Four Simple Itch Treatments
Some home treatments can reduce or stop the urge to scratch your legs. Hereâs what dermatologists suggest.
- Apply cold to the area. Use an ice pack or a cool, wet cloth.
- Take an oatmeal bath. Donât use the breakfast kind, though. The type you want is a fine powder called colloidal oatmeal. It helps clean, moisturize, and protect skin. Itâs also an anti-inflammatory.
- Keep skin hydrated. Doctors suggest this simple step for itch relief even when thereâs a serious cause, such as kidney disease. Be sure to use a fragrance-free moisturizer to reduce the chances of irritation.
- Try a pain-relief cream with pramoxine. This ingredient can give you short-term relief from:
- Insect bites
Who Is Most Likely To Get Neurodermatitis
It is estimated that neurodermatitis occurs in about 12% of the population. Research has shown that people between 30 years old and 50 years old are more likely to contract the condition. Women are more likely than men to suffer from neurodermatitis at a ratio of 2:1. Those with anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders and family members with histories of other skin diseases, including eczema and contact dermatitis, are more likely to develop neurodermatitis.
Some recent studies have suggested that those with certain personality traits including poor social skills, lack of flexibility, tendency toward pain avoidance, dependency on other people, people-pleasing and dutifulness are more likely to have neurodermatitis. However, other studies have found no connection between personality and the condition.
Tips For Coping With Pruritus
- Bathing should be limited to short, cool showers.
- Only apply soap to the groin, armpits, anal area, under the breasts, and areas of oily skin.
- Apply a mild moisturizing cream immediately after bathing.
- Humidify your home to at least 40%, especially during dry, cold months.
- Avoid contact with wool, fiberglass, detergents, or other topical irritants.
- Do not scratch.
If you have severe or persistent symptoms of itching, especially generalized pruritus, see your healthcare provider for evaluation and treatment.
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How Can You Prevent Itchy Legs While Running
If youre just dealing with an itchy feelingno hives or any of the red flag symptoms mentioned aboveand just started running in the last few weeks, its probably just due to that physiological adaptation, says Burns. The good news is, chances are pretty high that itll peter out soon. The bad news is, theres really nothing you can do to make it better in the meantime.
Its one of those things, you can think of it almost as a growing pain, Burns says. Its a necessary discomfort of adapting to a new stronger, more aerobic body.
You can try some troubleshooting to see if some apparel changessay, loose shorts instead of tight compression pants, or vice versaor post-workout habits make the itching feel better for you, Burns says, but it wont change the adaptation thats going on in your body.
My suspicion is, by the time you figured out any of the trends or things that can make it better, the itching would probably have gone away, he says.
One thing you can do to stop it from happening again is to keep running, says Burns. The itching can start again if you resume running after a few months off, though itll likely persist for a shorter amount of time. Our bodies do have a bit of memory, so building back into it is going to be less rough than starting completely new from the first time.
Varicose Eczema / Dermatitis
Varicose eczema happens when high pressure in the veins in the legs pushes our blood into the skin tissue. This causes irritation. Varicose eczema is usually red and very itchy with scaly patches. Sometimes you may have patches that are also weeping or notice reddish brown staining above your ankle. Varicose eczema can be itchy and you are advised not to scratch and this can exacerbate the itchiness and damage or break the skin.
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What Is Itchy Skin
Itchy skin, also known as pruritis, is a common irritation of the skin that makes you want to scratch the itchy area. It can occur anywhere on the body and can be very frustrating and uncomfortable.
Itching may occur on a small part of the body, for example around the area of an insect bite, or it can affect the whole body such as an allergic reaction.
Itchy skin is usually not serious. But sometimes it can be caused by a serious medical condition.
What Tests Can Be Used To Diagnose Neurodermatitis
- Skin swab tests find out if there is an infection.
- Patch testing to learn whether an allergy is the problem.
- Fungal tests to identify skin disorders in the general area and to rule out sexually transmitted infections.
- Skin biopsy to find or rule out psoriasis or mycosis fungoides, which is a form of lymphoma.
- Blood tests.
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Insect Bite From A Chigger
Chiggers are mites that feed on humans and animals only while they are larvae, or their infant form. People can contract chiggers when they contact infected grass. Chiggers feed for three to four days on a piece of skin, and secrete a fluid that causes intense itching.
Top Symptoms: lower leg itch, lower leg redness, knee itch, ankle itch, ankle redness
Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit
What Causes A Rash Behind The Knees
According to WebMD, atopic dermatitis is a skin condition that causes a scaling, itching rash behind the knees and on the face, arms and legs. Itching is the primary symptom of the condition and constant scratching leads to a scaling red rash that may ooze fluid. In some cases, continual scratching also causes skin to thicken. Atopic dermatitis is commonly referred to as eczema.
The Mayo Clinic explains that atopic dermatitis symptoms can begin as early as infancy. The rashes caused by atopic dermatitis are most commonly found in areas where the skin flexes, such as behind the knees and inside the elbows. Contact dermatitis is another form of dermatitis that occurs when the skin comes in contact with irritants or allergens. Symptoms of eczema include a burning rash and blisters.
