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5 Surprising Reasons You Can't Stop Scratching

Sometimes it's a rash, sometimes a red spot, and sometimes it shows no outward symptoms at all - but no matter how itchy skin appears, those who suffer from it agree that it needs to be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible. Keep reading to find out the surprising causes of itchy skin.

Causes of itchy skin

Hormonal Imbalance

As people age, it is normal for the elasticity of skin to decrease and for skin to create fewer moisturizing oils for itself.

During menopause, the level of estrogen in a woman's body drops. One of estrogen's many roles in the body is to stimulate collagen production. Collagen is responsible for preventing toxins from entering the body through the skin and creating elasticity in the skin that holds it together. The use of skin moisturizers and herbal supplements may help combat dry and itchy skin that results from hormonal imbalance.


Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A is vital when it comes to maintaining a healthy body. Itchy skin may be caused by a vitamin deficiency if your itching isn't just confined to one area of your body, but rather all over. Increasing intake of specific vitamins can help combat dry, itchy, and irritated skin over time.

Vitamin A plays a significant helping role with skin. It is found in high levels in sweet potatoes, animal liver, carrots, and spinach, so eat up!

Topical retinol, a form of vitamin A, is also frequently used to treat acne, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn, and a myriad of other skin related diseases and ailments. There may be other extenuating medical and health reasons for vitamin deficiencies or itchy skin, so if you feel the problem persisting, make sure to see a doctor.


Allergic Reaction to Plants

Many common garden plants and weeds can cause allergic reactions upon contact with skin. Symptoms include itchiness along with bumps and rashes on the part of the body that came into contact with the plant. The most commonly known of these plants are poison ivy and poison oak, but several different common plants - including pine trees, thistles, and ragweed - also cause itchy skin.

Take an antihistamine if the itching and discomfort prevents you from doing and enjoying everyday activities. After you come in contact with the problem plant, rinse off the skin with clean, warm, soapy water for relief.



The most common fabric that leads to itchy and agitated skin is wool. Try substituting a different material, such as cotton. Likewise, try wearing a long sleeve cotton shirt under your wool sweater so there is no direct contact with your skin. Make sure you do not overheat, since “prickly” heat can also make the skin feel itchy.

In addition, be sure to thoroughly wash all new clothing, since many companies spray clothing with potential irritants such as formaldehyde.


Beauty Products

Body sprays and perfumes, lotions, and makeup can all create allergic reactions that lead to agitated, inflamed, and itchy skin. To test if a suspect beauty product is causing itchy skin, try leaving it out of your daily routine for a week and see if your symptoms abate. Switching to natural or unscented products could also be a solution.

More Information

There is a small chance that itchy skin is the symptom of a more serious medical condition. Click to learn more about itchy skin treatments.

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Itchy Skin Rash

In addition to symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and general aches and pains, many women suffer from itchy skin rashes during menopause.

  • National Institutes of Health. (2013). Vitamin A. Retrieved July 7, 2015, from
  • Vorvick, L. (2015). Dry skin. Retrieved July 7, 2015, from