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Question : I have been itching more over the past couple months. At first, there is no rash. But my skin does turn red in areas where I have scratched. What might be causing this?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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January 24, 2014
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Scratching your skin will cause it to become red, no matter what the reason for your itch.

So the real question here is why are you itching without any rash? The most common reason is dry skin. Your skin might not appear dry and flaky. But it could still be dry enough to cause the itching.

Some people are sensitive to water, which causes them to itch. They get itchy when they step into a bath or shower. Itching brought on by water has a fancy name — aquagenic pruritus.

Although allergic reactions usually cause visible hives, sometimes the skin changes are subtle until you start scratching at your skin.

Stress and fatigue also commonly cause itching without a rash.

Some other causes of itching without a rash include:

  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Thyroid disease (both an under active and over active thyroid can cause itching)

 

Keeping your skin moist will clearly help itching related to dry skin. It often will ease itching caused by other conditions mentioned above. If the itching continues, call your doctor for advice or to set up an appointment.

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