Itchy skin can be annoying when you do not know what is causing it or how to fix it. The medical term for itchy skin is pruritus which usually occurs due to dry skin. It is quite common in older adults as the skin becomes drier with age. Your skin may look normal, rough, bumpy or red depending on the cause of itchiness. Repeated scratches may be the reason for raised thick skin areas that get infected or bleed.
Pruritus is quite common and will affect everyone during their lifetime. You might be at greater risk of pruritus if you:
Some common conditions that cause itching are the following:
Itchy skin may affect small areas such as arm, leg, scalp or entire body. Itchy skin can occur without other noticeable changes on your skin or it is associated with:
In order to diagnose pruritus, the dermatologist examines your skin condition and gathers information about your symptoms and medical history. The provider might ask you certain questions which include:
Your provider might prescribe medications to treat pruritus such as:
Both vitamin A and vitamin B12 deficiencies might be the reason for itchy skin. If you are suffering from itchy skin, getting the levels of vitamins tested may be helpful. This testing will determine if these deficiencies are at the root cause of your skin itchiness and sensitivities.
The length of time you need to get rid of itchy skin depends on the cause of it. Some diagnoses can be for a long term and you might suffer from symptoms that come and go throughout the life. For others, the condition could be temporary irritant that goes away within a few days. Speak with your provider about the diagnosis, cause and how to treat symptoms to feel better quickly.
You should see a skin specialist when itching: