What causes itchy skin in the elderly?

Itching, also known as Pruritus is a very prosaic irritation we all experience in our life. From children to elders, we suffer from this annoyance and scratch our skin to get a quick alleviation.

Elder people who are at 65 or over can have it due to rash and other skin conditions. Besides, it may occur without any signs and causes. In the case of elder persons, the most common scenarios are that itching is more noticeable at night.

Typically, itching is totally curable at home by following some self care routine and familiar medical treatments like lotions or anti-itching medicine. But, sometimes itching can be symptoms of serious chronic disease belong to liver, kidney, thyroid, diabetes, cancer, neurological and mental issues.

In this article, I am going to discuss what causes itchy skin in the elderly and how you can be cured.

Evident Symptoms of Pruritus

A dermatologist can prescribe the necessary medicine or treatment after identifying the skin condition. You can have the itching all over your body or in a certain area of the body like arms, legs and backs. Itching can be invisible as well, but there are some noticeable symptoms of itching.

  • Redness on the skin and eyes
  • Bumps on the skin
  • Skin spot
  • Extreme dryness
  • Gray and ashy looking
  • Crocked skin
  • Leathery or scaly skin
  • Puffiness and burning.
What causes itchy skin in the elderly

Causes of Itching in Elderly

Though some causes of itching in the elderly can be rare and unknown, here I discuss some widespread bases of itching.

Dry skin

Dry skin is the most usual reason for itching among old people who are 65 or above. When we get older, our skin loses the moisture that makes it dry and rough looking. Dry air is one of the main reasons behind the dry skin. Besides, if you take the bath too often and use soaps and cosmetics with certain chemicals, you may have dry skin. Diabetes and direct sunlight are also culpable of making your skin dry.

Neurological issues

Your skin may itch if you have damaged nerves because of any prior disease and injury. Generally, you will feel the itch due to the nerve issues in a certain place of the body and scratching will provide you no pacify at all. You might have such suffering for months even years. The neurological itching may cause due to some nerval abnormality including nerve damage, brain tumor, stroke, shingles and sclerosis.

Pre-sign of a disease

Sometime itching can be warning of a disease and you should notice the syndromes carefully to assist your doctor in the future. Itching can be an earlier indication of certain cancers like Myeloma and Lymphoma. Besides, it can be a warning notice of imminent diseases including diabetes, kidney disease, HIV, liver disease, thyroid gland and blood disease.

Skin conditions

Your skin will definitely itch when if you have clear physical signs on your skin. Skin conditions like eczema, scabies, psoriasis, dermatitis, dermatographism and fungal rashes are the most common reasons for itching in the old age.

Certain Food and Allergenic Skin

Millions of people around the world are suffering from food allergies for decades. When you eat foods causing allergy, you may experience red rashes, swelling face, dizziness, runny nose and itching on the skin. Foods such as milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, some fishes and meat (beef and mutton are common) are known as very allergenic.

You may also have itching if your skin is allergenic to some specific substances. Nickel made products such as phone, eyewear, belt buckles, jewelry etc. in general, have evidence to be very allergenic that causes itching for many.

Cosmetics for regular usage like perfume, soap and shampoo can be very itchy for some users.

Psychological itching

When your skin gets itching and you find no physical sign, possibly you are having it for mental disturbance. Some medical reports evidence that depression, anxiety and psychosis cause itching to many patients.


Some medicines you are taking for a long while can cause itching as a side effect. Drugs for relieving pain, blood pressure and cancer have history to cause skin irritation.

Insect bites

Bites by bed bugs, fleas, flies, midges and ticks cause burning and itching. Some bugs are very small and invisible with bare eyes, but still can bite and make annoying itches. The common sighs of bug bites are redness on the skin, swelling on soft body part, itching and irritation.

Treatments at Home

In serious cases, you must need the assistance of an experienced dermatologist. But, minor itching can be cured at home by following some good habits recommended by our Nice Shaver experts.

  • Don’t keep your skin dry. Use moisturizing lotion or oil to keep the skin soft and smooth.
  • If you take a bath or shower several times a day, don’t use soap each time.
  • Don’t scratch too much on the skin. It may damage the skin and develop an infection.
  • Avoid foods that cause you allergy and itching. Check the list of common allergenic foods you should eliminate from the diet.
  • Keep the substances away from you that cause itching. Identify cosmetic products that are not suitable for your skin.
  • Lead a stress free life. Try meditation, prayer and relaxing activities.
  • Apply cold water or ice pack to the itchy skin.
  • Wear 100% loose fitting cotton clothes.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and extremely hot weather.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

When to see a doctor?

Any kind of normal itching should not last more than two weeks and can be cured by home remedies. But, you must meet a dermatologist when things get worsen.

If you notice rashes and swelling all over the body, and other symptoms like tiredness, fever and sudden weight loss, you should not delay.

A dermatologist will diagnose your condition and prescribe the necessary medications and treatments accordingly.

Final words

Most of the itching is nothing serious except some of the extreme conditions. Leading a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a balanced diet can assist you in preventing itchy skin in the elderly.