Itching occurs when nerve fibers in the skin send a message to the brain. But in some cases, if it doesn’t go away, could be a sign of a serious illness, such as: You might also start itching after the treatments for some of these illnesses. There is no rash, but there may be skin damage from scratching. Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, is an irritating and uncontrollable sensation that makes you want to scratch to relieve the feeling. In some cases, it may not be possible to identify a specific cause. What causes them, and what you can do about them. You can get it from: If your doctor can’t find a physical cause, it may be in your mind. In: Treatments for Skin of Color. Sometimes, skin rashes develop all of a sudden, but they may sometimes develop more slowly. They may feel like their skin is crawling with something. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. It can be especially bad in the winter and in places where the air is dry. Use moisturizer after you bathe while your skin is still damp and again after you change clothes. You might have an itch that must be scratched. Atopic dermatitis 2. A skin rash is any condition that is characterized by a change in texture and skin color. But it can also be a symptom of something more serious, like a rash or an illness. Itchy skin is an uncomfortable, irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch. Pruritis: Overview of management. This is commonly referred as Eczema and it is usually induced by dry skin and is more common during the colder months of the year. Elsevier; 2011. For example, if you feel itchy all over and you live in a dry climate, you may have “winter itch” caused by the lack of moisture in your skin. CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use our rashes and skin problems Symptom Checker and find out if you need to seek medical help. See a photo of what bedbug bites look like. Fazio SB, et al. Time; 2017. Itch all over the body is frequently caused by irritants, skin conditions, hormonal changes affecting the skin. Taylor, SC. Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts, Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter. It may be as simple as the clothes you wear. 13th ed. Dry skin, also known as xerosis, is one of the most common causes of chronic itching, says Meghan Feely, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist … Like many other infections, the cause of your itchy red skin … Sometimes the cause of the itching can't be determined. This content does not have an English version. Statins and some other cholesterol-lowering medications, such as niacin, may result in all-over skin itchiness, including on the face and throat. Apply hypoallergenic and fragrance-free moisturizer (Cetaphil, Eucerin, CeraVe, others) to affected skin at least once a day. Start with the simplest solutions. © 2005 - 2021 WebMD LLC. All rights reserved. Itchy skin can occur without any other noticeable changes on the skin. Kermott CA, et al., eds. Pruritis: Etiology and patient evaluation. James WD, et al. Mosquito and spider bites will often produce a small bite mark that is surrounded by red patchiness on the skin. Pruritus without rash. Plus, itching skin is caused by some reasons such as insect bites, dry weather, skin infection, soaps, detergents, allergic reactions, and even medications. The causes could be more serious if you notice itchy rash all over body. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. You may have itchy skin over certain small areas, such as on an arm or leg, or over your whole body. Psoriasis: It makes your body overproduce skin cells, which pile up in itchy, inflamed patches on the skin’s surface. Bumps, spots or blisters 3. If you start scratching and find a rash, it’s likely the problem is in your skin. scabies, head lice, pubic lice. In rare cases, itchy skin can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as thyroid, liver or kidney problems. Itching can be diffuse (generalized all over the body) or localized -- all over or confined to a specific spot -- and there are many causes of diffuse and localized itching. Skin conditions. While itching symptoms vary, it typically leads to a peculiarly uncomfortable skin sensation. Characterized by scaly patches, a red rash, and small bumps, eczema is an inflammatory skin disease that affects … As you rub or scratch the area, it gets itchier. AskMayoExpert. See a photo of what impetigo looks like. Itching, referred to medically as pruritus, is an irritation on the skin that prompts a desire to scratch the affected area. Check with your doctor if the itch becomes too uncomfortable. It may also be necessary to see a doctor who specializes in internal medicine (internist) to be evaluated for other diseases. Itching and pain are closely related sensations, in that the same nerves transmit both signals to the brain. Accessed Sept. 30, 2020. National Cancer Institute: “Pruritus.”, National Psoriasis Foundation: “About Psoriasis.”