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Question : When I shower, my skin itches, sometimes uncontrollably. I use a moisturizing lotion. I have tried a variety of soaps. I don't think it is dry skin. Could it be nerve-related?
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The Trusted Source
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Rebecca Campen, M.D., J.D., is an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. She divides her time between clinical practice of dermatology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and private practice in Savannah, Ga.

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February 17, 2011
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A:

Itching, burning, and tingling of the skin after exercising and taking hot baths can be caused by a condition called "cholinergic urticaria." This is a sensitivity to sweat or heat. Symptoms are sometimes followed by an itchy rash.

This condition is more common in people with allergies, asthma, and atopic dermatitis. People without these conditions can have cholinergic urticaria, too. There is also a rare form of cholinergic urticaria that is inherited.

Men and women can have this condition, but it seems to be more common in men. It is most common between ages ten and thirty. Episodes are usually brief. They can last from half an hour to an hour. In severe cases there may be abdominal cramping, diarrhea, headaches, and other symptoms.

Cholinergic urticarial is a form of physical urticaria. "Aquagenic urticaria" appears in some people after exposure to water -- both cold and hot. "Pressure urticaria" can appear after pressure is applied to the skin. People with one type of urticaria often have another type.

An oral antihistamine can help reduce the symptoms of urticaria. See your doctor if your symptoms get worse. And take care of your skin by using a mild, unscented soap. If your skin is dry, use an unscented moisturizer after you wash.

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