Your skin is exposed constantly to environmental elements, such as sun, wind, heat, dryness or excessive humidity, that can irritate and damage it. Repeated irritation can lead to skin peeling.

Less frequently, skin peeling — often accompanied by itching — results from a disease or condition, which may start someplace other than your skin. Sometimes, reaction to a medication can cause skin peeling. Conditions that may cause skin peeling include:

  • Allergic reactions. You can develop a rash on your skin and eventually peel from repeated contact with something to which you're allergic, such as certain fabrics, latex, detergents or cosmetics. Less commonly, a food to which you're allergic may lead to skin peeling.
  • Infections. Some types of staph and other infections plus fungal infections, including ringworm, athlete's foot and jock itch, can cause the skin to peel.
  • Immune system disorders. Certain conditions — such as a group of rare skin disorders (pemphigus) and toxic shock syndrome — can cause skin to peel.
  • Certain types of cancer. Some types of cancer, such as adult non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, can cause a skin rash that can eventually lead to peeling skin. Some cancer treatments also can affect the skin in ways that lead to peeling.

Specific diseases and conditions that can cause peeling skin include:

  1. Athlete's foot
  2. Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  3. Contact dermatitis
  4. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  5. Dry skin
  6. Jock itch
  7. Kawasaki disease
  8. Pemphigus
  9. Psoriasis
  10. Ringworm (body)
  11. Ringworm (scalp)
  12. Scarlet fever
  13. Seborrheic dermatitis
  14. Side effect of medications
  15. Staph infections
  16. Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  17. Sunburn: Soothing solutions
  18. Toxic shock syndrome

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Jun. 09, 2012