The Itch That Cant Be Scratched
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Being itchy is a real pain. Especially if there is no sign of a rash, identifying the cause of itchiness can be difficult. Itchiness can be the result of so many different factors that finding relief may take a while. Here are some common causes of itchy skin that may not result in a rash.
How To Decipher Your Itch
If you wonder whats causing your itch, here are some symptoms to watch for:
- Dry skin. Your skin feels dry and itchy and appears flaky. Moisturizers help ease the itch, even if relief is temporary.
- Reactions to medications. If youve started a new medication, watch for an itch that comes with a skin rash.
- Skin conditions, like eczema and hives. Itching will usually affect specific areas, and you may see redness, bumps or blisters on your skin.
- An underlying illness. Itching typically involves your whole body, and your skin generally looks normal.
What Causes Itchy Skin At Night
May 11, 2021
Medical Review By:
How many times has this happened to you: Youre in bed, trying to wind down and drift into sleep, and suddenly your skin starts itching maybe so much so that its hard to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Youre not alone. Itchy skin at night, which doctors call nocturnal pruritus, is fairly common. The causes are not completely understood, but these factors play a role.
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When Should I Worry About Itching
Itching is a cause for concern when it is severe, does not go away, or scratching causes breaks in the skin. It is also more worrisome when other symptoms accompany it, such as:
- swelling of the lips, tongue, or face, which are signs of a severe allergic reaction
- skin flushing or swelling
- yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, which indicates a liver or bile duct problem
Your Nerves Are Going Haywire
Neuropathic itch, caused by nerve damage, is rare but can happen when your nervous system perceives an itch that isnt really there, says Dr. Charles. Often, this itch is rashless and accompanied by pain, numbness, and tingling, per the AAD. The culprits are many and include a pinched nerve, burn injury, or complications of shingles, stroke, or multiple sclerosis. If you think this is to blame, its best to inform your doctor to find out whats going on.
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Reasons Your Skin Itches Uncontrollably And How To Get Relief
When your skin itches, you may have a rash however, you can have intensely itchy skin and see nothing on your skin.
Mosquito bites, chickenpox, and poison ivy arent the only reasons for itchy skin. See what else may be causing your itch and what can bring relief.
Very dry skin. Extremely dry skin can be intensely itchy.How to get relief: Dermatologists offer these tips for relieving dry skin at, Dry skin: Tips for managing.
Bug bites. When a mosquito bites you, the cause of your itchy skin is usually obvious, and the itch tends to go away quickly. When bugs live on your skin or feed on you every night, the itch can be long-lasting and uncontrollable. Bugs that can cause long-lasting itch, include bed bugs, lice, and mites .How to get relief: You can find out what these bug bites look like and how to get rid of the itch at:
How to get relief:
Skin cancer. For many people, the only sign of skin cancer is a new or changing spot on their skin. Sometimes, that spot also itches and can be the only reason a person notices the spot.How to get relief:See a board-certified dermatologist to find out if you have skin cancer. If you have skin cancer, treating it can get rid of the itch.
Warning sign of a disease inside your body. Long-standing itch can be a sign of several diseases, including:
How to get relief:
Tips For When You Itch
If you canât take it and you simply must scratch, try not to use your fingernails. Instead, rub, pat, tap, or tightly hold the itchy area. You can also gently pinch your skin.
It helps to keep your nails short so youâre less likely to break your skin if you do scratch. You can also try wearing gloves to bed to protect your skin while youâre asleep.
You can try a few other things to deal with the urge to scratch:
Avoid âitch triggers.â Whether itâs a wool sweater, hot room, or a certain cleaning product, know what sets off your skin, then try to steer clear.
Cool off. A wet compress or cold shower can ease the itching.
Take care of your skin. Dry skin will make itching worse. Donât take long, hot showers or baths. Use a gentle, scent-free hydrating cleanser, and stay away from perfumed products.
Apply lotion. At least once a day, use moisturizing cream to soothe your itchy skin. Your doctor may suggest something that has menthol or calamine in it to cool your skin.
Ask your doctor. If over-the-counter creams donât work, ask about prescription meds. For example, corticosteroids can help ease the itch from eczema and psoriasis. If itâs caused by nerve pain, like with multiple sclerosis, an antidepressant or anti-seizure drug might work.
Watch for infection. Call your doctor if your skin is tender to the touch, begins to smell, or oozes pus.
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What Does Pruritus Feel Like
Pruritus causes your skin to feel itchy. This can be an uncomfortable or bothersome sensation that will only resolve if you scratch your skin. Sometimes, pruritus can be painful and other times, it could feel like something is tickling your skin. Scratching your itch can lead to more pain and irritation and wont always resolve your itch. If your skin is frequently itchy, contact a healthcare provider.
