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Zucchini causing skin reaction
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Zucchini causing skin reaction

Hi there!

Basically, every time I chop up and prepare zucchini/ courgettes, the skin on my hands and fingers become really dry, tight and hard. Then a couple hours later, the skin starts peeling, and this can last a good day or so.

In my research on the net, I see I'm not the only one to experience this - but no-where have I found an explanation for *why* this happens and it'd be nice to understand it: one step closer towards avoiding it happening again (in a way other than just not cooking with zucchini..) Although not life-threatening or anything, it is unpleasant.

I'd be really grateful if anyone could help shed some light on this :)

Thanks guys!
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24 Comments Post a Comment
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563773_tn?1374250139
Hello,
It can be due to contact dermatitis to the food( Zucchini) which is causing this peeling and dryness. You can apply some calamine lotion at the rash as it will help in soothing the skin. For mild-moderate symptoms a weak steroid may be used, whilst more severe cases require a higher-potency steroid.

Symptoms can be exacerbated by dryness of the skin. Use good quality moisturizers to prevent moisture loss from the skin. During the day, hydrate and protect hands with a protective and moisturizing cream. At night, repair them with creams formulated from glycolic acid—a must for improving skin texture and tone. If still the symptoms do not improve then please get a clinical examination done by a dermatologist. Eczema has to be ruled out then. I sincerely hope that helps. Take care and please do keep me posted on how you are doing.

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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your reply Bhupinder :)

I was hoping to get to the "why" more than for a treatment. It goes away by itself after a day or so, and it's not sore, so I would just leave it alone until it disappears. But I am curious about the "why" it happens. If you have any idea why something like contact dermatitis may occur here let me know :)
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Avatar_f_tn
PS The reason I'd like to get to the why rather than the treatment is because if you can understand what's going on behind the scenes - you're more likely to prevent it from happening again. Treatment just helps once the problem's already there.
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Avatar_m_tn
The exact same thing happens to me. I'm going to start wearing gloves when I chop up my zucchini. I don't think anything happens to me when I eat it, but whenever I touch it (and I think it's just the skin) the tips of my fingers get really tight and start to peel, and the next day I'm fine. Weird, isn't it? I'd love to know why it happens as well.
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Avatar_n_tn
I know!!It happens to me too! My skin gets tight and dry and then starts peeling. It turns out that this reaction is a common occurrence, but not everyone has it. The reaction is called 'physical irritant contact dermatitis' and it occurs when the squash skin is cut and exposed to the epidermis. I think it's the sap that comes out that is the problem but some people think it's the starch or beta-carotene in the squash that causes this.

Apparently, this isn't called an allergy because you can have this reaction on your skin and eat the squash without issue.

