Dermatology Community
Losing Skin on My Thumbs
About This Community:

This forum is for questions regarding Dermatology issues, such as: rashes, acne, birthmarks, skin infections, rosacea, and general skin care.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Losing Skin on My Thumbs

This discussion is related to skin peeling of in layers on hands.


I'm glad I found this thread, because I have the same skin problem that a few of you have.  This skin on the inside of my thumbs starts to look dead, cracks, and falls off in sheets.  It's painful when the lower levels of my skin are exposed, and it bleeds and cracks.

It's better when I keep it moisturized constantly and keep bandaids over my thumbs.  I've tried a cortizone: Triamcinolone Acetonide, which I have for an excema-fungal problem on my legs, which has long since vanished.

I think it might be some kind of infection, since it started when I accidently took a one-quarter inch slice off my thumb.  Maybe it spread to the other thumb from my steering wheel, since do alot of driving.  I hope someone finds the answer . . .
Related Discussions
20 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,

The peeling and the dryness may be due to a fungal infection. A dermatitis/eczema and an allergic reaction are also differentials. Dermatitis can be recurrent. If this is irritant dermatitis then persistent exposure to the irritant ( possible example is material of you steering wheel ) may aggravate the condition. Continue to use a bland and hypoallergenic cream to moisturize the area. A glove or a cover over your steering wheel may decrease the chance of direct contact of the material to your skin. Avoid other possible triggers.

A possible infection may also be considered .However, this usually is associated with swelling , pain and discharge. The cut may have triggered an itch scratch reaction that could have led to an eczematous flare.

Eczematous disease may require steroidal creams. Have you had a consult already?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have had the same thing for years. With me it seams to show up in the winter time. I have a friend that both he and I were in the military and both spent time in Asia and both get this in the winter.  First I will get a small bump that is redish and sentative.  If I leave it alone it will just dry up and appears to go away. If I poke the bump there is clear fluid in it and it will dry up quicker, but whenever the bump appear the skin pealing is soon to follow.  I so much lotion I can't believe it. My thumbs are the worst to peal but most my fingers will peal off on the sides and bottom but no skin peals on the top.  Some skin will peal off the palm of my hand but not much. Luckily for me nothing peals off my feet.  I have tried anti-fungals and no help either.  I hope someone can figure this out.  It goes on for about a month for me before it gets better.  I would love to get rid of it once and for all.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I, like you, am pleased to finally find some people who seem to have a similar problem, one I have suffered for decades. dermatologists are a waste of time and continue t o advise that it is exfoliative keratolysis. My outbreaks sound similar to many of the people in this forum and are confined to my hands... a predictable and progressive redness, itching, blistering, drying out, peeling and sometimes re-peeling. The only thing I can add to the discussion is that my outbreaks are triggered by the use of sun lotions in hot (tropical) conditions. I travel a lot to the Caribbean and must wear sunscreen, and when I apply it I wear rubber gloves. Even so, I still have a reaction because my hands eventually come in contact with the lotion which has been apply to face, arms and legs. And then it off to the races... I know that within a day or two I will have an outbreak. Does anyone have a similar situation? I have tried hypo-allergenic screen but they all seem to have the same effect.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am 25 and have been getting this just about every winter for about 4 years. I get the same problem of the skin on my thumb or index finger beginning to peel, and then it spreads to the other fingers till they all have lost a few layers of skin and are red and sensitive. One interesting point is about the herpes fever blister correlation that has been mentioned. I also get fever blisters and had an outbreak a few months ago. Does anybody else suffer from both problems?

I have been able to keep it under control if I get it to completely go away, which is VERY difficult. I use Neutrogena Norwegian Formula as a moisterizer. I almost made it through the winter this year without an outbreak, but I was staying for 10 days in a hotel and didn't have my lotion. I only had the hotel brand. I could feel my fingers getting dryer each day, then it led to the first blister and now I've had it for about a month.

It seems that using a Humidifier at night in the bedroom helps it heal, but then it just blisters and peels again since the skin is tough, caloused and dry.

