Peeling skin on your feet or toes can have you worried. But we have some simple remedies that can help you take care of this problem. So let’s take a look at what could be causing your skin to peel and how you can deal with it:
Ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage your skin. Too much exposure can give you a sunburn with sore, red skin that starts to peel off after a few days. If you have severe symptoms of sunburn like swelling and blistering of skin, chills, headaches, dizziness etc you need to see a doctor. Your doctor may recommend creams for the sunburn, burn dressing, or a hydrocortisone cream. In very severe cases hospitalization may be needed.1 In other cases a sunburn will generally heal in about a week but there are a few things you can do to help it along:
1. Sponge Down
Sponge your skin with cold water or go for a cold shower to cool down your skin. You can also try applying a cold compress. Also remember to cover up and avoid sunlight (even through the windows) till your skin heals.2
2. Apply Tea
3. Try Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is known for its skin soothing properties. Various compounds present in it (for instance, polysaccharides and anthraquinones) work synergistically to bring about its healing effects. It can improve the cell structure of connective tissue (fibroblast), and accelerate the production of collagen (a protein found in skin and connective tissue) which helps it to heal your skin.4 So apply some aloe vera gel on your sunburn to get relief.
Peeling or flaking skin could be a sign that your skin is too dry. Your skin may also itch or feel rough when it’s dry. And your feet, hands, lower legs, and arms tend to be commonly affected. Here’re some things that you can do to get rid of that dry tight feeling:
1. Follow Good Skin Care Practices
- Don’t stay for longer than 5 to 10 minutes in the shower or you could lose most of the oily layer of your skin which protects it from moisture loss. Also don’t use hot water as this can strip away your skin’s natural oils too.
- Go in for soap free cleansers. Also keep in mind that perfumes or alcohol in cleaning products can remove natural oils from your skin.
- In the winter it might be a good idea to set your humidifier to around 60% so that your skin doesn’t dry out.
- If your skin is itchy and dry don’t scratch it, you could break skin and leave yourself open to infection. Instead apply a moisturizer to take care of the itching.
2. Use Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly can work a treat if you’re looking to stop your skin from losing moisture. Since it doesn’t have any water it’s best used after your bath while your skin is still damp so that it can seal the moisture in. And if you’re put off by the greasy feel of petroleum jelly try this trick- rub it into your hands and then over the affected part till the greasy feeling goes away.5
3. Try Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils can also be used to seal in moisture if your skin is dry. Ayurveda recommends sesame oil and coconut oil6
Athlete’s foot or tinea pedis is a fungal infection that is commonly seen between the toes. It can make the skin scaly, red, dry, blistered, cracked, and itchy. Quick treatment can stop it from spreading to other areas in the body or to other people. You can use over-the-counter antifungal medication to treat it, but do check in with a doctor if your condition doesn’t improve in a week or if you are experiencing significant discomfort or pain. Your doctor may prescribe stronger antifungal medications.7 Some home remedies that have been found to work for this condition are:
1. Use Garlic
According to a study, a cream containing ajoene, a sulfur-containing compound found in garlic, was effective in treating 79% participants with athlete’s foot within a week and the remaining patients recovered completely after an additional week of treatment. Moreover, when a follow-up study was done after 90 days, the infection had not returned in any of the participants. So, the remedy for that foot infection might be right at hand in your kitchen.8
2. Apply Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is commonly used to treat athlete’s foot. According to a study 64% patients who applied a 50% tea tree oil solution twice daily to affected areas for 4 weeks were cured of the fugal infection.9 Another study found that a weaker concentration (cream containing 10% tea tree oil) could reduce symptoms like scaling, itching, inflammation, and burning associated with this condition though it was not effective at killing the fungus that causes it.10 While using tea tree oil do remember to dilute it with a vegetable oil and remember that some people are sensitive to this potent oil so do a patch test first.
3. Get A Cinnamon Foot bath
A cinnamon foot bath can be useful if you have athlete’s foot. To prepare the foot bath boil eight to ten broken cinnamon sticks in four cups of water, then simmer for five minutes and steep for forty-five minutes. Soak the affected foot in this mixture daily for relief.11
Psoriasis is a skin condition where you get flaky, reddish, crusty patches of skin and silvery scales. People with this condition produce excess skin cells. Though we don’t understand exactly how psoriasis occurs, yet it is thought to be caused by a defect in the immune system, which causes it to attack healthy skin cells. Psoriasis is a chronic condition and it can abate and then flare up again in people who are affected. Certain factors like skin injuries, smoking, drinking alcohol, stress, and hormonal changes can trigger it.12 Though there’s no cure for psoriasis your doctor may recommend steroid creams or phototherapy (where the skin is treated by exposure to ultraviolet light) to reduce symptoms.13 You can also check out the following remedies:
1. Try Cayenne Pepper
Capsaicin, which is an ingredient found in cayenne pepper, has been studied for the treatment of psoriasis. According to research applying a cream containing capsaicin was effective in reducing scaling as well as reddening of skin over six weeks in patients with moderate and severe psoriasis.14
2. Use Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is known for its beneficial effects on skin. According to research, it can also help with psoriasis. A study found that patients who applied a cream with 0.5%Aloe vera extract 3 times daily for 5 consecutive days per week (maximum 4 weeks treatment) showed a progressive reduction in skin peeling and reddening.15
3. Apply German Chamomile
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory compounds that can help you with a psoriasis flare up. Add a heaped teaspoon of chamomile flowers to a cup of hot water and allow it to steep for about 10 minutes. Then strain out the flowers and apply the liquid to affected areas with a clean washcloth.16
Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a chronic skin condition that gives you itchy and scaly rashes. You may also have dry skin, oozing blisters, and swelling and reddening of skin. It is thought that the skin of people with eczema is more sensitive as it lacks certain proteins. Your doctor may prescribe steroid creams or antibiotics (if the skin becomes infected). Phototherapy may also be recommended in some cases. You can also try the following remedies:
1. Follow Good Skin Care Practices
- Use a moisturizer frequently. But remember to choose products that don’t contain alcohol, perfumes, or harsh chemicals.
