Itchy Skin (Pruritus)

What is Itchy Skin?

Having itchy skin can be extremely uncomfortable. Pruritis, also known as itchy skin, can be the result of a simple rash, or other medically related condition. The most common medical related condition is is psoriasis or dermatitis. However, chronically itchy skin can also be a sign of a more severe problem, such as kidney failure or liver disease.

The appearance of itchy skin may be normal. It may also have bumps or blisters present.

While temporary relief may be obtained through over the counter ointments, creams, or antihistamine blocking oral medications, it is important to determine the cause of theĀ  itching skin. Cool baths may also help in relieving the symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Itchy Skin?

Symptoms of pruritus can include one, or any mix of the following:

  • Redness
  • Discolored spots on the skin
  • Bumps on the skin
  • Blisters on the skin
  • Skin that is dry or cracked
  • Scaly texture on the skin

At times, the itching from various conditions can last for an extended duration of time. If the skin is scratched in an effort to relieve the symptom, the itch can become worse. This creates a hard to break cycle. Many times, scratching breaks the skin, which can lead to infection.

How is Itchy Skin Treated?

After the cause of the pruritis is identified, the itchy skin can be treated. There are many medications to treat this condition, including:

  • Corticosteriods
  • Calcineurin inhibitors
  • Oral antihistamines
  • Antidepressants

If the cause of the condition is a separate medical disorder, this will be treated as well. These conditions can be:

  • kidney disease
  • iron deficiency
  • liver disease
  • thyroid deficiency
  • and many others
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Last Reviewed:
October 06, 2016
Last Updated:
September 01, 2017