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Skin Care and Diseases

Itchy skin

03/20/2006

Question:

My itching skin is driving me to distraction! It started about 2 months ago out of the blue. I haven`t changed my washing products or diet. The itching just comes on day or night. It wakes me up when I`m sleeping and then keeps me awake for a good part of the night. It sometimes feels like a needle is being injected and other times a patch or area just itches. It mainly affects my arms and legs but also my upper body as well. There are no spots or bumps, dry or red patches. My skin doesn`t feel dry and is not broken. Sometimes the irritation is so violent I want to scream! On a few occasions the itching is coupled with a tingling feeling especially in my arms. I`ve tried moisturizing the areas but this only brings tempory relief. Is it something to do with my blood flow or pressure? - I`m at my wits end!! Many thanks!

Answer:

My sympathy for your significant discomfort and sleep deprivation.  It is very difficult to determine what the cause of your problem is, particularly if there are no skin lesions.  I would urge you to see your internist or your board certified dermatologist for a complete medical review since itching without any skin manifestations usually requires a systemic evaluation.  For temporary relief you may try some over-the-counter materials such as Sarna lotion or  Eucerin Calming cream; but I feel certain that in this situation systemic evaluation is important.

 Good luck!

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati