Peeling skin is a sign of damage typically caused by excessive exposure to the sun’s ultra-violet rays or drying facial products. The upper layer of skin actually dies due to the damage and detaches as a new healthy layer of skin develops under it. Although the peeling will stop over time, most people attempt to peel the skin off to reduce the unsightly appearance. Instead, use gentle exfoliation and soothing skin treatments to soothe the peeling.
Dampen a wash cloth with cold water from a faucet until it is saturated. Wring out the cloth so that it doesn’t drip. Open the cloth up and lay it over the areas of skin that are peeling. Leave the cloth in place for five to 10 minutes to cool the skin. Rinse the washcloth with cold water and reapply as needed.
Apply an after-sun lotion containing the ingredient biocymentine once per day. Spread the lotion over all areas of the skin that show signs of peeling. According to Today, biocymentine actually helps to rebuild damaged skin cells.
Exfoliate the skin gently once per day using a clean wash cloth and lukewarm warm. Simply rub the washcloth over the area of peeling skin using light pressure. Do not scrub the skin or use harsh scrubbers such as loofahs, since this can cause more damage. If desired, repeat the exfoliation up to twice per day.
Wait until the majority of the peeling has stopped. Begin applying a lotion containing a mild alpha hydroxy acid to speed the cell turnover and eliminate the residual peeling and flaking.
If your skin is also painful or itches, apply a lotion containing the ingredient lidocaine, which is a mild anesthetic that numbs the irritation.
Instead of cold water, soak the washcloth in cold milk before applying it to the skin. Milk contains lipids that help soothe the skin.
Avoid going out in the sun until all of the peeling subsides. Even then, the new skin that appears underneath it is very sensitive and susceptible to burn. Apply sunscreen or wear clothing to cover the areas before going outdoors.
If harsh facial products caused the peeling, stop using them immediately or reduce the frequency of use.
If the peeling worsens or you experience more than mild pain, visit a physician immediately.
Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.