Right-Hand Itching: Likely Causes of Itchy Arm or Palm (Science Based)

Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Right-Hand Itching: Likely Causes of Itchy Arm or Palm
Advertisement

Right-hand itching usually means that you have a skin allergy, irritation, dry skin, or have been under stress lately. In many cases, your right hand can itch like crazy if you have a chronic inflammatory skin condition like eczema, psoriasis, or a fungal infection.  Whatever the reason for your right-hand itching, you often have to deal with a mild to a strong urge to scratch your palms, back of your hand, or arm.

Depending on the cause of your itchy right arm or hand, you may also notice itchy bumps on the back of your hand or an irritating itchy rash on your palm. Some skin conditions also cause raised welts or hives on your hand, scaling and flaky skin, or fluid that oozes from broken skin.

Thankfully, the majority of conditions that cause your right hand to itch and feel tingly are nothing to worry about. However, having a persistent itchy blistering rash on your hand can cause emotional upset and embarrassment. In many cases, a cold pack, oatmeal compress, or an aloe vera anti-itch remedy can help to soothe the itching naturally.

Advertisement

This article examines the many research-based reasons why your right hand itches. Even if you also have itchy bumps on your right arm, back of your hand, or an itchy red rash, you will find helpful home remedies to get rid of the itching.

What Does it Mean if You Have an Itchy Right Hand?

Having an itchy right hand rarely means that you have a serious medical condition. The Journal of the German Society of Dermatology reports that itching in your right hand or left hand is usually a sign of a skin condition or irritated nerves in your arm.1

Hand itching, or hand pruritus, usually means that you have to deal with an irresistible desire to scratch the palm, forearm, wrist, or back of the arm.

A common complication of chronic hand or palm itching is a secondary bacterial infection. The book Medical Microbiology warns that the fingernails and hands can harbor many germs. This means that acute or chronic hand scratching can turn the itchy hand red and show signs of pus and swelling.2

Other symptoms accompanying an itchy right hand can include:

What is the superstition surrounding itchy right hand or palm?

Old wives’ tales say that if you have an itchy right hand it means that you are about to receive money. It is said that itching in your right hand indicates that energy is moving to your hand that will cause you to work and get paid for it. However, superstitions say that when your left hand itches, it means that you will lose money. Of course, there is no scientific backing to these claims that an itchy palm is a sign of coming into money.

Why Your Right Hand Can Itch So Much

Certain skin or nerve conditions can cause itching that affects any part of your body. However, there are some reasons why your hands can itch more than other areas of your body.

Many causes of right-hand itching are connected to nerve endings in your palms and fingers. The journal Brain reports that many nerves connected to the spinal cord run down the arm, through the wrist, and down to your hands. Organs and certain infections can cause the ends of these nerves to tingle and feel itchy.3  

The number of nerve endings in both your arms and feet is a reason why many conditions can cause your hands and feet to itch at the same time.

Another explanation for itchy arms on the right could be because many people use their right arm and right hand more than the left one.

Right-Hand Itching: Common Causes

Let’s look at what scientific research has revealed as the true causes of right-hand itching.

Allergic reaction

A common reason why you could have red itchy bumps on your right hand is because of an allergic reaction (allergic dermatitis).

Advertisement

For example, the researchers from the National Institutes of Health report that various chemical or even herbal substances can cause allergies on the hands. This can result in a burning red itch on your palms, back of your hands, or arms. Some severe allergic reactions can cause swelling of the affected skin or very dry skin that itches.4

Along with an allergic reaction on your hands that causes irritation, you could also have any of the following symptoms:

  • Blisters on the palms or back of the hands
  • Swollen fingers or dorsum part (back) of the hand
  • Tingling sensation in your fingertips
  • Red, blotchy rash in your underarm, shoulder, or forearm

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis causes similar symptoms on your hands as allergic dermatitis, but is caused by harsh soaps or chemicals irritating your skin and not because of an over-reacting immune system to allergens. For example, if you frequently have itchy skin after your shower, it could be because your soap or shampoo is too harsh.