Itching All Over The Body
Itching diseases are one of the most common problems in human bodies. You might be having itching when you are in contact with different kinds of allergies.
Disease symptoms can be very confusing. Understanding symptoms should not be difficult, especially if you know what to look for. The first step to identifying what disease is causing the itching sensation is understanding that itching is one of the ways that the body responds to an irritant.
The next step is to understand what diseases cause itching all over. Healthline says that other diseases that can cause itching all over are: Pneumonia, hives, side effects of medications , food allergies , poison ivy, sunburn, chiggers, scabies, alopecia areata, contact dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, shingles, vitiligo.
Itching skin is a common complaint. Fortunately, there are a number of conditions that can cause this symptom, some of which may not be serious.
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What Are The Causes Of Nighttime Itching
Most causes of nighttime itching can be categorised as either lifestyle, natural or medical. Sometimes, nighttime itching occurs whilst you are asleep so you may not be aware you’re scratching until it is too late.
Other times you may find you can’t sleep as you’re stuck in the itch-scratch cycle all night long, which can often have a knock-on effect the following day, as it makes you tired and lethargic, affecting your ability to concentrate.
Simple lifestyle changes can be made if youre unsure of the cause of your itching, such as changing the material of your bedding or washing powder.
Home Remedies For Nighttime Itching
Oftentimes, simple home remedies can ease the itching.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening, since they widen blood vessels, which sends more blood to the skin.
- If you use a scented soap or deodorant soap, switch to a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizing soap or non-soap cleanser.
- Apply a fragrance-free, alcohol-free moisturizing lotion such as Cetaphil, Eucerin or CeraVe during the day and after bathing.
- Before bedtime, taking a lukewarm shower or bath or applying cool compresses to your skin can be helpful.
- Consider running a fan in your bedroom to distract you from the itch. Keep your bedroom cool , and use a humidifier if the air is too dry.
- Wear loose pajamas made of a soft material such as cotton or silk.
- If you think stress might be contributing to your itching, try yoga, meditation, stretching, deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation before bed.
Scratching can make itching worse, but the urge to scratch can be hard to resist. If you cant keep yourself from scratching, trim your fingernails and consider wearing cotton gloves to bed.
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What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will examine you. You’ll also be asked about the itching. Questions may include when it began, how long it has lasted, and whether you have it all the time or only at certain times. You may also be asked about medicines you take, whether you have allergies, or if you have been ill recently.
You Recently Started New Meds Or Upped Your Dose
If you just had your wisdom teeth out and were prescribed an opioid or youre on meds for high blood pressure, the pills youre taking could be to blame for your incessant itch. If youre noticing itchy skin as a potential side effect of a medication, talk to your doctoradjusting your dose, checking for medication interactions, or trying anti-itch meds can help, says Dr. Charles.
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What Causes Tingling Or Itching All Over
Formication is a type of paresthesia. Paresthesias are dermal sensations and include sensations such as prickling, tingling, or numbness sensations many define as pins and needles”. These sensations are usually caused by transient disruption or pressure on the nerves in the affected area for example, sitting with the legs crossed for too long can easily produce such sensations. However, when symptoms become chronic in nature, the causes become more nuanced.
Pruritus is not as easily explained. It is thought to be caused by irritation or stimulation of cells and receptors on the skin mostly related to nerves. Multiple conditions can stimulate these nerve cells and cause itching.
Lifestyle Tips For Nighttime Itching Relief
There are a few simple steps you can incorporate into your nighttime routine to prepare your skin before bed that may reduce the itch-scratch cycle during the night.
- Watch out for triggers: Avoid allergens in the evening as reactions can cause the skin to become inflamed and itchy.These allergens may include pet dander, fragranced soaps or lotions, cigarette smoke or dust mites.
- Refine your sleep routine: Get into a good sleep routine by going to bed at the same time each night and relax your mind before sleep to distract yourself from scratching.
- Cut your nails: Keep your nails trimmed short to avoid breaking the skin when scratching as this can cause you to become stuck in the itch-scratch cycle or for your skin to become infected.
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Home Remedies To Soothe Itching
As a result of a weak immune system, many people experience rashes and itching. And when the itching becomes unbearable, one might resort to scratching the affected area. This ultimately aggravates the condition. Therefore, we have compiled a list of some home remedies that can help you deal with itching skin.
The best home remedies for itching all over the body will provide you with relief and ease the discomfort of your symptoms. Here is a list of 3 potent and easy to use home remedies that can help you stop that irritating itch:
1. Aloe Vera Gel
This thick gel is known for its wonderful soothing effect on the skin. It is a natural moisturizer that has been used for thousands of years as a topical treatment for many skin conditions. Aloe vera gel is used to treat rashes, itchy dry skin, allergic reactions, eczema, and related dermatitis.
