ZocdocAnswersWhy do areas of my skin itch randomly?

Question

Why do areas of my skin itch randomly?

I'm a 29 year old woman, and have experienced this problem for over 3 years. It seems to be seasonal, and is usually confined to my hands, feet, arms, and legs. Antihistamines, calamine lotion, and other cremes have no effect. These symptoms last 3-4 months, then disappear against until next winter.

Answer

Skin itching, or pruritus as its medically known is a common medical condition. There are many different causes of this, some of which are minor and easily fixable, and some of which are a sign of more serious disease. I would recommend that you see your primary care physician and discuss this. If appropriate, he or she may refer you to a skin specialist (a dermatologist). Pruritus is most often caused by an inflammation of skin itself -- this is known as dermatitis. Dermatitis is normally associated with skin changes like redness, flaking or creasing. There are many different causes of skin inflammation -- most of the them is xerosis or dry skin. This is often worse in the winter. There are also allergic causes of dermatitis -- most commonly atopic eczema. There are also irritant causes like contact dermatitis. It could be your skin is occasionally exposed to some soap, detergent or other material that is causing this. Is there a pattern between your skin itching and another exposure? There are primary skin conditions like psoriasis that should also be considered. There are also body wide problems that can cause your problems. Low thyroid levels and liver dysfunction should be ruled out. Talk to your doctor. Good luck!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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