Your skin is regularly exposed to environmental elements that can irritate and damage it. These include sun, wind, heat, dryness and high humidity. Repeated irritation can lead to skin peeling. In babies born past their due date, it's not unusual for them to experience some painless skin peeling.

Skin peeling can also result from a disease or condition, which may start someplace other than your skin. This type of skin peeling is often accompanied by itching. Conditions that may cause skin peeling include:

  1. Allergic reactions
  2. Infections, including some types of staph and fungal infections
  3. Immune system disorders
  4. Cancer and cancer treatment
  5. Genetic disease, including a rare skin disorder called acral peeling skin syndrome that causes painless peeling of the top layer of skin

Specific diseases and conditions that can cause peeling skin include:

  • Athlete's foot
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Dry skin
  • Jock itch
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Medication side effects
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Pemphigus
  • Psoriasis
  • Ringworm (body)
  • Ringworm (scalp)
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Sunburn
  • Toxic shock syndrome
    1. Athlete's foot
    2. Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
    3. Contact dermatitis
    4. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
    5. Dry skin
    6. Hyperhidrosis
    7. Jock itch
    8. Kawasaki disease
    9. Medication side effects
    10. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
    11. Pemphigus
    12. Psoriasis
    13. Ringworm (body)
    14. Ringworm (scalp)
    15. Scarlet fever
    16. Seborrheic dermatitis
    17. Staph infections
    18. Stevens-Johnson syndrome
    19. Sunburn
    20. 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.

    From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

    Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

    To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

    June 21, 2022