Having chronic itchy skin goes way beyond dry skin, as there may be underlying issues related to other diseases that causes you to itch. The possible causes of chronic itch go way beyond dry skin.
If after lightly scratching your skin, your fingernails leave thin, raised red welts on your skin that take 15 to 30 minutes to disappear, you may have dermatographia.
While the cause of this condition is unclear, experts suggest it could be triggered by stress, infections, allergens, or medications like penicillin. It’s an extreme skin condition, where your skin is sensitive to touch and releases too much histamine.
Areas of touch and clothing are the most susceptible to dermatographic flare-ups. It’s easy to diagnose but often goes undiagnosed because it’s not bothersome enough for most people. If the itch becomes severe, your doctor can prescribe an antihistamine to relieve the inflammation.
A chronically itchy upper middle of the back (without a rash) can be a hallmark of neuropathic itch, a symptom of nerve malfunction. Research has shown that spinal disease, whether due to age or injury, can apply pressure on the nerve and pinch it, which results in an itchy sensation on the skin.
Neuropathic itches can occur on one side of the body or both, but it’s a big red flag if scratching brings no relief. Nerve itch doesn’t improve with scratching. The itch intensifies most of the time, with some people saying it feels like insects are crawling on them.
Once spinal cord disease or other health conditions have been ruled out, neuropathic itches can be treated with capsaicin cream, which is derived from hot peppers, to burn out the nerves that are firing irregularly on the skin.
An intense itch all over the body often occurs in people with late stage kidney disease or who suffer from chronic renal failure. As a matter of fact, a particular study found that 42 percent of dialysis patients suffered from moderate to extreme renal itch.
The itch is so intense that people wake up in the middle of the night scratching. Science has yet to uncover why kidney disease causes itchiness, but doctors suspect it has to do with the build up of toxins in the body when the kidneys are unable to remove the waste from your bloodstream.
Itching all over the body could also be a silent sign of liver disease. It can be an early symptom of liver disease. If your liver is not functioning properly to detoxify the body, byproducts like bile acids back up. The primary goal is to treat the underlying liver disease and prescribe medications that can eliminate the bile acids.