Why Am I So Itchy? 9 Possible Reasons

Itchy skin can be annoying – especially when it keeps you awake. Itch-transmitting nerves called C fibers lead to a satisfying release when we scratch, prompting us to dig in with the fingernails even more. Too much of this good thing can lead to worsening itch, excoriations, scars, and even skin infections – not to mention prominent under-eye circles from a poor night’s sleep.

There are many reasons why we might itch. The most common cause is simply dry skin, especially during the winter months – when arid air, hot showers, and other factors cause an exceptionally irritable skin barrier.

But if you’re moisturizing diligently and caring for your skin gently, yet you still feel itchy, it may be time for a doctor’s appointment. A dermatologist can tell what causes your itchy skin, because there are dozens of possible reasons you might be feeling the urge to scratch. Here’s some of them:


Skin conditions

Perhaps you are experiencing a skin disease or condition that predisposes to itching, such as eczema (common types include atopic dermatitis and nummular dermatitis), psoriasis, dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis), seborrheic keratoses, bug bites, or hives. More rare forms of itching include autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, such as lupus, dermatomyositis, lichen planus, bullous pemphigoid, or pemphigus.

Allergy or irritation

You may have developed a skin allergy (allergic contact dermatitis) or skin irritation (irritant contact dermatitis) from a personal care product, fabric, plant (poison oak and ivy are notorious, though numerous other botanical and natural ingredients can cause similar itching), or other substance that makes contact with the skin.

Trigger-happy nerves

You may feel persistently itchy, zingy, or twingy due to nerve dysfunction – like after a neck injury (which can cause itching near the shoulder blades, called nostalgia parasthetica), or a tweak of the nerves in the arms and forearms (brachioradial pruritus), or in an area where the skin is recovering from shingles (post-herpetic neuralgia).

Infection

Some of us itch because of a skin infection – such as a fungus (tinea) or a mite (like scabies) – or a body-wide infection, such as measles or chickenpox (though no one should have to suffer from these particular diseases anymore, on account of safe and effective vaccines).

Medicine

Sometimes, the problem can be due to an oral medicine. Heart and cholesterol drugs, pain medicines, and antibiotics are among many that have the potential to cause scratch-happy tendencies.

Gluten

An intensely itchy rash called dermatitis herpetiformis can develop in some people with Celiac disease – but this skin condition is actually quite rare. True food allergies can certainly cause skin reactions, but gluten and other dietary factors are actually surprisingly uncommon reasons for itching.

Age

As we enter our 50’s and beyond, the skin tends to become drier, the epidermis often doesn’t function as optimally, its pH can change, there may be reduced immune function within the skin, and we are more likely to develop nerve degeneration or dysfunction – all of which may contribute to uncomfortably itchy skin.

Fingernail-induced

Sometimes, itching is our own fault. Conditions called prurigo nodularis (picker’s nodules) and lichen simplex chronicus form when we repeatedly pick or scratch at an area, causing the skin to thicken up and become even itchier – a vicious cycle with the potential to snowball out of control.

Medical conditions

If you have no rash on the skin, but feel itchy everywhere, it may be time for some lab work. Many medical concerns can trigger itching, including problems with the thyroid, kidney, liver, blood count, an undetected infection, or even an emerging malignancy.

 

Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp
Pinterest
Reddit
Delicious
LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

READ NEXT

8 Reasons You’re Always Cold 

Certain medical conditions can cause your hands and feet to always feel chilled. As anyone who has worked in a shared office space can tell you, people have different body

These Are the Best Activities for Osteoarthritis

If you’re living with osteoarthritis, chances are the pain, swelling, and stiffness may have limited your activities and fitness routine over the years. This “wear and tear” form of arthritis

Super Spice Can Reduce Inflammation

Our body responds to things like injury, pain or infection with inflammation. So, you may want to know that there are natural ways to heal your body, rather than take

9 Common Things That Can Trigger Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack its own organs and tissues. “What is lupus” is a more difficult question than you might think

5 Common Prescription Meds That Cause Memory Loss

Antianxiety drugs (Benzodiazepines) Examples: alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), flurazepam (Dalmane), lorazepam (Ativan) Generally speaking, this kind of drugs is prescribed to ease symptoms of anxiety disorders,

The Most Common Culprits Behind Your Heartburn

Whether you’re 17 or 71, odds are that you’ve experienced heartburn at least once in your life, if not more. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60

10 Healthy Habits Cardiologists Wish You to Follow

Heart disease is the biggest killer in the United States, more than all cancers combined. As you know, prevention includes quitting smoking, lowering cholesterol, controlling high blood pressure, maintaining a

8 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Minimize Your Pain

When you’re dealing with a condition that causes inflammation, you should change your eating habits. Yes, medication is important, but many doctors say that embracing an anti-inflammatory diet can help,

Natural Remedies for Hair Growth

If you want to improve your hair, you should stay consistent. Your hair is said to be your crowning glory, and it’s normal to want to improve your hair if

5 Causes of B12 Deficiency

A vitamin B12 deficiency, whether because you’re not getting enough B12 or aren’t absorbing it well, can cause symptoms like fatigue, difficulty walking, weakness, and confusion. Find out if you

Scroll to Top