It is quite common for many of us to have itching sensation on the face from time to time. This often gets relived quickly with light scratching on the site of itching. However there are some people who experience itchy feeling on the face constantly. The skin that covers the face is always exposed to the atmosphere. For this reason it is subjected to dirt, dust particles, wind, heat and many other pollutants constantly. It therefore becomes essential for us to make repeated efforts to keep the face clean and free from any pollutants. The skin of the face area is so sensitive that even a small irritant can cause itching.
Itchy face can be the effect of underlying skin problem or disease. Certain kinds of allergies, infections and dryness of skin can cause itchy face. For some people itchy face is due to nervous behavior and when they become stressed or emotional itchy feeling is produced in their faces. In many cases combination of treatments is needed along with oral antihistamines to control itching. Doctors may even prescribe antidepressant medications for managing itchy face.
Some Of The Common Causes Of Itchy Face Are Discussed Below :
- Unhygienic Face :
Your face is being constantly bombarded by pollutants like dust, microbes and dust particles. They form a tiny layer on the skin of your face causing irritation and itchy face. Unwashed face is likely to increase the itchy feeling. It is possible for the minute facial hair to trap these dust particles thus increasing the irritation. Regular washing of face is a good habit that prevents accumulation of dirt on your face.
- Dry Skin :
Some people are born with dry skin which is a common reason for facial itching. For many people the skin becomes dry only in winter and gets back normal during other seasons. Living in windy region can make one prone to itchy face. Winter season can aggravate dryness and itching causing constant itching on the face. For some others workplace environment can be unclean and repeated exposure to dusty air particles can intensify itchy feeling on the face and other parts of the body.
All the above factors that cause dry skin cannot be controlled. But there are some factors that cause dryness which can be controlled easily. Washing the face repeatedly will spoil the natural oil balance leading to dry skin. Using harsh soaps and hot water can also damage the facial skin. Using highly perfumed soaps and facial gels can make your face dry and itchy. Using alcohol based aftershave lotions can increase dryness. Similarly using OTC acne products that contains harsh chemicals can dry out the skin causing itchy face. Over exposure to sun can increase sweating trapping the dust particles on the face causing irritation and itchy feeling.
- Allergens :
Some people would induce allergy reactions by using the wrong products on the skin without their knowledge. Their skin would be very much normal if they have not used such products. Certain types of hair dyes can affect your skin on the scalp, neck and even the eyelids. It may cause itchy scalp, itchy face and in severe case facial swelling. Using harsh soaps and shampoos can also produce the same effect on your face. Pollens, head lice, jewelry, certain foods and medications can also increase itchy feeling on the face and other body parts.
- Skin Infections :
Different kinds of microbes can affect the hair follicles of the skin causing itchiness. Viral infections play an important role in causing various skin problems. Varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox, Rubeola virus causes measles and German measles and Parvovirus B19 causes fifth disease. Many of such infections can cause blisters or papules on the skin that causes profuse itchiness. It can even cause itchy nose and eyes apart from itchy face. It produces skin lesions that form a scaly layer on the skin which peels off after a week.
Herpes simplex virus infection can cause burning lesions or blisters on the face, particularly on the mouth and lips. Herpes zoster virus can cause shingles that are known for producing chronic burning sensation and itchy rash on the skin. This virus would largely affect on side of the face. Bacterial infections like staph infections can also cause skin rashes along with other symptoms like fever and fatigue. Certain types of fungus like Tinea barbae can target the beard/moustache of men causing itchy face.
- Skin Diseases :
Acne is formation of tiny red pimples or red spots on the face which is caused due to hormonal imbalance that occurs during adolescence. Acne can also occur in adults when the pores of the skin get blocked. Acne can cause skin itching and pain. For some people acne occurs as widespread inflammation and look as red patches on the face. Acne gets worse when exposed to sunlight. Ingrown hair is caused due to swelling of hair follicles and largely occurs in curly haired men. Other common skin diseases that cause facial itching are heat rash, atopic dermatitis (eczema) and contact dermatitis. These conditions can cause rashes on the face and other parts also.
- Rare Causes :
Insect bites on the face can cause itchy face due to skin irritation. But this is only temporary. In case of severe irritation of the skin it can cause more serious symptoms like shortness of breath and palpitation. In such cases the patient should be hospitalized and given a shot of adrenaline. Systemic lupus can cause butterfly rash on the face, nose and on the cheeks. This is a rare but severe infection affecting the blood vessels and even the joints. Melanoma (cancer) can cause dark colored tumor on the face which appears as a raised lesions.
Symptoms Of Itchy Face :
Facial itch is marked with moderate to severe irritation on the facial skin with itching. It can also cause symptoms including red lesions, red patches on the face with inflammation of the skin.
Treatment Of Itchy Face :
Treatment of itchy face depends on the cause. Generally itching can be managed with oral antihistamines like Cetrizine or topical corticosteroids. In case of bacterial infection antibiotics are useful. For treating facial itching caused by virus your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs. For severe cases anti-inflammatory medications like acetaminophen is given. Topical creams like calamine lotion and plain emollients are highly effective in treating normal itching caused by dryness. Acne takes long time for healing and each individual responds differently for acne.
Home Remedies :
- Keep the clean and moisture free.
- Make sure to wash the face after you get back home.
- Avoid repeated washing since it can reduce the natural oil balance.
- Use gentle soaps and non-scented ones on the skin. Do not change the brand often since it may cause allergy.
- Oatmeal bath is highly useful in controlling facial itch.
- Dry the face after taking bath and apply moisturizing cream daily if you have dry skin.
- If you are using cosmetics on your face, select the ones that are free from dyes or perfumes. Don’t share bath towels and soaps with others.
- Always remove the make-up and other cosmetics from your face before going to bed.
- Avoid sun exposure and use sun protection formula if you are going out in the day.