Itching Palms

What Causes Itching Palms?

Are itching palms just a nuisance or are they a sign of a significant medical problem? If you are dealing with itching palms, this is the question that is running through your mind. While you would like to believe the old wife’s tale that itchy palms are a signs of soon-to-be-acquired wealth, the truth is that right now it is interfering with your day-to-day activities. You would like to know what has caused the problem.

There are several probable causes for itching palms. It is like many other skin conditions in that it may be triggered by something that your skin is coming in contact with or by some internal changes in your body.

The external causes for itching palms tend to be allergens which are making your skin react negatively. This problem is a version of contact dermatitis and people find that working with nickel, reaction to some kinds of foods such as seafood, ingesting medicines such as a sulfa drug or penicillin and exposure to a new soap or lotion can all cause itching palms. These are cases where the body is rejecting the allergen and you are seeing the first signs of it in your palms which probably made the first contact with the allergen.

Another external cause of this problem is complications from another skin injury or wound. If you have an open wound of any sort on your hand, you can potentially get a secondary infection which may cause irritation of the skin which will present itself as itchiness in the palms and hands. Also, if you are fighting a fungal or bacterial infection somewhere else in your body, contact during scratching can lead to the infection spreading to your palms also.

Other than these external triggers, there are also a few other causes for itching palms that you should be aware of- doctors refer to these as systemic causes because they are indicative of a whole body health problem rather than just localized skin trouble.  Patients with liver diseases, chronic kidney failure, hyper or hypothyroidism, leukemia, multiple myeloma and other blood disorders such as  polycythemia vera and Hodgkin’s lymphoma do present with itching palms. This is often a prelude to more widespread itching that spreads to other parts of the body. Patients with HIV infection and Crohn’s disease also sometimes report early onset of itching palms prior to more generalized body-wide itchiness.

Besides these physiological problems that cause itching, there are also psychological issues such as stress, aggravation and anxiety that can prompt some patients to feel severe itchiness of the palms.

There are also specific skin diseases that can start with the palms becoming itchy and in this category we have psoriasis, scabies, Lichen planus and ring worms.

Another likely cause for itching palms is a probable vitamin deficiency. If you are not getting enough amounts of Vitamin B12, B1 and B6, you can experience, what has been described as, an itching and burning sensation of the palms and the soles of the feet.

If you are experiencing acute itching palms, see if there is accompanying skin rash or other visible signs of the problem. Sometimes, given the thickness of the skin on our palms, the itching appears well before the rash which may follow in a couple of days or a week. If you have reason to believe that a change in a cosmetics or soap is the source of the difficulty, switch the product and see if there is relief. If the problem persists, and you are unable to see any other causes for it, you should visit a doctor and get the appropriate tests. Given that itching palms can be an early warning signal for some major health problems, being proactive may be the best way to get a head start on the treatment.