Itch and the skin

Eczema – Atopic Dermatitis

Dermatitis (sometimes called eczema) is inflammation of the upper layers of the skin, causing itching, blisters, redness, swelling, and often oozing, scabbing, and scaling.

Known causes include dry skin, contact with a particular substance, certain drugs, varicose veins, and constant scratching. Typical symptoms include a red itchy rash, blisters, open sores, oozing, crusting, and scaling. The diagnosis is typically based on symptoms and confirmed by results of skin tests or skin samples or the presence of suspected drugs, irritants, or infection. Avoiding known irritants and allergens reduces the risk of dermatitis.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic, recurring disease that causes one or more raised, red patches that have silvery scales and a distinct border between the patch and normal skin.

A problem with the immune system may play a role, and some people are genetically predisposed to psoriasis. Characteristic scales or red patches can appear anywhere on the body in large or small patches, particularly the elbows, knees, and scalp. Psoriasis is common and affects about 1 to 5% of the population worldwide. Light-skinned people are at greater risk, whereas African Americans and those of African descent are less likely to get the disease. Psoriasis begins most often in people aged 16 to 22 years and aged 57 to 60 years. However, people in all age groups and races are susceptible. The patches of psoriasis occur because of an abnormally high rate of growth of skin cells. The reason for the rapid cell growth is unknown, but a problem with the immune system is thought to play a role. The disorder often runs in families, and certain genes are associated with psoriasis.

Shingles

Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by a viral infection that results from reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox.

What causes the virus to reactive is usually unknown, but sometimes reactivation occurs when a disorder or drug weakens the immune system. Shingles causes a painful rash of fluid-filled blisters and sometimes results in chronic pain in the affected area. Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, usually years later. When the virus reactivates, the virus travels down the nerve fibers to the skin, where it creates painful sores resembling those of chickenpox. This outbreak of sores (shingles) almost always appears on a strip of the skin over the infected nerve fibers and only on one side of the body. This strip of skin, the area supplied by nerve fibers from a single spinal nerve region, is called a dermatome. Sores may also appear on the dermatomes next to the affected dermatome. Reactivation sometimes occurs when the immune system is weakened by another disorder, such as AIDS , or by use of drugs that suppress the immune system. The occurrence of shingles does not usually mean that the person has another serious disease.

Allergic Itch & Hives

Itching can be very uncomfortable. It is one of the most common reasons people see doctors who specialize in skin disorders (dermatologists).

Known causes include dry skin, contact with a particular substance, certain drugs, varicose veins, and constant scratching. Typical symptoms include a red itchy rash, blisters, open sores, oozing, crusting, and scaling. The diagnosis is typically based on symptoms and confirmed by results of skin tests or skin samples or the presence of suspected drugs, irritants, or infection. Avoiding known irritants and allergens reduces the risk of dermatitis.

Diabetic Itch

Persistent itching can be uncomfortable and might lead to excessive scratching, which can cause infection, discomfort, and pain.

People with diabetes tend to experience itchy skin more often than those without the condition. Itching is often a symptom of diabetic polyneuropathy, which is a condition that develops when diabetes leads to nerve damage. Certain skin conditions that develop as a result of diabetes may also cause itchy skin. A person with diabetes should not ignore itchy skin. Dry, irritated, or itchy skin is more likely to become infected. People with diabetes may not be able to fight off infections as successfully as those who do not have the condition.

Winter and Old Age Itch – Dry Skin (Xeroderma)

Dry skin, unless it is an inherited disorder or is caused by another condition, is called xeroderma.

Normal skin owes its soft, pliable texture to its water content. To help protect against water loss, the outer layer of skin contains oil, which slows evaporation and holds moisture in the deeper layers of skin. If the oil is depleted, the skin becomes dry. Dry skin is common, especially among people past middle age. Risk factors for dry skin include: cold, dry weather, frequent bathing, particularly if using harsh soaps, atopic dermatitis, and older age Bathing washes away surface oils, allowing the skin to dry out. Dry skin may become irritated and often itches. Sometimes it sloughs off in small flakes and scales. Scaling most often affects the lower legs. Rubbing or scratching dry skin can lead to infection and scarring. Dry and itching skin is a common problem among adults, especially as they age. The loss of oil glands (which help to keep the skin soft) is the main cause of dry skin.