What causes itchy skin?


Quick Answer

According to the Mayo Clinic, itchy skin is most often due to minor conditions such as dryness or allergies, however, itching can also be related to serious conditions, including kidney failure or liver disease. With itching due to dryness, applying a good quality moisturizer and avoiding harsh soaps or detergents can often bring relief. For allergen induced itching, or if more serious conditions are suspect, treatment by a qualified medical professional is recommended.

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Full Answer

When itching is due to allergies, doctors may prescribe antihistamines or steroids, according to WebMD. Oral medications taken by mouth, or topical ointments and creams applied directly to the affected area, help to reduce irritation by the allergen in order to stop the itching. Applying cold compresses or taking warm baths are sometimes helpful as well.

While there is typically no need for a doctor's appointment with most itching, MedlinePlus recommends calling a doctor in the event of severe itching that does not go away, or itching for which there is no obvious cause. If the doctor suspects itching due to a serious underlying condition, such as liver or kidney disease, they will perform additional testing to confirm. For itching in these cases, the most effective treatments involve treating the underlying condition.

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