For anyone that finds a solution, please remember this thread and post an answer.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I just went to the dermatologist today and my fingers were all torn up and pretty much just had the new skin with plenty of peeling visable. About 3 weeks ago I had this winter's flare up and he gave me a steriod shot which helped it clear up after 1 week but a couple days later the skin had peeled off again.

He said that I have Dyshydrosis Hand Eczema and he prescribed me what he says is an intense treatment to try to heel my fingers, here is his treatment plan:
Apply Desonide lotion during the day
Apply Clobetasol cream .05% at bedtime
He put me on a Z-Pac antibiotic 250mg
DHS clear shampoo
Aveeno eczema control body wash

We talked a lot about what is causing this. My brother told me today he gets a very similar condition but on his feet. We discussed the fever blister connection but he says this is related to a different condition and he is certain I am not having that. We talked about Shampoo and body wash (I use Axe) and he said to stay away from the heavy fragrance washes.

I will keep the post updated with my progress and I hope others that have something that works please do the same.

One final note, when I showed my fingers to my Pharmasist, he said that he had a buddy who got the exact same condition and it was stress induced. I am finishing up building a house, so it would make some sense, but I seem to get this every winter so I'm not sure.

Blank
Avatar_n_tn
My daughter has the peeling thing on her hands and sometimes her feet
I can understand her feet as she has really bad sweating feet,  but her hands this time are really bad -- she is 5 and has had this problem since a baby.  I don't know what to do anymore.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I can't believe I've found others with this problem.  My right thumb is the worst.  The skin gets thick and hard and the sensation of feeling almost disappears, then the peeling begins.  It comes off in large sheets and leaves tender skin beneath.  My derm. also said eczema, but the cream she prescribed has had no effect.  My thumb completely peels every 7 to 10 days.   Just after peeling it feels sore and itchy.  I'll stay up with this post and see if anyone comes up with a solution.
Blank
568210_tn?1216759804
I believe I have the same problem but it only occurs once per year usually june/july/august time frame. Before it starts peeling, I do get the deadened sensation and then, little red spots appear which grow bigger and eventually change to look like callouses. The calloused areas with red edges merge  and peeling begings.

The peeling cycle only happens once per year for me and lasts for about 1 - 1.5 months. Once the entire right thumb (and only on the side with the the thumb pad) has peeled off I am left with the tender, raw, somewhat flaky, skin which eventually becomes normal. The worst part is when it starts to go under my thumb nail and the edge of the nail lifts up a bit.

I was diagnosed with "eczema" and prescribed Ultravate (a highly potent expensive steroidal cream which, for me, was not covered by insurance); it did nothing other than provide a brief ameliorative effect, same as I would get when using a lanolin-based lotion (much cheaper). Nothing stops the progressive peeling until the cycle has completed.
Blank
568210_tn?1216759804
This is *exactly* what my thumb looks like

http://www.ak101.com/dermnet/dn2/allJPG/keratolysis_exfoliativa_39.jpg

Looks like exfoliative keratolysis:

http://dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/exfoliative-keratolysis.html

Site above says topical steroids *do not work*
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have a similar problem, I've had it all my life and it's usually worse in the winter; however, mine only seems to happen from the fingertips down to the first joint. It happens on all 10 fingers. I get the red bumps filled with fluid (which itch), then eventually the skin all starts to dry out and eventually peel. Some of the skin peels off in thick pieces, and some peels in very thin pieces like the top layer of skin that comes off after a sunburn. Worse, I've been told since I was a kid *not* to pick at the dead skin on my fingers... but it drys out and keeps catching on things, and drives me crazy. Sometimes a layer coming off would still be anchored at one point, and that point would hurt coming off and would split and bleed, so I started cutting off the dead parts and leaving those anchored spots alone until they died and peeled up on their own, then I'd cut them off, too. Lately the problem doesn't seem confined to winter, or have any specific trigger - it's just ongoing. There's barely any time between a fresh layer of skin being exposed and starting to look normal, and that same new layer beginning to peel. I have almost no texture on any of my fingertips anymore, they're just shiny and red, and they're so dry and papery that sensitivity is diminished. Here's the kicker: I play the piano and the flute, and this condition makes it difficult to say the least - not to mention that the lack of moisture in my fingers makes grabbing and turning pages of music nearly impossible. And I can't use creams and stuff during the day, because the greasiness from the cream combined with the lack of natural tread on my fingertips puts playing my instruments out of the difficult category and into the impossible.

