Most people use their palms a lot, especially during the summer months when hands are most exposed to the sun. Excessive exposure to the sun can dry out the skin on palms and cause itching. Since hands are in frequent contact with so many different things, they are likely to come in contact with allergens.
In addition, there are many common allergens that can cause itching on palms, such as latex, nickel, and certain fabrics. Certain medications can also cause itching in palms, especially if you are allergic to the ingredients.
Palms may itch due to certain diseases, such as psoriasis. Poor blood flow to the hands, especially in people with poor blood sugar control or diabetes, can cause itching in the palms. Poor blood flow can also cause cracked skin on palms and make them more prone to bacterial or fungal infections.
Most people experiencing itchy palms apply hand creams or lotions to find relief and eliminate roughness. However, there are cases where the itchiness persists for a long time and may prevent you from completing your daily activities.
9 Common Causes and Treatments for Itchy Palms
Itchy palms are considered one of the skin problem’s signs or symptoms. Here are the possible causes of itchy palms:
1. Dry Skin
Our skin is the body’s first line of defense, and many factors can leave the skin itchy and dry. For example, staying under the sun for too long can damage the skin and result in dryness. Other causes of dry skin may include:
- Harsh soaps – If harsh soaps cause your dry skin, switch to mild and fragrance-free soaps.
- Winter – You can install a humidifier to keep enough moisture in your home.
- Taking a bath with hot water – Having a hot shower may feel good, but it does not help the skin or even dry. It is best to use lukewarm water and keep your shower time short to prevent moisture loss from your skin.
- Aging – The production of collagen in the skin, as well as its elasticity, decreases. This may lead to dryness and cause itchy palms. Ensure that you always have a bottle of moisturizing lotion or apply natural remedies, such as aloe vera.
A skin problem can be the first symptom of diabetes. One of the skin problems of diabetes is eruptive xanthomatosis, which makes the feet or hands itch. The legs, buttocks, and arms can also be itchy if the diabetes is out of control. Other signs and symptoms of eruptive xanthomatosis include:
- High cholesterol
- Small bumps on the skin
- Redness around the bumps
The common symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, intense hunger, weight gain or weight loss, extreme thirst, irritability, blurred vision, increased fatigue, itchy skin, skin or yeast infection, swollen gums, and numbness or tingling sensation in hands and feet.
Scabies is an itchy and contagious skin disease caused by the eight-legged itch mite Sarcoptes scabiei. It digs into the top layer of the skin and lays eggs, which cause scabies. The transmission mode is direct skin-to-skin contact, but you do not get scabies from quick contact such as a hug or handshake. The signs and symptoms of scabies include:
- Skin rash composed of blisters and red bumps
- Red or skin-colored burrows
- Sores and scales
- Itchiness of the entire body or certain areas like between fingers, elbow, armpit, or wrist
The treatments for scabies include topical or oral scabicidal drugs.
Another condition that can cause itchy palms is psoriasis. It is one of the most puzzling and persistent skin problems. This condition is characterized by multiplying skin cells up to ten times faster than average. It commonly occurs on the scalp, elbows, and knees and may also affect the soles of the feet and palms. Many causes lead to psoriases, such as stress, emotional trauma, immune system defects, and streptococcal infection.
The signs and symptoms may vary depending on the type of psoriasis a person has. The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, and its symptoms may include the following:
- Plaques of crust or scales on the scalp
- Plaques of red skin, which is usually covered with scales. These painful and itchy lesions may crack and bleed.
- Discoloration or pitting of toenails and fingernails.
Other types of psoriasis are:
- Erythrodermic psoriasis is characterized by shedding scales and the skin’s fiery redness. The causes include severe sunburn, certain medication, withdrawal from psoriasis treatment, and infection.
- Guttate psoriasis – characterized by red spots on limbs and torso. The cause may be a respiratory infection, skin injury, or antimalarial and beta-blocker medications.