- Keep the air in your home moist with a humidifier.
- Take short showers or baths and use soap free cleansing products.
- Avoid things that irritate your skin (for instance, wool, harsh soaps etc)17
2. Take An Oatmeal Bath
Oats have long been used for treating atopic dermatitis. When oats is mixed with water it turns into a gooey substance that can coat your skin and seal in moisture. The gluten content in oats is considered to be responsible for this.18 Moreover, antioxidants in oats have been found to combat inflammation.19 So adding some oats to your bath water can help with atopic dermatitis.
3. Use Rice Water
Rice water (which is the starchy water obtained by boiling rice) may be able to relieve dry, scaly skin if you have atopic dermatitis. A study found that exposing irritated skin to bath water containing rice starch twice a day for fifteen minutes led to a 20% improvement in the healing capacity of skin. Rice starch has also been found to improve skin barrier function (measured by the loss of water through skin) in people with eczema.20
During contact dermatitis your skin becomes sore, red, scaly, or blistered after coming in contact with a substance. It could be an irritant (for instance, chemicals found in soaps, fabric softeners etc are common irritants) or something that you’re allergic to (for instance, many people are allergic to latex shoes and gloves). You may not have an allergic reaction when you’re exposed to the substance at first and may become more sensitive if you’re exposed to it regularly. Usually, a reaction occurs about 24 to 48 hours after you’re exposed to the substance. Your doctor may do allergy testing to find out what you’re allergic to.
1. Follow Good Skin Care Practices
- In some cases, the best thing to do is leave it alone and wait for it to clear up.
- Washing the affected part with water to remove any irritant that’s still on the skin can be helpful. Also, avoid exposure to what caused the reaction.
- Using moisturizers can help your skin to repair itself by keeping it moist.21
2. Apply Calendula
Calendula has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. When it’s applied topically as a cream, oil, or ointment it can help soothe your skin.22
3. Use Aloe Vera Gel
As we’ve seen aloe vera gel too can soothe irritated skin when it applied to the affected area.23
|↑1, ↑2||Sunburn. National health service.|
|↑3, ↑4||Korać, Radava R., and Kapil M. Khambholja. “Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation.” Pharmacognosy reviews 5, no. 10 (2011): 164.|
|↑5||9 ways to banish dry skin. Harvard Health Publications.|
|↑6||Chaturvedi, Vaidya Suresh. Beauty & Health Through Ayurveda. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 2007.|
|↑7||Athlete’s foot. National Health Service.|
|↑8||Ledezma, E., L. De Sousa, A. Jorquera, J. Sanchez, A. Lander, E. Rodriguez, M. K. Jain, and R. Apitz‐Castro. “Efficacy of ajoene, an organosulphur derived from garlic, in the short‐term therapy of tinea pedis.” Mycoses 39, no. 9‐10 (1996): 393-395.|
|↑9||Satchell, Andrew C., Anne Saurajen, Craig Bell, and Ross StC Barnetson. “Treatment of interdigital tinea pedis with 25% and 50% tea tree oil solution: A randomized, placebo‐controlled, blinded study.” Australasian journal of dermatology 43, no. 3 (2002): 175-178.|
|↑10||Tong, Melinda M., Phillip M. Altman, and Ross StC Barnetson. “Tea tree oil in the treatment of tinea pedis.” Australasian Journal of Dermatology 33, no. 3 (1992): 145-149.|
|↑11||Longe, Jacqueline L. The Gale encyclopedia of alternative medicine. Gale Cengage, 2005.|
|↑12||Psoriasis – Causes. National Health Service.|
|↑13||Psoriasis. National Health Service.|
|↑14||Bernstein, Joel E., Lawrence C. Parish, Marvin Rapaport, Marjorie M. Rosenbaum, and Henry H. Roenigk. “Effects of topically applied capsaicin on moderate and severe psoriasis vulgaris.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 15, no. 3 (1986): 504-507.|
|↑15||Syed, Tanweer A., S. Ashfaq Ahmad, Albert H. Holt, Seyed Ali Ahmad, Seyed Hamzeh Ahmad, and Mohammad Afzal. “Management of psoriasis with Aloe vera extract in a hydrophilic cream: a placebo‐controlled, double‐blind study.” Tropical Medicine & International Health 1, no. 4 (1996): 505-509.|
|↑16||Castleman, Michael. Blended Medicine: How to Integrate the Best Mainstream and Alternative Remedies for Maximum Health and Healing. Rodale, 2002.|
|↑17||Atopic dermatitis. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑18||Bedi, Monica K., and Philip D. Shenefelt. “Herbal therapy in dermatology.” Archives of dermatology 138, no. 2 (2002): 232-242.|
|↑19||Fowler Jr, Joseph F. “Colloidal oatmeal formulations and the treatment of atopic dermatitis.” Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD 13, no. 10 (2014): 1180-3.|
|↑20||De Paepe, Kristien, Jean-Pierre Hachem, Els Vanpee, Diane Roseeuw, and Vera Rogiers. “Effect of rice starch as a bath additive on the barrier function of healthy but SLS-damaged skin and skin of atopic patients.” Acta dermato-venereologica 82, no. 3 (2002): 184-186.|
|↑21||Contact dermatitis. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑22, ↑23||Geck, Caroline. “The Gale Encyclopedia of Children’s Health: Infancy through Adolescence.” Reference & User Services Quarterly 45, no. 3 (2006): 260-262.|