Your skin may be itchy for any number of reasons. Some are easily handled, while others may require a check-in with a doctor. If you’ve been dealing with persistently itchy skin, here are a few things you’ll need to know.
General Reasons for Itchy Skin
Pruritis or itchy skin can happen as you age. The reason for this itchiness is that the skin loses moisture more easily and the body doesn’t produce lubricating oils as well as it used to. This itchiness can last for short periods or happen after doing activities that remove moisture from the skin. Persons with itchy skin may notice redness, blisters, and cracked skin.
Itchy skin may affect small areas or the whole body depending on the cause of the irritation. Generally, dry skin can be normal, especially for those who are older. It’s possible to alleviate the itchiness by using moisturizing products on your skin regularly. Over-the-counter anti-itching products may also provide some relief.
However, if nothing helps and the itchiness persists or spreads, that’s a good sign that something else is going on. At that point, it’s time to consult with your regular physician or a dermatologist.
External Conditions That Cause Itchy Skin
In some cases, the cause of your itchy skin can be easily identified by taking a closer look at what’s happening on the outside. If there’s a rash, it’s possible that you could be dealing with any of the following:
- Fungal or bacterial infection such as folliculitis or impetigo
- Bites from small insects like bed bugs or mites
- Eczema or atopic dermatitis – In this case, the rash may be accompanied by dry, scaly patches on the skin
- Contact dermatitis or hives from coming in contact with an irritant such as poison ivy or an allergen like wool
Certain conditions don’t have a rash but are no less irritating. These include:
- Parasitic infections
- Xerosis (dry skin)