Skin exfoliation, peeling of the skin: What's it, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Scales; Skin flaking; Scaly skin; Papulosquamous disorders; Ichthyosis

What is skin exfoliation

Skin exfoliation is a common condition, in which the outer layer of the skin, known as the epidermis, sheds dead cells faster, than usual. This can lead to dry, itchy and flaky patches on the skin. Although peeling skin can be unpleasant and unsightly, it is usually not a serious condition. However, in some cases, peeling skin can be a sign of a serious health problem..

Causes of peeling skin

There are many potential causes of flaky skin., including:

  • Dry skin
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Fungal infections, such as ringworm.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Allergic reactions to skin care products or medications
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus, autoimmune disease
  • Genetic skin diseases, called ichthyoses
  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Dehydration
  • Climate change, e.g. cold weather or low humidity.

Skin peeling symptoms

Common symptoms of flaky skin include:

  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Redness or irritation of the skin.
  • Small white flakes on the skin.
  • Extensive scaly patches of skin.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to talk to your doctor, to determine the underlying cause of skin flaking.

When to contact a healthcare professional

You should see a doctor, if you experience any of the following:

  • You have severe or widespread skin peeling.
  • Your peeling skin is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, chills or joint pain.
  • Skin peeling doesn't go away with over-the-counter products.
  • You have a weakened immune system or are taking medication, suppress your immune system.
  • You have a history of skin cancer.

Questions, that your doctor may ask

When you talk to your doctor about flaky skin, he may ask you questions about your medical history, lifestyle and symptoms. Some general questions, that your doctor may ask, include:

  • When did you first notice peeling skin??
  • Where on your body does skin peeling occur??
  • Have you recently changed your skincare routine or started using new beauty products??
  • Do you have any allergies or diseases?
  • Are you experiencing any other symptoms, such as itching or redness?
  • Have you recently traveled or encountered any new environment??

Diagnosis of skin peeling

Diagnosis of flaky skin usually includes a physical examination and examination of the medical history and symptoms.. Your doctor may also perform a skin biopsy, to rule out other potential causes, such as skin cancer or fungal infections. If your doctor suspects an underlying condition, he may order blood tests or other diagnostic tests, to determine the cause of skin peeling.

Skin peeling treatment

Treatment for peeling skin depends on the underlying cause of the condition.. In most cases, skin flaking can be managed with simple home treatments., such as regularly moisturizing and avoiding harsh soaps and hot showers. Other treatments may include:

  • Topical creams or ointments to reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Antifungal drugs to treat fungal infections
  • Creams with corticosteroids, prescription, for severe cases of eczema or psoriasis
  • Oral formulations, such as immunosuppressants, with severe or chronic diseases.

It is important to strictly follow your doctor's instructions when using any prescribed skin flaking remedy.. In some cases, some medicines or treatments may not be safe for everyone., especially for those, who have comorbidities, as well as for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

If your doctor diagnoses you have dry skin, to you, probably, Recommend the following self-care measures:

  • Moisturize your skin with ointment, cream or lotion 2-3 times a day or as often, as required.
  • Moisturizers help retain moisture, so they work best on damp skin. After bathing, pat your skin dry, and then apply moisturizer.
  • Bathe only once a day. Take short warm baths or showers. Limit time to 5-10 minutes. Avoid taking hot baths or showers.
  • Instead of regular soap, try using gentle skin cleansers or soaps infused with moisturizers..
  • Avoid scrubbing your skin.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Try using over-the-counter cortisone creams or lotions, if your skin is inflamed.

If your doctor diagnoses you have a skin condition, such as an inflammatory or fungal disease, follow home care instructions. This may include using medication on the skin.. You may also need to take medicine by mouth.

Home treatment for flaky skin

In addition to any prescribed procedures, there are a few things, what you can do at home, to help deal with flaky skin:

  • Moisturize skin regularly with a mild, unscented moisturizer.
  • Don't take hot showers or baths, as hot water can dry out the skin.
  • Use mild unscented soap and body wash.
  • Do not scratch or touch flaky skin, as it may worsen her condition.
  • Do not wear tight or tight clothing.
  • Protect your skin from the sun, wearing sunscreen and protective clothing.

By following these simple steps, you can help reduce the severity and frequency of skin flaking and improve the overall condition of your skin.

Prevention of skin peeling

Although it is not always possible to prevent skin flaking, there are several things, which you can do, to reduce the risk:

  • Moisturize your skin regularly.
  • Avoid using harsh soaps and body washes.
  • Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water.
  • Eat healthy, balanced diet, rich in vitamins and nutrients.
  • Avoid stress and engage in relaxing activities, such as yoga or meditation.
  • Protect your skin from the sun, wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen.

If you have a history of flaky skin or have a family history of skin conditions, it's important to talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk and keep your skin healthy.


Skin peeling is a common occurrence., which can cause discomfort and look ugly, but, usually, not a serious medical problem. Understanding the reasons, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options for flaky skin, you can take steps, to cope with this condition and maintain healthy skin. If you experience severe or chronic flaking of the skin, or if your symptoms are accompanied by other health problems, be sure to talk to your doctor, to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Used sources and literature

Dinulos JGH. Psoriasis and other papulosquamous diseases. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif’s Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 8.

Marks JG, Miller JJ. Scaling papules, plaques, and patches. In: Marks JG, Miller JJ, eds. Lookingbill and Marks’ Principles of Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 9.

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