When a Rash is a Serious Problem

Hand holding up magnifying glass to woman's cheek

We’ve talked a lot about itchy skin, especially during the colder, dryer months such as these. Sometimes itchy skin can simply be due to dryness, and by moisturizing regularly, you can take care of it. Other times, it can be a sign of something more serious.

At its most basic, itchy skin is just uncomfortable. It can keep you up at night or make for awkward social interactions – all that scratching might turn a few heads. Besides, the more you scratch, the more it itches. And while you are trying to get relief, you could be causing further damage to already irritated, inflamed skin. Often, you may also discover your skin becoming red, dry, cracked, scaly, or even have bumps and blisters. It’s not pleasant.

What Are Some of the Causes of Itchy Skin?

Itchy skin can be caused by a number of things, and not only from dermatological issues. If you have eczema, scabies, psoriasis, or hives, you will most likely have itching, and a dermatologist can offer a list of helpful options.

Beyond that, there are other causes which are a precursor to the skin’s reaction. If you have nerve disorder including MS, shingles, or diabetes, you can experience itching and discomfort on the skin. Psychiatric diseases such as anxiety, depression, and OCD can cause it too. Allergies to foods, chemicals, cosmetics, drugs, and materials like wool are also contributing factors. Even pregnancy can cause itching – cholestasis is a liver condition that can cause intense itching late in the pregnancy.

There’s also the possibility that it’s a result of a disease within the body. From thyroid problems to liver and kidney disease, to lymphoma, cancer, and anemia… if your skin is itching and you’ve ruled out any of the above, you should reach out to your doctor. Itchy skin is often your body’s way of telling you something is not right on the inside.

So, when should you call a dermatologist about itchy skin? There are a few things to watch for:

  • Did the itching come on all of a sudden and you have no idea why?
  • Have you been itching for over two weeks and it’s not getting any better with at-home remedies?
  • Does it literally keep you awake at night?
  • What about other symptoms: fever, changes in bathroom needs, tiredness, or weight fluctuations?

To get a better understanding about why you may have itchy skin, schedule an appointment with The Derm Group by calling 973.571.2121.