Nerve problems, scabies, and skin conditions such as psoriasis are possible causes of itchy fingers. Treatment depends on the cause, but soaking fingers in cool water may bring some relief.

A person might feel the itchiness on the surface of their fingers, under the skin, or only on some fingers.

Read on to learn more about what can cause itchy fingers. This article also looks at related symptoms, medical treatments, home remedies, and more.

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There are many different reasons why a person’s fingers might itch. This section looks at some of the possible causes, related symptoms, and medical treatment options.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis, also known as contact eczema, occurs when a person touches something that irritates their skin. It can cause itchy fingers and hands.

A person with contact dermatitis may also notice:

  • pain or swelling
  • patches of dry skin
  • small bumps on the skin
  • redness or discoloration
  • inflammation

As hands and fingers come into contact with many different things throughout the day, it may take some time to determine what is causing contact dermatitis.

Common triggers for irritant contact dermatitis include:

  • solvents
  • soaps
  • detergents
  • bleach
  • makeup
  • hair dye
  • jewelry and other products containing nickel

Common triggers for allergic contact dermatitis include:

  • fragrances
  • nickel
  • poison ivy
  • poison oak
  • topical antibiotics containing thimerosal, a preservative

Treatments

The best way to treat contact dermatitis is to identify and avoid the trigger.

If a person comes into contact with an allergen or irritant, they may be able to relieve painful, itching symptoms by using antihistamines or topical corticosteroids.

If a person suspects they have an allergy, it is important to contact a doctor to determine the cause, as some allergies can cause serious symptoms such as anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis: Symptoms and what to do

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life threatening. The symptoms develop suddenly and include:

  • hives
  • swelling of the face or mouth
  • wheezing
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • a fast heart rate
  • clammy skin
  • anxiety or confusion
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • blue or white lips
  • fainting or loss of consciousness

If someone has these symptoms:

  1. Check whether they are carrying an epinephrine pen. If they are, follow the instructions on the side of the pen to use it.
  2. Dial 911 or the number of the nearest emergency department.
  3. Lay the person down from a standing position. If they have vomited, turn them onto their side.
  4. Stay with them until the emergency services arrive.

Some people may need more than one epinephrine injection. If the symptoms do not improve in 5–15 minutes, or they come back, use a second pen if the person has one.

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Dyshidrotic eczema

A person with dyshidrotic eczema, also called pompholyx, may notice tiny, itchy, fluid-filled blisters on their hands, fingers, toes, or feet.

Other symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema can include:

  • severe itchiness
  • painful skin
  • redness or discoloration
  • inflammation
  • flaky, scaly, or cracked skin

Possible triggers for dyshidrotic eczema include stress, skin irritants, and seasonal allergies.

People who are susceptible to allergies are more likely to experience dyshidrotic eczema.

Learn more about dyshidrotic eczema on the hands.

Treatments

Treatments that may help treat dyshidrotic eczema or manage symptoms include:

  • applying a cold compress to the affected area for 15 minutes at a time, around 2–4 times per day
  • moisturizing regularly to prevent the skin from drying out
  • using mild soaps and detergents
  • applying topical corticosteroids at a doctor’s advice

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes skin cells to quickly build up, resulting in patches of flaky, itchy, scaly skin.

Psoriasis can affect different areas of a person’s body, primarily the joints, but also areas such as fingers and nails. Around 12–16% of people with psoriasis experience symptoms on their hands and feet.

Along with itching skin, a person with psoriasis may also notice:

  • redness or discoloration
  • inflammation
  • areas of slivery-white scaly skin
  • very dry, cracked, and sometimes bleeding skin
  • pain around the inflamed patches of skin

Learn more about how psoriasis can affect the hands.

Treatments

Topical products are the main treatments for psoriasis affecting the hands. These can include salicylic acid creams and topical corticosteroids.

However, some people may require systemic treatments, such as biologics or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as methotrexate. They can be beneficial in severe cases, or if psoriasis is more widespread.

