. Some of the precautions and home remedies are given below.

  • Avoiding drying agents, allergens, and irritants by wearing gloves.
  • Using quality lotions and moisturizers that can prevent infection.
  • Photochemotherapy can be applied if the disease goes beyond control. But, this is not suggested till one can endure the pain.
  • Summer is the period when it attacks. So extra attention should be drawn to the sweaty parts of the body. If possible, use drugs which can reduce sweating excessively.
  • Eating a healthy diet can be a good source of natural components which may heal the skin.
  • Eating different kinds of nuts is good for skin. Almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts etc. are preferable.
  • Aloe vera juice is a completely natural moisturizer which can run the extra mile for your skin.


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Risk Factors

As you already know there are no fixed reasons behind exfoliative keratolysis. Having said all that, we want to enumerate some risk factors that intrigue this disease.

  • Having a weak immune system.
  • Hot Temperature.
  • Exposure to irritants such as washing powder, soap, detergent etc.
  • Young adult people are mostly victims of this disease.
  • Sweaty hands are also an aggravating factor.
  • Having allergic problems.
  • Salt water, sun, and other bacteria can cause skin peeling.
  • Physical and mental stress can affect the skin sometimes.



A doctor can diagnose any disease by studying the history and symptoms of a patient keeping in mind that there might be some other risk factors too. Usually, a skin test can determine the real disease. You’ll be sure from this test whether this is due to an allergic problem or other underlying problems which should be determined. One common mistake while doing the diagnosis of this disease is, some doctor confuses it with the following diseases.

  • Pompholyx
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Epidermolysis
  • Tinea


How Long Does It Last?

Exfoliative keratolysis is mostly a seasonal disease. In most cases, it starts with the advent of summer and ends when simmer departs. So, you can say it lasts during the summer. But, people spend a whole bunch of years without knowing that they are having this disease. Sometimes, it lasts for only a few weeks and sometimes a number of months pass by without any relief. As there is no known remedy for this disease, one can try the precautions and home remedies to get rid of this problem.

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Our body demands special care from us. No matter how small and trivial an organ is, we should take good care of that. From now on, be watchful towards your health and try these remedies if you ever have exfoliative keratolysis.

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