By: Dr. Craig Crippen
Itching – What Might Be The Cause?
I remember that itchy feeling like it was yesterday. In fact, I recall sitting in front of the television watching “Star Trek” (which is weird, because I never watch “Star Trek”) and picking at what felt like a hole in my left shoulder! Turned out I was getting chickenpox. But since I was only about five years old at the time, I hadn’t yet realized that I was not stricken with a serious disease.
And while most of us have experienced chickenpox as children, there are some of us who, in our adulthoods, find that they have similar conditions. I once noticed a former co-worker of mine constantly itching. She had already gone through her chickenpox phase a long time ago, so she knew that something else was amiss. She wasn’t sure what though.
“Why don’t you see a doctor about it?” I asked. “This is embarrassing,” she replied, “I’m sure it will go away.” At first, I felt a strong sense of empathy for my friend as I was certain that living with her “itchy condition” couldn’t have been much fun to either experience or talk about. But I then realized that her shame was not only unwarranted but unhealthy.
The last thing you want to do about a worsening skin condition is keep it to yourself. Of course, the best person to speak to would be a skin care professional, so contacting a local dermatologist will always be your best bet. I wish this was the advice I had give my co-worker at the time, as she was unclear about what the issue was and therefore, unaware of what to do about it.
In adulthood, it’s a lot less likely you’ll be stricken with chickenpox. Psoriasis, on the other hand, is a possibility if you find yourself incessantly itching and scratching your irritated skin. WedMD.com describes psoriasis as “plaques of red, inflamed skin, often covered with loose, silver-colored scales. These plaques may be itchy and painful and sometimes crack and bleed.”
I don’t know if this is what my co-worker was experiencing, but it certainly would have been worth looking into. Again, the point must be made that it’s practically impossible to diagnose yourself. And just assuming that a worsening condition will go away is not doing yourself any favours.
For all I know, my friend could have come into contact with poison ivy or had some allergic reaction to a type of food she had eaten. Without consulting a skin care professional, however, she just couldn’t be sure. And this brings me back to another important point. It’s important that we do our best to do away with our senses of embarrassment.
After all, there is only cause for further embarrassment if we don’t reveal our skin problems to someone who can help us. Right? If you are constantly itching and don’t know why, I urge you to contact a local skin care clinic today. You never know. Your solution may just be a phone call away.