Itchy skin is a very common skin complaint, and is usually caused by skin dryness, allergies or an underlying skin condition. If there is no obvious cause of skin itching, or there is no pattern to the symptoms, it is advisable to discuss the problem with your GP.
Skin Itching Causes & Triggers
Common allergies that can cause skin itching include:
- Irritants in skincare products
- Detergents or household cleaners
- Dust mites
- Pet hair
- Specific foods
Skin conditions associated with skin itching include eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus, dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis.
Prickly heat, sunburn and photosensitivity can also lead to skin itching, as can humid weather or perspiration cause by physical exercise.
You may experience skin itching as a symptom of hayfever, during which time your body produces very high levels of histamine (known as urticaria) as a reaction to pollen.
Infections such as chickenpox, fungal infections for example athlete’s foot, thrush or jock itch, and ringworm can all also lead to itchy skin.
Skin Itching Treatments
Some helpful hints to help better deal with skin itching are:
- Try not to scratch. Scratching can damage the surface of the skin which makes it more susceptible to infection and further inflammation and itching.
- Use natural products where possible. Chemicals and other irritants can further agitate the skin and make the itching more severe.
- Moisturise the skin after washing. This will reduce dryness and can help to lessen the itching.
- Eat foods that are rich in omegas such as fish, or take flaxseed oil. This will help to naturally moisturise the skin from the inside out, which in turn will reduce itching.
- Regularly vacuum your home and ensure to wash bed sheets at a high temperature to eliminate dust mites.
- During times of particularly difficult itchiness, try applying a warm compress to lessen the frustration and to prevent excessive scratching.
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