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Causes of Skin Itchiness

Causes of Skin Itchiness Causes of Skin Itchiness

Skin itchiness has hundreds of potential causes, according to Itching can be caused by a skin condition or by an underlying medical disorder. Possible causes include lice, allergies, psoriasis, liver or kidney disease, leukemia, wool, chemicals, soap, antibiotics, and narcotic pain medications. Itching also can be a sign of a serious disease.


Hives are pale, itchy pink areas of swelling. They can occur on any part of the body and can result from an allergic reaction, medications, insect bites, sun exposure, pressure on the skin, internal diseases, infections and food. They can vary in size and can reach the size of a dinner plate, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Although most hives go away in a few days or weeks, some can last for years. When hives form around the eyes, lips or genitals, swelling can occur, and can be life-threatening if difficulty in breathing or swallowing results. Treatment includes removing the cause of the hives, antihistamines, cortisone and epinephrine for dangerous swelling, reports the AAD.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is a delayed reaction that results 48 to 72 hours after contact with a substance that causes an allergy, explains Skinsight. Symptoms include scaly red or pink elevated areas or blisters and severe itching. Causes include the metal nickel, often found in jewelry; neomycin, an antibiotic found in some ointments, eardrops and eye preparations; products that commonly contain allergens such as cosmetics, soaps and dyes; fragrances; and lanolin. Treatment includes preventing contact with the allergen, antihistamines, steroid creams and, for serious cases, prednisone.


Scabies causes intense itching and is caused by a tiny mite that burrows under the skin. An allergic reaction to the mite causes itching, explains the AAD. It is almost always spread by close contact with an infected person. Itching is severe, and it is worse at night. Tiny red bumps may be seen on the skin. It is often mistaken for other skin disorders. Treatment includes applying a medicated cream from the neck down to the toes, under the fingernails and on the soles of the feet, according to the AAD. The treatment may be repeated in one week. Antihistamines are used to control itching, which can last for up to a month.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, can progress to kidney failure, requiring dialysis if not detected early. The main causes of CKD are high blood pressure and diabetes, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Other causes include birth defects, polycystic kidney disease, kidney stones and autoimmune diseases such as lupus. Symptoms may not occur until CKD is advanced, but some people may notice itching, dry skin, fatigue, muscle cramps at night, puffiness around the eyes, swollen feet and ankles, poor appetite, and the need to urinate more, especially during the night. Signs of CKD should be reported to a physician.

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