Itchy skin is not at all pleasant for people who are suffering from it, whether it affects a certain area of the body, or if it manifests through rashes or not. Dermatologist specialists say there are a number of causes underlying this condition, and it is necessary to identify them correctly in order to address the problem.
Skin rashes do not necessarily cause visible changes on the skin and, therefore, may be associated with redness, spots or blisters, dry or cracked skin, or even bleeding. Home care, from daily hydration and the use of good cleansing products to lukewarm bathing can help alleviate the problem at least temporarily. However, long-term treatment requires identifying and removing the underlying cause.
Dry skin. One of the most common causes of itchy skin is dry skin, as a consequence of environmental factors such as excessive hot or cold weather, or even low humidity. Excessively using aggressive skin products can cause the skin to dry.
If there are triggering factors, this problem can affect any age group. At the same time, as people grow older, it is natural for the skin to become thinner and drier, which may favor the onset of itching.
Certain diseases. Skin diseases such as xerosis, dermatitis, psoriasis, burns, insect stings and urticaria can also cause itching. In some cases, however, long-lasting skin irritation may even be a symptom of more serious diseases such as diabetes, kidney or liver disease, HIV, or signs of overactive thyroid gland.
Itchy skin is commonly seen in people who have a disease that affects their blood, and can also be a symptom of kidney disease. In these patients, the itching will be typically especially intense on the back, arms and legs areas. Itchy skin is also common in people who have liver disease such as hepatitis C, cirrhosis or biliary duct obstruction. When the itching is a sign of liver disease, it often starts on the palms and soles and then extends to other parts of the body.
Medications. If you experience itchy skin when starting out a new treatment, the drugs you’re taking might be the cause.
Certain drugs, such as statins (used for cholesterol), blood pressure lowering drugs and opioids, are all known to cause itching that is not necessarily accompanied by skin lesions. In some cases, the itching will stop spontaneously when we stop taking the medication. It is advisable to consult a doctor who may recommend switching to another medication.
Allergic reactions and irritation. The skin may develop an allergic reaction to some substances. Nickel, present in many daily products, from mobile phones, jewelry, glass frames to zippers and buckles, is one of the most common causes. Other substances that may cause allergic skin reactions include: nail polish, perfumes, shampoos, latex, etc. If the itching does not disappear following home treatment, or if it is severe, or associated with other symptoms – such as redness and swelling of the skin – a visit to the dermatologist is recommended to diagnose the exact nature of the condition, and recommend a proper treatment.