How do dermatologists treat chronic itchy skin?

Dr. Jagatjit Singh Kohli

By Dr. Jagatjit Singh Kohli
MBBS, DHMS-Harvard, Masters in Clinical Dermatology

February 4th, 2023

Itching is a typical response exhibited by our body to allergens. Even though it is not a serious problem, it will become irritating and embarrassing if you repeatedly encounter such a prickling sensation. Such prickling sensation that provokes an impulse to scratch is clinically known as Pruritus.

At times, itchiness in the skin is flared up with vigorous scratching leaving bruises or redness on your skin. Right? Do you get extreme itching that lasts for days or longer?

If yes, this blog article is for you. Keep reading to know the possible factors that trigger such persistent itching sensation and ways to alleviate it.

Who could have chronic itchy skin?

It can happen to everyone, regardless of age or gender. However, aged people are more susceptible to this condition. As people age, their bodies produce less natural oil (sebum) for skin hydration and protection. Similarly, it can happen for people whose skin is exposed to hot weather frequently.

In the meantime, people with certain bodily problems develop Pruritus. Here are a few:

  • People with Vitamins A and B12
  • Diabetic patients
  • Leukemia patients
  • People who are infected with HIV
  • People with gallbladder problems (like gallstones)
  • Live disease patients

What are other possible causes of Pruritus?

People with problematic skin conditions like hives, impetigo, psoriasis, and others will undoubtedly develop excessive skin itching. Apart from skin and systemic diseases, uncontrollable skin itches are also caused by various things, as follows:

  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Fungal infections like Athlete’s foot
  • Bug bites
  • Food allergies
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychiatric conditions (Ex: Depression, Anxiety)
  • Irritating and allergic reactions caused by household products like soap, cosmetic substances, wool, etc.

How can persistent skin itching be treated?

Skin doctors take blood tests, chest x-rays, kidney, liver, and thyroid tests to detect whether the itchiness happens due to bodily abnormalities. Chronic itchy skin treatments vary depending on the underlying cause.

For instance, mupirocin antibiotic ointment is suggested for people with impetigo to alleviate the itchiness. Treatments like laser toning will likely be recommended if persistent tingling sensations happen due to skin infection.

The following are the most common therapeutic solutions that dermatologists prescribe to get rid of chronic itchiness in the skin completely:

  • Corticosteroid creams – It is a kind of steroid ointment that can be applied directly to the skin. It reduces swelling, rashes, and itchiness in the skin. Dermatologists will prescribe this cream if eczema, hives, or dermatitis are found to be the cause of irritation.
  • Antifungal treatment – If fungal infections like Athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch lead to excessive itching, then antifungal medications and antifungal creams are prescribed. In certain circumstances, ant-fungal shampoo is also required.
  • Anti-allergic drugs – Anti-allergic medications like oral antihistamines are suggested if allergens trigger the itching sensation. Likely, it is crucial to switch to using alternatives if itching happens due to an allergic reaction to ingredients in household products you are using.
  • Topical antihistamines – When some insects bite our skin, they inject formic acid through the bite. It causes rashes, inflammation, burning sensation, and excruciating itching. Most skin specialists recommend antihistamines because it restricts histamine to stop itching and helps mitigate skin inflammation.

What should you do to combat persistent skin itching?

Aside from the clinical solutions, you can effectively tackle Pruritus with various home remedies. The following are the tips our skin specialist Dr.Kohli suggests to our patients:

  • Get a hypoallergenic moisturizer and apply it over the itching area of your skin 3 to 4 times a day. It prevents dryness in the skin.
  • Use sunscreens, lotions, and skin creams to prevent skin damage after consulting a skin specialist.
  • Install a humidifier in your room.
  • Avoid hot showers because the excessive water temperature can dry the skin and cause itching. Instead, use cold or lukewarm water for bathing.
  • Use cleansing agents like mild soaps to clean your skin without scratches or irritations.
  • Apply cold compress to the itchy region.
  • Reduce prolonged heat exposure.
  • Avoid fabrics or ornaments that irritate your skin and cause itchiness.

Bottom line

Chronic Itching skin, also known as Pruritus, occurs due to various factors aside from skin diseases. If skin tingling becomes unbearable or exists over weeks, don’t rely on at-home remedies alone. Visit a skin doctor immediately.

Likely, if skin itching extends through scratching or leads to swelling a lot, a dermatologist consultation is required.

<strong>How do dermatologists treat chronic itchy skin?</strong>
<strong>How do dermatologists treat chronic itchy skin?</strong>
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