Skin Peeling on Feet: Causes and Remedies

Having peeling skin on your feet can be both uncomfortable and concerning. This condition, often called foot peeling or foot exfoliation, occurs when the skin on the feet sheds in small flakes or larger pieces. Peeling skin on the feet may sometimes lead to itchiness, redness, and even pain. Fortunately, proper foot care can help alleviate the problem and restore the feet to their natural, healthy state.

Various factors can cause skin peeling on the feet, and it’s essential to identify the underlying cause to determine the appropriate remedy. Here are some common causes and corresponding remedies:

Dry skin

Dry skin roughens the skin, making it itchy, flaky, or scaly. It’s a common condition that affects people of all ages. The medical term for dry skin is xeroderma, whereas xerosis is severely dry skin.


Lack of moisture and hydration can lead to dry skin on the feet, making it prone to peeling. Dry skin has several causes, including:

  • Heat: Warm temperatures reduce humidity, drawing moisture out of the skin and drying it out.
  • Climate: Living in cold, windy conditions or low-humidity climates can cause drier skin.
  • Too much bathing or scrubbing: Long, hot showers or baths and excessive drying/scrubbing can dry out your skin. Washing your feet too much may also dry out your skin because the washing strips away your body’s natural oils.
  • Harsh soaps and detergents: Some soaps and detergents may contain ingredients that can irritate and dry your skin.
  • Age: As we age, the skin begins to thin and produces less water-retaining natural oils.


Keep your feet well-moisturized by regularly applying a thick, hydrating foot cream or petroleum jelly. Ditch the harsh soaps and boiling water when washing your feet. It’s also important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal skin infection that affects the skin on the feet. Tinea pedis was named ‘athlete’s foot’ because it is commonly found in people with sweaty feet.


A fungus called dermatophytes causes Athlete’s foot when it comes in contact with your feet. It’s a contagious infection that can quickly spread to others through skin contact. Common sites for fungus include warm, moist environments and shared spaces, like pools, locker rooms, shoes, or showers.


Use over-the-counter antifungal creams or powders designed explicitly for Athlete’s foot. Keep your feet clean and dry, and avoid wearing damp socks or closed shoes for an extended period.

Eczema or psoriasis

Eczema and psoriasis are conditions where your skin may peel on your feet.


These skin conditions can affect the feet, causing redness, itching, and peeling. Eczema occurs when you come in contact with an irritant, whereas psoriasis is an auto-immune disease with no cure.


It’s recommended to consult a dermatologist for remedies for eczema or psoriasis. They may prescribe topical corticosteroids or other medications to manage the condition. With psoriasis, treatments are designed to prevent skin cells from multiplying.

Allergic reaction


Exposure to allergens in socks, shoes, or foot care products can trigger an allergic reaction, which then leads to skin peeling.


Identify and try to remove the allergen causing the reaction from your environment. For instance, switch to hypoallergenic socks and shoes if your socks irritate your feet and lead to peeling skin. If that doesn’t work, consider swapping your laundry detergent for a product with natural ingredients.

Prolonged sun exposure

Prolonged sun exposure refers to when you are exposed to UV rays for an extended time without proper sun protection. As a result, your skin may develop more wrinkles and lines. 


Sun exposure to the feet can cause moderate to severe sunburns, damaging the skin’s outer layer. Next, your skin begins to peel as the body tries to rid itself of damaged cells.


Protect your feet from the sun by wearing appropriate footwear and sunscreen with a high SPF.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an itchy rash stemming from an allergic reaction. Typically, the rash forms after your skin comes in contact with a substance or irritant.


Irritation of the skin due to contact with certain chemicals or substances.


Identify and avoid the irritant. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream may provide relief. Consult a doctor if the condition persists.

Pitted keratolysis


A bacterial infection affects the feet’ soles, creating pits and causing peeling.


Keep your feet clean and dry, wear open-toed shoes when possible, and use antibacterial soaps or topical antibiotics as a healthcare professional prescribes.

Poor foot hygiene


Inadequate foot hygiene can lead to the accumulation of dead skin, which may peel off.


Practice good foot hygiene by regularly washing and thoroughly drying your feet. Exfoliate gently to remove dead skin, and use moisturizers to hydrate the skin.

Peeling skin? We've got you covered!

Whatever the issue, we at Feet First Clinic can help solve your foot concerns. We have a team of trusted chiropodists and products to put you in the right direction.

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

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Carolina Charles

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If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures. She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.