Occasional itchy skin can be annoying, but when it becomes a recurring problem, there are solutions women can use. Triggers of itchy skin are often part of everyday life. Find out the six habits that can result in an itchy neck and what you can do to provide relief for your skin.
Tics are movements, vocalizations, or gestures that some people make involuntarily, and tics can become more frequent and more pronounced when the person is stressed, anxious, or tired. Examples of nervous tics that could lead to itchy skin, especially on the neck, include scratching the skin and sudden movements of the head and neck. Constant scratching often leads to a dry and cracked surface of the skin, creating a vicious circle of agitated skin. Sudden head and neck movements can rub against clothing and also become dry, inflamed, and itchy. Seeking help for nervous tics may help decrease the appearance of itchy skin on the neck and improve a person's overall well-being.
Everyone likes to bundle up to stay warm during the winter, but moving in and out of heated cars and buildings can cause a person dressed for winter to overheat. This is exacerbated for women going through menopause, who are also more likely to experience hot flashes. These sudden increases in temperature can result in excess sweat on top of dried-out skin and subsequent itch. Turning down the heat a bit and wearing layers that can easily be removed can reduce itchy and agitated skin on the neck.
Nutritional deficiencies can cause many serious conditions, and itchy skin on the neck and all over the body is just one symptom of certain nutritional deficits. Vitamins A and C are especially significant for skin health. Therefore, consuming more foods rich in these vitamins – like carrots, citrus fruit, and low-fat dairy – can improve overall health and reduce itchy skin.
It is vital to protect your skin from the sun and its harmful UV rays. Overexposure to the sun causes dry skin and sunburn, and enough exposure without protection from the sun's UV rays can eventually cause skin cancer. Not only is sunscreen important on trips to the beach and other outdoor activities, but it is also needed daily, especially on the face and neck, which are the parts of the body that are usually directly exposed to the sun. Using a daily moisturizer of SPF 15 or higher can eliminate itchy skin on the neck and protect your skin's overall health.
It is widely known and researched that smoking is a deadly addiction, but smoking also has many lesser known side effects, such as causing an itchy neck and upper body. Nicotine hampers the body's production of collagen, elastin, and other skin proteins, which causes the dermis to dry and deflate from the inside out. When a person smokes, the smoke surrounds the head and neck, and this can cause the upper regions of the body to become inflamed and uncomfortable, leading to itchy skin.
Taking Hot Showers
Hot showers dehydrate the skin on contact, making skin itchy. Taking shorter showers and turning down the heat on your shower so that the water is still warm but does not dry out your skin can help.
If itchy skin becomes chronic, talk to your doctor to find the correct diagnosis. For middle-aged women, itchy skin is usually caused by hormonal imbalance at the root and can be worsened by the triggers listed above. For further information on dealing with itchy skin and other menopause symptoms, check out the treatment options available.
- Evert, A. (2013). Vitamin A: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 25, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002400.htm
- National Health Service UK. (2015). Tics. Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Tics/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- National Library of Medicine. (2013). Vitamin A. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002400.htm
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health. (2008). The Healthy Woman: A Complete Guide for All Ages. Skin and Hair Health, pp. 305-315. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.