I apologize that this is so long. I've had so much frustration pent up over this for so long, because I make my living playing and teaching on these instruments. I almost feel better just knowing that there are others out there who can actually understand what I'm going through!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I had this problem.  A mixture of DMSO and a sulphur remedy got rid of it.  It stung a little bit and you have to keep the area very clean when you use the DMSO but it works.  I had it a really long time.  I have a $20 copay so I haven't been shy about doctor appointments when it flares up and every one of them are clueless, from the general practitioners,  dermatologists to nerve doctors – all clueless.  So I started studying up on different medicine practices.  There is more than one.  What most of us are familiar with is alopathy.  I studied homeopathy and I experimented with belladonna 30X and sulphur 30X.  The sulphur is what I think helped cure the "jungle rot".  Yes that is what I nick-named it.  You really can't sugar coat this one.  The DMSO can be bought on Amazon and homeopathic remedies (sulphur) can usually be found at health food stores, both can be found on the internet.  That mess is in your blood stream but seems to brood in the skin so it appears you have to attack both.  I would say it is triggered by certain contacts with the skin, my contact was dirt.  I have a garden and chickens and lots of outside work but I work 40 hrs a week indoors at a computer.  
This is what I did and would advise a friend if they agreed not to sue me if it didn't work out for them:
Take 1 sulphur remedy pill and drop it in a ½ of a bottle of water.  Take that bottle and beat it on a book that you feel empowers you.  Beat it on the book with the vengeance you have in getting rid of the jungle rot.  Don’t get ignorant and tear up your book, just mean what you say and put that energy into the water by beating on the book.  You may need to think “outside the box” for this one.  Put that bottle in your pantry or medicine cabinet or wherever you pass every day that can stay dark when your not there.  Drink 1 bottle of water everyday with 3 tablespoons of the remedy you beat up in it, until you run out of remedy or the jungle rot goes away, whichever comes first.
If you question sulphur and homeopathy just research it and try to think outside the box.
Once you get that going then start healing the skin.
The DMSO seems to work better when diluted in a 20% solution with ½ filtered water and ½ hydrogen peroxide in a sprayer (pour DMSO in a bottle and top it with clean water and hydrogen peroxide) Spray it on; wrap your hands or feet in a moist towel (like the towel you used to dry off from the shower) and lay still for at least an hour.  Remove the towel and air dry.  The DMSO will keep working for about 4 hours but if it is dry you can put some socks on and walk to the frig but you need to stay down for the night.
If the solution seems to not work, add more DMSO to the solution.  This is when the liquid DMSO is easier to use than the gel. But if you apply the DMSO at 100% it is best to have the gel.  Don’t buy the DMSO that is already diluted.  You need the pure stuff, straight from the plant where it was extracted from the processing of wood pulp from trees.
I get mine from dmso.com but don’t ask them medical questions or they may not sell it to you.  They are industrial.  It is only legal to use it as a non-medical for humans but vets use it on their patients.  It’s just our lazy FDA, really, I read a book on it.  Very interesting stuff!  It was called “DMSO Nature’s Healer” ISBN 0-89529-548-2.  I got it on Amazon.
I can't explain all aspects but you should get the general idea, research it, its worth it.

Dana
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
You may want to also look into a gadget called the zapper by Hulda Clark - again you can find her book on Amazon, "A cure for all diseases".  The zapper literally zaps bacteria, viruses and parasites.  I've seen it work on all 3.  I rid my 5 year old of a fever caused by virus as well as myself.  If you have worms when you use a zapper, you will poop them out (enough proof for me).
The zapper could have been a factor in the "jungle rot".  I hit it with all 3 (remedy, DMSO, zapper) within a months time. I had had enough of it.
Also DMSO  is Dimethyl Sulfoxide.

Dana
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Same problem with peeling thumbs here.
Happens every winter for as long as I can remember.
I also get herpes lip soars, but I've found a 100% cure for that. The cure is Lycine; POP a 1k milligram lycine pill in ur mouth when u feel a herpes soar coming on and viola! The soar never surfaces.
I'm gonna check to see if lycine helps my thumbs, ill repost if it works.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Same problem with peeling thumbs here.
Happens every winter for as long as I can remember.
I also get herpes lip soars, but I've found a 100% cure for that. The cure is Lycine; POP a 1k milligram lycine pill in ur mouth when u feel a herpes soar coming on and viola! The soar never surfaces.
I'm gonna check to see if lycine helps my thumbs, ill repost if it works.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have had this condition for many years and been diagnosed with ecezma (eczema) and the prescribed medications never work.  The best thing I have foiund is to put Polysporin on both thumbs (inside) at night and cover with a bandaid. Both areas are always much improved in the morning.  Hope this helps.  I know these posts are very old.  But I just had an outbreak and started "googling".  Another thing that seems to help is a vitamin b shot.  
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I can't believe I found people with the same problem! I moved to Texas from Michigan and thought that was 1 thing that would go away.  But it got worse!  think about this...I've heard in the winter time our organs don't function as well as in the other seasons.  Especially the kidneys and liver.  And they are the primary organs for cleansing out our system.  And the skin is the largest organ we have.  so if those organs aren't working up to their potential, then the toxins would come out our skin...such as the blisters and cracks and such.  I've been taking a lot of Tylenol for pain so Im probably burning them out.  So I'm going to try a liver cleanse with vitamins that help strengthen and support those organs.  That way the kidneys and liver can do their jobs and no more cracked skin.  does that make sense???  I'm starting a liver cleanse now and am taking food supplements to strengthen my kidneys all the while cutting down dramatically on the tylenol and motrin.  We'll see how it goes....
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I just noticed your post from several years ago about 'peeling thumb' on a forum. I have the same thing you do. Doctors seem baffled, and none of the ointments and steroids they have prescribed have done any good. Aveeno Ecxema Therapy makes it feel better, but it seems to have to run its course. Mine comes every later May/early June and is usually gone by the end of July. For some reason, this year is arrived in late June and I still have it at the end of August. It was going away in early August, but I have a bad case of asthmatic bronchitis/reactive airways and I think that triggered it to return. Since your post 5 yrs ago, have you found anything that heals it?
Blank
8066805_tn?1396439684
Buy an organic Aloe Vera plant; and cut a small peace of it and use its inside Gel as lotion on the dry irritated area of your skin (your thumb). Repeat applying it every time after whenever you wash the dry irritated skin, 5 times a day, for one a week. The Vitamin "E" rich planet should rejuvenate and revitalize your dry dead skin back to live once again. You may want to make the green Vitamin "E" rich Aloe Vera plant the lotion of your choice for a healthier skin. You can even apply it to your face. If you experience an allergic reaction after applying the Aloe Vera Gel (which is really unheard of as Aloe Vera Gel is being used to make a dessert), simply stop, and wash your skin with water. Make sure to keep your Aloe Vera Refrigerated to keep it fresh, if you're planning to use it again.  
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Dana,
Sounds like I know you. You sound like you did your homework. The combination of Sulphur and DMSO is excellent for ridding fungal and other dermatitis.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have experienced a similar skin condition on my thumb and index fingers and finally discovered it was from my steering wheel! I bought a new car 6 months ago and started to develop this rash/ bumpy/ flaky condition soon after- but I only realized the connection now, I am allergic to the steering wheel and this causes a very uncomfortable reaction.
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Dermatology Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
469720_tn?1388149949
Blank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Dermatology Answerers
995833_tn?1375604252
Blank
maatson
Other
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
PMDER1
San francisco, CA
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
diane493
209987_tn?1334790318
Blank
tschock
AB