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Dr. Nair
Dr. Nair, Dermatologist
Category: Dermatology
Satisfied Customers: 9116
Experience:  MBBS, MD (Dermatology, Venereology & Leprology)
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My legs are always so itchy that i scratch them until they

Resolved Question:

My legs are always so itchy that i scratch them until they bleed which then leave scabs all over them that take a good week or two to heal. I scratch in my sleep and wake up with raw skin. I honestly can't help it, it's overwhelming and sometimes the scratching feels so damn good until I stop then it burns and I know I've broken skin.
I live in a tropical environment high heat and humidity (also means can't cover my legs with pants as it's too hot) I do have coarse hair, I shave my legs with a venus razor say once a week, then most days in between I will use an electric razor. I moisturise every day sometimes 2-3 times, I exfolite as well as using a bath cream with exfoliating beads in it.
It drives me absolutely mad, I hate that my legs are covered in ugly bloody scabs and that I constantly am scratching. I can't wax my legs either as I have a very low pain tolerance, I've tried it and just can't go there. Any ideas what to do?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dermatology
Expert:  Dr. Nair replied 4 years ago.

Have you noticed any small boils on your legs that come and go?

Is the skin on your legs very dry?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No there's no boils, it could be that my legs are dry. I probably don't drink enough water per day.
Expert:  Dr. Nair replied 4 years ago.
I hope you find our interaction helpful. If you are satisfied with my response(s) please remember to press the ACCEPT button.

Thank you for the information. Your history is suggestive of a condition known as Neurodermatitis.

Neurodermatitis is a condition where the nerves in any area of the body become hypersensitive and fire under normal conditions to produce a sensation of itching. The primary problem is itching and any skin rash, redness or excoriation is secondary to the scratching. The skin may look absolutely normal. The sites can be very localized as in your case.

This leads to an 'itch scratch cycle'. As in the more one scratches the more the area itches and so on. The first step in treatment is to break this cycle by giving relief from itching and instructing the patient to avoid scratching as much as possible.

Here is what will help:

1. Clobetasol propionate cream + Mupirocin cream: Mix and apply over the affected areas twice a day for 14 days then switch to Fluticasone propionate cream once at night for 2-4 weeks. All of these will require a prescription. Nothing over the counter will help much, the only product with some benefit is 1% Cortizone cream. Besides this use a moisturizer of your choice 2-3 times in a day on the legs to make sure the skin isn't dry.

2. Tab Claritin 10 mg twice a day for 14 days, then once a day for 6-8 weeks. Initially the dose can be increased to 2 tablets taken twice a day if there is insufficient relief in itching.

3. Sarna sensitive lotion can be used 2-3 times a day to give further relief from itching. This can be continued even when the above creams have been stopped.

4. Avoid scratching the affected areas as much as possible. This is most important. Whenever it is not bearable soak a towel in ice cold water and keep it on the affected areas or apply the Sarna sensitive lotion.

NOTE: 1% Cortizone cream, Claritin and Sarna lotion can be bought without a prescription.

Hope this information is useful, please feel free to ask if you have any queries.
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