Why is my skin so itchy?
Itchy scalps and skin are common complaints of many patients in Sarasota County. The incidence may increase with age and correlates to decreased ceramides and increased dryness of the skin.
However, there are many medical conditions associated with pruritic (itchy) scalps and skin such as seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, allergic contact dermatitis, fungal infections (Tinea Capitis or Tinea Corporis), precancerous lesions (actinic keratosis), biliary system disorders, thyroid abnormalities, diabetes, nerve irritation, some medications, and certain cancers. For these reasons, it’s important to have an evaluation for proper diagnosis and treatment.
This skin condition may present on the scalp or body as itchy, red, or hyperpigmented plaques common on the flexural surfaces of the skin, or the scalp. Eczema on lips is also common in children and adults. Moisturization of the skin is very important to reduce eczema flares. Application of a moisturizer is recommended within 3 minutes of bathing to ensure proper hydration of the skin. There are a variety of treatments available for eczema such as topical creams, natural creams and moisturizers, and systemic medications.
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated inflammatory skin condition that commonly presents on the scalp, elbows, and knees. This may appear with red scaling plaques with flakes that shed from the skin. This condition may itch or may be asymptomatic besides the appearance. Treatment may include topical natural creams, prescription creams, or systemic medications.
This condition is often very itchy and follows an allergic reaction to new skin products, chemicals, or even certain plants or fruits. On the scalp, this may be from a new hair product used such as a new shampoo or hair dye. On the body, this may be due to new lotions, body washes, detergents, soaps, jewelry, clothing, perfume, or contacts with plants. Sometimes, the precipitating factor may not be identified. In these cases, patch testing may be recommended.
Allergic contact dermatitis presents as itchy, scaly, red patches, and plaques to vesicles on the skin. The most important management is the identification and elimination of the trigger to prevent ongoing or future recurrences. There are various topical and oral medications to help with the treatment of contact dermatitis.
In addition to the conditions above, thyroid abnormalities, diabetes, biliary system disorders, thyroid abnormalities, nerve irritation, certain medications, and even cancers can all cause skin dryness and itchiness.