Maybe you notice that the bottom and sides of your feet are peeling. This is usually something normal and there is nothing to worry about. In most cases, this condition is related to activities or habits that are simple and easy to modify, such as wearing shoes for too long. However, in some cases, it can be due to certain skin conditions and diseases for which you will need to consult your dermatologist.
Bottom of Feet Peeling: Causes
1. Skin Buildup
The skin is always in a constant renovation state, and every day many skin cells will die. During bath, you can get rid of most of this accumulated dirt and death skin cells, but if you forget to scrub your feet, then those dead skin cells will remain stuck there, eventually giving your feet a flaky appearance.
If you recently paid a visit to a sunny place and forgot to put sunscreen on your feet, then this can be the reason why they started to peel. The skin on your feet is as sensible as the skin on the rest part of your body and it can also get a sunburn.
3. Lack of Moisture
If your feet are exposed to extreme temperatures – whether is cold or hot – or constant air dryness, then it is not an uncommon thing that your skin starts to peel off. In order to avoid this, you need to use a moisturizer every day.
4. Wearing Footwear for a Long Time
When wearing footwear for prolonged periods, the sweat will make your skin damp, which will stop your skin from properly eliminating all the accumulated dead cells. All these elements can make your feet skin become cracked and peeled.
5. Fungal Infection
A fungal infection is likely to develop when there is excess damp on your feet. It can also be transmitted through direct contact from person to person, or from a contaminated area. The symptoms of fungal infection may include itchiness and skin peeling which are usually located in the area around your toes; however, if the infection becomes chronic, then it can present in any part of your feet, including the bottom.
When you have any condition that causes fever, the skin can become dehydrated because of the liquid loss trough sweating. Besides, the sweat in your feet can accumulate underneath your skin and cause little blisters that will burst afterwards, causing bottom of feet peeling.
7. Reactive Arthritis
There is a condition called reactive arthritis or reiter’s syndrome caused by immune system responding to an infection. It causes your joints, skin, eyes, and urinary tract to inflame. As a result of this condition, the skin of the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet can start to peel.
Allergies are a very common cause for skin peeling in hands and feet. Perfumes, some foods, and even certain cloth fibers can trigger allergic reaction, leading to peeling skin on the bottom of your feet.
Dermatitis is usually related to the lack of certain skin proteins, which makes the skin hypersensitive to the environment or certain substances. Dermatitis is typically a chronic condition characterized by skin redness, swelling, itchiness and peeling of the skin. If dermatitis develops on your feet, you can get peeling on the bottom.
Bottom of Feet Peeling: Treatments
1. Treat Underlying Causes
Consult a doctor for clear diagnosis. He or she will give you proper treatments:
- For allergies, the treatment will always consist in avoiding the agent that causes the skin reaction. Antihistamines may be needed according to the severity of the allergy.
- In the case of a fungal infection, your doctor will prescribe you an antifungal topic cream.
- For dermatitis, the doctor will treat you according to the type and severity of the condition, your medical records and many other related factors. A steroid cream is most likely to be prescribed for you.
- For reactive arthritis, since the cause of skin peeling is an inflammatory process, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and a topical steroid cream are most likely to be prescribed.
2. Try Home Remedies
- Moisturize. Usually the feet are the most neglected part of the body; you should use creams or oils to moisturize your feet skin on a daily basis. Peeling skin will be improved if you stick to this method.
- Keep your feet clean. Use an antibacterial soap to wash your feet at the end of every day; this will help prevent unwanted bacteria that can cause not only bad odor but also skin infections.
- Scrub away dead skin in the bottom of your feet with a pumice stone before washing or moisturizing them. If you start to feel pain or bleeding, stop right away.
- You can soak your feet at least once a week in an undiluted citrus juice like lemon or orange juice to help soften the skin. Keep your feet in for at least fifteen minutes every time. Be alert to any kind of adverse reactions like redness or itchiness.
- Stay hydrated. It is easier for dehydrated skin to get flaky and peel off, so keep yourself hydrated by drinking at least 2 liters of water per day.
- If you have a sunburn, applying an aloe vera lotion can help soothe the discomfort while keeping your feet moisturized. Try to avoid sun exposure while the skin on your feet is still healing.
- Avoid using tight and rigid footwear, as this can cause blisters and peeling on your feet. Do not walk barefoot over difficult terrain, and too hot or too cold surfaces. Get a supportive insole when using shoes for prolonged periods. Rest for at least 15 minutes for every three hours standing.
Note: If bottom of feet peeling happens to you, under no circumstances should you try to cut excess of skin with a sharp object without specialized supervision. This can lead to a wound that can easily get infected.