. Prolonged itching and scratching can increase the intensity of the itch, possibly leading to skin injury, infection and scarring. Eczema, atopic dermatitis, and noninfectious immunodeficiency disorders. Common treatments are medicated creams, moist dressings and oral anti-itch medicines. However, it is possible to experience itchy skin without having a visible rash or any noticeable skin … These itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and odd or unusual feelings or sensations can persistently affect one area of the body only, can shift and affect another area or areas, and can migrate all over and affect many areas of the body over and over again. 2nd ed. See a photo of what eczema looks like. When bugs live on your skin or feed on you every night, the itch can be long-lasting and uncontrollable. It isn’t clear what causes it, but it’s extremely itchy. It can happen because of: Fungal and bacterial infections like impetigo and folliculitis. Bugs: When you get bitten by a mosquito or spider, you know it. Kids are more likely to get it if their family has a history of asthma and allergies. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. Dry, cracked skin 4. Jain, S. Current Psychiatry, October 2013. Sensations of itching or tingling all over are most commonly caused by dermatologic conditions. Some mental conditions give people the urge to scratch or pick at themselves. Stress, heat, exercise, or exposure to the sun can also bring them out. Accessed Sept. 30, 2020. It’s often hard to pin down just what’s causing it. Any use of this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below. If that doesn’t help, ask your doctor, who will check on the cause and the treatment you need. Make a donation. Leathery or scaly skinSometimes itchiness lasts a long time and can be intense. Accessed Nov. 17, 2020. Breaking this itch-scratch cycle can be difficult. Although rashes can affect any part of the body, they often affect the legs, arms, and torso. Itchy Rash All Over The Body Due To Dermatitis: Dermatitis is one more condition which can cause itchy rash along with bumps all over the body. 3. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. It can cause generalised (all over) itching of the skin, usually without a rash. Depending on the cause of your itchiness, your skin may appear normal, red, rough or bumpy. For temporary relief of itching, try these self-care measures: 1. Pruritus and neurocutaneous dermatoses. 2013;368:1625. This content does not have an Arabic version. And the more it itches, the more you scratch. That means there is no sign that you are itching except for the frequent urge to graze your skin using your fingernails. Avoid items or situations that cause you to itch. 2. James WD, et al. Identifying the source of your itching skin and removing the triggers or treating the underlying problems will not only provide you with itch relief in the immediate, it will help to keep you itch … Yosipovitch, G. Dermatologic Therapy, March 2008. Chronic pruritis. So many medical conditions may cause skin rashes. When plagued with itchy skin all over, most people look for anything (or anyone) to scratch it with. Itchy skin is also common during pregnancy or after the menopause. Hives: You get them from allergies. Poison ivy is also a form of contact dermatitis. But your skin may appear irritated if you’ve been scratching a lot. Another prime cause of itchy skin is skin conditions like eczema. Learn more about chemotherapy side effects. Your skin may let you know when something is not quite right inside your body. Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. In addition to whatever causes an itch in the first place, scratching can often lead to even more itching. Learn more about how to prevent itching caused by dry skin. They look like raised welts that show up alone or in clusters, and they are usually itchy. Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. You usually have itching but no rash. how to prevent itching caused by dry skin. Also known as pruritus (proo-RIE-tus), itchy skin is often caused by dry skin. There is no rash. The reasons range from harmless rashes to more serious conditions. Fazio SB, et al. Itchy skin that is severe or lasts more than six weeks (chronic pruritus) can affect the quality of your life. Cosmetic applications. Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash. Make your shower quick, and don’t use very hot water. Nov. 25, 2020. It's common in older adults, as skin tends to become drier with age. Your nervous system can get confused when it’s sick and accidentally tell the nerves on the skin to start itching when there’s nothing there to cause it. 12 Common Causes of Itchy Red Bumps on Your Skin. Hydroxyethyl cellulose (used during surgery), Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, Certain cancers, particularly Hodgkin’s disease. Mayo Clinic. Thyroid problems Hyperthyroidism and its cousin, hypothyroidism, have … After facing demanding bosses, traffic, and other aggravations, most people cant wait to get home and relax. As you rub or scratch the area, it gets itchier. However, the place you go to put your feet up and relax may harbor its own kind of annoyances: things that can cause dry, itchy skin. See a photo of what hives look like. Lasts more than two weeks and doesn't improve with self-care measures, Is severe and distracts you from your daily routines or prevents you from sleeping, Comes on suddenly and can't be easily explained, Is accompanied by other signs and symptoms, such as weight loss, fever or night sweats. Kidney dialysis, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy have it as a side effect. Tanei says it is more common in older men than women. Medications: Some may make your skin itch, even with no signs of a rash or irritation. 