Skin is the biggest human organ which has many roles. It protects the body from foreign objects and surrounding. Besides that, it has also a sensory role with the nerves going through the skin and with the ends of certain distant nerves ending in that area. This kind of irritation can lead to itchiness and discomfort. It can be a local change or a presentation of an event from a distant region of some organ. This can be an allergic reaction, inflammation, hives, rashes. It can be a mild sensation or even a pain, and it can last from a few days to several weeks. It can be diagnosed by a dermatologist and it is important to recognize the signs early for a proper prevention and therapy.
Causes Of Itchy Lower Legs
There are some skin conditions and other more serious ones. That is why it is important to know how to recognize it and treat it the right way.
Xerosis (dry skin)
Xerosis is a term for a very dry skin, which is often located on lower legs. This is more common in elderly but can affect everyone. Usually, the first sign for xerosis is itchiness, before any rash appears. It can progress to irritation, red bumps and lining from scratching because most people scratch the affected skin. It is more common in the winter time and in the areas with low humidity level.
Treatment. Because the cause is very dry skin, it is recommended to use some moisturizing creams and drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Avoid any irritants and alcohol since it dries the skin. Avoid also direct sunlight since it can burn your skin and further dry it out. You can even use anti-itch creams. Pregnant women should drink more water because they are more prone to this condition.
Keratosis Pilaris (“Chicken Skin”)
This condition is called chicken skin because it becomes dry and irritated around the hair follicles. It can be in a form of red or brown skin and goose bumps. It is itchy and dry, with a rough feel on the surface. Like xerosis, it is more often in the winter.
Treatment. For dry skin, it is recommended to use moisturizing creams and lotions to minimize the bumps on the skin. People who have had keratosis noticed the changes pass with time, as they get older. Some people use steroids for redness reduction.
This is a condition caused by fungal infection with tinea cruris. It is common in the area of legs, which is not ventilated properly and due to bad hygiene and high humidity, it is a good surface for fungi growth. It can be red with rash and itchiness.
Treatment. It is important to dry the skin after bathing and pad it well with towels. Use clean towels and change them often. You can use talcum powder to further dry the area that is affected. A doctor may prescribe you some anti-fungal drugs which you will have to spread on once or twice a day for about two weeks.
Folliculitis presents the inflammation of the follicle of the hair inside the dermis of the skin. It can be red and itchy and result in bumps on the skin. Because of the openings on the follicle, a bacteria or some other causes can enter the follicle and cause the infection. It is common in people who wear tight clothes, such as athletes. The most common pathogen is Staphylococcus aureus.
Treatment. For this kind of condition, if the cause is bacteria, it is important to use antibacterial creams for the application. The consistency is important because of the possibility of a rise in tolerance in bacteria. It is crucial to stick with the therapy for a prescribed duration. Besides that, a proper hygiene is important as well.
Stasis eczema is gravitational eczema which is caused by varicose veins in lower legs. Dilated veins are weak and thin in the lining and can’t pump the blood back to the heart, which results in blood pooling within the lower limbs. Other than this, it can be due to thrombosis which need to be treated. The thrombus can go from deep veins of the legs to the lungs and result in much worse consequences.
Treatment. Avoid standing for a long period of time and use moisturizing creams. There is also specific therapy for varicose veins and thrombosis. For the reduction of the inflammation, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroid ointments.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Restless leg syndrome is a condition which reflects in the unexplainable urge to move or twitch the leg when resting. The other name for this condition is Willis-Ekbom Disease. It is more common after sleeping, where even during sleep, one can have a lurching movement. The affected person can have a tingling sensation to itchy feel on the lower parts of the legs. The cause is still undiscovered, but it is probably connected to the nervous system.
Treatment. Since the cause for this condition is still unknown, the specific therapy does not exist. You should avoid alcohol and caffeine. You can try with warm showers, massage and stretching exercises which can help.
Cholinergic urticaria is a condition which is an allergic-like reaction to your own sweat. It is common after training and in runners. It can cause itching sensation from 30 minutes up to 2 hours. It can result in severe scratching and it is important not to damage the skin.
Treatment. Try to avoid the scratching because it can worsen the itchy sensation. Use lukewarm water and avoid running in the hot weather. A doctor may prescribe you some antihistamines like oral hydroxyzine.
Insect bites such as fleas and other insects can manifest in a rash and red bumps on the skin. You may experience some itchy sensation and edema on the spot where you’ve been bitten. If there is another family member in the living area, you may spot the same symptoms in them too. Fleas tend to stay on the carpets and pets hair, so you should watch for that and treat it with regular cleaning.
Treatment. It can pass by itself or if the symptoms get worse, you should visit a doctor for proper treatment. They reproduce quickly, so a professional pest control may be needed. You can use some over-the-counter medications for anti-itch reduction and antihistamines. Avoid scratching the affected area.
Other Severe Diseases
A rash and itchy feel on the lower part of the legs can be a sign of an internal disease. This kind of diseases can affect kidneys, liver, it can be hepatitis, diabetes, or even lymphoma. It is familiar that a person who has high levels of bilirubin in the blood can get a rash on the skin because the creation of the crystals on the skin which are left after the sweat evaporates. Hepatitis C is often related to rash and itchy sensation on the skin. It can be also due to contact dermatitis, neurodermatitis, diabetes, nerve damage, anxiety and other emotional stresses, malignancy, infections, parasites and senile pruritus.
Treatment. For this kind of diseases, a treatment is related to the cause. It is important to diagnose it and follow the symptoms in the right way. For many diseases, it is important not to scratch the affected area, as well as to clean it with soap and water. Keep it dry and use moisturizing creams and products with right pH level, whereas the low pH level can dry the skin.