Your Itchy Skin: Is it an Allergic Reaction or Something More Serious?
Itchy skin can have a variety of causes, including skin irritation and rashes due to allergies, changes in weather, detergents and more. Skin conditions like eczema and symptoms associated with chronic diseases like diabetes can lead to itching as well. Once you understand the cause of your itchy skin, you can get the right products to relieve it—and find ways to keep it from coming back.
What you need to know
There are many reasons for itchy skin with causes ranging from skin conditions, like eczema, to environmental factors and irritants that come in contact with the skin. Occasional and chronic itchy skin can cause irritation and discomfort, and scratching can injure the skin and lead to infection and scarring—which is why it’s important to get the relief you need. In addition to topical treatments, it can help to identify and avoid the triggers that cause itchy skin and keep your skin hydrated with moisturizer.1 Ceramides, which help restore the skin’s barrier, and soothing niacinamide are additional ingredients that can be beneficial in moisturizers for dry skin.
What to avoid when you have itchy skin conditions1
- Rough fabrics such as wool
- Hot showers and baths
- Excessive heat
- Irritating soaps and detergents
Why is my skin itchy?
Itching can be the result of dry skin, skin irritation, conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, insect bites, and medications, as well as contact with soaps, detergents, household cleaners and more.2 In addition, itching may be linked to stress1 and anxiety.2
Every-day causes of itchy skin
In most cases, itchy skin is more of a nuisance than a cause for concern. It can usually be temporarily reduced by eliminating the source of the itchy sensation (such as irritating clothing or undergarments), applying an anti-itch lotion to quell the urge to scratch or making minor adjustments to your usual routine.1 Dry skin can also play a role—and applying moisturizer regularly can help keep skin hydrated. Itchy skin after a shower or bath can be caused by too-hot water, harsh soaps and some medications. Pregnancy may lead to an increase in itching as well.2
Allergies and rashes
While itchy skin causes like insect bites can be easily identified, others can be more difficult to pinpoint, and potential allergies and associated rashes are important to address. A variety of factors can lead to visible hives and skin rashes that itch, such as contact with irritants, sweating3 and stress1—or have no apparent cause at all. In most cases, itchy skin and rashes caused by a contact allergy will resolve on its own with home-based care (including an anti-itch cream) to help relieve symptoms. However, if itching and other symptoms persist—and you are unable to figure out the reason or source—a trip to the dermatologist may be in order.
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