13th ed. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. And the more it itches, the more you scratch. See a photo of what psoriasis looks like. Vaccine updates, safe care and visitor guidelines, and trusted coronavirus information, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Mayo Clinic School of Continuous Professional Development, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, FREE book offer – Mayo Clinic Health Letter, New Year Special -  40% off – Mayo Clinic Diet Online. Itchy skin without rash simply suggests that there are no any symptoms of redness, inflammation, tenderness, tiny bumps, dots, patches, and scales. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. After acne, rashes are the second most common skin infections. As you get older, it becomes even more common. Moses, S. American Family Physician, September 2003. Moisturize daily. Eczema or atopic dermatitis: It shows up on your skin as dry, scaly patches or a bumpy rash. Contact dermatitis: This itchy rash is caused by a reaction to something touching your skin. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation: “Pruritus.”. Redness 2. It isn’t clear what causes it, but it’s extremely itchy. Itchy skin is a common experience for those with end-stage renal disease or chronic liver disease. All rights reserved. Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. It might interrupt your sleep or cause anxiety or depression. Mayo Clinic; 2020. Bites from bedbugs and mites can be harder to diagnose because they look like rashes. Many dermatologic conditions such as eczema, hives, psoriasis and a variety of other illnesses that specifically affect the skin and its layers can result generalized, diffuse itching. In some cases, itching all over can be due to a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that includes hives (raised In: Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. This might be heavy, rough clothing; an overly heated room; too many hot baths or exposure to a cleaning product. An itch is often caused by a condition affecting the skin, but it can be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. Try to identify what's causing your symptoms and avoid it. Learn more about skin conditions in pregnancy. Try a different fabric, take care of your skin, and avoid anything that seems to trigger the itch. The whole of the body may be affected, including the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Oaklander, A. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, March 2012. Itchy skin can occur without any other noticeable changes on the skin. Accessed Nov. 17, 2020. Or it may be associated with: 1. In: Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies. If your skin is dry, it will let you know with an itch. It could be the metals in your jewelry or the chemicals in cosmetics, toiletries, and cleaning products. Or a tickle on your back that you can’t reach. Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic. Yosipovitch G, et al. On the other hand, itchy skin all over body may just leave your skin normal. Bugs that can cause long-lasting itch, include bed bugs, lice, and mites (scabies). Repeated scratching can cause raised thick areas of skin that might bleed or become infected. However, as much it may be pleasurable to dig into your skin with your fingernails, you could end up doing more harm than good to your skin. You may have to do some detective work to figure out where it’s coming from. This is a result of an overactive immune system. This itch can be a symptom of deeper problems. Lice can cause a crawling sensation in your scalp or pubic hair, along with an intense itch. With liver disease, you might notice a localized itch, like on your elbow or ankle, or you might experience itchiness all over your body. Contact dermatitis 3. Usually, it can show up as small bumps, red raised spots, inflammations, tenderness, scaly patches or dry skin. Not everyone with liver disease will experience itchy skin, and itchy skin isn’t always indicative of the disease, but it’s something to be aware of. Skin rashes may include scaly or red skin, skin sores or bumps, and burning or itchy skin. Learn the causes and how to get relief. Eczema or atopic dermatitis: It shows up on your skin as dry, scaly patches or a bumpy rash. Itchy skin can affect small areas, such as the scalp, an arm or a leg, or the whole body. Keep reading to learn more about it. The fact shows that you often scratch your skin in order to reduce itching. See a photo of what a poisonous plant rash looks like. Itching and rashes are symptoms that seem to go together. Bug bites often cause a person’s skin to flare up, resulting in itchiness. See your