Phototherapy may also help.

Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve damage that typically affects the feet and legs, but it can also affect the hands and arms.

Diabetes is the main cause of peripheral neuropathy. It happens when high blood glucose and high levels of fat in the blood cause damage to the nerves and small blood vessels.

Damage to the nerves can cause itchiness. Other symptoms a person may experience with peripheral neuropathy include:

  • numbness
  • pain
  • weakness
  • a burning or tingling sensation

Treatments

Although there is no cure for peripheral neuropathy, various treatments can help manage symptoms. Prescription treatments for peripheral neuropathy can include:

Scabies

Scabies occurs when tiny mites burrow into a person’s skin and lay their eggs, causing small, itchy bumps. The symptoms can appear up around 4–6 weeks after a person comes into contact with the scabies mite.

Scabies can cause itchiness on the the:

  • fingers
  • wrists
  • arms
  • legs
  • waist

Other symptoms can include:

  • small blisters or pus-filled bumps appearing on the surface of the skin
  • tiny burrow marks or tracks left by the mites in the skin
  • skin becoming thick and scaly
  • itching that worsens at nighttime

Scabies tends to spread through skin-to-skin contact. Sharing clothing, towels, or bedding can also pass it on.

Treatments

To treat scabies, a person must contact their doctor for either topical or oral treatments that kill the mites and their eggs.

Treatments can include:

  • oral ivermectin
  • 0.5% malathion in aqueous base
  • 5% permethrin cream
  • 5–10% sulphur ointment
  • 10–25% benzyl benzoate emulsion

Itchiness may worsen for around 1–2 weeks after treatment begins.

A person may be able to manage the symptoms of itchy fingers at home. However, if symptoms persist or are severe, it is important to contact a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Home remedies that may help manage itchy fingers include:

  • washing the hands in lukewarm water with a mild soap to avoid irritation
  • soaking fingers in cool water or in an oatmeal bath
  • applying menthol or calamine lotion
  • avoiding harsh skin care products that may cause irritation
  • wearing gloves when in contact with harsh chemicals, including cleaning products
  • wearing gloves during cold, dry weather
  • moisturizing often with hypoallergenic skin cream or lotion
  • taking steps to manage stress, as it can worsen itchiness

Learn more about ways to relieve itchiness.

If home remedies do not alleviate itchiness, it is best to contact a doctor for a diagnosis. The doctor can help reach an accurate diagnosis and advise on a suitable treatment plan.

As there are many possible causes of itchy fingers, the doctor may order tests to rule out certain conditions. The doctor can advise on which tests they order, and answer any questions a person may have.

Here are some frequently asked questions about itchy fingers.

What deficiency causes itchy fingers?

Iron deficiency anemia can cause itchiness, which may affect the fingers. It happens when iron deficiency causes a reduced number of red blood cells in the body.

Learn more about iron deficiency anemia.

Why does my finger itch on the inside?

Conditions that can cause itchy fingers include psoriasis, eczema, peripheral neuropathy, and scabies. If itchiness specifically affects the inside of the fingers, this could be due to contact with an irritant or allergen on that part of the fingers.

Why do my fingertips itch at night?

Itchiness at night is called nocturnal pruritus. Some conditions, such as scabies, can cause itchy fingers to be worse at night. Psoriasis can also cause nocturnal pruritus, and some people experience psoriasis on their fingers.

Learn more about itchy skin at night.

Numerous conditions can cause itchy fingers. These include skin conditions such as contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, and psoriasis. Scabies and peripheral neuropathy can cause fingers to itch.

Treatments for itchy fingers may target the underlying cause. A person can also take steps to manage itchiness at home. Home remedies for itchy fingers can include washing in lukewarm water with a mild soap, moisturizing, wearing gloves to protect hands, and applying menthol or calamine lotion.

It is best to contact a doctor for advice if they frequently or persistently experience itchy fingers. The doctor can help determine the underlying cause and advise on a suitable treatment plan.