While itching our hands vigorously, we often think why our hands itch, and are immediately remember the superstitions that have been told to us since we were very young.
Itchy palms and superstition go hand in hand. It is often said that when your hands itch, you are about to receive money, meet someone new, or experience good luck.
Though these answers are enough to make you happy with your question of why my hands itch, they are not scientific. In reality, itchy hands may often indicate a common skin condition, or in severe cases, itching palms could be related to a serious health condition like diabetes or liver disease.
With proper treatment from a doctor, one can easily cure their itchy hands. However, itchy palms and skin conditions require regular treatments, or else the condition might become recurring.
There are numerous of scientific evidence for such itchiness. Some of the causes for itchy palms are listed below.
1. Why Do Your Hands Itch? Causes of Itchy Skin
There are an array of reasons to answer your question about why my hands itch, which ranges from curable to chronic and genetic conditions. Following are the causes of itchiness, including both itching hands and feet.
1.1. Dry Skin
When asking why my hands itch, the most obvious reason for it is dry skin, especially during winter weather. Dry skin conditions can also be a result of living in dry areas or due to job requirements.
Dryness can also lead to itchiness, cracked and bleeding skin. The best way to cure such symptoms is to regularly apply thick ointments or hand cream.
1.2. Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis commonly known as eczema is an umbrella term, that refers to inflammatory skin conditions. In particular, dyshidrotic eczema is a subtype of hand eczema, that affects the hands and feet.
Symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema range from red, scaly, and cracked skin to fluid-filled blisters. Some people have also experienced brown and grey skin in affected areas instead of red skin.
Hand eczema may come and go, and the best way to prevent this is by avoiding excessive hand washing and using a mild soap.
1.3. Contact Dermatitis
Another common answer to the question of why my hand itch is contact dermatitis, simply known as allergic reactions, which is an immune system response that causes an allergic reaction when your body comes into contact with certain allergies. Common allergens for atopic dermatitis include:
- Soaps and Perfume
- Metals, including jewellery
- Antiseptic, antibacterial substances, and disinfectants
- Plants like poison ivy, poison sumac, or poison oak
- Highly chlorinated water
- Adhesive and latex, etc.
Symptoms of allergic reactions may occur immediately or within 42 to 92 hours after coming in contact with the allergen, and include blisters, red rash, extremely dry skin, burning or stinging sensation, and hives.
1.4. Palmoplantar Psoriasis
Palmoplantar Psoriasis affects only 5% of the people who have Psoriasis and is centered in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet causing itching palms and feet. It is an autoimmune disorder, which happens when skin cells grow too fast causing it to pile on the surface of the skin.
Psoriasis is genetic as well as a chronic condition, but instead of a constant outburst, it has infrequent outbreaks. Other than itching Psoriasis may also induce other skin complications including:
- Cracked skin that may bleed
- Painful swollen joints
- Red blisters sometimes with silvery white scales
- Soreness in nearby joints.
Treatment of Psoriasis ranges from mild topical ointment to light therapy.
Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection, that affects the nose and mouth or arms, legs, hands, and feet, causing red itchy sores, that beak open oozing pus that dries into yellow scrabs.
1.6. Nerve Disorders
Nerve disorders that advance to the hands and feet can cause conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, compression of the median nerve affecting the hands, and tarsal tunnel syndrome, which causes feet to itch.
This syndrome causes one to have weakness, numbness, pain, and tingling sensations, and these irritations may cause one to itch their hands and feet. Discomfort and itching usually occur at night.
If you suspect either of the syndromes, contact a doctor immediately, and in some cases, surgeries may be required.
Though uncommon, diabetes is one of the answers to your question of why my hands itch. Skin problems and itching in your hands and feet are sometimes the first signs of diabetes. One may experience itchy skin with red or flesh-coloured bumps on hands and feet or in other parts of the body. However, this may not always be the case. Skin conditions caused by diabetes include:
- Increased dryness and itchiness of the skin
- Itching rashes from delayed skin infections like fungal infections
- Necrobiosis lipoidica: Patches and bumps of swollen and hardened skin that are painful and cause itching.
