What To Do If Your Hands Peel After You Cut Zucchini

Let's paint a picture: you've taken the time to figure out the difference between a green and a white zucchini and crafted a delicious stir fry (or one of many zucchini-focused recipes that taste so delish). You've settled into the couch after your tummy-pleasing meal, and as you reach for the remote, you notice it: Your hands ... are peeling.


"That's strange," you think. You smell your hands, and they smell ... well ... like zucchini. Bad zucchini? Nah — you would have tasted something off when you ate your meal. Could the vegetable be the cause of some sort of allergic reaction? Probably not, you think. 

A Reddit user experienced the same issue, noting, "I've washed it multiple times to make sure I got off all the goo. There's no pain or itchiness where the peeling is, just numbness at the tips of my fingers." A chef was quick to jump in and offer an explanation for the phenomenon. "This is NOT your skin peeling off, and not some kind of medical reaction, or allergy to zucchini," the pro began.

If it's not a medical reaction, then what could possibly make your hands peel after handling zucchini?

It's just a case of zucchini being zucchini

"There is a very fine 'slime' in the zucchini, and when you handle it, it gets on your fingers, and is rather difficult to get off," the chef revealed to the concerned cook. "When it dries, it stiffens, which is why your hands feel 'tight', and the peeling is actually just the hardened slime coming off your hands" (via Reddit).

The chef compared the phenomena to playing with glue as children. "It's like when we were kids, and used to put the Elmer's glue on your hand and wait for it to dry before peeling it off," they elaborated. "This slime is also what makes zucchini want to stick to your knife more than something like yellow squash or cucumbers when you're cutting a few cases of it," the expert cook added. The pro, who claimed 20-plus years of kitchen experience, suggested using a cleanser with scouring properties, recommending "something like an Ajax cleaner, or Barkeeper's Friend scouring cleaner."

Gluten-Free Homemaker has a theory about why the apparent peeling happens. "Have you ever cut the end of a zucchini and noticed beads of clear liquid building up on the cut end?" the blogger asks. "That's the sap trying to dry out and protect the cut end. It has the same drying and sealing effect on your skin."