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Problems With Itchy Skin

Problems With Itchy Skin Problems With Itchy Skin Problems With Itchy Skin

Overview

You may have problems with itchy skin if you have a condition that triggers your nerves to send "itch" signals to your brain, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, or AAD. Hundreds of conditions can lead to itchy skin, but most of them aren't serious or difficult to treat. If you have itchy skin, pinpointing the cause and getting treatment early on will reduce your chances of developing extra problems related to frequent scratching.

Symptoms

The problem of itchy skin isn't always limited to itching. Problems associated with itchy skin include redness, bumps or blisters, dryness, cracks and a leathery or scaly texture, according to the MayoClinic.com. Sometimes itching is so intense and long-lasting that it requires medical treatment.

Associated Conditions

Itchy skin that doesn't come with noticeable skin changes such as a rash is often caused by dryness. Dry skin is typically caused by dry weather, artificial heating and cooling within the home and frequent bathing, according to the MayoClinic.com. Other possible problems that cause itchy skin include skin disorders such as psoriasis, scabies and lice; internal diseases such as kidney failure, thyroid problems and celiac disease; irritation related to substances such as wool and harsh soaps; allergies to substances such as food, poison and cosmetics; and adverse reactions to drugs such as narcotic pain medications and antibiotics, according to the MayoClinic.com. Pregnancy can also cause itchy skin or make itchy skin conditions worse

Home Care

Many potential problems could be causing your itchy skin, but some basic strategies should help most conditions, according to the AAD. Shower in lukewarm water, toss harsh soaps and only use a mild cleanser with a low pH, gently dry your skin rather than rubbing it vigorously with a towel and follow up showers or baths with a moisturizing cream to help the skin seal in moisture. Dress in only light, airy clothing to let your skin breathe. Soothe extremely itchy skin by running a cool bath and sprinkling in some dry oatmeal, recommends the AAD. If your skin continues to itch, try a 1 percent hydrocortisone skin cream for no more than one week unless your doctor guides you to use one longer.

Complications

Prolonged itching and scratching can lead to problems such as thick and leathery skin, skin color changes, bacterial infections and permanent scars, according to the MayoClinic.com. To avoid these problems, seek medical care if your itching doesn't improve despite your efforts to reduce it or if the itch lasts longer than two weeks.

Immediate Help

Visit your dermatologist or doctor as soon as possible if your itching is so severe that it distracts you from daily life or sleep, if you can't easily explain the source of your itching or if the itching affects your entire body, recommends the MayoClinic.com. Also get a formal diagnosis if your itching is accompanied by other problems such as fatigue, fever, weight loss and skin redness.

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