Health & Beauty

itchingSkin itchiness may be a common skin condition but its causes vary accordingly.  It is easy to treat and address this kind of skin discomfort but one must identify first what causes the skin to react that way.  Below are the top ten causes of skin itchiness and some ways to get rid of it.

ALLERGY
One of the reasons why skin itchiness occurs is due to allergic reaction.  A person may have an allergy on something and its reaction usually manifests on the skin.  The skin reacts after the person is exposed to allergens or substances that he is allergic with, and skin irritation develops shortly after.  One must know what causes his allergic reaction and completely avoid it.  A treatment must be done immediately to ease discomfort and pain.  Usually, all it takes is an anti-itch topical cream to fade the itchiness.

FUNGAL INFECTION
Fungal infection may thrive in different parts of the body like the feet, the groin, under the breasts, and under the arm.  Though the appearance depends on the kind of fungal infection, the most common symptom would still be the itchiness of the skin.  Most common cases of fungal infection are athlete’s foot, jock’s itch, and ringworm.  To avoid having fungal infection, one must always be hygienic.  Fungi also thrive in warm, tight places, so it is advisable to wear comfortable clothes that allow air to pass through.  Anti-fungal topical cream is the leading over-the-counter treatment for fungal infection.

VIRAL INFECTION
Viral infection is also considered as one of the reasons of skin itchiness.  Basic example of viral infection is chicken pox. Itchiness may not be felt yet on the onset of chicken pox, but once the blister pops, the skin feels the discomfort. Measles also makes the skin irritated and itchy.  In both cases, the patient feels extreme itchiness and tends to scratch the skin as a relief from discomfort. Chicken pox may leave permanent marks when scratched, so anti-itch topical cream is also given to patients to avoid scratching and scarring of the skin.     

CHRONIC CONDITIONS
There are skin rashes and itchiness that lasts for long periods.  This is an example of chronic skin condition and constantly needs treatment when it occurs.  Eczema and psoriasis are examples of this.  Eczema occurs in patches while psoriasis appears in scaly rash.  Both are associated with itchiness and redness.  In this case, histamine triggers the itch, the reason why patients are given antihistamine pills to ease the itchiness and irritation.  Topical corticosteroids also help in easing itchiness and discomfort.  

INSECTS, BUGS, AND PESTS
When bitten by a mosquito, a red bump appears on the skin and is itchy.  Same result is also felt when bitten by red ants and bed bugs.   Bed bugs, like mosquitoes, feed themselves with human blood and when they bite, it causes bumps and itchiness.  Cleaning up infested areas where they thrive is the best way to eradicate insects and bugs. There are insect sprays that kill mosquitoes, ants, and other insects and are effective in getting rid of them.  There are also natural means like placing citronella plants where these insects are likely to live.  For bed bugs, it is safe to hire an expert in pest control or if the budget permits, a new mattress is the best way to get rid of them.

CHANGE OF WEATHER OR CLIMATE
The human body tends to sweat a lot during summer due to humidity and hot weather.  Excess sweat causes skin to itch and get irritated.  That is why it is recommended to wear loose clothing or clothes in light fabric during summer season to allow the sweat to evaporate quickly and not stay on the skin for a long time.  Basic example of skin itchiness during hot season is prickly heat.  On the other hand, skin itchiness is also experienced during cold season.  The skin gets extremely dry during the cold months and dry skin often leads to skin itchiness.  The advice is to apply mild moisturizer to skin during cold months to avoid dryness of skin.

HARSH SKIN PRODUCTS
Skin and hair products may also lead to skin itchiness.  Some bath soaps and shampoos contain not-so-friendly ingredients that strip skin of its natural oils. Skin’s natural oils are the ones responsible for making it supple and moisturized and without it, the skin will be extremely dry and leads to itchiness.  It goes with perfumes, lotions, and cosmetics that contain harsh chemicals causing the skin to react negatively.  Buy only the ones with the mildest ingredients to avoid skin drying and irritation.  

SUNBURN
When a skin gets burnt, it releases inflammatory cascade of molecules that causes the skin to itch.  The sun also strips the skin of its natural defense, making it extremely dry and leads to itchiness. To avoid sunburn, choose a sunscreen with high SPF, or avoid too much exposure to the sun if possible.  If sunburn is already there, over-the-counter topical creams that soothe itchiness may be applied. For natural remedy, soak a soft cloth in cool milk and apply it in the irritated skin for 5-10 minutes.  The lactic acid works its ways in reducing itchiness.

STRESS AND ANXIETY
Not everybody knows that stress and anxiety also cause skin itchiness.  When the body is stressed, the immune system is low and it affects the different organs of the body.  Skin is the largest organ of the human body and it is not spared of the many illnesses and sickness caused by stress.  Stress hives, a bump-like rash, is an example of itchiness caused by anxiety and stress. When the body is stressed, it also produces more-than-the-average amount of sweat and sweating a lot often leads to skin irritation and itchiness.  For those who already have chronic skin disorder such as psoriasis and eczema, stress also may trigger the attack.  Managing stress and anxiety will definitely prevent skin rashes and itchiness from coming back.

HORMONAL CHANGES
For women nearing or in menopauses stage, the change in estrogen causes the skin to itch.  Skin irritation is also a very common occurrence to pregnant women. Purity multiracial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP), purring gestations, and obstetric homeostasis may be present during pregnancy and all these skin conditions have one thing in common:  itchiness.  It is not advised to self-medicate when having hormonal changes, so the best way to address this is to seek professional help from the doctor or midwife.

Sometimes, skin itchiness is a symptom of illness and disease.  That is the reason why skin itchiness should not be taken for granted.  Examples of systemic conditions that lead to skin itchiness are overactive or under active thyroid, liver-related diseases, kidney failure, leukemia, cancer of lymphatic system, and some types of cancer.  If skin itchiness never goes away, it is best to consult the doctor for the body might be giving a sign of a more serious condition.


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