Causes of itchy skin and how to relieve it
Mosquito bites, chickenpox, and poison ivy aren’t the only reasons for itchy skin. See what else may be causing your itch and what can bring relief.
Bug bites. When bugs live on your skin or feed on you every night, the itch can be long-lasting and uncontrollable. Bugs that can cause long-lasting itch, include bed bugs, lice, and mites (scabies).
How to get relief: You can find out what these bug bites look like and how to get rid of the itch at
Itchy skin condition. The list of skin conditions that can cause intense itch is long and includes:
How to get relief: To get relief, you must know which skin condition you have. The best way to get an accurate diagnosis is to see a board-certified dermatologist.
Skin cancer. For many people, the only sign of skin cancer is a new or changing spot on their skin. Sometimes, that spot also itches and can be the only reason a person notices the spot.
How to get relief: See a board-certified dermatologist to find out if you have skin cancer. If you have skin cancer, treating it can get rid of the itch.
Warning sign of a disease inside your body. Long-standing itch can be a sign of several diseases, including:
Overactive thyroid gland
Itch is common in people who have a disease that affects their blood, such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma or cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. It can also be a sign of advanced kidney disease and often develops in people who are close to needing dialysis or currently receiving dialysis. In these people, the itch can be widespread and especially intense on the back, arms, and legs.
Itch is also common in people who have liver disease, such as hepatitis C, cirrhosis, or an obstructed bile duct. When itch is a sign of liver disease, the itch often starts on the palms and soles and spreads to other parts of the body.
How to get relief: Getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment may relieve the itch. A dermatologist often plays a key role in diagnosing these diseases because itch can be the only symptom.
Allergic skin reaction. Our skin can develop an allergic reaction to many substances. One of the most common substances that can cause an allergic skin reaction is nickel, which is found in many products that we touch every day. Products that contain nickel include cell phones, jewelry, eyeglass frames, zippers, and belt buckles.
Other substances that can cause an allergic skin reaction include nail polish, fragrances, shampoos, latex, and cement.
How to get relief: You must find out what’s causing your allergy so that you can stop touching (or using) what’s causes the itchy rash.
Reaction to a plant or marine life.
Plants – Poison ivy is famous for causing an itchy rash, but it’s not the only plant that can do so. If you’re unaware that a plant is causing your itch, the itch can be long-standing. Here’s a guide to plants in the United States that can make you itch at, Plants that can make you itch.
How to get relief: If you stay away from the plant or marine life that causes your skin to itch, the rash tends to go away on its own within a few days to a couple of weeks.
You’re 65 or older. As we age, our skin changes. By the time we’re 65, our skin is thinner and has less moisture. Dry skin can itch.
How to get relief:
If the itch is due to dry skin, your dermatologist may recommend making some skin care changes and using generous amounts of moisturizer.
Medication or cancer treatment. Itch can be a side effect of taking some medications, such as aspirin, prescription-strength pain relievers called opioids, and some blood-pressure drugs. It can also be a side effect of cancer treatment.
How to get relief: Ask the doctor who prescribed the medication or treatment if itch can be a side effect. It is it, your doctor may give you tips that can help reduce the itch and continue treatment.
Nerve problem. When a nerve isn’t working properly, it can cause itchy skin. If there’s damage along a nerve due to disease or injury, you can also develop itchy skin. This itch tends to occur in one place on your body and you don’t see a rash.
Diseases that can cause this type of itch, include:
Long after the shingles rash clears, you can have pain, numbness, itching, and tingling that can last for months — or years.
How to get relief: Medications that treat nerve pain, such as gabapentin and pregabalin, are used to treat this itch.
Long-standing itch can affect your quality of life. It can disrupt your sleep,make it difficult to concentrate, and cause you to scratch until your skin bleeds. If you cannot figure out what’s causing your itch, a board-certified dermatologist can help.