Leather Jacket Peeling – What To Do?

Fixing a peeling leather jacket can feel like an impossible task without some extra help. Has the problem just started recently, or is your jacket beginning to look beyond repair? We've done the work and have the answers for you. Let's discuss.

From what we found, there are plenty of ways to repair a peeling leather jacket from home. The most common and user-friendly approaches include:

  • Permanent marker
  • Clear nail polish
  • Leather paint
  • Shoe polish

As we get into this post, we will be sharing the best ways to repair a peeling leather jacket and even tag some related products. Although this process can take time and a little bit of creativity, there is hope for your leather jacket. With that said, let's get this post started!

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

A peeling skin texture of a brown leather jacket, Leather Jacket Peeling - What To Do?

Does Real Leather Peel?

Variety of leather jackets close up

No matter if your jacket is real versus faux, peeling is inevitable. Genuine leather tends to hold longer before peeling than synthetic material but will eventually crack or flake. According to the experts, real leather can last for decades if cared for and properly conditioned. If your jacket ends up peeling or flaking, it is most likely the seal or finishing coat on top of the genuine leather.

How Often Should I Condition My Jacket?

When it comes to conditioning a genuine leather jacket, we recommend doing so every six months. This timeframe is ideal for those wearing their jackets weekly and exposing them to the natural elements. Sun and water are the main culprits in aging leather and can lead to peeling or flaking issues. We suggest using a leather formulated conditioner on your jacket as often as you see fit, and remember not to get it too wet.

Leather Honey Leather Conditioner

Here is a conditioner from the Leather Honey Store that has been around since 1968. This product is non-toxic and promises to condition your jacket without leaving a sticky residue.

View this American-made leather conditioner on Amazon here.

How Do I Fix A Peeling Leather Jacket?

If you find yourself dealing with leather cracking or peeling, luckily, you have some options. As we mentioned earlier, using products like permanent marker, nail polish, leather paint, or even shoe polish can help fix the damage. Whether your leather is natural or not, these easy-to-use products can help hide any aging your jacket may show.

Permanent Marker

This first repair option is one of the craftier of the group but can work to hide cracks in your jacket. We recommend starting with sandpaper and removing any excess flaking before using anything on your jacket. Once your leather is smooth, use a similar colored marker to shade in any areas where there is peeling or flaking. Also, using a shoe polish with your marker might make for an easier and better-looking final result.

Realeather Dual Tip Dye Markers

Here we have a set of earth-tone leather dye markers from Realeather. These markers are non-toxic, alcohol-based, and fast-drying.

Check out these Earth-tone leather markers on Amazon here.

Clear Nail Polish

Next, we have another peeling leather solution using clear nail polish. This is a great and affordable way to get your jacket looking ready to wear and can be done without using other products. We suggest sanding off any extra flakes before painting your jacket and sticking with a semi-gloss polish. Using clear nail polish will give your jacket a more rustic look, so do keep that in mind.

Essie Expressie Quick-Dry Vegan Nail Polish

Here is a clear vegan polish from Essie Expressie that will work well on a leather jacket. This nail polish is made from fast-drying vegan ingredients and comes with an angled application brush.

Follow this link to see this product on Amazon.

Leather Paint

Another way to fix peeling or cracking leather would be to use leather paint. Start with removing any extra flakes from your jacket, and then apply the paint with a soft brush. Once you are done painting your leather jacket, allow about an hour of dry time before wearing it. This method tends to work better on darker leather pieces versus lighter ones.

Professional Black Leather Paint

Here is a professional-grade black leather paint from the Leather Color Doctor that is perfect for filling in cracks. This paint can be applied with a brush or spray gun and has a lifetime satisfaction warranty.

See this professional black leather paint on Amazon here.

Shoe Polish

Our last repair suggestion is using tinted shoe polish on your cracked or peeling leather. This option is excellent for genuine leather and can be done using a damp rag and applied in circular motions. You want to massage your polish into the leather and make sure you avoid products with harsh chemicals.

Kelly's Professional Shoe Polish

Here is a shoe polish from Kelly's that promises to professionally buff and polish both real and faux leather. This product contains rich natural waxes and comes in a variety of colors.

Check out this professional-grade shoe polish on Amazon here.

What Causes Faux Leather To Peel?

Close-up of a black leather jacket

When it comes to peeling leather, faux materials tend to peel the fastest. Faux leather is on the lighter side versus genuine and is much more sensitive to water and sun exposure. The materials used to make synthetic leather aren't suited for everyday outdoor exposure, which is why you may be experiencing cracking or peeling. We recommend conditioning a faux leather jacket every three months to keep it smooth and peel-free.

What Is Faux Leather Made Of?

Typically, a faux or synthetic leather jacket is made with a combination of polyurethane and fabric materials. Polyurethane is a mix of plastics and is usually coated with wax to fight off the natural causes of wear and tear. Faux leather has become a standard in fashion due to the ever-increasing environmental movement.

How To Prevent Faux Leather From Peeling?

Making sure to keep your faux leather jacket as smooth as possible will come down to upkeep. From what we have found, conditioning synthetic leather often is the best way to prevent peeling. This can be done monthly or every three months, depending on how often you wear your jacket. We recommend using a product formulated specifically for faux leather if possible.

TriNova Leatherette Faux Leather Cleaner & Conditioner

Here we have a faux leather cleaner and conditioner from TriNova that is perfect for upkeep. This two-in-one cleaner is made with nourishing ingredients to help prevent and lessen the peeling your jacket may have.

View this faux leather cleaner and conditioner on Amazon here.

Colourlock Faux Leather Protector

Here is another product to protect your faux leather jacket from Colourlock. This conditioner promises to keep synthetic leather from peeling and dries on matte.

See this synthetic leather conditioner on Amazon here.

Is PU Leather More Durable Than Real Leather?

When it comes down to which type of jacket is more durable, the crown goes to real leather. Although better for the environment, PU (Polyurethane) leather does not age as gracefully as real leather does. Natural leather rarely peels if taken care of properly and can last years longer than PU options. There is also a visual difference between the two, having real leather look more natural versus a glossy PU style.

Cost Comparison - Real Leather Vs. Faux Leather

The average price tag of a real leather jacket comes in at around $300, while a synthetic or PU style usually costs under $100. Between the two, genuine leather costs much more upfront but requires less at-home care and eventual replacement. If you can afford a real leather jacket, we suggest finding one that has been sustainably made. There are also plenty of realistic-looking PU leather jackets for those not wanting to purchase natural leather.

FLAVOR Men Brown Leather Motorcycle Jacket

Here is a genuine leather jacket from FLAVOR that has a removable hood. This jacket is 100% real leather with a polyester lining and cotton filling.

See this jacket on Amazon here.

Levi's Women's Faux Leather Belted Jacket

Here is a faux leather jacket from Levi's that has great reviews from verified customers. This jacket is 100% polyester and comes in a variety of fun colors.

Check this faux leather jacket out on Amazon here.

The Wrap Up

No matter the material of your leather jacket, peeling seems to be inevitable. Whether your jacket is natural leather or a synthetic style, making sure to keep it conditioned will prevent cracks and flaking. We found that you can repair peeling on leather using products like a shoe or even nail polish. Leather paint and permanent markers also get the job done and can be applied on both faux and real leather jackets. Regardless of what your jacket is made from, prevention is vital, and a deep condition never hurts anybody.

Need some more leather advice? Check out these helpful related reads!

Should You Oil Or Condition A Leather Jacket? [And How Often To Do So?]

Does A Leather Belt Stretch? [And What You Can Do About That]

How To Wash A Faux Leather Jacket [4 Easy Steps]

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