- Eruptive Xanthomatosis: Itching clusters of pimples.
Generally, itching and inflammatory skin conditions caused by diabetes can be cured by keeping your diabetes under control and taking regular dosages of insulin.
1.8. Reactions to Medication
Your hand’s itchiness could be due to something that you have ingested rather than something you have touched. Itchy palms are often a result of a reaction to a medication, like opioids, aspirin, or treatment of cancer, in particular chemotherapy, and medicines for the treatment of high blood pressure.
Before discontinuing your medication consult your doctor, unless severe.
When asked why my hands itch for children, scabies could be a possible answer. Scabies also known as sarcoptic mange, is a skin infection mainly affecting the palms of the hand and soles of the feet through prolonged skin-to-skin contact. Scabies is a result of a human itch mite, that gets under the top layer of the skin and lays eggs there, causing infection. It usually affects children, mainly in very crowded places.
Symptoms of the infection include burrows that look like lines in greyish white or skin colour, itching around the wrists and between the fingers, pimply rash, scales, and tiny blisters.
A rare but possible answer to why my hands itch is a condition called Cirrhosis also known as primary biliary cirrhosis, which is a chronic liver disease. A common symptom of the disease includes itchy palms. It mainly affects women, though the reasons are unknown. It happens when there is an increased production of bile salts that reaches the liver and causes scarring and damage.
Symptoms of Cirrhosis other than itchy palms include:
- Bone Pain
- Dark Urine
- Blotchy Palms
2. Preventing Itchy Palms
2.1. Use Ice Packs:
Using an ice pack will give instant relief from itchy palms. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and place it on your palms for 5 – 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can also use a cool damp cloth.
2.2. Topical Steroid Creams:
Topical steroids can be used to reduce itchiness and redness. They can be brought over the counter or prescribed by doctors. However, continuous usage may lead to skin thinning.
2.3. Ultraviolet Light Therapy:
Also known as phototherapy, is especially effective with individuals who have psoriasis and pain from itchy palms. Placing your palms under UV light 2 -3 times a week is extremely effective.
Skin inflammation can be reduced by regularly applying moisturizers to your dry and itching skin. Always evaluate ingredients in moisturizers, and use thick moisturizers that have ingredients like glycerin, topical urea, and lactic acid, and are unscented. Refrigerating moisturizer before use is better for sensitive skin.
2.5. Wear Gloves:
Wear gloves when dealing with harsh chemicals that irritate your skin. Choose cotton gloves under latex gloves; they are gentle for added protection.
2.6. Avoiding Irritants:
Triggering substances like harsh soaps or cleansers, hot water, metal, gel sanitiser, synthetic fabrics, dyes, and known allergens should be avoided at all costs to prevent further irritation.
3. Other Ways To Find Relief From Itchy Hands
Following are other ways that you should incorporate to avoid itchy hands, which also provide a solution to the question of why my hands itch.
- Avoid itching hands and feet.
- Stay hydrated, drink lots of water and water-rich food
- Avoid repeated exposure to known allergies
- For extremely dry skin try coating them with thick creams and wearing gloves or socks before going to bed
- Use a humidifier when indoors
There are several reasons for the itchiness. If your symptoms do not reduce within 2-3 days, you should immediately schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist. Moreover, if you are experiencing extreme discomfort and pain other than eczema, then it could be a sign of an underlying cause, further treatment can help in disease control.
5.1. What is the reason for my itchy hands?
The reason for your itchy hands can be varied from Dry skin to Dermatitis, to Porosis, to Underlying Conditions like Diabetes and Nerve Disorders. Depending on the issue get an appointment with the doctor and get proper medication and cure for it.
5.2. How to Cure Itchy Hands?
Depending on the condition, you can cure your itchy hands. Cures may vary from simply moisturizing or using icepacks on your skin to applying an over-the-counter topical cream to get some relief.
5.3. How to Prevent Itchy Hands?
You can prevent itchy hands by drinking lots of water, avoiding known irritants, wearing gloves, and avoiding itching your hands.