by Eliza Martinez
The reasons for itchy skin are many, but when you’re in the throes of itching, you don’t care why it’s happening, you just want to make it stop.
Fortunately, figuring out the cause of your itchy skin can really make a difference because you can get appropriate treatment. If your attempts at treating itchy skin don’t work, or the problem gets worse, it’s probably time to see a dermatologist. In the meantime, read the following possible reasons for itchy skin and you might just find the culprit.
Perhaps the most common of the many reasons for itchy skin is dryness. When your skin dries out, it lacks adequate amounts of hydrating properties, which can leave your body feeling tight and itchy. Treating dryness isn’t usually difficult – all you need is a really good body lotion. Remember to apply it a couple of times per day, but most importantly right after a bath or shower. That way you lock in your skin’s moisture, helping it absorb more effectively.
2. CONTACT IRRITANTS
Sometimes, your skin reacts to a fabric, chemical or other item that brushes up against your skin. That might be a certain type of soap or detergent, or it could be a specific type of material – say wool or tweed. It might also be a plant, such as poison ivy. If you’re suffering from itchy skin, consider keeping a journal and recording how your skin feels at certain times. You should be able to detect a pattern and begin to see what things might be irritating your body and making it itch.
Eczema is a skin condition that strikes small kids, but it can sometimes persist into adulthood. Not only does it produce patches of dry, scaly skin that often turn red and oozy, but it can also make you extremely itchy. Luckily, there are some great creams and salves out there that really take the itch away while also reducing symptoms and making you more comfortable all around.
4. SKIN INFECTIONS
As gross as it is, sometimes certain skin infections can make you itchy. Many of them are contagious and are probably something you picked up somewhere. The good news is that most are simple to treat and require minimal effort to get rid of. However, if you do suspect a skin infection, it’s a good idea to see your doctor rather than trying to self-treat. Examples of skin infections include lice, scabies and ringworm.
5. BITES OR STINGS
If you have a nasty itch, but can’t figure out what the cause is, maybe you got bit or stung and didn’t realize it. Some bugs can get you without alerting you at the time. Mosquitoes and chiggers are two examples. Bug bites and stings often appear red or produce a bump at the site, so if you have only one little red bump, you may have gotten bit. Treatment is simple – ice can take the itch away, but you can also use a topical anti-itch cream until the bite or sting goes away
6. MEDICATION SIDE EFFECTS
Sometimes unexplained itching can be a side effect of your medication. If you’re on a new pill or drug regimen, check the info packet that comes with it and check for the possibility of itching as a side effect. If that’s your suspected culprit, talk to your doctor about a different medication. If that’s not possible, he may be able to give you some doable tips to keep the itching at bay.
7. HEALTH CONDITIONS
Several diseases can produce itching. That includes multiple sclerosis, kidney disease, celiac disease, thyroid problems, iron deficiency and certain types of cancer. If you have one of these conditions, itching is probably just a side effect. However, that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Often, treating the disease can help, but your doctor can probably give you additional tips for living with the itch.
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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.