Skin serves as the first line of defense by working as a barrier that protects the inside of the body. The layers of the skin are filled with special cells of the immune system that can protect the body and skin from viruses, bacteria, etc. Once the skin cells detect a suspicious substance, they trigger a reaction that causes the area to become red and inflamed. This is referred to as an inflammation or a rash or dermatitis and this leads to itching. Skin allergies affect the lives of millions of people around the world. Skin allergies occur when the immune system responds to an allergen or toxin.
Itchy skin can be the result of a rash or any other skin condition. It can also be a symptom of a more serious condition such as liver disease or kidney failure. So it is important to identify the problem and treat the underlying cause. Itching can be all over the body or only in specific areas.
Causes of pruritus:
Dry skin: Dry skin is one of the most common causes of itchy skin when there are no visible skin eruptions. Environmental factors such as excessively hot or cold weather with low humidity can cause dry skin and itching. Washing too much can also cause dry skin. It is also related to age. Common signs and symptoms of dry skin include rough, scaly, or flaking skin, excessive itching, crack in the skin that is prone to bleeding.
Allergies: An allergic reaction can cause an itchy skin rash and also cause itchy skin. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into direct contact with an allergen. The result of the skin allergy is a red, itchy rash or eruptions. Contact with certain clothing, pets, chemicals, soaps, and substances such as poison ivy or cosmetics can trigger allergic reactions. Food allergies can also cause the skin to itch. Some of the allergic skin diseases are:
Eczema: Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is the most common cause of skin rash in children. Eczema often improves over time. People with eczema are more vulnerable to skin infections. A common symptom of eczema is dry, red, irritated and itchy skin. Sometimes, especially when infected, the skin may have small, fluid-filled eruptions that ooze a clear or yellowish liquid.
Hives or urticaria: Urticaria may or may not be due to an allergic reaction.Hives are raised red patches or bumps or welts that appear on the body. Acute urticaria is most commonly caused by exposure to an allergen or by an infection. Hives are a type of skin inflammation caused by the release of a chemical in the body called histamine. The most common cause is contact with an allergic trigger, such as particular food or medication. Non-allergic causes, such as excessively hot or cold weather, sun exposure, or exercise also causes urticaria.
Contact dermatitis: Contact dermatitis is a reaction that appears when the skin comes in contact with an irritant or an allergen. Symptoms can include a rash, blisters, itching and burning. Soaps, laundry detergents, metals, adhesives, topical medications, plants, etc can cause contact dermatitis.
Bug bites: Bug bites cause skin irritation, resulting in itching. Mosquito and spider bites often produce a small bite mark that is surrounded by a red patch on the skin. Bites from bed bugs and mites create a bigger rash and can cause itchiness all over the body.
Psychological: People may experience an itching feeling without any physical reasons. Some mental health condition such as obsessive compulsive disorder, can make a person feel as if their skin is crawling, with an intense urge to scratch.
Other causes: Itching can also be caused by fungal and parasitic infections or underlying systemic medical conditions. Nerve disorders caused by diabetes, pinched nerves, and shingles can cause severe itching. Uremia is a broad syndrome that occurs when the kidneys are severely damaged and cannot filter toxins from the body resulting in itching.
The following steps may help reduce itching:
- Using mild moisturizing cream on the skin and applying it at least once or twice each day
- Wet compress to the affected area
- Lukewarm wash or bath
- Mild soaps without perfumes for bath and using mild detergent when washing also prevents dermatitis.
- Avoiding substances that irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction such as nickel, jewelry, etc.
- And the most important self-care measure is to avoid scratching. Scratching can lead to further inflammation and damage to the skin and can worsen the itching.
Homoeopathic medicines for skin allergies and itching:
Some of the best remedies for itching and skin allergies are:
Arsenicum album: It is useful in treating skin ailments such as chronic urticaria, chronic eczema and psoriasis. The rash might be papular and cause a burning sensation. Wheals, which are induced due to consistent exposure to cold can also be remedied by this remedy.
Apis Mellifica: It is useful when urticarial infections have a sudden onset with a widespread appearance of welts. Hives that spread all over the body and bed rashes can also be treated with this drug.
Hepar Sulphur: This drug is helpful in treating moist eruptions on skin folds and the joints. The skin in such cases is prone to suppuration and becomes very sensitive. This can also be used in eczematous scalp and cases wherein the skin becomes very sensitive.
Caladium: It is most commonly used in case of asthmatics who suffer from rashes. This kind of rash alternates with the asthma attacks.
Medorrhinum: Babies having rashes around their anus, diaper rash are generally recommended.
Psorinum: Psorinum is one of the most wonderful medicines for skin rash and itching in the bend of joints, for example the hollow of the knee or elbow. Itching is intolerable and the skin gets raw or may even start to bleed from intense and continuous scratching. So severe is the condition that the person often finds it hard to even sleep.
Calcarea carbonica: This remedy is suited to people who are chilly with clammy hands and feet, and tend to develop eczema and cracking skin that is worse in the winter.
Graphites: Indicated for tough or leathery skin with cracks and soreness, and often have a long-term history of skin disorders. The areas behind the ears, around the mouth, or on the hands are often cracked, with a golden oozing discharge that hardens into crusts. Itching is worse from getting warm in bed, and the person will often scratch the irritated places till they bleed
Hepar sulphuris: This remedy may be helpful to very sensitive, chilly people whose eczema is extremely sore and becomes infected easily. The skin, especially on the hands and feet, looks chapped and deeply cracked and is very slow to heal.
Mezereum: Intensely itching eruptions start as blisters, then ooze and form thick crusts, and scratching can lead to thickened skin. Cold applications often help the itch.
Rhus toxicodendron: Rashes, urticaria, eczema and blister like eruptions that look red and swollen, itch intensely, and are soothed by hot applications.
Sulphur: Intense burning, itching, inflamed eruptions that are worse from warmth and worse from bathing suggest a need for this remedy. Affected areas may be red, with scaling or crusted skin. Eruptions can be either dry or moist.
Petroleum: It is indicated for extremely dry skin and tends to crack, especially on the fingertips and palms. Eczema is worse in winter, with deep, sore cracks that often bleed. The person feels a cold sensation after scratching. Itching is worse at night and from getting warm in bed.