Nail Clinic: Peeling Skin In Exfoliative Keratolysis

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Nail Clinic: Peeling Skin In Exfoliative Keratolysis

With winter weather, chapped, dry skin is nothing new. But sometimes more is going on than you think with peeling skin. Aside from regular dryness, dry skin can be caused by fungal infections, psoriasis, eczema, or exfoliative keratolysis.

What is exfoliative keratolysis?
A common problem, exfoliative keratolysis is the peeling of the outer layer of skin (sort of like a sunburn). Unlike a fungal infection, the peeling covers the whole hand (not just a select area), and unlike eczema, it does not itch. Exfoliative keratolysis can begin as small blisters that turn into a peeling that never really seems to go away or heal.

What is the cause?
It is unknown why some people get exfoliative keratolysis, but we do know it has something to do with changes in keratin production. It can also be genetic – something a person just has their whole life. Another cause is extended exposure to moisture – such as having hands continually wet or soapy – which shows up in those who often do dishes, and some people in the medical profession who repeatedly have to wash their hands. In this last case, wearing gloves can make a huge difference in relieving exfoliative keratolysis.

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