Why do I have Itchy Skin?

itchy back

itchy back

Itchy skin is a debilitating condition that affects many of us especially at this time of year.

If no obvious cause is found, the condition is described as Idiopathic Pruritus. This can be a chronic condition. Scratching makes you itch more, so definitely not the long term answer.

The following skin conditions can contribute to itchy skin, therefore it is important to be aware of them and test for them if possible.


This is due to a highly infectious mite that lives under the skin and nails. If treated properly, the clearance success is excellent. However, beware that the itchiness can persist despite getting rid of the mites. Topical creams containing anti-itch ingredients can be helpful for the following few weeks after the scabies treatment.


This is a common condition affecting about 20% of the population from babies to the elderly. It can be broadly divided into 2 main groups- genetic and non-genetic groups.   Atopic eczema is an auto-immune condition, whereby sufferers often have hay fever or asthma; there can be quite widespread areas of itchy, dry and inflamed skin. Contact allergic eczema, which could be due to Nickel for example, is well defined. Pompholyx eczema can be intensely itch but tends to be confined to hands and/or feet.


This can be due to many conditions such as viral and other infections, allergy to certain foods, latex etc or physical stimuli such as sunlight, cold and scratching the skin (dermographism). The rash consists of raised, red and itchy lumps. It can be short lasting or can occasionally last for many months to years without obvious cause.


The thyroid gland produces thyroxine which helps in the regulation of sweat glands as well as metabolism, temperature control and hair growth. Patients with untreated underactive thyroid can have dry, itchy skin, thinning hair and feel cold. A simple blood test can determine whether you have an underactive thyroid as the cause of the itchy skin.

Apart from the above more common conditions, there are many potential causes of itchy skin, with simple dryness being the most common cause. A thorough medical history and examination, followed by appropriate tests will give the best chance of finding the cause of your itchy skin. Appropriate treatment can then be prescribed.

Further information on what Dermatology services we provide, please visit the webpage on Dermatology Clinics here.

Call 01227 472288 to make an appointment to see our Consultant Dermatologist or book online on our website www.skinandlaser.co.uk