Skin Itching & Scratching

Skin Itching & Scratching

Skin itching and scratching are some of the great scourges of human existence.  As the largest organ, the skin has millions of nerves.  These nerve fibers are miles long and cover every part of our skin. They help us to have all sorts of sensations, ranging all the way from itch and pain to more pleasurable and welcome feelings.

Skin Itching & Scratching Dermatologist Omaha

Keep in mind the difference between itching and scratching. Itching is the sensation – what you feel. Scratching is the activity – what you do.  Also keep in mind that scratching can worsen itching.  In fact, there is at times a vicious cycle between these two. We call this the “itch-scratch cycle.

Itching & Scratching Triggers

Itching can be triggered by many different problems in our skin. Some of these problems are visible rashes, others are invisible.  It just so happens that there are so many different things that make us itchy, it is impossible to even scratch the surface on what all of these are. However, it is relatively easy to break the causes of itch down into categories:

  • Itching can be caused by skin diseases with a rash.
  • Some internal medical problems.
  • Certain medications
  • Itching can occur due to dry skin.
  • And finally–itching can occur due to scratching itself (that vicious cycle).

As experts in the care of all skin conditions, at Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands we have many ways we can go about treating itching and scratching.

Skin Itching & Scratching Treatments

The first step is investigating to determine the cause for the itch.  Once that is determined, our primary goal is to reduce the itching, and along with that we work with our patients to also modify the scratching activity because as we said scratching causes more itching. If there is a skin disease with rash that is contributing to the itching, treating that rash and making it better will certainly improve the itching and scratching.

Sometimes, the skin maybe itchy and yet looks completely normal making correction of the problem even more challenging. There are certain medications that may cause itching.

  • Narcotic opioid pain relievers are the most common cause of itching due to a medication.

As the singer Pink puts it, “can’t stay on your morphine cause it’s making me itch.” And if it’s a medication causing the itch, that’s usually pretty easy thing to figure out and treat. Fortunately, several alternatives can be used to help reduce itching.  The best dermatologists in Omaha know that the most common of all the causes for itch is dryness (aka xerosis or asteatosis).


Anyone with itching in the skin should be using a moisturizer once if not twice a day.  Any signs of dry skin must be corrected and kept at bay to help keep the itching from returning.  In our practice, the moisturizers we prefer most include Vanicream and CeraVe. A quick trip through your pharmacy will reveal that there are many products available which are targeted at itch, yet only a few of these works well.

Sarna is one of our favorites at Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands.  Sarna comes in two different formulations—Sarna Original and Sarna Sensitive Skin.

Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands | Best Dermatologist Omaha & Council Bluffs, IA | Board Certified Dermatologists

If you’re still struggling with your itch despite these tips, consider seeing us in consultation at Advanced Dermatology of the Midlands where we are practicing the best dermatology, using cutting edge science. Along with this, our dermatology clinic is active in clinical research. Currently we even have one pharmaceutical study available for patients who have chronic unrelenting itch. With this research, the future for patients with this very common problem is brighter than ever. For any information or to make an appointment please contact us today.