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Skin Care and Diseases

Severe itching

09/07/2006

Question:

I recently started working outside being exposed to the sun for long periods of time, since doing this I have been experiencing severe itching at night. there are no visible rashes but once i scratch one little area my arms and legs will go crazy. i dont know if this is due to being exposed to the sun recently. Ive never had a problem like this before and I have spent many long periods being exposed to the sun. But for some reason this itching has started and its so severe that I cant sleep at night. What could this be?

Answer:

It sounds as though you are experiencing dermatographism which is a form of urticaria.  There are forms of solar-induced urticaria that wax and wane.  They are worse after periods of non-sun exposure.  The scratching and getting more hives is typical of dermatographism.  In order for your complex problem to be completely unraveled, you need to see a board certified dermatologist. 

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Response by:

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