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Itching Palm - Causes, and Treatment

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Itching palm is a common skin condition affecting the hands. It irritates the hands and may interfere with daily tasks. Read this article to know more.

Written by

Dr. Swathi. R

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Nidhin Varghese

Published At January 19, 2023
Reviewed AtAugust 10, 2023


Dermatitis is a term that describes irritating skin conditions. Eczema is the term used to describe dry, bumpy, and itching conditions. Itchy palms were certainly annoying. They can make one drive mad when itching and burning are caused. But itching the palm is definitely a sign of some other underlying serious problem. These itchy palms may be a sign of a serious underlying condition that needs frequent treatments. Identifying the underlying cause of what is causing itching and any other symptoms accompanied by itching may help in diagnosing and starting with the treatment that provides quick relief.

What Is Hand Dermatitis?

Hand dermatitis is a common condition causing acute or chronic disorder that affects the dorsal and palmar aspects of the hands due to various causes. Irritation seen on the hands may interfere with the daily routine.

Who Gets Hand Eczema?

Hand dermatitis is commonly caused, especially in younger adult females, around 20 to 35 % in all forms of dermatitis. This may also occur at any age, including during childhood. This is particularly seen in people with skin conditions like atopic dermatitis. Hand dermatitis is commonly seen in industries that involve wet work or exposure to chemicals such as the following:

  • Catering.

  • Metalwork.

  • Hairdressing.

  • Health care.

  • Housework.

  • Painting and mechanical work.

This itching is mainly caused due to contact with irritants, specifically with contact allergies.

What Causes the Itching Palm?

Itching may be annoying when it occurs constantly. It causes disturbances while doing work with hands. Following are some of the reasons for itchiness in palms.

Hand Eczema: Non-contagious condition that may cause itching on the palms, red skin, cracking, dryness, and blisterings. Hand eczema, called dyshidrotic eczema, causes a person to have small itching blisters, specifically seen on the hands and sometimes in the feet. People likely to have hand eczema include those working in certain professions in which their hands are exposed more to chemicals. The professions at risk include:

  • Catering person.
  • Cleaning professions.
  • Hairdressing professions.
  • Healthcare professionals.
  • Mechanic professions.
  • Patients with a family history of hand eczema are at a higher risk for this condition.

Allergic Reactions: Sometimes, itchy palms are one of the results of repeated exposure to irritants or chemicals that eventually result in allergic reactions. This condition is called contact dermatitis. This allergic reaction may appear about 48 to 96 hours after contact with the allergen. Other common allergens or irritants include metals, such as rings and other jewelry.

  • Perfumes.
  • Latex gloves.
  • Soaps.
  • Disinfectants.
  • Antiseptics or antibacterial substances.
  • Dust and the soil.
  • Highly chlorinated water.

Diabetes: This occurs when the person has diabetes. Too high a blood sugar level can cause dry skin that also feels itchy. Itchy skin appears with or without red or flesh-colored bumps present on the palms and other areas of the body.

Reactions to Medications: Sometimes, the itchy palms may develop due to doing something that a person has ingested rather than something on their hands that has been in contact with the substances. When the person has a mild allergic reaction to a new medication, such as histamine reactions in the body, he can have itching. The palms particularly cause itching in cases of histamine allergies, causing itching on the palms and the feet. A person should consult with the doctor before stopping a prescribed medication unless the symptoms are severe.

Cirrhosis: Autoimmune disorder is the primary form of biliary cholangitis or primary biliary cirrhosis that can cause itchy and blotchy palms. Primary biliary cirrhosis affects the liver and the stomach. The bile that travels between these two organs builds up in the liver causing damage and scarring. In addition to the itchy palms, a person with this liver disorder may experience the following:

  • Blotchy palms. Nausea.
  • Bone pain.
  • Jaundice.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dark urine.

This primary biliary cirrhosis is seen more commonly in women. The cause is unknown. A person with primary biliary cirrhosis can take a cholestyramine medicine to reduce the itching symptoms.

Nerve Disorders: Some cases with nerve damage to the hands result from conditions such as diabetes that cause itchy palms. Other dysfunctions of the hand nerves may 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. The itching or discomfort usually starts in the palms and most commonly occurs at night.

Diabetes and Itching: Most people having diabetes will be seen with itching of the palms and the feet. Diabetes may cause itchy skin in several ways, such as:

  • Diabetic neuropathy is one of the types of nerve damage that people with diabetes might experience that lead to damaged nerve fibers in the hands and feet. Before the damage occurs, the body releases inflammatory chemicals that are called cytokines, causing itching.
  • Complications of diabetes include liver and kidney failure, and both of these may cause the skin to itch as a symptom.
  • A person might experience an allergic reaction to new diabetes medication, which may lead to itchiness. A person with diabetes may experience an itchy type of skin, so they should consult a doctor for necessary treatment as soon as possible. The irritated, itchy skin is more prone to infection, and diabetes reduces a person's ability to fight the infection that has occurred in an individual.

What Are the Treatment Options for Itching Palms?

Treatment options will vary based on the underlying itchy palms. Some recommended treatments may include:

  • Cool Damp Cloth: Placing the wet cloth on the palms for about five to ten minutes can help relieve the itching sensation. An ice pack may also be effective in itching hands.

