Pruritus refers to the sensation of itching. It can be caused by a wide range of skin conditions, including dry skin, eczema, contact dermatitis, hives, fungal infection, and very rarely, cancer. While anyone can experience pruritus, it is more commonly seen among the elderly, diabetics, people with suppressed immune systems and those with seasonal allergies, asthma or eczema. Rarely, kidney disease and other internal diseases can lead to severe itching as well.

Treatment for pruritus depends on identifying the underlying cause. Often your provider can determine the potential cause through a history and physical. Your dermatologist may examine the itchy area and may take a small scrape on existing rashes to test for fungus. A biopsy (deeper sample) may be necessary in difficult cases. Typical treatment involves moisturizing the skin, using topical and/or oral steroids and, in some cases, using antihistamines to help relieve the itch. To avoid pruritus from dry skin, make sure to follow healthy skin care procedures.