Some of the remedies I read about included washing the affected area with dish soap, scrubbing the area with a small brush or rubbing the area with cortisone cream. So the lesson I have learned from this experience is to add latex gloves to my shopping list and wear them when dealing with zucchini.
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Avatar_n_tn
I can't thank you enough for posting this.  I just shredded zucchini yesterday and my fingers got tight and started to peel.  They were fine by this morning but I shredded some more today and the same thing happened.  I guess my questio is does this mean I shouldn't eat it or if it's just a skin thing.
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have the same problem and it only happens when I cut the zucchini.  The skin on my hands becomes so dry that my fingers curl in toward my palm and I am unable to extend them.  This lasts for usually a few hours but has lasted up to 2 days.  I have tried putting lotion on them, scrubbing them, and all the other tips I have found on the internet but nothing helps.   I can eat it no problem but have found the only way I can handle cut zucchini is if I wear latex gloves.  I feel better knowing I am not the only one this happens to.  Thanks for posting this.
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Avatar_f_tn
The same thing happened to me last night for the first time ever!  It was as if I got super-glue all over my finger tips.  I scrubbed them with every kind of soap I had in the house and nothing helped.  I even tried fingernail polish remover.  When I went to bed I slathered on the lotion and this morning they were back to normal.  So weird!  I'm also  comforted to know I'm not the only one that this happened to.  I seems that this particular zucchini had more sap in it than I've noticed in others in the past.  Maybe that had something to do with it.
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Avatar_n_tn
It happens to me too!  I am wondering if I should avoid eating zucchini b/c it might be doing the same thing in my intestines.  Obviously it is not "agreeing" with me.  I have never noticed any reaction when I eat it.
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Avatar_m_tn
Has anyone else found out if it is harmful to eat zucchini when you have this reaction? I recently started a raw foods diet and have been peeling zucchinis to make mock fettuccine noodles (very good by the way and tastes a lot like the real thing). Anyway, I noticed that whenever I finished peeling, my finger tips would be really raw and tight and like someone else said, it felt like they had super glue all over them. After a few hours they would peel a bit but by the next day, it was gone. I had thought that maybe it was sap or something from the zucchini that was adhering to my fingers and was just really hard to get off - I can't believe it's an actual allergy! I'm a little bit scared to eat zucchinis now even though I've never had any other kind of reaction to them. Has anyone found out?
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Avatar_m_tn
This is not a dermotological or medical issue. On the contrary, this is caused by slime on the zucchini after it is peeled. It creates a film on your skin that is next to impossible to get off. When it dries, it looks like it is dry skin and peels just like dry skin does. Since it is clear, many people think it is just dry skin. You will notice that if you wet your hand and scrape a little bit off with your fingernail, the accumulated scrapings have a distinctive light green tint. It is very difficult to remove the coating from your skin, but the best method I have found is to make a paste out of baking soda and scrub your hand with it. It still takes some significant scrubbing, but it will come off eventually. I've heard that a salt paste works as well, but I haven't tried that. Good luck!
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Avatar_m_tn
Use a fingernail file emory board to file off the hard skin it worked for me tonight! i cut zucchini and my hands felt numb and stiff my daughter said it reminded er of when she got crazy glue on her hand and the only thing that workd was an emory board so i tried it and it worked great! but i will never eat zucchini again! creeped me out!
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Avatar_m_tn
i went to my nutritionist today...told her about the zucchini and she thinks its from the zucchini absorbing pesticides...i am going to try organic zucchini and see if it does'nt happen then i will know for sure
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Avatar_m_tn
I did some research on  GMO genetically modified zucchini and I suspect this could be the reason for the strong adverse skin reactions as well. Try organic and see if that makes a difference.
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Avatar_f_tn
This just happened to me for the first time ever! My skin got really tight on the one hand I used to hold the zucchini while I cut it. Then the skin started to peel right in front of my eyes. I was concerned this was from some sort of pesticide on the zucchini as well, but not sure now.
Does anyone know if we should eat it once we experience this???
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Avatar_m_tn
I had this happen for the first time today. Zucchinis are from our garden with no pesticides or anything similar but could be GMO seed. ??  My hands also swelled in addition to the above symptoms. Anyone else have swelling? Lavendar essential oil took the swelling away immediately but the "super glue" fingers are still with me. I've done some poking around as I'm scared to eat them now. There is such a thing as a zucchini allergy. One man reported that eating them cooked isn't a problem but eating raw nearly killed him. I nibbled on a few raw while I worked with them. I feel itchy but think that could just be in my head since I'm worked up over the allergy possibility. :)  Thoughts?
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Avatar_m_tn
tweetsy85 is absolutely right.  You're skin isn't peeling, you're not having an allergic reaction.  There is no reason to avoid zucchini or seek professional help.  When you cut the skin of a zucchini it seeps a viscous liquid.  It's how it heals itself when it is nicked in the garden.  When you're chooping the zucchini for cooking, you get this liquid all over your hands.  As it dries it creates a film that makes your skin feel tight.  As it comes off, it looks like your skin is peeling, but it's just the film flaking off.  It is difficult to get off, but it is not causing your skin to peel.  If you check your cutting board, you'll notice the difficult to remove film covering that surface, too.  Try coating your hands with watered down white school glue and let it dry there.  It's easier to get off with water, but it will create the same tightening and peeling appearance.
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Avatar_f_tn
I just had this happen to me Saturday. I peeled some zucchini to make vegetable lasagna for my out of town guest (five kids) and my hand holding the zucchini swelled and started peeling! I was hysterical, and the kids were hysterical.  Three layers of skin came off, when my fingertips got sore I went to the urgent care and the doctor told me that I had some allergic reaction to the zucchini because I kept itching. I have a steriod cream and antihistamine.  I still have a slight hives like feeling. Those with allergies know the feeling that I am trying to explain.  I do not think I can eat this vegetable again. I feel traumatized.
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Avatar_m_tn
I ran several huge zucchini through my food processor shredder today. Now I too have the film on my fingers. Funny thing is, I've never had this happen before with zucchini. Butternut squash yes however. That gets a yellowish tinge film on my hands. Really annoying! But it always goes away after a few hours. Wearing gloves is the best way to deal with it. Those nitrile blue gloves work great, just like with jalapeno peppers. Some things you just have to work with it. I don't believe the squash skin is harmful and I will continue to prepare and eat the suckers. Where would we be without zucchini bread or all the other wonderful dishes you can prepare with the goofy green squash. I do think that letting them get too big may make the squash skin more apt to do this to the human skin. I got these particular ones from my brother's organic garden. Mine have never caused this. He lets his get up to 3 pounds each!!!! I like them a lot smaller but thought it was a good chance to get gobs of shredded zuke for bread to freeze. I'm going to try the emory board. Thanks for that remedy!
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Avatar_f_tn
I thought I'd research this topic today as it happened to me yesterday.  It was really the most bizarre thing.  I would describe my experienced as more of a numbing than a skin rash.  I had no peeling but noticed it, primarily on the hand I used to hold the zucchini while peeling it and secondarily on the hand I used to hold the veggie while shredding it.  My skin was shiny from the veggie residue and truly felt as though I had used some sort of analgesic on my skin.  I first noticed that my fingertips were desensitized to touch. I washed the residue off with simple kitchen hand soap and the numbing ceased shortly thereafter.  I have never had a problem eating zuchinni raw or cooked (I likely eat more raw).
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Avatar_m_tn
not it!  the zucchini from our garden does this to our skin and all we use is dirt and water for growing!  please tell your nutritionist!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I just grated zuchinni and the one hand I was holding the zuchinni started peeling really bad..the hand I was holding the knife in is fine...it must be the juices in the zuchinni....I was freaking out and realized it had to be the zuchinni causing this....so wrird.
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Avatar_f_tn
The zuchinni I worked with today came from my garden ..totally organic...still had the hand peeling.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the info! I had a feeling this was what it was, as when I was cutting up my zucchini last night I noticed it got all slimy, but it's nice to have it confirmed. I also do see the slightly green tint when I look at it carefully on my hands.

Too bad for the zucchini, it didn't keep me from eating it!
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