Itchy skin is the irritating sensation on your skin that makes you want to scratch it. The medical name for itchy skin is pruritus. It can feel incredibly uncomfortable, particularly if it lasts a long time. Lots of things can cause itchy skin, particularly if your skin is sensitive. Here we go through the symptoms, and what can cause this itchy, scratchy skin.

RednessProne Skin


You might have itchy skin over certain small areas of your body, or you can get it everywhere. There may be no noticeable changes on your skin but sometimes you might get:

  • redness
  • bumps, spots or blisters
  • dry, cracked skin
  • thickened skin that looks leathery

Depending on what’s causing your itchy skin, it may last a long time and feel pretty intense.


There are lots of possible causes of itchy skin that can be relieved by applying a moisturising product to your skin. These include the following.

  • Sensitive skin. If your skin is sensitive, you can get itchy skin from applying cosmetics and personal care products. Other things that can cause dry, sensitive skin include some soaps and detergents, or even friction from rough clothing as this can irritate your skin.
  • Dry skin. This is a common cause of itchy skin, particularly if you don’t have any rash or bumps on your skin. Your skin can become dry as you get older but other things can make it dry too. For example, air conditioning or central heating can dry your skin, as can washing or bathing too much.
  • Allergic reactions. Sometimes you can get itchy scratchy skin from coming into contact with things such as detergents, soaps or unsuitable cosmetics. These can irritate your skin and cause itching.
  • Skin conditions and rashes. If you have a skin condition such as eczema, or psoriasis, for example, it can make you itch. It’s important to check with a doctor to rule these out.
  • Another type of medical condition. If you have a medical condition such as kidney failure, thyroid problems, or iron deficiency anaemia, just to name a few examples, you might feel itchy.

There is plenty you can do to calm itchy skin so it does not stop you getting on with life. For tips and advice about what you can do about itchy skin, see our article caring for itchy and atopic eczema-prone skin.

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