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Ask Dr. Arun Phophalia Your Own Question
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 35046
Experience:  MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine
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What causes the sensation of bugs crawling on skin/body

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What causes the sensation of bugs crawling on skin/body hairs being tickled?
It feels as if there are parasitic bugs moving single strands of body hair, which causes me to scratch (it tingles/stings). My scalp also feels as if small bugs are crawling on it. Of course when looking for something there is never anything there. The sensation becomes much more frequent at night and occurs all over my body (causing sleep loss) but is more pronounced on body hair than face and scalp. It's sporadic and subtle but very irritating. I haven't noticed any bugs in or around my bed and I've noticed a few small bumps that don't really itch. I also noticed one bump (on forehead) that can't seem to be popped, like there's no core or puss in it. It was sore and seems to be a knot under a pimple. What could this be?

Greetings Tiye.

Since when is this happening?

Were any investigations done?

Are you on any medications or supplements?

Any significant past medical history or family history?

Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dr. Arun,

This has been happening for a week now. There were no investigations done and the supplements I'm taking, I began taking after this problem occured. How ever I was taking a greenlife green food supplement when this began but I've taken it before and this has never occured. I'm always taking one supplement or another and I have no significant medical history that I'm aware of. I also must note that while my skin feels like bugs/spider webs are crawling on it, there is an actual itchiness in my armpits. i'm not sure if it's connected or not.

Hello Tiye,

I am sorry for delay in answer. I was on another question. I apologize for your wait.

Since your symptoms have been only for a week, the very likely cause is an allergy, with no obvious manifestations except itching crawling sensation. Sometimes it is difficult to determine as an exact cause and relationship are absent. Following measures may be helpful;

1) Avoid exposure to heat and humidity.

2) Use moisturizer, if you feel that your skin is dry.

3) You can also try skin-soothing oatmeal or cornstarch.

4) Wear cool, light, loose bedclothes. Do not wear rough clothing, particularly wool.

5) Calamine lotion may help.

The causes to look for:

1) Dry skin; happens in winter months; baby Johnson oil or any moisturizer would help.

2) Skin allergy

3) Kidney, liver disease; not common.

If this persists, you many need to consult an allergy specialist and undergo the skin allergy tests and invitro (blood) tests.

The other possibility to look for would be neuropathy, which may occur due to vitamin B 12 deficiency and a blood work is necessary to determine it. Neuropathy can be caused by following;

1) Diabetes
2) An underactive thyroid gland
3) Excessive use of alcohol
4) Thiamine deficiency
5) Vitamin B 12 deficiency (pernicious anemia)
6) Vitamin B 6 (pyridoxine) taken in excessive amounts
7) Drugs, medications, herbs
8) Autoimmune diseases
9) Heavy metals such as lead and mercury.

An extensive testing usually is recommended, if these symptoms are persisting for two weeks or more.
Please feel free for your follow up questions.

I would be happy to assist you further, if you need any more information.

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