by Lee Kaplan, MD
Itchy skin can result from a wide variety of conditions. The itch may be caused by something as simple as dry skin, or result from more complex conditions, such as psoriasis, lice, scabies or dermatitis. Itch can also be a symptom of liver or kidney disease, diabetes, allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders or other conditions. An itch may also be accompanied by blisters, redness or cracked skin.
One problem with itches is that they can be self-sustaining, as the process of scratching can actually perpetuate the itch. If the itch persists for more than a couple of weeks, becomes your primary focus or affects a large portion of your body, see your doctor.
Treatments may include lotions, anesthetics, corticosteroids, antihistamines or phototherapy, which uses ultraviolet light to control the itch. However, if the itch is symptomatic of a more serious condition, the best approach is to treat that underlying issue.
This Scripps Health and Wellness tip was provided by Lee Kaplan, MD, a dermatologist at Scripps Clinic in San Diego.