The American Academy of Dermatologists video offers useful pointers if you are suffering from itching, known medically as pruritus.
Your skin can act as a window to other conditions, itching could be a symptom of anemia, diabetes, kidney, or liver disease, thyroid, or nerve disorders.
They should not be disregarded as part of diagnosis, although itching is a primary symptom of skin conditions. Eczema (dermatitis), psoriasis, shingles, scabies and hives are common explanations, or trauma from burns, or scars.
Irritation, or an allergic reaction may be a reason for itching. This could be from foods, wool, or other materials, chemicals, medication, soaps, cosmetics, or plants. The itch might be accompanied by a rash but not always.
Stress, or other psychological factors can initiate itching, or make the symptoms of a pre-existing condition harder to bear.
A Need For Careful Diagnosis
Diagnosing the cause of itchy skin normally starts with a physical examination and learning more about your medical history. An itch could be a symptom of a known condition, or an early sign of one.
Your consultant’s experience and knowledge are the key diagnostic tools, although where scientific analysis can help, this is available at our London clinic.
A blood test is a possibility, or patch, or prick testing, where an allergic reaction is suspected. Microscopic examination can assist with diagnosis, or other forms of dermatological testing suited to your case.
The reason for your itching may become evident quite quickly but as a symptom of many other conditions, care should be taken to establish the cause.
Treating Itching Conditions
Itching is as individual as the causes and can be a fairly new, yet annoying phenomena, or long term, chronic pruritus. Both can be disruptive to sleep, or to life in general and deserve effective treatment.
The best solution is to understand and remove the cause of the itch, which is our primary objective. There will still be situations where medication will be needed for relief, or as part of treatment.
Corticosteroid creams can help to treat itchy, or inflamed skin, possibly in conjunction with a covering. Changing bathing routines can assist, from water temperature, to medication applied afterwards, such as triamcinolone.
Other topical treatments include calcineurin inhibitors, perhaps tacrolimus, or pimecrolimus, or anesthetic creams such as capsaicin. Oral medication can include types of antidepressant, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Phototherapy could be an option, where your skin is exposed to a specific type of light, especially for those who can not take oral medicines. Identifying and removing triggers can eliminate itching, or treating a specific medical cause.
Dermatological treatment of an itch should be about a return to overall health, alongside dealing with unpleasant symptoms.
Support At Our London Clinic
The consultant you see will understand how itching may affect your daily life. Also how prolonged itching and scratching can increase the intensity of the itch, or lead to skin injury, infection, or scarring.
Whether the issue is severe, or currently less so, our team recognise the need for prompt support and identifying wider conditions.
If you have issues with itching which do not clear quickly, or if they are associated with a new rash, lump or swelling, please arrange to see a dermatologist.