Itch (pruritus) can range from a minor nuisance to an irritation so intense it interrupts sleep. The itch can be a symptom of a rash or lesion, or an itch can actually cause a rash from repeated scratching. Don’t let your itch drive you crazy. Book your appointment today at Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center in Glen Allen and Chesterfield, Virginia, and let Patricia O’Connor, MD, and her team take care of you. Call the nearest Richmond-area office or send us a message to book an appointment on our contact page.
There are many potential underlying causes of itch. Your provider will do a thorough visual exam of the skin that is itching and ask you many questions about your health, your daily routine and potential exposures, and the itch itself. Itch can be localized to a certain site, or be experienced throughout the body; it can be better or worse at certain times of day or with certain medications and topicals. Depending on your answers, further workup may be needed, or it may be as simple as dry skin- the leading cause of itch.
Some common causes of itch are:
Itch can be just that, an itch. Or it can burn and be painful. Sometimes itch is associated with a rash like eczema in which case the skin is dry and scaling, or itchy and red lumps and bumps as with a bug bite. Other forms of eczema, like dyshidrotic eczema on the hands and feet, have classic small blisters that are very itchy. Itch can also be from an underlying disorder that, when scratched repeatedly, leads to a rash called lichen simplex chronicus or scarring in the setting of neurodermatitis.
Depending on the underlying cause of itch, it can be as simple as improved skin care and mental tricks to stop scratching. Using a gentle and fragrance-free moisturizer twice daily can go a long way toward improving itch. But if this is not enough, topical anti-inflammatory creams or ointments may be needed. These topicals, along with oral antihistamines, can be used to break the itch-scratch-itch cycle. Some itches naturally go away like those of bug bites, but if the bug is a mite like scabies, prescriptions are needed to get rid of them. Neurologic itches can be the most difficult to treat as the problem is not with the skin, but rather in the underlying nerves. Inflammation of the nerves can lead to an itch that then results in a rash.
Don’t suffer from itch. Let the experts at Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center help sort out your itch! Call the nearest office or send us a message to book an appointment on our contact page.