According to scientific research published in the journal Maedica, the hands are one of the most common parts of the body that contact dermatitis affects. Contact dermatitis can cause inflammation and an itchy sensation in the palms. In some cases, you may notice a rash on your palms with little red bumps on your skin.5

Other symptoms of contact dermatitis of the right hand or left hand include:

  • Itchy rash where the skin had come into contact with the irritant
  • Swollen bump on the hands
  • Eczema-like symptoms
  • Peeling of the skin and pain (in severe cases of contact dermatitis)

Researchers from the World Health Organization say that cleaning hands with alcohol-based cleansers, harsh soaps, and wearing latex gloves, can cause dry skin on the hands that have a severe itch.6

Hand eczema

Eczema commonly affects the hands and results in itchy blisters on the palms and edges of the fingers. Eczema is a broad term that describes a number of dermatological conditions.

For example, doctors from the American Academy of Dermatology reported that eczema often results in itchy hands, feet, and elbows. The patches of itchy red skin develop because of coming into contact with allergens, irritants, or having asthma.7

The National Eczema Association reports that dyshidrotic eczema often affects one or both hands. This can result in some of the following symptoms:8

  • Itching and redness on the fingers and palms
  • Flaking skin that causes a persistent need to scratch
  • Sore hands
  • Problems gripping objects because of scaly, cracked skin that hurts

To help treat various forms of eczema, it’s important to keep your skin well-moisturized. This helps to provide a protective barrier on the skin and prevents secondary infections. You could also try using some of my essential oil recipes to soothe eczema symptoms naturally.

Psoriasis

One reason for a red itchy patch on your right palm could be an inflammatory skin condition called psoriasis. Dermatologists refer to this type of psoriasis as palmar-plantar psoriasis.

The book StatPearls says that palmoplantar psoriasis usually just affects that skin on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. This chronic irritating skin condition causes small itchy bumps on the hands that form into itchy red patches. Factors like stress, trauma, friction, or smoking can cause flare-ups and aggravate the symptoms.9

As well as causing a chronic itch in your palms and a constant urge to scratch, signs of psoriasis can also include the following:

There are many natural ways to help manage the symptoms of psoriasis and prevent the emotional stress that it causes.

Dry skin

Having dry skin on your hands may be to blame for a persistent and irritating itch on your right hand or left hand.

According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, dry skin (xerosis) will usually cause a mild to severe itch without a red rash. Or you could have palm itching without little bumps on your hand. Frequent hand washing, dry air, or air conditioning are the main causes of dry skin conditions that affect your hands.10

Advertisement

At the end of the article, you can find out how to use coconut oil as a natural remedy for dry skin on your hands and itchy palms.

Stress and anxiety

You could find that your left and right hands are itchy with or without a rash if you are under a lot of emotional stress.

For example, research published by the Temple University found that hand itching among students increased around exam time. Scientists found that increased stress exacerbated certain skin conditions. This caused itchy rashes on hands, itchy skin, increased sweating, and nail biting.11

Also, the journal Clinics in Dermatology reported that many psychosomatic factors are connected with chronic itching. For example, anxiety can cause flare-ups of eczema and psoriasis symptoms. Itching of the hands and other areas of the body are also common among people who deal with depression and other psychological disorders.12

Trying to cope with stress better can be a way to relieve feelings of anxiety and prevent the harmful effects of stress on the body.

Sunburn

The back of your left hand and right hand can feel tight and itchy if you have suffered sunburn on your hands.

Scientific research into the effects of overexposure to the sun and skin conditions has found that itching and pain are common skin complaints as the skin heals. Certain pain receptors seem to stimulate the release of histamine which causes itching and redness. The back of your hands may also be very tender to touch and feel tight.13

Aloe vera is a great natural remedy for sunburn to hydrate your skin and relieve the crawling itch under your skin.

