I am so itchy!

Nicole R. Rae, PA-C

By: Nicole R. Rae, PA-C

Pruritis is the medical word for itching. Itching can be a very frustrating symptom. Many patients are not able to sleep soundly, or enjoy their day if they are itching. The diagnosis for itching is divided by whether or not a patient has a rash along with the itching. This article discusses itching WITHOUT a rash.

Diagnosis

When a patient has itching without any rash there are a many things to consider. A doctor can rule out the majority of possible causes with a blood test and chest x-ray. If these are normal it may be that the skin is itchy due to living in a dry climate and aging.

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Treatment

In a dry climate one very easy solution for itching can be getting the skin wet BEFORE applying a cream; ideally an ointment or oil such as coconut oil. If humidity is not found in the air, a moisturizer cannot do its job! If you live in a humid climate you are automatically sealing in moisture by applying a moisturizer. In a dry climate there is no water in the air, so the moisturizer to dry skin will not help! I have had many patients say that their skin symptoms were significantly better when applying the moisturizer to wet skin. People often put on a moisturizer after a shower when their skin is still damp; however they only do this once per day at most. Therefore I tell patients to get their hands wet and rub the water and moisturizer into their skin at other times throughout the day as well.

In summary, if you are itchy without a rash you should visit your doctor so they can order labs to rule out illnesses such as liver disease, or thyroid disease to name a few illnesses that cause itching. If everything is normal, dry skin may be to blame. As we age our skin’s moisture content decreases and adding water every single time you apply a moisturizer just might be the trick to help!