The skin on the fingertips can peel or crack, which can be both uncomfortable and concerning. Skin peeling on the fingertips is not uncommon, as most instances of peeling skin occur on the hands, feet, or lips.
If the skin on your fingertips is peeling, it likely isn’t cause for concern. This common occurrence is often the result of environmental irritants or other controllable factors.
Skin peeling on fingertips can be caused by environmental factors or underlying conditions
1. Dry skin
Oftentimes, dry skin is the cause of peeling fingertips. Dry skin is typically more prevalent during the winter months. You may also be more susceptible to dry skin if you bathe or shower in hot water.
• Treatment may be as simple as using a gentle soap and following with a hand moisturizer. You should also avoid using hot water to wash your hands.
Finger- or thumb-sucking may be the cause of dry and peeling skin in children. It isn’t unusual for an infant or toddler to suck their thumb. Many children grow out of this habit naturally, while some require a little more intervention.
• If your child is sucking on their thumb or fingers to the point where there’s cracking or peeling, talk to their pediatrician. They can guide you on next steps.
3. Frequent handwashing
Excessive handwashing may result in fingertip peeling. Washing your hands with soap frequently can wear away the lipid barrier on your skin’s surface. This can cause the soap to absorb into more sensitive layers of skin, leading to irritation and peeling.
Hot water, neglecting to use a moisturizer on the hands after washing, and using irritating paper towels can also affect the skin.
To keep your fingertips from peeling, make sure to wash your hands only when necessary and to use gentle products. You should only wash your hands when they look dirty, before eating, and after using the bathroom.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be an option for cleaning your hands when there isn’t visible dirt making it necessary to wash them.
4. Using products with harsh chemicals
Certain chemicals added to moisturizers, soaps, shampoos, and other beauty products may cause skin irritation that results in peeling fingertips.
• The best rule of thumb to avoid harsh chemicals is to look for products marketed for sensitive skin. These products typically are typically free of fragrance and other irritants.
5. Reaction to cold and hot weather
Dry climates and winter temperatures can cause dry, cracked, and peeling skin.
Peeling fingertips can also develop during the summer months. This may be due to excessive sweating or as a result of irritants found in bug sprays and sunscreen.