Scabies

An intense urge to scratch between your fingers and the back of your hand at night could be due to a scabies infection. An extremely itchy rash is one of the most common signs of a scabies mite infestation.

Scabies are tiny parasitic mites that are transmitted by close physical contact. According to the journal Paediatrics and Health Care, scabies mites often burrow under the skin between the fingers or at the wrist. The result is a very severe itchy rash that lasts for many weeks. Constant scratching of your fingers and wrists can put you at risk of developing a secondary skin infection.14

Because the tiny pests are more active at night, scabies is a common cause of right-hand itching that wakes you up at night. Of course, other bugs like bed bugs can be difficult to get rid of and can disturb your sleep in the middle of the night with an itchy rash on your hand. Bee stings, ant bites, and mosquito bites can also result in hand swelling that has itchy red bumps on it.

If you have signs of a scabies infestation, please read my article on how to get rid of scabies for good.

Right hand fungal infection

Noticing a round red itchy patch on the back of your right hand may be symptomatic of a ringworm infection.

Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin, and tinea manuum is the medical name for hand ringworm. According to dermatologists, ringworm usually only affects one hand. Ringworm causes itching, dry skin, and a red rash. In some circumstances, hand ringworm can make the fingers itch terribly and blister.15

A combination of tea tree oil and coconut oil can help to get rid of the fungal infection from your hand.

Other Reasons for Right Hand and Arm Itching

Let’s look at some other reasons for the right hand and right arm itching.

Side effect of medication

The journal Acta Dermato-Venereologica reports that certain medications can cause pruritus and a sensation of itching.16 If you have noticed that your hands or palms have started itching after taking blood pressure medicine or other drugs, you should speak to your doctor.17

Diabetes peripheral neuropathy

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, diabetes can cause nerve damage. This can result in tingling, itching, and numbness in your hands, arms, and feet.18

Advertisement

Stroke

A complication of a stroke could leave you with a right hand or arm that suffers from chronic itching. According to research in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, you will have the sensation of itching, pain or lack of sensation on the side of the body that is affected by the stroke.19

Age-related itching

The journal Seminary in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery reported that a number of factors cause elderly people to suffer from itchy skin complaints. This could happen because the epidermal barrier on the skin is compromised or older people suffer from dry skin conditions more frequently in older age.20

What it Means if Your Right Palm Itches

You might find that just your right palm is very itchy all the time if you have eczema or psoriasis. However, there are a few conditions not associated with your skin that can cause mild to severe palm or finger itching.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Itchy fingers without any sign of a rash or inflammation could be due to carpal tunnel syndrome.

According to researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, trauma or repetitive strain injury can compress the median nerve in your wrist. This causes pain and paresthesia (tingling) in any of your fingers, especially your thumb, index finger, or middle finger. Sometimes the nerve damage can cause a burning sensation in your palm.21

Primary biliary cirrhosis

In rare occasions, a serious liver disease can cause unexplained itching and tingling in your hands and feet.

Dr. John M. Vierling on eMedicineHealth says that primary biliary cirrhosis can cause bile duct inflammation. One of the first symptoms may be itchy palms and soles of your feet. As the disease progresses, itching in your hands may spread to the rest of your body.22

It’s important to avoid habits that damage your liver to help prevent liver disease or complications with your gallbladder.

Itchy Right Hand Only at Night

Waking up with an itchy right hand during the night can disrupt your sleep pattern and affect your quality of sleep. What could be some of the reasons for hands that seems to only start itching at nighttime?

Nighttime hand itching could mean that you have bed bug or scabies mites. However, if you don’t see any signs of bed bugs and bed bug bites, your nighttime itching could be associated with contact dermatitis.

For example, the journal Pruritus in the Elderly reported that a skin reaction to detergent used to wash bedding can be a source of extreme body itching. Try changing your laundry detergent to see if that helps reduce episodes of nighttime pruritus.23

Itchy Bumps on Right Arm

Allergic skin reactions or insect bites can leave you with itchy bumps on your right arm. However, infections of the hair follicles on the dorsum part of your hand or forearm can also cause itchy bumps.

