The skin consists of three basic layers, each of which performs a particular function. The skin and each layer is always in a continuous state of change. The outer layer is completely replaced every 28 days. Peeling skin is temporary, quite normal with some exceptions, and a sign of healing skin.


Environmental factors can cause skin to peel. Sun, wind, friction and hydration all influence skin peeling. Infections, medications or skin disorders can also cause peeling skin and should be medically treated. Peeling skin is the skin's way of shedding a damaged layer of skin.


Peeling skin is a symptom and an attempt to rid the body of toxins and clear the skin of damage. Causes can include: Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and excessive exfoliating of the skin. Uncommon causes are: Ichthyosis, Kawasaki disease, toxic epidermal necrolysis, scarlet fever, peeling skin syndrome (a rare disorder) and vitamin A overdose.


Sunburn, heavy sweating, blisters, rashes, dry skin, cold weather and wind exposure can all cause skin to peel. The peeling paves the way for a new layer of unblemished skin to grow. Moisturizing lotions, drinking plenty of water, sunscreen and mild soaps help prevent and alleviate peeling skin.

Expert Insight

A baby's skin peels naturally after birth, and the amount is dependent upon how mature the baby is at birth. This is a healthy and normal occurrence. Post-term babies shed the most skin, especially on the palms and soles.


Skin peeling is most often not a problem nor a reason for concern, and most usually a healthy change in the skin's growth cycle. It will usually clear up on its own accord. When the skin peels, it is attempting to rid the body of, reacting to and preventing unknown, harsh, and harmful ingredients from invading the body .


Peeling skin should not be picked at. If the skin is hanging it can be snipped with clean scissors. While peeling skin is a sign new and healthy skin is growing, skin can be helped along with gentle moisturizers, mild soaps, plenty of water and protection against environmental elements.