Itchy skin is a common complaint of dermatology patients. Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, is most often caused by dry skin. Dry skin is commonly a result of external environmental factors such as low-humidity, long-term use of air conditioners, central heating or washing and bathing too much. Itchy skin can also be caused by numerous other conditions including hives, eczema (atopic dermatitis), psoriasis, rashes, seborrheic keratoses, seborrheic dermatitis, mites (scabies), lice, chickenpox, bites or infections.
At times, itchy skin may also be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition such as liver disease, celiac disease, kidney disease, thyroid problems and leukemia.
Other possible causes of itchy skin are:
Nerve Disorders such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and herpes zoster (shingles) can cause itching.
Irritation and allergic reactions of the skin.
Certain medications – drug rashes can cause widespread rashes and itching of the skin
Pregnancy – some women experience itchy skin during pregnancy. In addition, many conditions, such as dermatitis and eczema, can worsen during a woman’s pregnancy.
In many cases it can be difficult to determine the cause of itchy skin. Sometimes, a blood test or even skin biopsy may be necessary to discover the cause. It’s important to treat the underlying cause to most effectively relieve the itching. Topical steroid creams, oral antihistamines and moisturizers may be effective until a cause is determined.
The best way to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment is to see a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Holy in Phoenix. To schedule a consultation, contact THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology at 602-867-7546 or website.