Constantly itchy skin or what is medically called pruritus can be worrisome. The worry heightens when there is no rash to explain the itching. So, to reduce the worry, what can cause itchy skin without rash? More times than not, there is a harmless reason.
Something as common as skin that is dry or a bite from a bug can cause skin itching. It is not common for it to be symptomatic of any serious underlying condition.
Ranging from mild itching to extreme itching, it could happen all over the body or stay on one spot. But this is dependent on its root cause.
Thing is, if the itching is more than you can bear or you are simply worried it could be more, you may want to see a doctor.
What Can Cause Itchy Skin without Rash? – The Right Time to See a Doctor
More times than not, itchy skin takes care of itself. This is especially true if the cause is not an underlying medical condition.
But if the itching starts and doesn’t let up in a week or two, it is time to see a doctor. Other conditions under which you absolutely have to visit a doctor for itchy skin include:
When it is so bad, you can do little else, not even sleep
It starts suddenly and without any particular cause you can point to
The itching happens together with other unexplained changes like discolored skin and loss of weight
It happens on very sensitive areas or all over your body
What Can Cause Itchy Skin without Rash? – What the Medical Experts Say
Below are examples of more likely but harmless causes why your skin itches without any rash:
A Bug Bite
Bugs like mosquitoes, bed bugs and lice can bite without leaving any visible bite mark behind. But there is usually a tiny, pin-like hole at the bite area. When this happens, the skin around it tends to itch really bad without any rash developing.
If it is possible, keep from scratching the bite area as much as possible. The more you scratch, the worse the itching becomes.
Instead, look for readily-available treatment for the bite. But the treatment you get will depend on the bug that bit you in the first place.
To know for sure, it is best to visit a dermatologist instead of self-medicating. Apart from identifying the type of bug, the doctor will also prescribe the right treatment so you don’t develop any allergic reaction.
Dry Skin Can Cause Itchy Skin without Rash
Some people naturally have dry skin. But a lot of times, this occurs as a result of loss of needed skin moisture.
This is particularly common among elderly people or during the winter months. Other possible causes of dry skin include:
i. Use of soap with harsh ingredients
ii. Taking a bath several times in one day
iii. Bathing or showering for long periods and with hot water, instead of lukewarm
iv. Not using any moisturizer, especially during winter
v. Constantly scratching already dry skin
Dry skin is usually characterized by a scaly look and flakiness. The skin would peel easily and become irritated by the smallest stimulus.
Many prescription drugs list itching as a side effect. This itching could happen without any visible rash but it is usually harmless. However, this side effect doesn’t affect just about everyone so you may just be susceptible to it.
Antimalarial, antibiotics, blood thinners and some medication for diabetes could cause the skin to itch without any rash.
It is best to let your doctor know if itching starts when you commence taking any medication. Don’t stop taking it without the doctor’s advice.
The physician is in the best position to either prescribe something to alleviate the itching or take you off the medication completely and start you on another one.
Let us look at examples of more serious but far less likely causes of itchy skin without a rash:
Disease of the Liver
Diseases like hepatitis and cirrhosis are likely to cause skin to itch. Underneath the feet and the palms are the areas of the body that feel the worst of the itching.
Additionally, heat and nighttime seems to make the itching worse, for some reason.
Medically, it has not been shown why this is so. But there is a theory that too much bile stored up in the body could cause this.
To reduce the itching, some drugs may be prescribed by your doctors. But they would depend on the disease of the liver you have to start with. Overloading the liver at such a time is not recommended.
Cancer of the Blood Cells
If you have this type of cancer, otherwise called Hodgkin lymphoma, one of its symptoms is an itch without any rash.
Other ways to ascertain whether this is what you have include: swollen lymph nodes in the armpit or neck regions, inexplicable loss of weight and appetite, and fever.
The best way to handle this is to visit your doctor and have a thorough check up. Treating the itching alone will not stop it in the long run.
Conditions that Affect the Nerves
Nerve problems are possible causes of itchy skin without any rash. Diabetes and stroke are some of the conditions that can affect the nerves this way, leading to itching.
If the itch is accompanied with some pain to the skin, it is best to see a doctor because it could be indicative of nerve disorder.
Cancer of the Skin
Not all skin lesions are symptomatic of cancer. Some are genuinely benign. However, if any skin lesion, superficial or deep, starts itching continuously, visit the doctor as soon as possible. It could be a sign of skin cancer.
It is left to the doctor to take a sample of the lesion and have a biopsy done. Before treating anything else, the underlying reason has to be made clear first.
Deficiency of Iron
The hair, skin, nails, blood and organs of the body need iron stay healthy. But when it is lacking, it is detrimental to health.
Though itchy skin is not very likely to occur when there is a deficiency of iron, it is possible. So if you are a vegetarian or vegan, are menstruating or just lost a lot of blood, you may want to pump up on iron. Iron supplements would go a long way.
Problems with the Thyroid
The thyroid is a gland in the neck responsible for releasing hormones to regulate metabolism and growth.
Having a disorder of the thyroid may cause the cells of the body to dry out and not work well. When this happens, the skin is hard-hit, leading to dry skin and then, itching.
Already treating the disorder? Antihistamines together with the drugs for the disorder will help alleviate the itching.
What Can Cause Itchy Skin without Rash? – Possible Remedies at Home
It is true that the best step to take if you have constantly itchy skin is to see your doctor. But there are ways to get some relief, albeit short-term, from it. Below are some of them:
If you have dry skin or the weather is too cold, use a humidifier to moisten the air. You can also use vinegar to get some relief from dry and itchy skin.
Keep away from harsh soaps. Instead, use gentle and mild soaps or bath salts.
Don’t spend too long in the shower and keep from using hot water regularly. It washes away protective oils from the skin, leaving it bare and dry. Cold or lukewarm water is better.
Keep from wearing tight clothes as they could worsen the itching, especially if you sweat.
Use fragrance-free and hypoallergenic moisturizers regularly, especially after a bath or shower. Below is an example of such a moisturizer…
Keep from scratching the skin as much as possible. It could lead to an infection or make the itch worse.
What Can Cause Itchy Skin without Rash? – A Video that Shows How Vinegar Helps Dry Skin
It is established that dry skin is one of the main reasons why skin itches without any visible rash. If you have tried all else and nothing is working, think about using vinegar. How it helps is explained in the video…
Even when the cause of the itch is known and harmless, it is still a good idea to see a doctor if it continues beyond the expected time. However, itchy skin without rash is usually nothing to worry about, according to the experts. And it is true.