  • Topical Steroids: Corticosteroids can reduce the itching and redness caused on the palms during flare-ups. One should avoid using steroid creams too regularly as they may cause thinning of the skin surface.

  • Moisturizer: Moisturizing often can help in reducing itching. Keeping the skin moisturizer in the refrigerator can make the treatment more effective. When itching is caused due to eczema, moisturizing may be especially important after washing the hands, particularly after drying.

  • Ultraviolet Light Therapy: A person having hand eczema or other severe irritation may respond to ultraviolet light. A ray may help reduce the itching symptoms.


If a person is experiencing itchy palms with difficulty in breathing, they should seek immediate medical attention. This may indicate a skin reaction that results in anaphylaxis or breathing difficulties. One should consult the doctor for the best treatment option.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are Some Remedies for Relieving Itchy Hands?

- Maintain proper hand hygiene by washing the hands with a gentle, fragrance-free soap and patting them dry.

- Apply a moisturizing cream or ointment regularly to keep your skin hydrated.

- Use over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream for temporary relief.


Is It Possible for Stress to Lead To Itchy Palms?

Yes, stress can make the palms itchy. When a person feels stressed, the body releases some substances that can make the skin itchy. This may be especially noticeable in people with conditions like eczema or psoriasis, where stress can cause or make flare-ups worse.


What Nutritional Deficiency Can Result in Itchy Palms?

Itchy palms can be associated with several nutritional deficiencies, including deficiencies in vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B3 (niacin), and essential fatty acids like omega-3. Biotin deficiency is known to cause skin issues, while niacin deficiency can lead to a condition called pellagra, characterized by dermatitis and itching.


Which Viral Infection Is Linked to Itchy Palms?

Itchy palms can be a sign of many viral infections, but one virus that often causes this symptom is the coxsackievirus. One specific type of this virus called Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is especially known for causing itchy palms. HFMD can make the palms, feet, and mouth itchy and develop rashes.


What Might Be the Reason for Itchy Palms After a Shower?

Itchy palms after a shower can occur for several reasons. One common cause is dry skin resulting from hot water, harsh soaps, or frequent hand washing, which can strip the skin of its natural oils. Certain skin conditions like eczema may be exacerbated by the moisture and warmth of a shower.


What Causes Redness in the Palms?

Redness in the palms can happen for different reasons. Some things that can cause it are irritation to the skin, allergies, being in contact with things that can cause irritation, or having skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. In addition, when someone is feeling stressed, hot, or having an allergic reaction, they may also experience redness in their skin.


What Is the Most Effective Treatment for Alleviating Itchy Skin?

The best way to treat itchy skin depends on what is causing it. To help with regular itchiness, over-the-counter antihistamines like Cetirizine or Loratadine can be used. Specific conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or allergies can be treated using topical Corticosteroids or prescription-strength medications prescribed by a doctor.


What Are Some Natural Remedies to Relieve Itching?

Several natural products can make itching better. Aloe vera gel can help stop itching and reduce inflammation of the skin. It works best for minor skin irritations that cause discomfort. Coconut oil and colloidal oatmeal are other natural choices that can help moisturize and relieve itchy skin.


Can Itchy Hands Be a Sign of Diabetes?

Sometimes, having itchy hands can be related to diabetes. This is especially true if one also has other symptoms like being very thirsty, frequently urinating, or losing weight without any reason. However, itching can also be caused by things like having dry skin, allergies, or other skin conditions.


When Should a Person Worry About Itchy Palms?

A person should be concerned about itchy palms when the itching becomes persistent or severe or is accompanied by other symptoms like swelling, redness, rash, changes in skin texture, or difficulty breathing. If the itching interferes with daily life or is not relieved by nonprescription treatments, seeking medical advice is a good idea. Also, if one has a known condition like diabetes or liver disease, any new or unusual symptoms, including itchy palms, should prompt them to consult a doctor.


What Causes Itchy Palms During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, having itchy palms can be caused by a condition known as cholestasis of pregnancy. Cholestasis is a problem with the liver where the normal movement of bile is blocked, which causes bile salts to build up in the bloodstream. This buildup can cause itching, especially on the hands and feet.


Is It Possible for Anxiety to Lead To Itchy Hands?

Yes, anxiety can contribute to itchy hands. The body's stress response triggered by anxiety can release chemicals like histamines, which may lead to skin reactions, including itching. While itchy hands can be a symptom of anxiety, other potential causes should be considered as well.


Which Foods Can Lead To Nighttime Itching?

Some people may experience itchiness at night because of the consumption of certain foods. Some common foods that can cause allergic reactions or intolerance in certain people are aged cheeses, wine, and processed meats because they are high in histamines. Spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine can also cause skin inflammation and itching.


Is It Possible for Dehydration to Lead To Skin Itching?

Yes, not drinking enough water can cause the skin to feel itchy. When the body does not have enough water, the skin can get dry and lose its protection, which can make it itchy. It is important to drink enough water to keep the skin healthy and prevent it from itching because of dehydration.

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Dr. Nidhin Varghese
Dr. Nidhin Varghese



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