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Winter - fingertips peel
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Winter - fingertips peel

I'm 27 and as early as I can remember I've had problems with my hands and feet peeling, but only during the winter months.  As I grew to my teens, my feet stopped peeling annually but my fingertips continue to peel every-year with varying degrees of severity.  

The symptops always begin with a small red bump (at times so small they are unnoticable) somewhere on the fingertip pad (never around the nails, that seems to be a more common issue called Kawasaki disease).  The red bump is usually sensitive to the touch and within a day with turn a "white" color and a small bubble will develop under the skin... usually within a day or two it will rub off or pop and a layer or two of skin will come off.  The small bubble has no discharge.  Once popped it continues to peel outward and the few remaining layers become sore/cracked and sensitive to the touch.  It always begins on my ring fingers with all the other finger tips soon to follow.

I've been to many dermatologists who have mostly dismissed the issue as eczema (which i am certain they call any skin they can't figure out).  I've used many creams and lotions, both mediated, steriod and over the counter to no avail.  I have absolutely no other skin issues (excellent complection, not oily or dry) just cursed by the winter months.  

The only fix i've found is going on holiday to a warm climate, which usually clears up the problem in a week.

In many other forums, i've seen others describe this very issue and usually the topic becomes cluttered with people that have finger numbness w/ skin thickening, Kawasaki disease, skin fungus or something unrelated which is not my intent here.  I'm hoping to others that I've seen on the net forums have the same issue i've described here to see if anyone has found relief that didn't involve moving to Hawaii.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have this too and would love to find out what it is and how to treat it.  Lots of discussions on the web get muddied with excema, dermatitis etc.

Lots of people in the general population worldwide have this (I've seen people in the street picking at their skin so I know they have it too and looked at their hands).  I think it is contagious (I first got it after using a keyboard that a fellow worker who had it had been using) and seems to be cyclical (maybe tied into hormones with period?)

It is definitely worse/harder to manage when my hands get wet.  I've tried steroid creams, fungal creams, intensive moisturising creams but with no real success.  It just seems to flare up every month or so no matter what.  I have had this now for about 5 years and am very sick and tired of it and constantly hiding my hands.  This is also affecting my career choices as I can't do anything requiring frequent hand washing.

Most of the responses I've had from doctors are that it is contact dermatitis and I've been told to avoid soaps etc.  I've also been told that I will never cure it and just have to 'manage' it.  If anyone has any suggestions for how to manage it or better still cure it please, please post here.

Another odd thing, it happens mostly along the side of my right index finger and the very tips of the other fingers and thumb and from reading other posts it seems to follow that pattern for many others also.  I thought this may have something to do with a reaction to a keyboard ( I use a macbook).  Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

I've seen a couple of other posts suggesting taking fish oil may help - has anyone heard of this or had any success with this?
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Avatar_m_tn
Same here. I'm a 21 year old male in Arizona and its happened since I was a child.

Starts with white spots on the fingers or palm, they pop or tear, and then the skin peeling spreads and spreads. It eventually stops and happens seasonally, late autumn or so. Never had pain associated with the peeling until last year, but I was doing a lot of construction work last season so perhaps it had to do with all the stress and strain of my hands. I can remember recently, accidentally handling a high molar acid in chemistry without gloves and a day after my skin started peeling before fall. Similarly after working with my truck battery. However, my hands didn't peel after that! I was also up in New York for school and my hands never peeled, perhaps it also has something to do with elevation/climate differences?

As for my family history, only my father has it, although his is much less severe than mine. He did mention that it was as bad as mine when he was younger. So I'm guessing it'll decrease in severity with age. Some of my family members also have minor eczema... perhaps this is a mutation of eczema?

My solution is washing my hand with a pumice sponge to scratch off whatever dead skin I have and then after my hands are completely dried apply a petrolium based lotion with aloe, like \/a$el!ne Aloe Fresh. I choose this lotion because it doesn't make your hands greasy. Pretty much all day my hands look normal until they dry out again... Cocoa butter helps as well, but it's too greasy for me.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

Cold, dry air can cause dry skin, peeling, and even cracking and bleeding of the fingertips. Washing dishes without wearing gloves can put hands and fingers in contact with harsh detergents that can cause fingers to peel. Soaps and lotions that contain perfume can cause hands and fingertips to become irritated and peel.

Any type of trauma to the fingers, such as playing the guitar, can cause fingertips to peel. Peeling fingertips can also be associated with certain infections, reactions to medications and, rarely, potentially serious medical conditions.

A few simple measures can often stop the peeling, or at least slow it down:
Wash your hands with an unscented soap. Use an unscented moisturizer after drying your hands. Avoid trauma to your fingertips. Wear gloves when washing dishes.

Peeling skin is therefore a temporary problem and is known to heal in a few days as the new skin surfaces. Though there are few exceptions such as: 1)in case of infections or medications that cause the skin to peel or, 2) a hereditary disorder known as Peeling Skin Syndrome, all of which may require medical consultation to cure peeling skin. Some of the known causes leading to this skin disorder are: excessive perspiration, staph or viral infections, or excessive sun exposure resulting in sunburn.

