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8 Reasons Your Skin Is Peeling—And How to Deal - Saubio Relationships

8 Reasons Your Skin Is Peeling—And How to Deal

Of all the possible weird skin symptoms you could experience, skin peeling might be one of the most disconcerting—and uncomfortable. So what’s actually causing that peeling? And what kind of skin-peeling treatments are out there?

“When the top layer of your skin flakes off or peels off, that’s usually a result of some type of inflammation underneath the skin or something that the skin has come into contact with,” Isha Tiernan, M.D., a dermatologist at Tufts Medical Center, tells SELF. More specifically, topical allergies or sensitivities, as well as chronic conditions like eczema or psoriasis, are common causes of peeling skin.

That said, peeling skin can be one of several alarming symptoms of infections or life-threatening illnesses—although these instances are much rarer.

In other words, there’s a wide range of conditions that can potentially cause skin peeling on your face and body. Effectively managing your peeling skin is just a matter of figuring out which one’s to blame. Here’s what you need to know about some of the most common causes of peeling and flaking skin, from how to identify them to how to treat them.

1. Sunburn

Anyone who’s come home from the beach with fiery red shoulders knows that a period of peeling isn’t far behind. After the initial stages of a sunburn, in which the skin is red, tender, and sometimes hot to the touch, peeling will occur because the skin is trying to repair its topmost layer, Erin Boh, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of dermatology at Tulane University, tells SELF.

“Those sunburnt [skin] cells are basically going to die, then that causes the barrier to get disrupted,” she explains. “The cells normally would be ‘glued’ together, but these dead or dying cells start losing their ‘glue,’ so to speak.” And it’s when these damaged skin cells come “unglued” that you’ll start to notice some peeling.

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For milder cases, cool compresses, gentle and soothing skin protectants like aloe vera, and pain relievers can help reduce the discomfort of a sunburn, Dr. Tiernan says.

But if your sunburn is more severe, meaning it’s a deeper shade of red and much more painful, it’s likely that the lower levels of your skin are also affected and inflamed. In these cases your skin will probably blister before it sloughs off, Dr. Boh says, adding that your first step toward treating a severe sunburn should be taking an anti-inflammatory pain reliever, like ibuprofen, within 24 hours of getting burned.

Your dermatologist can also prescribe a topical steroid to help mitigate the inflammation in the first few days. Whether your sunburn is moderate or intense, do not pick at it.

2. Dry skin

Some people’s skin naturally tends toward dryness. But the reality is that “dry skin can happen to anyone,” Dr. Tiernan says, cautioning against low-humidity environments (like an apartment heated by forced air), harsh soaps, and scalding-hot showers. Whether or not you naturally have drier skin, these factors can easily strip the skin of its natural moisture, which, Dr. Boh explains, leads to a damaged skin barrier.

“When the skin is not intact, that barrier that keeps everything bad out and allows things like water and other nutrients in is disrupted,” Dr. Boh says. “As a consequence of the disruption, the body then will lose water to the environment and then get more dry.” That causes symptoms like a feeling of tightness in the skin, itchiness, cracks in the skin, and a propensity for the skin to start to flake and peel off.

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So treating dry skin boils down to trying to repair the skin’s barrier and replenish its moisture. First, Dr. Tiernan recommends using a thick cream-based moisturizer for wherever your skin is dry (like your hands or face)—and to use it after every time you wash that part of your body. “Otherwise, you’re just stripping your hands of its natural oils, which leads to irritation, little breaks in the skin, and inflammation,” she says., GO TO SAUBIO DIGITAL FOR MORE ANSWERS AND INFORMATION ON ANY TOPIC

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