Itchy skin can occur anywhere on your body. The American Academy of Dermatologists defines itchy skin as an itch or sensation that makes you want to scratch. Itchy skin is also called pruritus and is caused by a variety of factors. Since treatments will vary depending on what has caused your itchy skin, it is best to consult a doctor to determine the cause of the itchy skin.
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If you have itchy sensations on your chest, you may or may not have any noticeable changes to the skin there. The Mayo Clinic indicates that the skin may feel itchy but look normal. It may also have red patches, bumps, blisters, and spots, dry patches, leathery texture or cracks.
A common reason for dry skin on chest is dry skin resulting from a lack of moisture. Air conditioning units and central heaters dry out the air and are often factors in dry skin. Washing or bathing too often may also increase the dryness in your skin, reports the Mayo Clinic. Some women experience drier skin during pregnancy as well. Liver, kidney and celiac disease are internal illnesses that can display symptoms such as dry, itchy skin. If you have an iron deficiency, thyroid problem or cancer you may also experience itchiness. Most often, if the itchy skin is a result of an internal illness, it will affect your whole body. Allergies are also responsible for itchy skin. You can be allergic to many items including fragrances, perfumes, soaps, shampoos, foods, laundry detergents, pharmaceutical drugs or cosmetics.
Your doctor will first need to understand what is causing your itchy skin before he can treat it. Topical medications are available to treat itchy skin. Oral medications may also be necessary. Another therapy is use of ultraviolet rays to heal your skin. This therapy is called light therapy.
There are some self-care methods that may work in treating your itchy skin, reports the Mayo Clinic. Anti-itch creams may work in stopping the itch and preventing you from scratching. You can also prevent scratching by wearing gloves while you sleep and keeping your nails short. Cool compresses and lukewarm baths may also help alleviated your itch. Baking soda or colloidal oatmeal can also be added to the bathwater to further relieve itching. Try avoiding irritants, in case your itch is caused or worsened by allergens. Use personal care products that do not contain fragrances or dyes. Unscented laundry detergents should be used for clothes washing. It’s good to know that some jewelry may also aggravate your itch and should be avoided until you’ve determined the cause of your itchy skin.
Continuous scratching of your skin may lead to your skin becoming cracked and open. It is then vulnerable to bacterial infections. Another condition called neurodermatitis, results in the scratched area becoming thicker and darker than the surrounding skin. Repeated scratching may also make your skin a different color than normal. If your itchy skin is the result of an underlying medical condition, it is important to get it treated so that further complications do not arise. Seek medical advice to properly diagnose the cause of your itchy skin.