This Is Why Your Skin Suddenly Feels ItchyOctober 17, 2018
Have you ever wondered to yourself, why is my skin so itchy right now? Whether you know the culprit behind your itchy skin or are stumped because there’s no visible rash present, we’re here to help. Read on to find out what may be causing your skin to itch like mad and what you can do about it!
What Is Itchy Skin?
Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, refers to skin that feels irritated or comfortable. Due to this discomfort, many often feel the urge to scratch at itchy skin in an effort to find relief. In some instances, itchy skin is accompanied by bumps or blisters. In other cases, itchy skin is associated with no visible rash or discomfort.
The good news is that itchy skin can often be helped with a proper skin care routine and a change in lifestyle habits. The bad news is itching at your skin can create a vicious cycle of endless scratching. The more you scratch the higher your risk of damaging your skin or causing an infection. Unfortunately, when the itchiness is so intense it can be difficult to curb that urge to scratch and break the itch-scratch cycle once and for all.
What Are the Signs of Itchy Skin?
The most obvious sign of itchy skin is just that—skin that feels itchy and which you feel an urge to scratch at. According to the Mayo Clinic, itchy skin may occur without any other visible symptoms. However, it may also be associated with dry, cracked skin, bumps, spots, blisters, or redness. These skin issues can appear on one area of the body or be dispersed throughout.
What Can Cause Itchy Skin?
Ah, the million-dollar question. If you’re wondering why your skin is so itchy, you have to determine what is the root cause is. This is not always so easy since there can be more than one culprit behind your itchy skin. Nonetheless, we’re sharing a few possible reasons you may experience itchy skin below!
Itchy Skin Cause #1: Dryness
If you’re dealing with itchy skin and no rash, dry skin may be to blame. Do you live in a dry, arid climate? Is the weather outside particularly windy or cold? Certain environmental factors can cause your skin to dry out. You can also experience dry skin because of old age since skin loses moisture as it ages. Harsh soaps or detergents which strip surface oils and a poor skin care routine are also factors. If you suspect your itchy skin is a result of excess dryness, you may also notice your skin begin to flake or peel as you scratch.
Itchy Skin Cause #2: Allergic Reaction
If your skin is reacting to something it came into contact with, it may start to feel itchy. Think about when the itchiness first appeared. Did you notice it after trying out a new clothing detergent, or a new outfit made of wool? According to the Mayo Clinic, wool, chemicals, soaps, and other substances can irritate the skin and induce an urge to itch. If the reaction is more serious—such as contact with poison ivy or a particular ingredient in cosmetics or skin care products—you may notice a rash appear. Certain food allergies can also cause itchy skin.
Itchy Skin Cause #3: Pregnancy
Did you know that many pregnant women experience itchy skin throughout their pregnancy? According to the Mayo Clinic, this itchiness is most often experienced on the abdomen and thighs. What’s more, if you are prone to certain itchy skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema, they may become worse for the duration of your pregnancy.
Itchy Skin Cause #4: Certain Skin Conditions
Speaking of psoriasis and eczema, these skin conditions can often cause your skin to itch. This itching is typically limited to the afflicted area of skin, and may be visible alongside other symptoms such as thickened skin (from incessant scratching), irritation, bumps, or blisters.
What Can You Do To Help Address Itchy Skin?
Itchy skin can be incredibly bothersome. If the itching gets really bad, it could even disrupt your daily activities. On a more positive note, addressing itchy skin is not too labor intensive. Here are some of our tips to comfort itchy skin.
Tip #1: Apply a Cold Compress
Take a cool, wet cloth and apply it to your itchy skin for about five to 10 minutes. Wait until the itch subsides before removing the cloth. The coolness of the cloth can help soothe your itchy skin, and covering the area with a cloth can help prevent you from scratching at it.
Tip #2: Take a Bath
What’s more soothing than a bath? Avoid hot water since that can dry your skin out and cause even more itching. Instead, opt for cool (if you can handle it!) or lukewarm water in your bath. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends an oatmeal bath, which can be comforting to itchy skin.
Tip #3: Moisturize Your Skin
If your itchy skin is due to your skin being incredibly dry, a quick way to curb the itch and add moisture back onto your skin is to moisturize. Take your favorite moisturizer or rich cream and lather it onto your skin liberally. Be sure to do so daily to keep your skin nourished.
If the itching is associated with a skin condition like eczema, we recommend La Roche-Posay Lipikar Eczema to help relieve itching. The soothing cream—with colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and La Roche-Posay Prebiotic Thermal Water—can help relieve itching and irritation while delivering lasting hydration.
Editor’s note: If none of the above tips help curb your desire to itch, reach out to your skin care provider for a better solution.
How Can You Help Reduce the Chances of Itchy Skin?
When you know what’s causing your itchy skin, preventing it from occurring again and again is much easier. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help prevent itchy skin.
Tip #1: Avoid Hot Water
Scalding hot water can strip your skin’s moisture levels and dry out your skin. The drier your skin, the more likely it is to start itching. Instead of bathing in hot water, opt for lukewarm water instead and keep your shower and bathing time to a minimum.
Tip #2: Scan Product Labels
If you have sensitive skin, make sure to scan product labels for the words “fragrance-free.” Parabens are another potential irritant which you may want to steer clear of.
Tip #3: Be Choosy with Your Fabrics
Some fabrics have a tendency to irritate the skin and cause itching, especially if they are particularly rough like wool. If you notice yourself itching after wearing that wool sweater, you may want to stick to softer fabrics like cotton moving forward. Loose-fitting clothes can also help reduce the risk of your clothing creating friction on your skin and causing you to itch.
Tip #4: Avoid Extreme Temperatures
If you are prone to experiencing dry skin in the fall or winter months, take necessary precautions to keep your skin in good shape. Protect your skin with clothing while outdoors in the brutal cold, moisturize regularly, and avoid spending too much time exposed to artificial heat or air conditioning. A humidifier can be useful in your home as well.