Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Skin problems health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Itching from dry skin

Itching

Itching, medically called pruritus, can be caused by dry skin, pregnancy and a number of disorders, including skin disease, infection, and, rarely, cancer.

In addition, various medications can cause itching as a side effect.

Who gets itching?

Anyone can get itching but certain groups of people are more susceptible to the condition, including:

  • People with allergies, including hayfever, asthma and eczema
  • People with diabetes
  • People with HIV/AIDS and various types of cancer
  • Pregnant women
  • Elderly people

 

Itching prevention

The best way to prevent itching is to take care of your skin. This includes protecting your skin from excessive damage. Methods for protecting your skin include the following:

  • Use skin creams and lotions that moisturise your skin and prevent dryness.
  • Use sunscreens regularly to prevent sunburn and skin damage.
  • Use mild bath soap and laundry detergent that won't irritate your skin.
  • Take a bath in warm, not hot, water to and avoid making your skin too dry.
  • Avoid certain fabrics, such as wool and synthetics that can make your skin itch. Switch to cotton clothing and bed sheets.
  • Since warm, dry air can make your skin dry, keep the thermostat in your house or flat down.
  • To relieve itching, place a cool flannel or some ice over the area that itches, rather than scratching.

Your doctor may also prescribe medication to treat pruritus, including antihistamines and topical steroids. Rarely, steroid pills and antibiotics may also be needed.

How is itching treated?

Finding the cause of the itching and treating any underlying skin disease is the first step.

If a reaction to a medicine is suspected, switching to a different medication may be helpful to reduce the itching.

Moisturising the skin, and not scratching the skin, helps relieve itching.

Placing a cool flannel or some ice over the area that itches.

Your doctor may also recommend medication to treat the itching, including antihistamines and topical steroids. Rarely, steroid pills and antibiotics may also be needed.

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Healthy skin newsletter

Skincare tips and treatment options.
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman_holding_head_in_pain
How to help headache pain
smiling baby
Causes and remedies
man holding sore neck
16 tips when you have a lot of weight to lose
mother and child
Caring for a baby with cows' milk allergy
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
man holding sore neck
8 signs you're headed for menopause
couple makigh salad
Nutrition for over 50s
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
rash on skin
Top eczema triggers to avoid
rubber duckie
Hidden allergy hotspots in homes
egg in cup
Surprising things that can harm your liver