According to MedlinePlus, the most common symptoms of eczema are dry skin and an itching rash that develops on the hands, feet and behind the knees. Medical professionals diagnose eczema based on family history and physical symptoms, as there is no single test to diagnose the condition. Allergic reactions to drugs or food can cause a rash anywhere on the skin that consists of red, itching bumps. Hives are also caused by stress and typically go away on their own.
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Will Rash Go Away On Its Own
An itchy rash will generally go away on its own within a month if it is not severe.
However, if it is the result of an irritant or bacteria then continued exposure to the root cause will end up making the rash last for longer.
The best cause of action is to remove anything that may be exacerbating the rash, such as a support or brace, and using an over-the-counter medication to clear it up as soon as possible.
How Is Eczema Diagnosed
There is no specific test used to diagnose eczema. The doctor will look at the rash and ask about symptoms, the child’s past health, and the family’s health. If family members have any atopic conditions, that’s an important clue.
The doctor will rule out other conditions that can cause skin inflammation, and might recommend that your child see a dermatologist or an allergist.
The doctor may ask you to ban some foods from your child’s diet, switch detergents or soaps, or make other changes for a time to see if your child is reacting to something.
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Yellowish Scaly Patches On And Around Your Eyelids
These develop when you have high fat levels in your blood. It can also be a sign that your diabetes is poorly controlled.The medical name for this condition is xanthelasma.
- Tell your doctor about the yellowish scaly patches around your eyes.
- Talk with your doctor about how to better control your diabetes. Controlling diabetes can clear the scaly patches.
Yellow Reddish Or Brown Patches On Your Skin
This skin condition often begins as small raised solid bumps that look like pimples. As it progresses, these bumps turn into patches of swollen and hard skin. The patches can be yellow, reddish, or brown.
You may also notice:
- The surrounding skin has a shiny porcelain-like appearance
- You can see blood vessels
- The skin is itchy and painful
- The skin disease goes through cycles where it is active, inactive, and then active again
- Get tested for diabetes, if you have not been diagnosed.
- Work with your doctor to better control your diabetes.
- See a dermatologist about your skin. Necorbiosis lipodica is harmless, but it can lead to complications.
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What Causes That Itchy Rash
Atopic Dermatitis Finger
The cause of your rash could be due to a plethora of conditions. Rashes are not easy to diagnose and in some cases even doctors struggle to diagnose correctly. We would always recommend speaking to a board-certified dermatologist if you have a persistent rash. Equally, we have created artificial intelligence that allows you to search for potential skin rash causes. Simply upload an image and we provide the results.
Check Rashes at Home
Outbreaks of rashes that are itchy, red, spots or bumps on the skin are very common and have many different causes. If you have an outbreak, you need to do some itchy rash investigation yourself.
There are a few things to consider before talking to a doctor. Firstly, did you come into contact with something unusual recently? This can include both natural materials and artificial materials or work related . Anything unusual?
Maybe you ate fruit that you do not usually eat or used a new cosmetic or detergent product? Any of these, you likely have an allergy-related rash. An online dermatologist can confirm a case of an allergy-related rash in just a few hours.
What If Scratching Has Caused A Wound
If scratching due to neurodermitis has caused a wound, the doctor may wrap a dressing over the area.
Another potential treatment is negative-pressure wound therapy, which involves vacuuming fluid out of the wound and increasing blood flow there.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy confines the patient in an oxygen chamber to inhale pure oxygen, which enhances the bodys ability to heal itself. Surgery on the wound is another option.
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What Is The Prognosis For People With Neurodermatitis
With the right treatment plan, neurodermatitis can heal completely. However, the doctor and patient may have to adjust the plan or try different plans. Sticking with the plan is vital, especially if neurodermatitis is on the genitals, where cases of the condition are most stubborn.
Unfortunately, neurodermatitis can return if activated by one of the triggers. Then, the patient must return for treatment. In some cases, a doctor will continue treatment on a patient who has healed to prevent the condition from returning.
Sometimes, neurodermatitis can develop into skin cancers like squamous-cell or verrucous carcinoma. This is perhaps due to continuous scratching and rubbing, which can activate chemicals that cause inflammation, which in turn can transform skin cells to cancerous cells.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/10/2019.
Stasis Or Gravitational Eczema
Especially common among people living with vessel disorders such as varicose veins or deep vein thrombosis, stasis or gravitational eczema can cause itchy, swollen, reddish-purple patches on the lower legs.
Treatment: While treating you for the underlying conditions, your doctor might recommend applying corticosteroids to the affected areas to lessen your discomfort and keeping your legs elevated. Your doctor might also recommend compression stockings.
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When Should I See My Doctor
See your doctor if you are very itchy and there is no rash. It is very important to let them know about the medications/supplements, drugs or herbal medicines you may have taken.
- the lips or tongue are swollen
- you or your child have trouble breathing
- you are unwell or have a fever
- the symptoms keep coming back
- the itching is so bad you cannot sleep
- the rash is bleeding, scabs or has pus
- you develop severe itching while you are pregnant
It is always a good idea to see a doctor if your baby develops a rash.