Menthol is an essential oil popular for its properties to relieve pain and itching. A study found that using a peppermint oil that contains menthol can effectively treat itchy skin. But always remember to dilute essential oils in a carrier oil before applying them to the skin.
3. Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal is finely ground oatmeal that can easily dissolve in water. The solution obtained forms a protective layer on the skin that helps to seal moisture. This way, colloidal oatmeal helps to relieve dryness and itching.
Causes Of Rashes In Children
Children are particularly prone to rashes that develop as a result of illnesses:
- Chickenpox is caused by a virus, and the rash is characterized by small itchy bumps and blisters that form all over the body.
- Measles is a viral respiratory infection that causes a widespread rash consisting of itchy, red bumps.
- Scarlet fever is an infection due to group A Streptococcus bacteria that produces a toxin, causing a bright red or skin-tone-colored, sandpaper-like rash.
- Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a viral infection that can cause red lesions on the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet.
- Fifth disease is a viral infection that causes a red, flat rash on the torso, arms, and legs.
- Kawasaki disease is a rare but serious illness that triggers a rash and fever in the early stages and can lead to heart complications.
- Impetigo is a contagious bacterial infection that causes an itchy, crusty rash and yellow, fluid-filled sores on the affected area, such as the face, neck, or hands.
You can treat most contact rashes, but it depends on the cause. Follow these guidelines to help ease discomfort and speed up the healing process:
How Do I Stop Itching All Over My Body
To help soothe itchy skin, dermatologists recommend the following tips:
What is the most itchy skin rash?
One of the most common skin disorders that causes a rash is atopic dermatitis , also known as eczema. Atopic dermatitis is an ongoing condition that makes skin red and itchy. Most often it appears as patches on the hands, feet, ankles, neck, upper body and limbs.
How do you know when itching is serious?
See your doctor or a skin disease specialist if the itching: Lasts more than two weeks and doesnt improve with self-care measures. Is severe and distracts you from your daily routines or prevents you from sleeping. Comes on suddenly and cant be easily explained.
What Are The Treatments For Itching
Most itching is not serious. To feel better, you could try:
- Applying cold compresses
- Taking lukewarm or oatmeal baths
- Using over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or antihistamines
- Avoiding scratching, wearing irritating fabrics, and exposure to high heat and humidity
Contact your health care provider if your itching is severe, does not go away after a few weeks, or does not have an apparent cause. You may need other treatments, such as medicines or light therapy. If you have an underlying disease that is causing the itching, treating that disease may help.
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When Should I See My Doctor
See your doctor if you are very itchy and there is no rash. It is very important to let them know about the medications/supplements, drugs or herbal medicines you may have taken.
- the lips or tongue are swollen
- you or your child have trouble breathing
- you are unwell or have a fever
- the symptoms keep coming back
- the itching is so bad you cannot sleep
- the rash is bleeding, scabs or has pus
- you develop severe itching while you are pregnant
It is always a good idea to see a doctor if your baby develops a rash.
What Is Itchy Skin
Itchy skin, also known as pruritis, is a common irritation of the skin that makes you want to scratch the itchy area. It can occur anywhere on the body and can be very frustrating and uncomfortable.
Itching may occur on a small part of the body, for example around the area of an insect bite, or it can affect the whole body such as an allergic reaction.
Itchy skin is usually not serious. But sometimes it can be caused by a serious medical condition.
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Reasons Your Scalp Itches And How To Get Relief
When your scalp itches, it can be difficult to think about anything else. You may feel that the itch will never stop, but relief is possible. Getting rid of the itch begins with finding out why your scalp itches. Here are 10 reasons for an itchy scalp along with dermatologists advice on what can bring relief.
Dandruff. If your scalp is dry and itchy and you see flakes on your hair or clothing, you may have dandruff.
How to get relief: If you have dandruff, using a dandruff shampoo and scalp treatments can help. You can find out how to get the best results from these products by watching the short video, How to treat dandruff.
Dandruff often causes visible flakes on the scalp.
Hives. These are red, raised, and very itchy bumps that can form anywhere on the skin, including the scalp. Hives tend to come and go within a few hours. Sometimes, hives go away and come back. If hives come and go for longer than 6 weeks, theyre called chronic hives.How to get relief: Hives often go away on their own, but if theyre long-lasting, treatment can help. Dermatologists frequently treat hives.
When hives form on the scalp, you’ll often have a rash of itchy red bumps that look like the ones shown here.