Itchy skin is an uncomfortable, irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch. Also known as pruritus (proo-RIE-tus), itchy skin may be the result of a rash or another condition, such as psoriasis or dermatitis. Or itchy skin may be a symptom of a disease, such as liver disease or kidney failure.
Depending on the cause of your itchy skin, it may appear normal. Or it may be red or rough or have bumps or blisters.
Long-term relief requires identifying and treating the cause of itchy skin. Itchy skin treatments include medications, wet dressings and light therapy. Self-care measures, including using anti-itch products and taking cool baths, also can help.
Jan. 28, 2014
- Fazio SB, et al. Pruritis: Overview of management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 28, 2013.
- Cassano N, et al. Chronic pruritus in the absence of specific skin disease. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2010;11:399.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=740. Accessed Aug. 28, 2013.
- Yosipovitch G, et al. Chronic pruritis. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;368:1625.
- Benzocaine topical products: Sprays, gels and liquids — Risk of methemoglobinemia. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm250264.htm. Accessed Aug. 28, 2013.
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