Why is My Skin Itchy? Examining the Causes of Itchy Skin

Brian Wu
Writer, Medical News Today

Abstract

Human skin has special cells of the immune system that protect the body against bacteria, viruses, and other hidden threats. Once these skin cells detect any foreign substance, they trigger a reaction that causes the skin to swell or inflame. The inflamed skin is what we call rash or dermatitis. Common causes of rashes are eczema or atopic dermatitis, allergies, and hives. Your skin might have a parasite, too, such as threadworms and insects (e.g. mosquitoes, bedbugs, and lice) and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, if itchy. Other causes include nerve disorders (caused by shingles, diabetes, and pinched nerves) and uremic pruritus or renal itch.

For treatment, better consult a skin specialist and wait for a recommendation. Usually, a skin specialist will recommend oral histamine and/or anti-itch cream for the inflamed skin. For people with kidney failure or psoriasis (who cannot take more medicine or drug), light therapy or phototherapy is an alternate treatment. A few self-care measures for rashes include taking a lukewarm bath and pressing of a cool, wet compress on the affected area.

Likewise, experts advise not to scratch the itchy area because it worsens the itching and inflammation and may lead to skin damage. Consider as well the soap and detergent you use. Choose a mild soap without dyes or perfumes for your body and a mild or unscented laundry detergent as you wash your clothes. Avoid substances that may irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction such as jewelry, nickel, and wool.

Reaction
This article is great! I learned the reason my legs get itchy after a heavy workout or a long jog. I’ve always been curious of this “happening,” but I always forget to search for an answer since in a few hours the rashes will disappear. As explained in this article, the rashes appear after the capillaries in our skin expand rapidly to increase blood flow as we jog or exercise. It then triggers neighboring nerves, sending impulses the brain reads as an itching sensation. Briefly, the rashes occur in response to increased body temperature from anxiety, heat, sweat, and physical activity.

I agree with the author, too, when he said we must be attentive to various happenings in and outside our bodies. We should be careful in choosing the cream to apply on our skin, the soap for our body, and the detergent for our laundry. If ever we sense severe skin itching, better consult a skin specialist because it could mean a serious medical problem.


Vocabulary Words

  • Topical calcineurin inhibitors – are treatments that modulate the immune system and have been developed for controlling eczema.
  • Poison ivy – a poisonous Asian and North American flowering plant that causes itching, irritation, and sometimes painful rash on the skin.
  • Nickel allergy – a common reaction to minute amounts of nickel particles coming into direct contact with the skin and may include jewelry, zippers, watches, snaps, and eyeglasses.
  • Pinched nerves – occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, muscles, cartilage, or tendons.
  • Shingles – an infection of a nerve area caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It causes pain and rashes along a band of skin supplied by the affected nerve.

Sources:
http://www.doctoroz.com
http://www.eczema.org
http://www.wikipedia.org
http://www.google.com

(Source of Featured Image: Universalfreepress.com)


Reference:
Wu, B. (2016, July 1). Why is My Skin Itchy? Examining the Causes of Itchy Skin – Medical News Today. Retrieved July 7, 2016, from Medical News Today Website: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311473.php

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