What Causes Skin Itching? Understanding the Root of the Problem

Hands with itchy skin | what causes itchy skin

Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, is a bothersome sensation that often leads to scratching. It's commonly caused by dry skin, which is more prevalent in older adults. Depending on the cause, the affected skin may appear normal or inflamed with bumps. Constant scratching can lead to thickened, bleeding, or infected skin. While moisturizers and gentle cleansing can provide temporary relief, identifying and treating the root cause is essential for long-term relief. Treatment options include medicated creams, wet dressings, and oral anti-itch medications.

There are many possible causes of skin itching or itchy skin, ranging from simple skin dryness to underlying medical conditions. Some of the common causes include dry skin, allergic reactions, insect bites, eczema, psoriasis, medications, kidney disease, and liver disease. If you experience persistent or severe itching, it is important to seek medical advice to identify the underlying cause and determine the appropriate treatment.

6 Home remedies for itchy skin

Itchy skin is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, including dry skin, allergies, insect bites, and more. While there are many medical treatments available, there are also several home remedies that can help provide relief for mild cases of itchy skin.

Oatmeal Baths: 

Oatmeal is a natural skin soother and can help reduce inflammation and itchiness. Add a cup of oatmeal to a warm bath and soak for 20-30 minutes.

According to a 2015 study, colloidal oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that can help alleviate skin irritation, including scaling, dryness, roughness, and itching in females with mild to moderate itching.

Coconut Oil:

Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that can help soothe dry, itchy skin. Apply a small amount to the affected area and gently massage it into your skin.

Aloe Vera:

Aloe vera has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and swelling associated with itchy skin. Apply a small amount of aloe vera gel directly to the affected area.

Baking Soda: 

Baking soda can help soothe itchy skin and reduce inflammation. Mix a quarter cup of baking soda with water to create a paste and apply it to the affected area.

Apple Cider Vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce itching and redness. You can apply a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water to the affected area with a cotton ball, using equal parts of both. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), apple cider vinegar is believed to be a useful remedy for soothing an itchy scalp.

Cold Compress: 

A cold compress can help reduce itching and inflammation. Apply a cool, damp cloth to the affected area for 5-10 minutes at a time.

What to do for itchy skin treatment?

There are several options for treating itchy skin:

  • Apply cool compresses or take a cool bath
  • Use mild, fragrance-free soaps and moisturizers
  • Avoid scratching the affected area
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabrics
  • Use over-the-counter anti-itch creams or lotions
  • Take an oral antihistamine or use a topical corticosteroid cream for severe itching
  • Identify and avoid triggers such as certain foods, allergens, or irritants
  • Consult a doctor if the itching persists or is accompanied by other symptoms.

What cancer causes itchy skin?

There are several types of cancer that can cause itchy skin, including Hodgkin's lymphoma, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, and liver cancer. Itching can also be a side effect of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It is important to consult a healthcare provider if experiencing persistent itching, as it may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Take Away

Skin itching is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, such as dry skin, allergies, and medical conditions. It can be a temporary and easily treatable condition, or it may require medical attention. Knowing the underlying cause of your itchy skin is key to finding effective treatment options and preventing further discomfort. If your itchy skin persists or worsens, consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.


What vitamin deficiency causes itchy skin?

A deficiency in vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin E can cause itchy skin.

What foods are good for itchy skin?

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and seeds, can help relieve itchy skin.

Is coconut oil good for itching skin?

Yes, coconut oil can be good for itching skin as it has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties.


  1. How to relieve itching - Medical News Today
  2. Integrative Approaches to Care - National Psoriasis Foundation
  3. Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skin -PubMed

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