Itchy Skin on the Arm
Itchy skin is also known as pruritus, and is defined by the American Academy of Dermatology as an itch or sensation that makes a person want to scratch. The causes of itchy skin vary, as do the treatment options. If you have itchy skin on your arm, it's best to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
You can have itchy skin without having any noticeable changes to your skin, reports the Mayo Clinic. The skin may feel itchy but still look normal. It may also feel itchy but be accompanied by redness, bumps, spots, blisters, dry patches, cracks or a leathery or scaly texture.
There are many reasons why you may have itchy skin. A common reason is dry skin, resulting from lack of moisture. The Mayo Clinic indicates hot or cold weather and low humidity levels from air conditioning or central heating causes dry skin. Dry skin also results when you wash and bath too much.
Medical conditions may cause itchy skin. Skin conditions, like psoriasis, eczema, scabies, lice or chickenpox cause skin irritation. Red patches and bumps or blisters often accompany these conditions. Pregnancy also increase instances of itchy skin.
Internal illnesses may also be a factor. Liver disease, celiac disease, kidney failure, iron deficiency, thyroid problems and cancer are some internal disease that can cause skin irritation, though usually the itchiness will affect your whole body.
Allergic reactions also cause itchy skin. You may have allergic reactions to fragrances, personal care products, foods and even some pharmaceutical drugs.
Depending on the cause of your itchy skin, your doctor may prescribe medical treatments to deal with your condition. Medications may be applied topically or taken orally. Use of light therapy may also be considered.
Try treating your itchy skin at home with some self-care measures recommended by the Mayo Clinic. Use anti-itch creams to keep the itch under control and to help prevent you from scratching. Wear gloves at night so you don't scratch in your sleep and keep your fingernails trimmed.
Using cool compresses and taking lukewarm baths may also help. Add some baking soda or colloidal oatmeal to a bath to help relieve your itching.
For personal care, use soaps and lotions without fragrances or dyes. Use unscented laundry detergents for washing your clothes. Avoid products that irritate your skin such as perfumes, jewelry, cosmetics and cleaning products.
If your skin is itchy for a long time and you continue to scratch it, you may develop a condition called neurodermatitis. This condition results in the affected area becoming thicker and more leathery than unaffected skin. The patches of skin that are often scratched may also be darker in color and will also increase your risk of getting a bacterial infection.
Your itchy skin may also be an indication of an underlying medical condition that may have adverse health risks if not treated. Consult your doctor to diagnose the cause of your itchy skin.
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