What causes itchy skin?

Fact Checked

Pruritus or itchy skin is an irritating sensation that forces an individual to scratch the affected area for relief. There are possible causes for itchy skin that range from allergies, skin rashes, dermatitis and even internal illnesses such as liver or kidney disease.

It is vital to consult a doctor for itchy skin if the cause is not yet known. Your doctor can determine the underlying cause and the appropriate treatments can be provided for relief. There are several home remedies such as over-the-counter moisturizers and creams that can deal with the itchiness.

Causes of itchy skin

Always remember that itchiness can occur all over the body or localized to a single area. There are several possible causes that tend to vary from one individual to another. In most cases, it can be due to a serious medical disorder such as diabetes or kidney failure or can be caused by a less severe issue such as insect bites or dry skin.

  • Skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, dermatographism, psoriasis
  • Infections that can lead to itchy skin include chicken pox, measles and scabies
  • Irritants which include plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, insect bites and even items such as wool, certain soaps, perfumes, dyes and chemicals.
  • Internal disorders such as anemia, liver disease, leukemia, thyroid, lymphoma and kidney failure
  • Nervous system disorders such as diabetes, shingles, multiple sclerosis and pinched nerves
  • Medications such as antifungals, antibiotics and narcotic painkillers
  • Pregnancy

When to seek medical care

If the cause of itchy skin is unknown or if it is severe, it is best to consult your doctor. You have to set an appointment if there are also other symptoms present.

How itchy skin is diagnosed

The doctor will perform a physical examination and be prepared with details regarding the itchy skin such as when the irritation started, if you have allergies, being in contact with irritants and the medications used.

Other tests might be required if your doctor could not determine the cause of itchy skin. A blood test can indicate an underlying condition while a thyroid function can rule out if there are thyroid issues.

Home care for itchy skin

At home, there are first aid measures that you can perform to prevent as well as relieve itchy skin.

itchy skin
Cooling an itch with cool water.
  • Apply a moisturizer on the affected area to keep the skin hydrated.
  • Instruct the individual to avoid scratching since it will only worsen the itchiness.
  • Apply over-the-counter creams for itchiness.
  • Instruct the individual to stay away from irritants such as detergents and soaps as well as those that contain dyes and perfumes.
  • Provide an oral antihistamine to the individual.
  • Instruct the individual to take a cool bath with baking soda or oatmeal.

When it comes to itchy skin due to irritation or other minor issues, simple first aid steps can help relieve the itchiness and discomfort.

Was this post helpful?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top

  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional