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What Makes Skin Itch

What Makes Skin Itch

Itching is one of the most irritating, distracting and sometimes embarrassing desire. But do you know what makes skin itch? Read on to get detailed information about the causes and ways to get rid of it.
Niharika Arya
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2018
How long are you going to tolerate itching all over body? How many times you feel embarrassed when you scratch without thinking about the people watching you? How many times you unwillingly do it and regret afterward? Yes, questions are many and when you are suffering from such a situation then you even feel bad about it. In medical terms itching is known as pruritus. It is a tickling sensation which can evoke an urge to scratch a particular part or area of the body. It may be observed in a specific part or all over the body. Itching on the entire body may be caused due to many reasons but itching on a particular place is purely a matter of skin infection or some kind of skin disorder.

What Causes Itching?

Sometimes itching can cause rash or red itchy skin bumps which may also indicate medical emergency. Hence it is very necessary to know what makes skin itch and how critical the situation can be if not taken care of in time. Following are some of the possible causes of itching all over body.
  • Allergies and Skin Reaction: Itching can be caused due to some allergic reaction. The reaction may be due to food, drugs, medicine, cosmetics, etc. Fabric reaction can also result in skin itching either when the person is wearing clothes which are made out of the fabric which is allergic or may be at night due to the fabric of bed sheet.
  • Insects and Parasites: Itching can also be caused due to insects and parasites like scabies, head lice, pubic lice, body lice, etc. The insects which bite and sting also cause itching like mosquitoes, flea, honey bee, etc.
  • Hormonal Changes: Itching sensation is observed in the people going through hormonal changes like pregnancy and menopause. Itching during pregnancy is also caused due to stretched skin. One can observe itching with no rash or bumps erupting.
  • Infections: Some fungal and viral infections can also trigger itching sensation. They are related to the skin disorder and are usually associated with a particular part or area of the body.
  • Condition of the Skin: Itching also depends upon the condition of the skin. Itching sensation mostly occurs in dry conditions and because of the build up of dead skin. Eczema or dermatitis, hives, lichen planus, psoriasis, etc. can also cause itching. In hot and humid conditions, prickly heat and sun burns can trigger itching. Taking a warm water bath before going to bed may induce itching during night.
  • Systemic Disease: Itching can be caused due to many diseases. It happens as a symptom for diseases like diabetes, kidney failure, leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, iron-deficiency or anemia, liver disorder, thyroid diseases, etc.
In case of intense itching which is reoccurring and stays for a prolonged period, you should approach a doctor. If conditions like breathing problem, swollen face, mouth or tongue are accompanied by itching then it may be an indication for anaphylaxis which is a severe allergic reaction and requires immediate medical assistance.

Ways to Get Rid of Itch

The treatment depends upon the reason behind the itch. Following are some of the itching skin remedies to get rid of this irritating sensation.
  • Take a cold or lukewarm shower or bath.
  • Stop scratching the affected place, as it can become worse. Keep your nails short and clean to avoid skin infections.
  • Avoid using perfumed soaps or shower gels.
  • Use moisturizer regularly to avoid skin dryness.
  • Baking soda in the bath water and oatmeal bath for itchy skin can be helpful during this period.
  • Avoid using fabrics that irritates your skin.
  • Wear light, loose and comfortable clothes.
  • Bed sheets and bed covers should also be of light fabrics and should be comfortable.
  • Apply ice over the affected area 3 to 4 times a day till the condition diminishes.
These were some of the itchy skin causes and tips to get rid of it. If you are unable to get relief from itching all over body then consult a dermatologist immediately. So, let's not make it an issue of embarrassment and frustration and follow the above mentioned suggestions to get relief from this irritating, distracting and tickling sensation.