Since 2016


December 08, 2022 3 min read

by Monique Youzwa

Monique has been a full-time freelance writer for over 5 years, plus has a few fiction credits under her belt and is currently working on a novel. When not writing, she spends her time reading, playing video games, hiking, and camping with her husband and daughter.


Few materials offer the long-lasting durability, versatility, and style of leather. Unfortunately, you may notice that over time, the material starts to crack or split. When this happens, it ruins the aesthetic of the leather, turning your favorite treasures into a discarded garment you no longer favor. So, why does leather peel, and how can this be avoided? Let’s find out.

Faux Leather

Faux leather goes by many names, including synthetic or vegan leather, leatherette, or pleather. What all these names mean is that this material isn’t actually leather and contains no animal products whatsoever. Instead, faux leather contains natural or synthetic fibers or a combination of the two. These fibers are coated with a plastic polymer that is colored and textured to give the finished product a leather-like appearance.

The issue with synthetic leather is that the PU or PVC materials and their coatings are not as durable as natural leather. The material begins to split within a few months, ruining its appearance. There isn’t any way to prevent this from occurring either, so it may be best to stick with natural leather to avoid such degradation.

Bonded Leather

Technically, bonded leather is made of real leather, though it doesn’t use the leather panels that higher-quality leather pieces contain. Instead, manufacturers gather the leftover leather scraps and shavings, grind them into a pulp, and combine them with a strong adhesive. Then the mixture is rolled out and attached to a polyurethane overlay. The result is an inexpensive alternative to high-quality leather options.

Though it includes some real leather, bonded leather has the same flaws as faux leather. With regular use, the reconstituted leather begins to pull away from the overlay. The more the material peels, the more unattractive the bonded leather becomes. Bonded leather also doesn’t have the same elasticity as natural leather. Even the slightest pull on the bonded leather causes it to split, which increases the damage and reduces the longevity of the piece.

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Natural Leather

Natural leather is made from animal hides and skins that are tanned and processed. The resulting material is durable, flexible, moisture-resistant, and breathable. It is also easy to clean and maintain, ensuring your leather lasts for decades with minimal wear.

Unlike faux or bonded leather, natural leather doesn’t peel, though there are times when it seems as though it is. If you notice cracks or scaly patches, it is usually the finish over the leather that is wearing out. Applying the wrong type of conditioner or cleaning solution can also cause a similar result, though again, it isn’t the actual leather that is damaged.

To avoid such unsightly issues with your natural leather, be extra careful when cleaning and conditioning it. Use only recommended leather products and follow the instructions for the best-looking leather possible.

Why does leather peel

Final Word

Synthetic leather goods may be cheaper than natural leather, though they do require more frequent replacement due to the eventual peeling that will occur. To avoid this issue, stick with genuine leather. Though more expensive initially, the longevity of this material is well worth the cost.

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