In many cases, the itching will go away by itself, or you can easily treat it with an over-the-counter cream or ointment. If it doesn’t get better in a couple of weeks, you should ask your GP for advice, especially if you’re itching all over and have a rash.
There are many itchy skin causes. These can include an allergic reaction to something you’ve touched (contact dermatitis), such as a chemical or metal, or a response to something you've swallowed, such as food or drugs.
Other common causes include:
There are many underlying conditions which can sometimes cause itchy skin. These include:
Your GP will ask you about anything you think may have caused your itchy skin, as well as any other symptoms you may have. They’ll examine the area and may wipe a cotton bud over it to send for testing.
In some cases, your GP may arrange for you to have some blood tests to check your liver, kidneys, thyroid, and iron levels. They may also suggest you have a fasting blood glucose test (to check for diabetes).
In some cases, they may refer you to see a consultant dermatologist who specialises in diagnosing and treating skin conditions.
There are some simple things you can try yourself to relieve your symptoms. These include:
They may also prescribe some cream or lotion to treat the discomfort.
If dryness or irritation cause your itchy skin, your doctor will recommend using an unperfumed moisturiser at least twice a day.
Further treatments will depend on your diagnosis.