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Itchy Skin Causes and Treatment

Updated on December 15, 2015
Common causes of itchy skin.
Common causes of itchy skin.

The problem of itchy skin

In this article we shall be taking a look at some of the most common causes of itchy skin and how to go about treating an itchy skin. If you frequently suffer from an itchy skin, then it’s important that you take your time to read this article carefully and follow the tips and advice in the article.

So without wasting any more time, let us delve straight into the causes of itchy skin.

What causes the skin to become itchy?

There are so many reasons why the average person’s skin will become itchy. More often than not, the thing causing the itchy skin can be something as simple as the skin just being too dry or sometimes it can be as a result of a grave illness such as liver or kidney disease. There are in fact several possible reasons why the average person can easily suffer from an itchy skin. Below are the common causes of itchy skin.

Dry skin causes itchy skin

Dry skin is probably the most common cause of itchy skin. While dry skin can come as a result of many factors, the most common reason why the average person develops dry skin is as a result of the weather. Extremely hot or cold weather with very low humidity levels easily make us suffer from dry skin. This is the reason why a lot of people encounter dry skin problem during the winter seasons. Besides the weather causing dry skin, other things such as too much use of your air conditioning can also make you to develop dry skin. Also, bathing too much – especially with hot water can also cause you to suffer from dry skin.

The thing with dry skin is the fact that as your skin becomes drier, the itching become more serious, and it can also affect hairy areas of your body such as your scalp. You can find out more about the common causes of itchy scalp here.

Symptoms and signs of dry skin

Itching is one of the biggest symptoms and signs of dry skin. Other symptoms include the skin being rough and dry. Sometimes you might also notice red patches on the skin which are often very itchy.

Preventing dry skin

You can prevent dry skin by doing the following:

  1. Avoid bathing too much since too much bathing causes dry skin.
  2. Avoid using very hot water when bathing simply because hot water plays an instrumental role in drying the skin. Instead of using hot water to bathe, use warm or cold water.
  3. Avoid using harsh soaps and cleansers on your skin because they can easily strip away the natural oils from your skin and dry out the skin.
  4. If you want to avoid or treat dry skin problem, then you have to avoid using antibacterial soaps since these soaps are usually too harsh for the skin and can easily wash away the natural oils on the skin.
  5. Make sure to use a good moisturizing cream on your skin just after you have finished bathing. It is best to always use cleansers that are mild and which care for the skin. Some examples of some of the best mild cleansers for the skin include: Cetaphil and Aveeno. These moisturizers are very good in keeping the skin hydrated. I particularly love the Cetaphil moisturizing cream since it is extremely good for combating chronic dry skin. When you apply it on your skin, it locks in moisture while soothing the skin at the same time. In addition to these, you can also use great moisturizers such as AmLactin moisturizing lotion and Carmol moisturizing cream.
  6. Since low humidity levels contribute massively towards giving you a dry skin, it is imperative that during the dry winter days, your use indoor room humidifiers to humidify your room.

Doing the simple things mentioned above can easily give you relief from dry skin problems and save you from that irritating and annoying skin itching caused by dry skin.

Itchy skin
Itchy skin

Itchy skin caused by allergic reaction or irritation

Another very common cause of an itchy skin is as a result of either an allergen or an irritant. When the skin is irritated by certain things, then the skin can easily become itchy. Some ingredients in some cosmetics can easily irritate the skin when used and cause itching. Other times, itching can come about as a result of an allergic reaction. For example, if you are allergic to certain chemicals or substances or food, coming into contact with these things can easily lead to itching.


While powerful anti-itch creams such as Aveeno Anti-Itch Lotion and Gold Bond Anti Itch Cream will give you quick relief from the itching, it is imperative that you look for a lasting solution. So if you have noticed that coming into contact with a particular substance, food, or chemical irritates your skin or causes an allergic reaction which in turn leads to an itchy skin, then it is goes without saying that staying away from those things is what you need to do. Sometimes doctors prescribe antihistamine tablets for people suffering from allergy problems. These tablets are very good in controlling allergic reactions. It is imperative that you do not use these tablets without having first consulted your doctor.

Serious diseases also cause itchy skin

There are cases when the itchy skin can be caused by a serious and life threatening medical condition. In this case, the itching is a symptom of the disease. Some of the diseases which have itching as one of their symptoms include the following:

  • Liver disease
  • Cancers such as pancreatic cancer and leukemia can also cause itching all over the body.
  • Kidney failure
  • Iron deficiency anemia which is caused by insufficient iron in a person’s body. The end result is a drastic reduction in the number of blood cells in the person’s body.

In most of these cases, the sufferers don’t even know that they have such serious medical conditions. They therefore apply anti-itch creams or lotions and get some relief from the itching only for the itching to come again a short while later simply because the main cause of the itching isn’t being tackled since it is unknown. This is the reason why it is imperative that we visit the nearest health facility on a regular basis for regular checkups.

When your itching is caused by a serious disease such as cancer, treating or managing the disease is not only important in getting relief from the itching but it is also important in saving your life.

Pregnancy causes itchy skin

One of the many problems some women face during pregnancy is itchy skin. Many women, who have been pregnant before, would tell you that suffering from an itchy skin wasn’t an uncommon thing during the period of their pregnancies. For some pregnant women, the itching is more severe on the following parts of their bodies: legs, arms, torso, abdomen, thighs and breasts. The itching normally goes after delivery.


If you are pregnant and suffering from an itchy skin, the best thing to do is to hurry to your midwife or doctor’s office to seek advice. Your doctor will examine you and give you the necessary treatment. It is important that you do not use any drugs or medication to try to get some relief from the itching without your doctor’s advice.

Itching during menopause

Women in their menopause also tend to experience a lot of problems with itching. A woman in her menopause is one who has stopped menstruating because she is growing older. Women often enter into menopause around the age of 50. While it is not exactly clear what is responsible for the itching that many menopausal women face, many health experts believe that the itching is likely caused by the hormonal changes that menopausal women experience.

Remedies for itchy skin during menopause

You can avoid the highly irritating problem of itchy skin during menopause by doing the following things to keep the skin hydrated all the time:

  • Drinking lots of water
  • Using warm water to bathe instead of using steaming hot water
  • Using good and mild moisturizers and cleansers such as Cetaphil and AmLactin moisturizing lotion
  • Avoiding the use of harsh soaps and detergents
  • Wearing cotton and loose fitting clothes
  • Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake

Other things that can cause itchy skin

Besides the things mentioned above, there are several other things that can easily cause itchy skin. Some of these things include the following:

  • Skin conditions such as scabies, lice infestation, hives, eczema, etc.
  • Infections such as chickenpox, ringworm, yeast infections, athlete’s foot, etc.
  • Psychological problems such as depression and anxiety can also cause itchy skin.
  • Insect bites such as mosquito and flea bites.


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