Having skin that is peeling between your toes is more common than you may think. This kind of problem can easily cause soreness and discomfort for anyone dealing with it. If you’ve experienced this before, or on a daily basis, knowing more about what causes it is essential.
For some people, peeling skin between the fingers and toes is the result of environmental factors. So, it’s easy to ignore it most of the time. Unfortunately, it’s not always safe to assume something like dry skin or the weather is causing the problem.
Many times, underlying health or skin conditions could be the culprit. While skin that peels is a noticeable enough symptom on its own, you can often look for additional symptoms you might be experiencing to pin down the actual cause.
If you regularly find yourself with sore skin that peels between your toes, you’re not alone. However, discovering the reason why and treating it properly is really important. There are also conditions that cause itchiness on the feet after a shower that you may also experience. The right kind of treatment can put a stop to the peeling and itchiness for good. Plus, it can get rid of any other uncomfortable symptoms you might be experiencing.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Why Do I Have Peeling Skin & Redness between My Toes?
- 2 Can I Prevent My Skin from Peeling?
- 3 Home Remedies for Dry, Peeling Skin
- 4 What Is Causing Skin to Peel between the Toes?
- 5 Read Our Latest Posts:
Why Do I Have Peeling Skin & Redness between My Toes?
There are several things you can do to treat and prevent your skin from peeling. If you’re fairly certain that it’s not caused by dry skin or the weather, determining the cause can make treatment easier.
Peeling can become uncomfortable on its own. Plus, it can be extremely painful for the person living with it. Knowing how to treat it and how to change your routine for best results can make a big difference.
We will focus on the most common reasons. We’ll also cover what you can do about these different issues. Most of them can be treated with a few lifestyle changes, over-the-counter medications, or home remedies, so let’s take a closer look.
Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that affects the feet. Despite its name, anyone can contract this infection. It can sometimes be confused with toenail fungus. However, nail fungus affects the nail bed of the toes, while athlete’s foot tends to affect the skin between the toes.
It is called athlete’s foot because it is typically caused by excessive moisture being trapped between the toes. Since athletes may sweat more, they often get associated with the condition. However, it can occur with anyone.
Whether your shoes are too small, you’re exceptionally active, or your feet tend to sweat a lot, anyone who allows moisture to get trapped in an enclosed space like this is at risk. Fungal infections thrive in warm, dark, moist environments. What better place for a fungus to grow than on a foot that is in a dark and moist shoe all day?
Aside from this condition causing your skin to peel, other symptoms include:
- A scaly rash
Fungal infections like this can also cause a bad smell to come from your feet. As you might expect, the symptoms can be embarrassing as well as irritating and uncomfortable. If you have a combination of these symptoms, it’s important to treat an athlete’s foot infection as soon as possible. A topical antifungal solution is the best way to attack athlete’s foot quickly.
Additionally, you can try home remedies to get rid of fungus fast. One of the best DIY solutions for fighting a fungal infection is tea tree oil. This can be used on its own (with a carrier oil). It is also often found in topical creams and ointments.
Athlete’s foot won’t go away on its own. In fact, it can continue to grow and spread if not taken care of quickly. The longer you wait to treat it, the harder it may be to get rid of.
This develops due to bacteria that can enter a cut or opening in the skin. If it occurs between the toes, that bacteria can spread which means itchy, inflamed, red toes with peeling skin. If the skin of your toes looks exceptionally inflamed and even feels warm to the touch, it’s a sure sign that this type of infection is present.
The best thing to do for cellulitis on your feet is to give your toes a break. Prop your feet up as much as possible, and use over-the-counter pain relievers to keep swelling down and alleviate discomfort. You may also need oral or topical antibiotics as prescribed by a doctor.
In addition to these treatment options, it’s also important to keep the infected area clean and sterilized as much as possible. This will help to reduce the chances of the bacteria spreading even more.
Psoriasis of the Foot
Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions. It can affect different areas of the body in different ways. There is no concrete reason known for why some people develop psoriasis. However, it is believed to be linked to the immune system in some way. It has also been associated with the nervous system.
Symptoms of this condition include:
- Scaling of the feet/toes
- Soreness and irritation
Unfortunately, no matter where you have psoriasis on your body, there isn’t a complete cure. It is a condition that is managed through different treatment options but never fully goes away. People tend to experience flare-ups now and then, but for the most part, it can be managed effectively with little pain and irritation using topical solutions like coal tar products or salicylic acid.
Because research hasn’t proven what officially causes it, psoriasis isn’t preventable. Living a healthy lifestyle and practicing proper hygiene with your feet may help. But, there is no way to avoid it entirely. Some people may simply be more prone to it than others.
