January 25, 2020

What Is Itchy Skin

Itchy skin, also known medically as pruritus, is an annoying sensation which causes the urge to scratch. In most cases, the itchy area features redness, rough skin or bumps. However, sometimes the skin can appear normal, but the person may still experience itching sensation. Itching skin can be caused by various factors; some very harmful, such as kidney problems or psoriasis, and some relatively harmless, like a simple rash.

Itching may affect any part of the body. It may either be generalized or localized. The former is where itching occurs all over the body, while the latter is where itching occurs only in a specific area of the body. Sometimes there is a spot or a rash on the itchy area.

Anyone can get itchy skin (pruritus) but certain people are more vulnerable to the condition, such as: people with asthma, eczema, hay fever, and seasonal allergies, people with various kinds of cancer, people with diabetes, pregnant women, and the elderly.

What is itchy Skin | What is Itchy Skin | What is itchy Skin | What is Itchy Skin | What is itchy Skin | What is Itchy Skin |
what is itchy skin

Itchy Skin

Causes of itchy skin

Itchy skin that is not accompanied by other noticeable skin changes, like a rash, is mostly caused by dry skin or xerosis. Xerosis is usually caused by environmental factors that one may influence. They include cold or hot weather with low levels of humidity, bathing or washing too much, and long-term use of central heating or air conditioning.

Other possible causes of itchy skin

Other conditions like skin disorders, allergies, drug reactions, and internal diseases can also result in itchy skin.

Many skin conditions can cause pruritus, including psoriasis, eczema (dermatitis), scabies, lice, hives, dermatographism and chickenpox. In these cases, itching usually occurs in specific areas along with other signs, like bumps and blisters or red, irritated skin.

Internal diseases, such as liver disease, kidney failure, celiac disease (malabsorption of wheat), thyroid conditions and cancers, like leukemia and lymphoma, and iron deficiency anemia can cause itching skin. In these cases, itching usually occurs all over the body, rather than a particular area. The skin can look otherwise normal save for the frequently scratched areas.

Nervous disorders, like multiple sclerosis, pinched nerves and herpes zoster (shingles), as well as diabetes mellitus can cause itching.

Chemicals, soaps, wool and other substances may irritate the skin and lead to itching. Sometimes the substances cause an allergic reaction, like in the case of cosmetics or poison ivy. Food allergies may also lead to itchy skin reactions.

Reactions to drugs, like antibiotics, narcotic pain medications or anti-fungal drugs can cause widespread itching and rashes.

Some women experience itching skin during pregnancy, particularly on the breasts, thighs, abdomen and arms. In addition, itchy skin conditions, like dermatitis, can get worse during pregnancy.

Symptoms of itchy skin

Itchy skin can occur in small parts, like on the arm or leg. Sometimes the whole body can feel itchy. The condition can occur without other obvious changes on skin. Other times it may cause symptoms like redness, bumps, blisters or spots, dry and cracked skin, as well as leathery or scaly skin texture.

Sometimes the itchiness can be intense and last for a long time. When you scratch or rub the area, it becomes itchier. As the itching increases, the scratching also increases. It can be difficult to break this itch-scratch cycle.

what is itchy skin

How is itchy skin treated?

The first step in treating itchy skin is to determine what causes the itching and treat any underlying skin disorder.

If you suspect a drug reaction, switching to another medication can help reduce the itching. Most drug reactions, however, have a rash accompanied by itching.


Oral antihistamines help in controlling allergies and breaking the itch-scratch cycle. These medications make one sleepy and drowsy, so it’s unwise to drive or use power tools and heavy machinery while on antihistamines.

Antidepressant drugs such as sertraline or paroxetine can give an individual some relief from itching and scratching. This medication should only be taken when prescribed by the doctor.

Sometimes, the doctor can prescribe corticosteroid creams to relieve the itchy and inflamed areas. When topically applied with damp cotton, hydrocortisone cream helps in reducing the itchy feeling and skin irritation. These creams should only be applied for one week.

During and after showering, use cold or lukewarm water, not hot water, because it can burn the skin more.

Use mild, unscented soaps, and not scented shower gels, deodorants, and soaps, as they contain many skin irritants.

Apply mild moisturizing, scented lotions and creams after bathing.

Appropriate and clean bedding and clothing are a must.

Wear cotton clothes, which don’t irritate the skin.

Don’t wear tight-fitting or figure-hugging clothes until you recover fully.

Use mild, unscented detergents while washing clothes or bedding.

Spread soft, cool, and light bed sheets to prevent any extra irritation.

What is itchy Skin | What is Itchy Skin | What is itchy Skin | What is Itchy Skin | What is itchy Skin | What is Itchy Skin |

What is Itchy Skin

What is Itchy Skin

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