Causes for Itchy Hands and Feet, Especially at Night

Nov 03, 2014

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    Itchy Issues

    It is annoying to have persistently itchy hands and feet, especially when it distracts your concentration levels while doing daily activities. Constant scratching can damage your skin further and may cause disturbances in sleep. Itchy hand and feet may be a symptom of a skin disorder or another medical condition that might need treatment. In order to treat itchy hands and feet, you need to know what is causing it. Here are some potential reasons for your hand and feet to itch, especially so much that you lose sleep over it.

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    Dry Skin

    Your skin may naturally be dry or may become dry due to changes in weather, exposure to sunlight, air-conditioning or ageing. All these factors result in loss of natural oils which in turn lead to loss of moisture or water through the outer skin layer. Dry skin is prone to flakiness and inflammation and gives rise to excessive itching on the skin. If your skin is getting dry, use moisturising emollients and lotions regularly to keep it hydrated.

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    Psoriasis is a non-contagious, lifelong condition that affects a significant population. Thick, red, and scaly patches on the skin are its main characteristics. It may be triggered by emotional stress, skin injury, infection, and certain medications. Psoriasis causes itching to the affected skin areas. It may be treated using topical skin care products containing steroids, vitamin A or vitamin D, oral medications and other topical immunosuppressants.

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    Allergic Contact Dermatitis

    If you have been exposed to allergens such as chromates, nickel, rubber chemicals, ointments, creams, fragrances, lanolin formaldehyde, and many other environmental chemicals, you may experience allergic contact dermatitis. It is a hypersensitivity reaction that occurs about 48-72 hours after the exposure. The symptoms of this reaction includes pink to red areas of scaly, elevated skin (plaques and papules) and blisters or vesicles, eyelid swelling, and severe itching. Prevention from the known allergens is the best treatment for allergic contact dermatitis, along with using antihistamines, topical steroids and oral steroids (prednisone) for severe cases.

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    Irritant Contact Dermatitis

    It is an inflammatory rash caused by direct injury to the skin by a chemical. The exposure results into a skin reaction within a few hours. Typically, a stinging or burning pain is reported by the patients, which becomes chronic as the skin gets constantly inflamed. Itching is a predominant symptom of irritant contact dermatitis. In case, you are affected by this rash, you should apply petroleum jelly or thick moisturising cream directly to the skin after bathing.

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    Dyshidrotic Eczema or Dyshidrotic Dermatitis

    This is an itchy rash that usually is found on the palms, fingers, and the feet. It demonstrates small and itchy, fluid-filled blisters and often comes and goes with reoccurring episodes in warm weather. They usually cause no or mild redness. To treat dyshidrotic eczema or dyshidrotic dermatitis, doctors recommend sing soaks with drying agents, topical steroids, and oral steroids for severe cases to control symptoms.

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    Pitted Keratolysis

    Caused by a bacterial infection, pitted keratolysis affects the soles of the feet, and sometimes, the palms of the hands. The affected areas may give out an unpleasant odour. Lesions appear as white patches with shallow pits on the superficial layers of skin. These pits may be occasionally itchy or even painful. People with this infection should minimise moisture in the feet by wearing absorbent cotton socks and change them frequently.

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    Athlete’s Foot or Ringworm

    Your feet are most commonly affected by this superficial fungal infection which may get transmitted to another person through direct contact or by using contaminated belongings like towels, locker room floors, clothes, or even the soil. It is characterised by painful, itchy blisters on the ball and/or the arch of the foot. It can be treated with tropical antifungal creams or lotions and antifungal drugs.

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    Certain medications to treat some medical conditions may also cause itchy hands and feet. This itchiness is usually a side effect of the particular drug and may be relieved with discontinuation of the medicine. A person may also be allergic to the medication, and skin rashes or hives may appear. Consult your doctor if you suspect a medication to be causing itchy hand and feet.

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    Medical Condition

    Health conditions like Crohn’s disease, chronic kidney disease or liver failure may also cause persistent itchiness in the hands and feet of the patient. A fatty live disease causes the liver to scar and inflame, thus causing the body to itch, beginning with the palms and soles. Itchy palms are also a symptom of thyroid disorders. Other diseases like cancer of the blood and the lymphatic tissues may also make these symptoms evident, as well as nutritional deficiencies marked by a lack of vitamins B1, B6 and B12.

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    Recent research has found that chronic stress and anxiety can lead to itching of the hands and feet and other body parts. High stress levels can also lead to worsening of existing itchy skin problems.

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