Folliculitis

Dr. Laurence Knott on Patient.info says that folliculitis often affects the skin on the arms and legs. The reason for the red itchy lumps on your arm is because of blocked hair follicles. This can cause boil-like lumps to form with a pus-filled center surrounded by an itchy red bump.24

Right Hand Itching: Causes That Only Affect Women

Of course, all of the causes related to right-hand itching mentioned in this article can affect men just as much as women. However, because of hormone fluctuations and pregnancy, women can suffer from hand itching more frequently than men.

Premenstrual syndrome

According to researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine, a type of premenstrual syndrome called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) can cause hand itching. This can manifest itself as a prickling sensation or tingling in the arms. The skin on a woman’s arm may also be extra sensitive to touch.25

Please read my article on how to treat PMS symptoms naturally to help relieve bloating, sore breasts, and abdominal cramping before your period.

Pregnancy

One of the changes that many women experience from the start of pregnancy is hand, arm, and leg swelling along with itching.

Advertisement

In most cases, itchy skin is nothing to worry about and will resolve itself after the birth of the child. However, doctors from the National Health Service say that sudden severe itching without a rash in the third trimester could be a sign of cholestasis of pregnancy. This itching is usually worse in the hands and feet but can also affect the whole body. Other symptoms include:25

Cholestasis of pregnancy can lead to serious complications and you should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Home Remedies to Treat Right-Hand Itching

Although it may not be possible to completely stop all itching in your right hand, there are many home remedies to help soothe the itch and alleviate any discomfort.

Cold compress

Placing an ice pack on your itchy right hand is a great universal method to relieve hand itching. Cold helps to numb itching and irritation caused by psoriasis, eczema, allergic reactions, and nerve irritation. For many people, a cold compress helps to provide instant relief from an itchy hand.

For example, the journal Contact Dermatitis reported that cooling the skin helps to stop histamine-related itching. Researchers found that cooling the hands, forearms, and fingers to less than 68 °F (20 °C) helps to resolve hand itching and symptoms of allergic reactions.26

How to quickly stop your right hand itching so much:

  1. Put a handful of crushed ice in a sealable plastic bag and secure tightly. (You can also use a bag of frozen vegetables or a medical gel pack that has been frozen).
  2. Wrap the ice pack in a thin towel.
  3. Place the cold compress on the itchy part of your hand to help reduce itching and irritation.
  4. Leave for 15 minutes to help stop the prickly itch.
  5. Repeat the cold compress every 1 or 2 hours to get relief from the itching and reduce any hand swelling.

Aloe Vera and Coconut Oil Remedy

For many pruritic skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, sunburn, dry skin or scabies, an aloe vera and coconut oil combination can make a wonderful natural anti-itch ointment.

For example, the book Herbal Medicine discussed the benefits of using aloe vera to treat various dermatologic disorders. Researchers found that aloe vera helps damaged skin to heal quicker and reduce histamine-induced itching. The antimicrobial effect of aloe vera helps to prevent infections in dry, chapped skin on the palms.27

Also, the journal Phytotherapy Research reported that aloe vera is an effective natural treatment for scabies.28

How to use aloe vera to treat right-hand itching:

This natural skin ointment contains coconut oil to help hydrate and protect the skin.

  1. Place 1/2 cup extra-virgin coconut oil (in solid form) and 1/3 cup aloe vera gel in a bowl.
  2. Use an electric or hand whisk (not blender or food processor) to whip the mixture until it has a light, fluffy consistency. Don’t melt the coconut oil as it will only whip up if it’s solid.
  3. As you whisk, add a few drops of chamomile essential oil for its anti-itch properties.
  4. Place the aloe vera remedy in a glass container and store at room temperature. Store it in the refrigerator if your house is warm enough to cause the oil to melt. (You want to keep its whipped consistency).

