Why is My Skin So Itchy?
To celebrate November’s National Healthy Skin Month, we’re taking a look at a common skin condition: eczema. If your skin is itchy, it may be due to eczema. Learn what to look for and when to seek professional care for your skin.
What is Eczema?
Itchy skin is a leading symptom of eczema. Eczema refers to a group of conditions that cause inflamed, irritated, and often itchy skin. Eczema includes several skin conditions: nummular eczema, contact dermatitis, neurodermatitis, and atopic dermatitis. It is not contagious, but it can be uncomfortable.
While common in childhood, some adults can get eczema, too. Signs of eczema in both children and adults include intense itchiness and a rash that results from scratching it. This skin condition can lead to:
- Sleep loss due to itch
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Skin infections
- Increased risk of developing asthma, hay fever, and other allergies
- Decreased quality of life, if left untreated
In adults, eczema is more likely to present as extremely dry and scaly skin, and to be present on particular areas, including:
- Back of knees
- Crook of elbows
- Back of neck
- Face, especially eyes
It’s important to see your healthcare provider if you show symptoms of eczema, since different skin conditions require different treatments. An accurate diagnosis is essential to ensure you’re properly treated, and other conditions that can cause itchy skin, such as chickenpox, hand-foot-mouth disease, hives, psoriasis, shingles, and ringworm, can be ruled out. Rarely, itchy skin can be a sign of a more serious disease, like kidney disease, hepatitis C, or Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When in doubt, have it checked out.