Toe Box Dermatitis
This is caused by a toe box of a shoe that gets too warm. You already know that excessive warmth inside a shoe can cause problems like toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. Toe box dermatitis is slightly different. It isn’t a fungal infection but can cause peeling of the skin between the toes as they rub together.
The easiest way to treat and prevent toe box dermatitis is to choose shoes that allow for breathability. If your shoes are pinching your toes, or feel tight around the toes, you may want to consider a shoe stretching device. They can provide you with a bit of extra wiggle room. This will allow for more air circulation throughout your shoes, and reduce the amount of warmth and moisture that gets trapped in the toe area.
Sometimes, the peeling of skin between your toes may be the result of an allergic reaction. Allergens are usually related to environmental factors. You may not even know you’re allergic to something until you come in contact with it and experience this type of reaction. Be aware of any foreign chemicals or substances your feet come in contact with.
It’s especially important to pay attention to where you may have been barefoot lately. Places like public pools, showers, gyms, etc., can contain a lot of chemicals, cleaners, and more. They are also breeding grounds for both fungal and bacterial infections.
Immersion foot, also known as trench foot, can lead to a lot of unpleasant skin complications. It is the result of regular exposure to either cold, damp environments, or warm and wet environments. When the feet are ‘submerged’ in these conditions consistently, it not only allows for moisture to build up, but it can cause blisters and peeling skin.
These problems typically occur when people work outdoors in very specific environments. To make matters worse, the people who do work in these environments tend to wear things like rubber boots or other insulated shoes. That can add to the problem of moisture buildup. Unfortunately, that helps to make the condition even worse.
Environment and Dry Skin
One of the most common factors that cause peeling skin between the toes is the environment. Some people are more prone to dry skin than others. If you know you have dry skin elsewhere on your body, don’t be surprised to find it affects your toes, too.
Dry skin can be triggered by a lot of different things, but it tends to get worse if the weather becomes cold and the air becomes dry. The key to preventing your toes from peeling is to moisturize your feet regularly.
Keeping your feet properly moisturized and allowing them to trap moisture are two different things. You should always keep your feet and toes as dry as possible when it comes to things like sweat, or dry them off after a shower. But, allowing a moisturizing lotion or ointment to absorb into your toes and treat dry skin is encouraged. It’s a great addition to any healthy foot care routine.
Can I Prevent My Skin from Peeling?
Preventing the skin between your toes from peeling altogether depends on what might be causing it in the first place. All of the possible health conditions listed above could play a part in why you’re having such a reaction.
With the above conditions in mind, it may not be completely possible to prevent the skin in between your toes from peeling. However, there are some steps you can take to lower your chances. By following these preventative measures, you can keep your feet healthier and lower the possibility of unsightly peeling skin.
Wear the Right Shoes and Socks
Many issues with the toes can come from moisture that gets trapped inside your shoes and socks. If you contract a fungal infection like athlete’s foot, the symptoms could become even worse. One of the easiest ways to help prevent this problem is by choosing the right shoes and socks to wear on a daily basis.
If you know that your feet sweat a lot, choose socks made of synthetic materials instead of something like cotton. There are specially-designed socks for people with sweaty feet. They will help to wick away moisture instead of keeping it trapped inside.
Additionally, it’s never a bad idea to switch out your socks throughout the day. If your feet get too sweaty, put on a clean pair of socks halfway through the day. This quick change will help to keep your feet dry and reduce your chance of a skin condition occurring.
Shoes are equally important. As suggested earlier, you can stretch out your shoes using a shoe stretching device or shoe stretching spray. There are other things you can do that will help your shoes ‘work’ for your feet, too.
For starters, try switching out the shoes you wear every other day. This will give each pair a chance to air out overnight, so moisture won’t get stuck inside. Try to choose shoes made of a material that can breathe. If you still feel there is moisture in your shoes at the end of the day, try getting rid of it with a foot spray or a sprinkle of cornstarch. This will help to absorb excess liquid.
Keep Your Feet Healthy
Keeping your feet and toenails healthy with a regular foot care routine is an easy way to help prevent possible skin conditions. It’s easy to ignore our feet until something like peeling skin or other unsightly symptoms occur. Adopting a routine can help with these problems and become a relaxing part of your day.
One of the best things for your feet and toes is foot soaks. Using a basin or foot spa machine, create a relaxing foot soak for yourself. It can be as simple as a solution of warm water and Epsom salts. Or, you can add things like essential oils to help prevent peeling.
