There are many causes of peeling and flaking skin. Our skin produces natural oils that keeps it soft and helps it to retain moisture, but sometimes our production of oils is disturbed. This can be due to a genetic disorder, allergies, infections and diseases, a n immune system disorder, medication and environmental elements that might irritate your skin an inhibit its oil production. The most common ways of treating peeling skin include moisturising, taking shorter and cooler baths/showers and avoiding abrasive and scented soaps and bath products, but different causes of peeling skin require different methods of treatment.
Sunburn is one of the most common causes of peeling skin and, depending on the severity, can be the most dangerous. Your skin peels because it has been damaged by UV radiation. Because your skin can’t be repaired after extensive sun damage your body generates a new, fresh layer of skin cells to replace the dead outer layer of skin. While the new skin cells are maturing the layer of dead skin acts as a protective barrier, which is why you should never try to pick it off. If you do you risk exposing these fresh skin cells which might cause irritation, bleeding, and infection. Instead, when the skin cells are fully matured, the dead layer of skin will begin to peel of naturally. While severe sunburns will need medical attention, you can treat mild sunburn at home. Use a thick moisturiser like Sudocrem on the peeling skin to provide a protective barrier over the fresh skin. Rub it in gently and try to avoid removing the peeling skin until it falls off on its own. While the burn is healing, avoid causes further irritation or damaging the fresh skin by staying out of the sun, wearing loose clothes and taking short and cool baths/showers. Regularly applying antiseptics will also protect your burn from infection.
Regular sunburn can increase your chances of skin cancer, so always wear appropriate sun protection with a high SPF and avoid staying out in the sun during the hottest part of the day (between 11am and 3pm). If you find your skin to be noticeably sun damaged then you may want to try professional skin peels that treat sun damage. Always use a professional clinic and have no more than one skin peel per month.
Dry and stressed skin
Dry skin is incredibly common and can be found all over our body, although most commonly people will find dry skin on their arms and legs. Unless your dry skin is the result of a medical condition – such as diabetes, eczema or psoriasis – it can be treated quite easily. Dry patches indicate that we’re not taking care of our skin properly and some changes in our lifestyle can easily fix it. Switch to gentle soaps that aren’t scented; shave after you shower, when the hairs are softer, and always use shaving cream or gel; keep warm by dressing in layers rather than clothes that are thicker to prevent perspiration; moisturise regularly with thick, rich moisturising creams with glycerine; and keep your body hydrated and healthy by maintaining a diet rich in vitamins and minerals and drink water throughout the day.
If you find areas of skin that are peeling from being damaged – such as your heels and around your fingers –soak them to soften the hardening skin. Ingredients such as Epsom salt, nourishing oils and white vinegar can disinfect and soften any cracked and dry skin that you can then brush off gently. Finish off with a dollop of moisturiser and a pair of socks or gloves.