Complications Of Itchy Skin
It’s quite common to find that after you have scratched an itch that it becomes more persistent and you get into a cycle of itching and scratching. This can be painful and can sometimes lead to an infection if the skin is broken.
The scratching can also lead to brown or pale marks on the skin, lumps, bruising or scarring.
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What Is Neurodermatitis
Neurodermatitis is a non-life-threatening skin condition involving itching and scratching, usually on just one or two patches of skin. It is also called lichen simplex chronicus.
The itch can occur anywhere on the body but is most commonly found on the arms, shoulders, elbows, legs, ankles, wrists, hands, back of the neck or scalp. The anal and genital areas and the face might also itch. The itching can be intense, causing frequent scratching, or it might come and go. It is most active when the patient is relaxing or trying to sleep. In some cases, the patient wakes up scratching or rubbing the affected area.
What Causes Itchy Skin
Common causes of itchy skin include:
Dry skin: Skin can become dry and itchy in hot or cold, dry weather, or from using soap. Dry skin looks flaky and rough but it is not usually very itchy or red. Sometimes the skin can crack, which can be painful.
Insect bite: There will usually be a bump or blister around the bite. The area may be inflamed, painful and swollen.
Hives:Hives or urticaria is a raised, bumpy red or skin coloured rash that is very itchy. The rash is often on the chest, abdomen or back, but it can appear anywhere. The rash will last from a few hours to 24 hours and then disappear with no scarring.
Heat rash:Heat rash looks like little pink or red spots or blisters. They can appear anywhere on the skin. Heat rash, also called miliaria or prickly heat, is very common in babies.
Eczema:Eczema causes itchy, red, scaly patches on the skin. The patches are usually on the cheeks, elbow creases and behind the knees. Eczema is common in children and often runs in families who have conditions like allergies, hay fever or asthma. Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis.
Scabies:Scabies is an extremely itchy skin rash caused by small mites. There will be red lumps and threadlike tracks on the skin. These usually appear between the fingers and toes, on the insides of the wrists, in the armpits, around the tummy and groin or on the buttocks.
Itchy skin can sometimes be caused by certain medications, recreational drugs or herbal supplements.
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How Is Eczema Treated
There is no cure for eczema. But treatments can help with symptoms. The doctor will recommend different treatments based on how severe the symptoms are, the child’s age, and where the rash is. Some are “topical” and applied to the skin. Others are taken by mouth.
Topical moisturizers. Skin should be moisturized often . The best time to apply moisturizer is after a bath or shower, with the skin patted dry gently. Ointments and creams are best because they contain a lot of oil. Lotions have too much water to be helpful.
Topical corticosteroids, also called cortisone or steroid creams or ointments. These ease skin inflammation. It’s important not to use a topical steroid prescribed for someone else. These creams and ointments vary in strength, and using the wrong strength in sensitive areas can damage the skin, especially in infants.
Other topical anti-inflammatory medicines. These include medicines that change the way the skin’s immune system reacts.
Medicine taken by mouth. These can include antihistamines to help itchy kids sleep better at night, antibiotics if a rash gets infected by bacteria, and corticosteroid pills or other medicines that suppress the immune system.
Other types of treatment can include:
- wet wraps: damp cloths placed on irritated areas of skin
- bleach baths: bathing in very diluted bleach solution
What Causes Winter Itch
The exact cause of winter itch is unknown. Factors associated with winter itch include:
- Itching associated with cold weather, often coexisting with dry skin
- Itch presenting in autumn and winter, and clearing up during the summer months
- The aggravation of symptoms by the wearing of certain types of textures, such as flannel or woollen wear.
Similar symptoms have also been reported in patients exposed to refrigerated air conditioning during the summer months. Winter itch is not influenced by frequency of bathing or by the temperature of the bath water.
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When To See A Dermatologist
Diabetes can cause many other skin problems. Most skin problems are harmless, but even a minor one can become serious in people who have diabetes. A board-certified dermatologist can recognize skin problems due to diabetes and help you manage them.
Are all dermatologists board certified?
No. See what it takes to become board certified.
ImagesImage 1: Image Courtesy of Clark C. Otley, MD. All Rights Reserved
Images 3, 7, 8, 9: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
Image 2 from DermNetNZ
Some images used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
ReferencesCohen Sabban, EN. Cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus from A to Z. Focus session presented at: 74th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology March 4-8, 2016 Washington D.C.
Duff M, Demidova O, et al. Cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus. Clinical Diabetes. 2015 33:40-8.
Kalus AA, Chien AJ, et al. Diabetes mellitus and other endocrine disorders. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008:1461-70.
McKinley-Grant L, Warnick M, et al. Cutaneous manifestations of systemic disease. In: Kelly AP and Taylor S. Dermatology for Skin of Color. . The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. China, 2009:481-4.
Morgan AJ and Schwartz RA. Diabetic dermopathy: A subtle sign with grave implications. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 58:447-51.