Apply the aloe vera and coconut oil remedy to the itchy patch of skin on your hand 2 or 3 times a day. Continue using daily to help heal broken skin and stop the cause of right hand itching.

Oatmeal

Research published in the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology found that oatmeal has powerful anti-itch properties. Natural remedies using oatmeal help to protect, moisturize, and cleanse skin and assist in speedy healing.29

Here is how to make an oatmeal topical treatment to reduce hand itching:

  • Mix enough water with ground oatmeal to form a thick paste.
  • Apply the oatmeal remedy to your itchy right hand and leave for 20 minutes.
  • Rinse off with water and pat your skin dry.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day until you no longer have hand itching or irritation.

How to Prevent Right-Hand Itching

For many chronic skin conditions, it’s important to care well for the skin on your hands. In many cases, this can help to prevent skin conditions from becoming worse and causing painful itching and discomfort.

Dr. Stephanie S. Gardner, an expert in dermatology, recommends the following ways to prevent itchy hands:30

  • Use good quality moisturizers to keep your palms and back of your hands hydrated
  • Don’t use harsh soaps or alcohol-based cleansers to wash your hands
  • Avoid scratching the itchy hand to prevent an itch-scratch-itch cycle from developing
  • When working with chemicals, protect your hands by wearing non-latex gloves
  • Wear soft, cotton gloves to avoid scratching your hands during the night

When to See a Doctor

If natural treatments don’t help relieve and soothe hand itching, you may need to see a doctor. Mayo Clinic staff advise seeing a doctor if you have itching hands along with any of the following symptoms:31

  • Right or left hand itching persists for more than 2 weeks.
  • Severe hand itching is accompanied with hand or finger swelling.
  • Itchy hands affect your daily activities.
  • You have very itchy hands for seemingly no reason at all.
  • Along with hand itching, you notice changes in your bowel movements, digestive problems, or signs of jaundice (yellow skin).

Related articles:

Medical Sources

  1. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges.2013 Jan;11(1):31-42.
  2. NCBI. Microbial infections of skin and nails.
  3. Brain. 2006 Dec; 129(12): 3413-3420.
  4. NCBI. Allergic contact dermatitis: overview.
  5. Maedica (Buchar). 2011 Oct; 6(4): 277–281.
  6. NCBI. WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in healthcare.
  7. AAD. Dry, scaly, and painful hands could be hand eczema.
  8. NationalEczema. Dyshidrotic eczema.
  9. NCBI. Palmoplantar psoriasis.
  10. MayoClinic. Itchy skin (pruritus).
  11. Temple University Health System. November 23, 2015.
  12. Clin Dermatol. 2013 Jan-Feb; 31(1): 31–40.
  13. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Aug 20; 110(34): E3225–E3234.
  14. Paediatr Child Health. 2015 Oct; 20(7): 395–398.
  15. DermNetNZ. Tinea manuum.
  16. Acta Derm Venereol.2009;89(3):236-44.
  17. Dan Med Bull.1987 Dec;34 Suppl 1:3-5.
  18. NIDDK. Diabetic neuropathy.
  19. J Am Acad Dermatol.2002 Feb;46(2):215-7.
  20. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2011 Jun; 30(2): 113–117.
  21. ClevelandClinic. Carpal tunnel: best ways to address your pain, tingling.
  22. eMedicineHealth. Primary biliary cirrhosis.
  23. P T. 2012 Apr; 37(4): 227-232, 236-239.
  24. PatientInfo. Folliculitis.
  25. NHS. Your pregnancy and baby guide.
  26. Contact Dermatitis.1989 Sep;21(3):179-83.
  27. NCBI. Herbal treatment for dermatologic disorders.
  28. Phytother Res.2009 Oct;23(10):1482-4.
  29. J Drugs Dermatol.2015 Jan;14(1):43-8.
  30. WebMD. Eczema: how to control the itch.
  31. MayoClinic. Itchy skin (pruritus).
Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone


Advertisement


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *