Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, is an irritating and uncontrollable sensation that makes you want to scratch to relieve the feeling. The possible causes for itchiness range from internal illnesses, such as kidney or liver disease, to skin rashes, allergies, and dermatitis.
Many common skin conditions can cause itchy skin. The following can affect any area of skin on the body:
- Dermatitis: inflammation of the skin.
- Eczema: a chronic skin disorder that includes itchy, scaly rashes.
- Psoriasis: an autoimmune disease that causes skin redness and irritation, usually in the form of plaques.
- Dermatographism: a raised, red, itchy rash caused by pressure on the skin.
Diagnosis of pruritus involves a thorough history taking by the physician. It may also include several tests to determine the cause of the inflamed and irritated skin. These tests include:
- Blood test: may indicate an underlying condition
- Test of your thyroid function: can rule out thyroid issues
- Skin test: to determine if you’re having an allergic reaction to something
- Scraping or biopsy of your skin: can determine if you have an infection
Antihistamines and/or emollients offer relief to pruritic patients.