Itchy skin is a very common condition. These complaints often go away on their own, but sometimes they feel severe enough to interfere with daily activities. This severe itching can be a sign of certain diseases that need to be watched out for.
Itchy skin can appear in certain parts of the body, but it can also occur all over the body. Itchy skin sometimes appears accompanied by other symptoms, such as a rash or redness on the skin and rashes.
Itching that appears occasionally and goes away on its own or with the use of itch relievers (antihistamines) is not a condition you need to worry about.
However, you need to be vigilant if complaints of itching on the skin recur, feel heavy, or do not go away with drugs.
Some Causes of Itchy Skin
Itching on the skin is often caused by allergies, irritation, or insect bites. Also, several other conditions or diseases can cause complaints of itching on the skin, including:
1. Skin disease
Some types of skin diseases that can cause itching are:
• Scabies or scabies
• Ringworm or yeast infection
The itching sensation can be felt only in certain areas of the skin or in various parts of the body. Apart from itching, this skin disease can also cause other symptoms, such as skin irritation and redness or spots on the skin.
2. Dry skin
Dry skin types often feel itchy on their skin. Dry skin usually occurs due to a lack of natural oils or sebum which functions to moisturize the skin.
Dry skin can be caused by several things, such as frequent use of soaps or skincare products with harsh chemicals, dry air, frequent showering or hot showers, and prolonged exposure to air conditioning.
Also, dry skin can be caused by certain diseases, such as eczema or dermatitis.
3. Nervous disorders
Itchy skin that doesn’t heal or persists for a long time can be caused by a nervous breakdown. Several types of neurological diseases that can cause hives are neurodermatitis, shingles, multiple sclerosis, and neuropathy.
Besides, diabetes complications, such as diabetic neuropathy, can also cause itching.
4. Systemic disease
Itching can also be caused by diseases or disorders in certain organs or systemic diseases. Several types of diseases can cause itchy skin complaints, including:
• Liver disease, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis
• Impaired bile flow or cholestasis
• Celiac disease
• Iron deficiency anemia
• Kidney failure
• Thyroid disorders, e.g.; hyperthyroidism
• Cancer, such as leukemia and lymphoma
• Autoimmune disease
5. Allergic reaction or irritation to certain ingredients
Allergies are one of the most common causes of itching on the skin. This allergic reaction occurs because the immune system overreacts to certain objects or substances that trigger allergies (allergens).
Allergy triggers can vary, from chemicals in soap or cosmetics, pollution, dust, cigarette smoke, to certain foods or drugs, including herbal medicines.
6. Hormonal changes during pregnancy
During pregnancy, some women experience itching in the abdomen, arms, thighs, and breasts due to hormonal changes. This itching will generally subside by itself after childbirth.
Apart from some of the things above, conditions such as menopause can also cause itching in the skin. This is because the hormones change when a person enters menopause. Besides, certain psychological conditions such as severe stress, depression, or anxiety disorders can also cause itching to the skin.
Tips and Ways to Overcome Itchy Skin
If the skin feels itchy, you can try scratching it gently or using an anti-itch powder to treat it. Avoid scratching the itchy skin excessively, as this can cause sores and skin infections.
If the itching on the skin feels bothersome, you can try to overcome it in the following ways:
• Apply a cold compress with a clean cloth to the itchy area of the body.
• Take a shower with room temperature water and mild chemical soap and limit your bath time to no more than 20 minutes.
• Routinely use a moisturizer after bathing or when the skin feels dry.
• Avoid wearing clothes with materials that add to the itching, such as wool or clothes that are too tight.
• Reduce stress and anxiety by trying relaxation, yoga, or meditation.
• Identify and stay away from allergic triggers, such as dust, cigarette smoke, perfume, or soaps and skincare products with harsh chemicals.
• Routinely clean the house so that it is free from mites and dust, and change sheets, pillowcases, and bolsters at least once a week.
If you want to scratch itchy skin, make sure your hands are thoroughly washed and that your nails are short so you don’t risk injuring the skin and causing an infection.
To deal with the very annoying itching, you can also use over-the-counter itching medications, such as antihistamines or anti-itch powders.
Itching on the skin can be annoying, but it is usually harmless and goes away on its own.
However, you need to be vigilant and see Vial Dermatology CRO if complaints of itchy skin occur all over your body, recur frequently, have no known cause, or do not go away even though you have used anti-itch drugs.