Peeling skin syndrome is an extremely rare inherited disorder characterized by continual, spontaneous skin peeling or exfoliation. Other findings may include reddening of the skin  and itching.  Type B is associated with congenital erythroderma, a condition in which the skin has an intense red color.

If peeling continues, contact your doctor or see a dermatologist to rule out exfoliative keratolysis or dyshidrotic eczema.

Let us know if you need any other information.

Regards.

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Avatar_n_tn
I do not remember when the finger peeling started, but it is most definitely related to temperature change....circulation of extremities. Staying inside all winter works but is clearly not an option. Moving to a warmer climate could be an option, other than that, I have used pumice creams and nail files or something similar with an abrasive edge. What is happening does not relate to dry cold because miserable cold, damp fall or winter days will produce the lack of circulation in the finger tips; thus dead skin. I do not have any diseases to blame this on, blood pools around organs to protect them, thus not getting the flow to the extremities. I have not tried Dr. Erdman's treatment for this problem although it certainly worked when I used it some 30 years ago when I was always cold. I can't find him on the internet nor in the phone book. I lived in Philadelphia at the time and he was located in Broomall. Circulation is restored by applying witch hazel (long stemmed cotton swab) from the top of the spine to the bottom while lying covered up and then repeat 10  to 15 times. Can be done in the morning and in the evening.The blood that was pooling around the organs is now forced to the extremities because the blood vessels that have been dialated running down the back will now constrict, thus forcing the blood to the extremities. Give it a try........if you want. It makes sense and that is all that I remember this from long ago. A friend of my family was a nurse at the clinic when I was in my 20's. Does anyone have any other thoughts on this theory working for the peeling fingers.
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Avatar_n_tn
Tea tree oil and aloe vera ointment is THE most effective treatment with healing effects starting over night when you apply. It works well for me but it doesn't cure the disease, it treats it well.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have this as well - I live in California where there aren't that many seasonal changes and before that in Canada where the seasonal changes were extreme.  For me it's not that severe, lasts about 3 months and then clears up.  It starts with small sensitive areas on my palms and fingers that tingle or feel like tiny pinpricks when I put pressure on them.  I can usually feel them in the skin around the joints when I move my fingers.  After 3-5 days each of these pinprick areas becomes a small white blister and the skin then peels off with no discharge.  I have cut into these pinprick areas when I first felt them and discovered a small hole that appears to go all the way through the epidermis and dermis and has a small amount of clear fluid in it.  Draining this fluid and cleaning the area allows it to clear up and there is no skin peeling (but of course you have a small open cut, so this is no real solution).  I suspect this is some kind of fungal or parasitic infection but have no real proof.
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Avatar_m_tn
I live in India, and I have the same problem. It started when I was around 16, and I remember having a friend who had the same problem before me (I dont know if I got the disease from him. I think I got it the next year.) Last year I spent the winter in a city much warmer than my home, and although the skin peeling happened, but was much delayed. I almost thought I was cured...and this year it has just started now...from the tip of my little-finger on my right hand. I am Indian, male 25.
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Avatar_m_tn
Marijuana cures the disease as long as you smoke it.
When you quit it comes back.
I've had this problem my whole life. But the last 3-4 years I have been smoking it has been vanished. I recetly quit a month ago and now my problem is back... I can't continue to smoke marijuana though, But it does help.
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Avatar_n_tn
After 6 years, I google my symptoms and it appears a thread I forgot about is a top result now.  I have some additional information that has helped.  Since my last post, I married a lovely aesthetician and she has helped to dial in on some possible solutions.  At this point I can almost make it "peel free" through the entire winter by ingesting extra vitamin D.  I am currently taking about 1700 iu daily and am pleased with results.  Next winter I am planning to try a full spectrum light solution to see if that helps.

SimpleSally, thanks for your feedback.  I too worsen when soaking or getting my hands wet often.  I've tried moving away from detergents and on to natural soaps but no help.  I also work on a computer daily but only affected in winter months.

frenchh8er, mine appears in the family tree as well and only affecting two of dozens of relatives.  I was interested to learn you live in Arizona as my current hypothesis is vitamin D deficiency due to living in the upper midwest.  You don't happen to spend most of your time indoors?  This may bust my original idea of moving to hawaii...

Junosiu, thanks for the response.  Tea tree and aloe do not help.  I have tried a wide variety of therapeutic grade essentials oils and nothing as helped.

BhumikaMD, thanks for the response.  This definitely isn't peeling skin syndrome, dyshidrotic eczema or exfoliative keratolysis.  I did some google fu and the images/symptoms don't seem to match.

psy_fan, thanks for your response.  I can confirm that marijuana does not help the symptoms of this particular issue.
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Avatar_n_tn
Just to add to my thoughts.  I don't just take vitamin D, I am taking a multivitamin (700 iu of D) and a vitamin D supplement (1000iu of D).  It occurred to me that another vitamin deficiency is possible but the warm weather theory leads me to believe it's vitamin D related.  I'd also like to note that over the last 2-3 years I've drastically improved my eating habits.  As I've grown older, the symptoms has lessened each year.

I think it's also worth noting that as a child my toes would also peel.  This went away once the teen years set in.
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