If you have a fungal infection that is causing your skin to peel, one of the best foot soaks is the Purely Northwest system. It is a three-part process that includes a foot soak containing tea tree oil.
Foot soaks with ingredients like Epsom salts will help to exfoliate your skin. This will allow layers of skin to shed away so that they won’t peel off throughout the day.
Whenever you wash your feet or use a foot soaker, be sure to dry them off completely when you’re done. Pay special attention to your toes and in between your toes. Excessive trapped moisture can contribute to the problem. Over-washing your feet can also lead to your skin drying out. For the best results, indulge in a foot soak once or twice a week.
Use Aloe Vera
There are many soothing gels on the market, but none work better than aloe vera. You can either use aloe vera leaf juice directly from the plant or purchase a topical lotion or gel with this ingredient. If you do choose to purchase an over-the-counter solution, make sure it contains natural ingredients. Some people may have sensitive skin. Certain chemicals in topical products can irritate the skin and cause more problems.
Aloe vera does much more than help with cuts, scrapes, and burns. It contains healing properties that can help with redness and inflammation. It can also soothe the skin of your toes if it feels hot or irritated in any way. If you have a fungal infection, aloe vera can help to alleviate some of the painful and irritating symptoms associated with it.
If the problem with peeling skin comes from dry air or extreme weather conditions, try moisturizing your feet and toes often. One of the best natural moisturizing agents to use is coconut oil. Rub your feet each day with a small amount of coconut oil, and you’ll see healing, soothing results quickly. Plus, the simple foot massage can help to boost circulation. Over-the-counter lotions and creams can also work as effective moisturizers.
Give Your Feet Time to Breathe
Many of the conditions associated with peeling skin between the toes are linked to moisture. Too much moisture can lead to a variety of skin problems and even infections for your feet and toes. One of the best ways to prevent this is to ‘air out’ your feet as much as possible in a clean, dry environment.
Whenever you are home, try to avoid wearing shoes or socks. This will give your feet time to breathe in a controlled space.
Additionally, be sure to protect your feet from moisture and potential bacteria when you’re out and about. If you’re at a public shower or swimming pool, wear shower shoes or flip-flops to keep your feet dry and away from potential fungus or bacteria.
Home Remedies for Dry, Peeling Skin
Many times skin that peels in between the toes or on the bottom of the feet become itchy. The suggested listed above can be great preventative measures. However, you can also use several home remedies to alleviate other symptoms that might go along with your peeling skin. Try some of the following solutions to get rid of itch, redness, and irritation.
- Paraffin wax – This is commonly used in nail salons as a spa-like treatment to soften skin. You can use it at home to help soothe your skin and get rid of peeling in the process. You can heat it easily in the microwave to melt. For an added benefit, add a spoonful of coconut oil. Rub it onto your feet and leave overnight. Rinse away in the morning.
- Lemon – It is extremely acidic. This helps it to easily get rid of dead, peeling skin from the feet. It will also help to soften your skin without causing it to lock in too much moisture. Lemon juice works well in a foot soak when combined with warm water. Soak your feet in the solution for about 20 minutes for best results.
- Oatmeal – This is a great way to exfoliate your feet and get rid of peeling skin while keeping your toes moisturized. Create an oatmeal ‘mask’ for your feet and toes by mixing dry oats with enough water or milk to make a paste. Rub the mixture in between your toes and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse away. You can repeat this process every day until the peeling has subsided and your feet look and feel healthier.
These treatments can work whether your toes are peeling due to dry skin or as a result of certain skin conditions. If you do have a condition, like athlete’s foot, use these home remedies in addition to over-the-counter treatments for best results. Taking care of the condition first will help your feet to heal faster and will leave them looking and feeling better.
What Is Causing Skin to Peel between the Toes?
As you can see, multiple factors can cause your skin to peel between your toes. If it’s peeling elsewhere, like on the bottom of your feet, it’s likely an environmental issue, an allergy, or dry skin. However, if you’re having symptoms like irritation and redness, it could be a sign of something more.
Conditions like athlete’s foot are more common than you might think. The best thing you can do is get an official diagnosis if you feel you may have a foot or skin condition. Letting these types of conditions go for too long can be harmful to your health. Additionally, the longer you wait to treat them, the harder it can be for some of them to go away.
We hope that we’ve made it easier for you to identify some of the possible causes of skin peeling between the toes. We understand this can be embarrassing and painful, no matter the cause. However, there are treatments for almost every situation. By getting the right treatment and making some changes, you don’t have to live with unsightly peeling skin forever. Once you determine the cause, the right remedy is available.