Itchy palms: 6 causes, treatment, and prevention

Itching can be annoying regardless of where it occurs. It can be especially irritating on the hands, as this can interfere with daily tasks.

The following conditions are some of the more common causes of itchy palms.

1. Hand eczema

According to the National Eczema Association, an estimated 10 percent of people in the United States have hand eczema.

This non-contagious condition can cause itching palms, red skin, cracking, dryness, and sometimes blistering.

A subtype of hand eczema exists called dyshidrotic eczema, which causes a person to have small, itching blisters specifically on the hands and sometimes feet.

People most likely to have hand eczema include those who work in certain professions where hands are exposed to excessive moisture or harsh chemicals.

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Professions at risk of hand eczema include:

  • catering
  • cleaning
  • hairdressing
  • healthcare
  • mechanic

Those with a family history of hand eczema are also at higher risk for the condition.

2. Allergic reactions

Sometimes itchy palms are the result of repeated exposure to an irritant or chemical that eventually results in an allergic reaction. This is called contact dermatitis.

An allergic reaction may appear 48 to 96 hours after contact with an allergen.

Common allergens or irritants include:

  • metals, such as rings and other jewelry
  • perfumes
  • latex gloves
  • soaps
  • disinfectants
  • antiseptics or antibacterial substances
  • dust and soil
  • highly chlorinated water

It may take repeated exposure before the allergic reaction develops. This is because, after a few times, the body begins to release itch-causing histamines that irritate the skin.

3. Diabetes

When a person has diabetes, too-high blood sugar levels can cause dry skin that also feels itchy.

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This itchy skin may appear with or without red or flesh-colored bumps on the palms and other areas of the body.

4. Reactions to medication

Sometimes itchy palms can develop as a result of something that a person has ingested, rather than something their hands have been in contact with.

When a person has a mild allergic reaction to a new medication, the histamine reactions in the body can cause itching.

The palms, in particular, can be itchy in these cases because histamines tend to collect in higher numbers in the hands and the feet.

A person should speak to their doctor before stopping a prescription medication unless symptoms are severe.

5. Cirrhosis

An autoimmune disorder called primary biliary cholangitis or primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) can cause itchy, blotchy palms.

PBC affects the bile ducts that connect the liver to the stomach. Bile that travels between these two organs builds up in the liver, causing damage and scarring.

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In addition to itchy palms, a person with this disorder may experience:

  • blotchy palms
  • nausea
  • bone pain
  • diarrhea
  • dark urine
  • jaundice

PBC is more common in women. There is no known cause.

A person with PBC can take a prescription medicine called cholestyramine (Questran) to reduce itching symptoms.

6. Nerve disorders

Sometimes nerve damage to the hands, resulting from conditions such as diabetes can cause itchy palms.

Other dysfunctions of the hand nerves can have similar effects, including carpal tunnel syndrome.

In carpal tunnel syndrome, pressure on the median nerve in the hand causes numbness, weakness, itching, and pain in the hands. The itching or discomfort will usually start in the palms and most commonly occurs at night.

If carpal tunnel syndrome is suspected, a person should see their doctor. The doctor may recommend avoiding repetitive activity or wearing a wrist brace. In extreme cases, surgery is an option to reduce pressure on the median nerves.

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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