Itchy skin: Symptoms & Causes

Itchy skin (aka pruritus) is an uncomfortable, frustrating feeling that makes you want to scratch. It is often caused by dry skin. As skin tends to become drier with age, it is common in older people. Keep reading to know more.

Symptoms of itchy skin

Itchy skin can affect the scalp, an arm or a leg or the whole body. It occurs without any other obvious changes on the skin. Or it might be associated with:

  • Redness
  • Scratch marks
  • Bumps, spots or blisters
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Leathery or scaly patches

Rarely, itchiness lasts a long time and can be penetrating. The more you rub or scratch the area, the more it gets itchier and the more you scratch. Breaking this itch-scratch cycle can be difficult. Recurrent scratching can cause elevated thick skin areas. This might bleed or become infected.

Causes of itchy skin

Causes of itchy skin include:

  • Skin conditions: Instances comprise dry skin (xerosis), eczema (dermatitis), psoriasis, scabies, parasites, burns, scars, insect bites and hives.
  • Internal diseases: Itching on the whole body might be a symptom of an underlying disease like liver disease, kidney disease, anaemia, diabetes, thyroid problems, multiple myeloma or lymphoma.
  • Nerve disorders: Instances comprise multiple sclerosis, pinched nerves and shingles (herpes zoster).
  • Psychiatric conditions: Instances comprise anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression.
  • Irritation and allergic reactions: Chemicals, soaps, wool and other substances can aggravate the skin. These can cause rashes and itching. Occasionally, substances like poison ivy or cosmetics can cause an allergic reaction. Likewise, reactions to certain drugs like narcotic pain medications (opioids) can cause itchy skin.

Occasionally, the cause of the itching cannot be determined.

Complications of itchy skin

Is your itchy skin severe or lasts more than six weeks? It is chronic pruritus. It can affect the quality of your life. It may disturb your sleep or cause anxiety or depression. Continued itching and scratching increase the intensity of the itch. This perhaps leads to skin injury, infection and scarring.

When to see a doctor?

See your skin doctor if the itching:

  • Lasts more than two weeks
  • Is severe and diverts you from your everyday routines or prevents you from sleeping
  • Affects your whole body
  • Is escorted by other signs and symptoms like weight loss, fever or night sweats

Itchy skin treatment in homeopathy

Itchy skin treatment in homeopathy gives you long-term relief. Also, it demonstrates an improvement in the primary complaint of itchy skin and overall well-being. Homeopathic treatment helps to avoid side-effects as seen with steroids like thinning of the skin, atrophy of the skin, and secondary fungal and bacterial infections of the skin. One must keep in mind that the treatment duration might vary from patient to patient, depending on several factors, namely, the duration of itchy skin, its extent and severity, and the previous history of treatment. Homeopathic medicine can:

  • Reduce itching and flare-up
  • Reduce the intensity, frequency and duration of complaints
  • Limit the spread of the disease
  • Stimulate the healing process
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce the practice of topical application.

Homeopathy provides a customized treatment plan. It reduces recurrence and improves the overall quality of life. Visit the nearest skin clinic for an effective skin treatment!

Self-help tips:

  • Wear cotton clothing. Avoid clothes and bed covers made of itchy synthetics, wool and other materials with a rough texture. These can irritate the skin.
  • Hot baths can cause itching and increase dryness, lukewarm water is better.
  • Keep fingernails short to help prevent damage to the skin caused by scratching.

Dab sweat away with a damp cloth and pat dry after an active workout or after engaging in some sports. As sweating can irritate the skin and lead to itching, shower as soon as you can.