6 Causes of Itchy Skin and How to Treat It

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Sometimes, it can also be pretty irritating—literally. Itchy skin, or pruritus, can occur with a wide variety of medical conditions and can be very distressing. Itch is a frequently overlooked symptom and can lead to sleep disturbance, anxiety and depression if not adequately treated.

The causes of itch can range from dry skin to kidney failure and certain cancers. Here is a list of 6 causes of itchy skin, along with tips on how to treat them at home.

1. Dry Skin

Dry skin is one of the most common causes of itchy, irritated skin. Any time our environment becomes too dry (e.g., heat, air conditioning) our bodies struggle to maintain the moisture level in our skin. This leads to roughness, scaling, cracking and itching.

Treatment: Moisturize! Using a good quality moisturizer on all exposed areas after bathing can help keep your skin hydrated throughout the day or night. You may want to use a thicker ointment moisturizer at night since you won’t be getting it on your clothes or rubbing it off on anything else while you sleep!

2. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is any irritation or

Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, is a common problem that can be hard to diagnose. While self-diagnosis of itchy skin may be easy, it’s important to know when to see the doctor.


1. Dry skin

2. Insect bites and rashes

3. Infections

4. Kidney disease

5. Liver disease

6. Cancer treatments

Itchy skin can be a symptom of a disease. It may be localized in one area or occur all over the body. Depending on the cause of the itching, it may come and go, be constantly present, or get worse at night.

Itching can result from dry skin or there may be another cause behind it. There are many possible causes of itching of the skin, but some of the most common include:

Dry skin (xerosis)

Insect bite

Medication side effect


Skin conditions (including eczema and psoriasis)

So you’ve got itchy skin. What’s causing it, and how can you find relief?

When your skin starts to feel itchy, you might assume that dryness is to blame. But other things could be at play — from the weather outside to what you ate for breakfast.

Here are six common causes of itchy skin, plus how to get relief.

1. Dry skin

Dry skin (xerosis) is a common condition with many causes. Dry skin can be a symptom that indicates a more serious diagnosis. But in most cases, dry skin is caused by environmental factors that remove moisture from the skin.

Common environmental factors that can cause dry skin to include:

living in a cold or dry climate

spending a lot of time indoors during the winter

washing your hands frequently

taking long, hot showers or baths

using harsh soaps or cleansers that remove natural oils from your skin

The first step toward finding relief is understanding the cause of your itchy skin. Here are six possible reasons you’re experiencing this annoying symptom and what to do about it.

Whether you’re dealing with eczema, hives or something else, keeping your skin itch-free is no easy task. Learn the common causes for itchy skin.

Dry Skin

The most common cause of itching is dry skin (xerosis), especially in older people. Dry skin can be caused by winter weather, low humidity and hot showers. Emollients like petroleum jelly, mineral oil and cold cream are helpful in treating dry skin. Some people have such severely dry skin that they need to see a dermatologist (skin doctor) for prescription products.


Eczema refers to a group of inflammatory conditions that cause redness, itching and sometimes blistering of the skin. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which occurs in people with allergies or asthma. Other types include contact dermatitis from irritants or allergens (such as poison ivy), seborrheic dermatitis (a rash on the scalp and face), dyshidrotic eczema (small blisters on palms and soles) and nummular eczema (coin-shaped patches). Eczema can range from mild to severe and may require treatment by a dermatologist for the best outcome. Treat

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