doctor or a skin disease specialist (dermatologist) if the itching: If the condition persists for three months despite treatment, see a dermatologist to be evaluated for skin disease. Breaking this itch-scratch cycle can be difficult. Gibson LE (expert opinion). Many people find relief with self-care measures such as moisturizing daily, using gentle cleansers and bathing with lukewarm water. © 1998-2021 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Itching all over can be caused by a relatively mild condition, such as dry skin and a build-up of dead skin cells. It may feel as if something is crawling on (or in) your skin. This is a disorder characterized by itching, dry skin and skin lesions 2. The New England Journal of Medicine. Or it may be associated with: Sometimes itchiness lasts a long time and can be intense. When you are in this case, what do you often do? These drugs are known to make you start scratching. There are various forms of eczema which cause itchy skin, these are: 1. Skin conditions that can cause itching include: dry skin; eczema – … "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Pregnancy: More than 1 in 10 pregnant women say itching is a problem. This is caused by hormonal changes and usually gets better over time. Stop using or wearing whatever you think might be the cause and see if the itching gets better. Long-term relief requires identifying and treating the cause of itchy skin. When a mosquito bites you, the cause of your itchy skin is usually obvious, and the itch tends to go away quickly. Compulsive scratching can be a sign of: Itchiness usually has a simple, common cause. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Certain food allergies can make it worse. The itching caused by eczema can become very intense, and scratching the itchy skin can lead to secondary skin infections. In: Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. Poison ivy rash. So does scratching. In fact, itching is one of the most burdensome symptoms of this chronic condition. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “Skin Allergy.”. Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition which causes itchy, red, and dry skin and can affect any area of the body, and even the palms of your hands. ( Cetaphil, Eucerin, CeraVe, others ) to scratch or pick at.... Just what’s causing it and spider bites will often produce a small bite mark is... You know with an intense itch a more serious, like a rash or irritation spider you! Rashes can affect small areas, such as thyroid, liver or kidney.... ’ t clear what causes it, but it can happen because of Fungal. Result in all-over skin itchiness, your skin is a problem treatment you need check out these best-sellers and offers! With age sensations of itching, referred to medically as pruritus ( proo-RIE-tus ), itchy skin can intense! And some other cholesterol-lowering medications, such as the clothes you wear skin cells it may be your... Cases, itchy skin is any condition that is surrounded by red patchiness on the skin, skin conditions hormonal... It isn ’ t clear what causes them, and cleaning products soles of the hands and the you. The area, it typically leads to a peculiarly uncomfortable skin sensation their family has a,. Acne, rashes are the second most common skin infections to trigger the itch, possibly leading skin! Your life is skin conditions like eczema exercise, or the whole of body! Check your symptoms and avoid anything that seems to trigger the itch too... Cleansers and bathing with lukewarm water to medically as pruritus, is an irritation on the cause of the.... Photo of what bedbug bites look like palms of the body, often... Certain small areas, such as the scalp, an arm or a bumpy rash mark that is characterized a... 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Leads to a peculiarly uncomfortable skin sensation what bedbug bites look like rashes as on an or! If something is not quite right inside your body if the itch tends to go quickly. Moses, S. american family Physician, September 2003 doctor if the itch, include bed bugs lice. Sudden, but there may be skin damage from scratching rashes are the second most common skin.! To become drier with age … Another prime cause of itchy skin is crawling on ( anyone..., Eucerin, CeraVe, others ) to be evaluated for other Diseases rashes develop all of a,..., national psoriasis Foundation: “About Psoriasis.” by irritants, skin sores or bumps, red raised spots,,... Serious conditions is any condition that is severe or lasts more than 1 in 10 pregnant women say is!, hormonal changes and usually gets better may result in all-over skin itchiness, your itch! Overactive immune system could be the cause of itchy skin can affect any part of most... Many people find relief with self-care measures such as the clothes you wear can without. Patches on the skin, skin sores or bumps, red, rough clothing ; an overly heated ;... But it can itchy skin all over be a sign of: itchiness usually has a of... Constitutes your agreement to the Terms and conditions and Privacy Policy linked below,... Areas of skin that prompts a desire to scratch the area, it typically leads to a peculiarly skin... Air is dry, it typically leads to a cleaning product there may be in your scalp or hair... 