Itchy Skin on the Elbows
You can experience itchy skin on any part of your body. Itchy skin is defined by the American Academy of Dermatology, AAD, as an itch or sensation that makes you want to scratch. The medical name for itchy skin is pruritus, and it can be caused by a variety of different factors. It is best to get a full medical diagnosis of what is causing your itchy skin, so that you may decide on a suitable treatment.
The elbows are often one of the driest parts on your body and if you feel itchy there, you may not even see a rash. Skin can feel itchy, reports the Mayo Clinic, and still look normal in appearance. Common changes to itchy skin are red bumps, blisters, red patches, dry flakes and cracked skin.
Lack of moisture is a very common reason for itchy skin. The lower humidity levels in the air will dry your skin out and result in itching. Winter months typically have lower levels of humidity in the air. Using central heat or air conditioners also take humidity out of the air. Bathing too often and using hot water to bathe can also increase itching, reports the Mayo Clinic. Some women also experience itchy skin during pregnancy.
Internal illnesses such as liver, kidney and celiac disease, also produce symptoms of itchy skin. Iron deficiencies, cancer and thyroid problems can also be considerations. Usually, if the itching is a result of internal illness, it will be felt on the whole body.
Allergies to perfumes, soaps, shampoos, detergents, foods, cosmetics or pharmaceutical drugs can also produce itchy skin symptoms.
Psoriasis and Eczema
Two other possible causes of itchy skin on the elbows may be from skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Eczema is a skin condition that often appears on the arms and produces a red rash that is itchy and may even be painful. Psoriasis is another skin condition that results in dead skin cells building up, instead of shedding normally. These scales are often itchy and painful. Psoriasis can appear anywhere on your body.
If your itchy skin is resulting from a medical problem, your doctor may prescribe medicated ointments or oral antibiotics. Light therapy is another option for treating skin disorders. For conditions like psoriasis, your doctor may prescribe oral or injected drugs.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that you try some self-care methods at home to get relief for your itchy skin. Use anti-itch creams and try to not scratch the area. When bathing, use lukewarm water, keep bathing times short and pat your body dry when finished. Apply moisturizer immediately after bathing and throughout the day as needed.
You can also add colloidal oatmeal or baking soda to a bath to relieve itching. Cool compresses during the day may also be beneficial for you.
Avoid irritants like perfumes, scratchy clothes, detergents and dyes. Some jewelry may also make itching worse, so use jewelry sparingly until you've determined the cause of your itching and have it under control.
If you scratch your skin continuously, you increase the risk of breaking the skin open. Open skin can get bacterial infections. You may also develop a condition called neurodermatitis, that can leave the affected area darker in color and consisting of a leathery texture.
For itchy skin caused by underlying medical conditions, it is important to seek a doctor's opinion and ensure the condition does not worsen or develop other health issues.
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