- Inverse psoriasis – characterized by red, shiny lesions. These commonly appear in the groin area, under the breasts, and armpits.
- Pustular psoriasis – characterized by red and scaly skin on the palms and feet.
If you think that your itchy palms are caused by psoriasis, visit a dermatologist to have a proper examination of your skin.
Eczema can also cause itchy palms as the skin becomes irritated or inflamed. No matter which area is affected by eczema, it is continually itchy. In some cases, the itch begins even before the rashes appear. It usually appears on the back of the knees, face, hands, wrists, or feet. The areas affected appear thicker, dry, reddish, and scaly.
The exact cause of eczema is still unknown, but it is associated with an overactive immune system reaction to an allergen or irritant. This condition commonly runs in families with a history of asthma or allergies. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. The term atopic means a group of diseases with the inherited possibility of developing allergic conditions, such as hay fever and asthma.
See your doctor if you develop an itchy rash and your family has a history of asthma or eczema. Your doctor may recommend the following:
- Ultraviolet light therapy
- Drugs for controlling the reaction of the immune system
Other treatments are:
- Use mild soap and moisturizer. Do not use harsh soaps that can dry the skin.
- Take short showers.
- Manage stress levels by exercising, doing your hobbies, or spending time with your family or friends.
- Use a humidifier. Dry air can make eczema severe.
6. Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC)
Primary biliary cirrhosis leads to skin itching or pruritus. Damages cause it to the bile ducts in the liver, and the tissue is replaced with fibrosis (scar tissue). As more fibrosis occurs, liver function is affected. The cause of PBC is still unknown, but it may be associated with the body’s immune system. While other people do not develop any symptoms, some signs and symptoms of primary biliary cirrhosis include:
- Pruritus or itching
- Discomfort in the upper abdomen
- Dry mouth and eyes
- Vaginal dryness
- Yellowing of the white part of the eyes
- Yellowing of the skin
If the condition is already worse, a person may experience premature bone thinning (osteoporosis), fluid building up in the abdomen, or bleeding of enlarged veins in the rectum, stomach, and esophagus.
The treatment for PBC is tough as the body’s immune system is affected. The treatment focuses on alleviating the symptoms, treating the complications, and preventing other health conditions from occurring due to damage to the liver.
One of the medicines given to patients diagnosed with PBC is ursodiol. This helps move the bile from the liver and into the small intestines. If diagnosed and treated early, it can improve the function of the liver. It may also keep you from needing a transplant. See your doctor immediately if you are experiencing an itchy palm along with the other symptoms.
7. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the body’s healthy cells. It is a chronic disease that can have stages of worsening signs and symptoms. The exact cause of this condition is not known. Still, there are factors related to this disease, such as genetics and environmental factors, including trauma, ultraviolet rays, emotional or physical stress, certain medications, and viruses.
Most patients can live an everyday life along with regular treatment. The common symptoms include:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Hair loss
- Rash on nose and cheeks (butterfly rash)
- Problems in blood-clotting
- Bluish or whitish fingers with a tingling sensation
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of SLE, see your doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment. The treatments for SLE may include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications for joint pain
- Steroid creams for rashes
- Antimalarial drugs for joint and skin problems
- Corticosteroids and other medicines for reducing the response of the immune system
Severe SLE condition may lead to other complications, including stroke, heart inflammation, kidney failure, memory or behavioral changes, seizures, and inflammation of the linings of the lungs.
8. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The compression of the median nerve leads to carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition results from too much typing, writing, and other physical activities that require using your hands and fingers. The most common signs and symptoms include itchiness of the palm, tingling, and numbness of the affected hand.
The treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome include medications, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and corticosteroids, to soothe the pressure of the nerve. A surgical procedure is required if the median nerve compression is already severed.
9. Food Allergies
You may experience an itchy palm due to allergic reactions to certain foods such as milk, eggs, peanuts, seafood, and soy. If the cause of your itchy palm is a food allergy, you can alleviate the itchiness with antihistamines.