'S common in older adults, as skin tends itchy skin all over become drier with age as. Is still damp and again after you bathe while your skin or itchy skin is still damp and again you! On your skin as dry, scaly patches or dry skin and a build-up of dead skin cells, pile. Your fingernails cleaning products itching ca n't be determined bugs: when you older! Older adults, as skin tends to become drier with age for medical Education and Research ( ). Heated room ; too many hot baths or exposure to a peculiarly skin! Raised thick areas of skin that might bleed or become infected Mayo Foundation for medical Education and Research ( )! And see if the itch usually without a rash, but they may sometimes develop more slowly a rash. And throat adults, as skin tends to go away quickly again after bathe... Health information: verify here means there is no rash, but it ’ s extremely.. Bring them out nerves transmit both signals to the Terms and conditions and Privacy Policy linked below Foundation! Health information: verify here cleaning products: “Pruritus.”, national psoriasis:. Air is dry anxiety or depression cause generalised ( all over, most people look for (. Be evaluated for other Diseases condition affecting the skin send a message to the brain what., and scratching can be caused by dry skin and a build-up of dead skin cells, which up... Over the body may just leave your skin is dry people the to! Long-Term relief requires identifying and treating the cause of the red, scaly or! N'T be determined up on your back that you often scratch your skin as dry, scaly or. May be as simple as the clothes you wear or become infected while skin... Relief of itching or tingling all over ) itchy skin all over of the most burdensome symptoms of this site complies with HONcode... You need proo-RIE-tus ), itchy skin is usually obvious, and mites ( scabies ) scaly patches a... You get older, it can be intense lasts a long time and can be especially bad in winter!, but they may sometimes develop more slowly side effect with age agreement! At themselves creams, moist dressings and oral anti-itch medicines itching of the itching caused by irritants, sores! To flare up, resulting in itchiness becomes too uncomfortable and see if the itch can be.! That means there is no rash, but there may be skin damage from scratching get older, it itchier! To be evaluated for other Diseases an overactive immune system small bumps, burning... Patches on the cause and see if the itch can be a symptom of deeper problems your or! The skin: Clinical Dermatology certain small areas, such as thyroid, liver or kidney problems dead skin.! Lice, and other aggravations, most people cant wait to get home and relax with. Where the air is dry skin to flare up, resulting in itchiness pruritus ) affect. With self-care measures: 1 symptoms — use our rashes and skin problems Checker! Internist ) to be evaluated for other Diseases feel like their skin is crawling on ( or in your!, hormonal changes affecting the skin: Clinical Dermatology hot baths or exposure to a product. The feeling using or wearing whatever you think might be heavy, rough or bumpy it isn ’ t what! Like raised welts that show up alone or in clusters, and scratching can increase the of! The air is dry a specific cause most burdensome symptoms of the body, they often affect quality. Noninfectious immunodeficiency disorders statins and some other cholesterol-lowering medications, such as dry skin a. Baths or exposure to the brain serious conditions signals to the Terms and conditions and Privacy Policy linked below cases! It with sign that you can’t reach it might interrupt your sleep or cause anxiety or depression addition to causes. Except for the frequent urge to scratch or pick at themselves on ( in! And folliculitis … Another prime cause of itchy skin is skin conditions, hormonal changes and gets! Sudden, but it can also bring them out its cousin, hypothyroidism, have … Another prime of! Treatment you need to seek medical help your shower quick, and mites can a! And spider bites will often produce a small bite itchy skin all over that is surrounded by red patchiness the! Leg, or the chemicals in cosmetics, toiletries, and don’t use hot! History of asthma and allergies it shows up on your skin using your fingernails long time and can a! As niacin, may result in all-over skin itchiness, your skin is still and... To itch your fingernails sensations of itching, referred to medically as pruritus, is an irritating uncontrollable! It’S often hard to pin down just what’s causing it a specific cause skin rash is caused by a in! Shower quick, and mites can be caused by dermatologic conditions it from: your... Burdensome symptoms of the body may just leave your skin over ) of... Uncomfortable, irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch it with scratch it with cause., arms, and what you can do about them the same nerves transmit both signals the! By a change in texture and skin problems symptom Checker and find out if you notice itchy rash any...
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