Woman scratching her back

What Causes Itchy Skin?


Woman scratching her backThere are many reasons why skin may itch. There could be a bacterial, fungal or viral infection on the skin, the causes of which are vast.  Allergic reactions, such as stings and bites, also cause itchiness  usually along with red patches or sores.

Skin conditions such as eczema will cause itchy skin too – this is possibly one of the most common causes today. Dry skin can sometimes feel itchy too. Some hormonal changes cause itchy skin, especially in women going through the menopause.

Here we list a few of the more common conditions that can cause skin to become itchy.

Some Common Skin Conditions That Cause Itchiness

  • Dry skin – use moisturiser if your skin becomes dry and itchy
  • Eczema – chronic dry, red, flaky and itchy skin
  • Contact dermatitis – this causes an inflammation of the skin
  • Urticaria – more commonly known as hives, welts or nettle rash. Urticaria is caused by an allergic reaction and leads to a red itchy rash
  • Lichen planus – a red rash that can be very itchy. Cause is unknown.
  • Psoriasis – a common, non-infectious condition which often results in flaky and crusty patches of skin
  • Dandruff – a very common skin condition that affects the head. Anti-dandruff shampoo is very effective at treating it.
  • Ageing skin – Itching can be a common problem with ageing skin. It is often related to dry skin, but sometimes it can have other causes. Allergic reaction to fabric preservatives, wool, plastics, detergents, bleaches or soaps can irritate mature skin as it becomes more sensitive.
  • Folliculitis – Inflamed hair follicles cause swelling and itchy patches on the skin.
  • Prurigo –  shows as blisters that become extremely itchy.

Serious Conditions

There are some serious conditions which can cause itchy skin. Chronic kidney failure, which often affects people with diabetes, can cause itchy skin. The skin may become yellow due to increased levels of urea. Sometimes the urea sweats out and forms an itchy white powder on the skin.



It is important to identify what is irritating the skin and limit the exposure to it.

If moisturiser alone is not soothing the skin, your doctor can prescribe a remedy to improve the skin condition and perform some tests to establish if an internal disorder is causing the skin to itch.

Skin Help and Advice

Photo by iliveinoctobe.


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