Peeling feet have several potential causes. Foot injuries, dry skin, and athlete’s foot, among others, can all cause peeling skin on the feet. Peeling feet can look dry and scaly. The skin may peel all over or only in certain areas. Sometimes scaling is the only symptom, but the feet can also itch or have yellow spots.

Dry or peeling skin on the feet is usually not a symptom of a serious condition. However, if a person has other symptoms, develops foot sores, or experiences severe foot pain, a doctor may need to examine the peeling feet to rule out a health problem. This article examines the causes of peeling feet. It also discusses possible treatments and when a person should contact a doctor.


There are several causes of peeling feet, including:

Corns and calluses.

Both corns and calluses cause a buildup of dead skin. This can lead to hard, itchy growths on the feet that sometimes crack or peel off. Their detachment to the surface of the skin can cause bleeding or pain. Calluses tend to appear on the soles of the feet and are hard to the touch. They are usually not painful but can be tender to the touch. Corns cause dead skin to grow around the inflamed skin, which can be painful. They have a waxy appearance and often appear on the toes. Corns and calluses are not dangerous, but they can be uncomfortable. Do not try to cut or remove them, as this can cause painful injuries and infections.

dry skin

Dry skin, especially in winter months and in dry climates, can make feet so dry that they peel or crack and bleed. A person may also experience other symptoms on their feet, such as:

feeling of warmth
white or dry spots
Dry skin is not dangerous. However, if it is severe enough to cause cracking of the skin of the feet, the risk of infection may be higher.


Eczema is a type of inflammatory skin condition that causes the body to overreact to harmless substances. This can lead to inflammation of healthy skin. Skin may look or feel dry, but eczema isn’t just dry skin. It can also cause painful white or red patches or even blisters. Atopic dermatitis, which is the most common form of eczema, occurs when the immune system damages the skin’s moisture barrier, causing it to become dry. This can cause the feet to peel. A person may also have patches of eczema on other parts of the body. Dyshidrotic eczema mainly affects the hands and feet, and can cause small red blisters on the toes. These blisters can be itchy and peel or break open. Some people confuse this type of eczema with other types of blisters because they look alike.


Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack healthy tissue. The skin cells then renew themselves much faster than usual. Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body, but it usually affects the elbows, knees, and soles of the feet. People with psoriasis may notice thick red patches that look gray or silver on their feet. The skin may peel, itch or turn yellow over time. Although dry skin is not a cause of psoriasis, moisturizing the skin can help psoriasis heal faster.

athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a highly contagious fungal infection that can cause yellow or white patches on the feet, toes, or areas under the nails. The feet may itch or feel dry, and the skin may sometimes peel. A person may be more susceptible to athlete’s foot when their feet come into contact with contaminated surfaces, such as gymnasium floors or showers.


Blisters usually appear when something rubs against the foot, causing small fluid-filled bumps to appear. The blisters are usually harmless, but they can be painful. Wearing shoes that rub on the same areas of the foot can cause blisters to open and bleed. Do not pop a blister, as it can become painful and bleed. Popping a blister can also increase the risk of infection.

Diabetes-related foot health issues

Diabetes can damage blood vessels, which can affect blood flow to the feet. Reduced blood flow increases the risk of various foot problems, including dry skin that cracks and bleeds. People with diabetes who have foot pain or dry skin that does not go away should see a doctor.

When to contact a doctor

A person with peeling skin on their feet should contact a doctor if they:

has diabetes and has pain or numbness in the feet
has symptoms that do not improve with home treatment
suffers from severe foot pain which prevents him from walking
has signs or symptoms of infection, such as fever
an object, such as glass or wood, gets stuck in the foot
injuring your foot by stepping on an object and not having had a recent tetanus vaccination
think they have psoriasis.

Home Care

Home treatments for peeling feet depend on the cause. Here are some remedies to try:

moisturize the feet, possibly alternating between a heavy moisturizer and a hydrocortisone cream to better relieve psoriasis or eczema
applying an over-the-counter antifungal cream to athlete’s foot
cover a blister and keep it clean and dry
do not wear shoes that rub the blisters
keep feet clean and dry
do not walk barefoot on potentially contaminated surfaces
apply a lime remover to the calluses and use a pumice stone to rub them gently, although it may take several weeks to completely remove the calluses
keep a diary of eczema and psoriasis symptoms and possible triggers.


Peeling feet can be uncomfortable. There are several potential causes, and the best treatment or home care option will depend on the cause. Dry skin can rub on shoes and crack, causing severe pain and making it difficult to walk. Generally, a person can treat dry skin at home with moisturizers. However, if it becomes severe, she should consider seeing a doctor. A doctor can prescribe medications to manage chronic conditions, such as psoriasis, that can improve peeling feet.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.