While most individuals consider itching to be a normal part of life and probably the result of dry skin, there are instances in which itching lasts a long time and is severe. When this happens, it’s difficult to break the itch-scratch cycle, as noted by the Mayo Clinic, but continued scratching can damage the skin or even cause infection. Thus, if you are suffering from prolonged itchy skin, whether over small areas of your body or your entire body, it’s wise to consult a trusted dermatologist.
Medically known as Pruritis, itchy skin may be associated with redness, raised bumps, blisters, cracked skin or a leathery, scaly skin texture. On the other hand, it may not produce any visible symptoms at all. Even so, for those experiencing itchy skin, it is uncomfortable and concerning, particularly when it’s ongoing. As a rule, dermatologists recommend scheduling an appointment if itchy skin:
- Lasts more than two weeks and shows no improvement with moisturizers or anti-itch creams
- Is severe enough to distract you from regular routines
- Prevents sleep
- Occurs suddenly and for no apparent reason
- Affects the entire body
- Occurs around the same time as other symptoms including fatigue, weight loss, changes in bowel habits or frequent urination or fever
As mentioned, dry skin is a primary culprit when it comes to itchy skin. Other common skin conditions and rashes are also to blame such as eczema, psoriasis, scabies, lice, chickenpox and hives. Reactions to antibiotics and other drugs are additional factors to consider. Yet, some cases involve underlying medical conditions in which itching is simply a manifestation of the illness. These include liver disease, kidney failure or anemia. Moreover, thyroid illness and cancer (particularly leukemia and lymphoma) are associated with itchy skin. The Mayo Clinic adds nerve disorders including Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes or Shingles to the list as well.
With excellence in dermatology, the philosophy of Dr. Kayal and the team at Kayal Dermatology remains to deliver exceptional care to patients, and this begins with the very first phone call. Don’t let itchy skin affect your quality of life—call us today.