Itchy fingers: Causes of itchy fingers (finger itch)

Itching of the fingers is an annoying symptom. If this continues for a long time, it affects the patient’s quality of life. The itching occurs on the surface of the fingers, under the skin or only on some fingers. Sometimes the finger itch appears without other symptoms while other patients experience associated signs. One or more fingers are mildly to severely affected. A correct diagnosis is important to receive the right treatment. Some causes are not serious and can easily be treated yourself. If home remedies and treatments applied to the skin do not work, if other symptoms appear, or if there is chronic itching, a patient should visit the doctor. He determines the underlying cause and may prescribe other medication that the patient must take by mouth.

  • Contact dermatitis and itchy fingers
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy and finger itching
  • Dyshidrotic eczema and itching of fingers
  • Infections
  • Bacteria
  • Mold
  • Viruses
  • Psoriasis
  • Scabies
  • Other causes of hands and fingers that itch
  • Prevention of itching of skin


Contact dermatitis and itchy fingers

Contact dermatitis (contact dermatitis) is a condition in which the patient touches something that irritates the skin. The patient then notices itching on the fingers and hands, small, red bumps on the skin, pain or swelling, areas of dry skin and redness and inflammation of the skin. Common triggers include fragrances, household disinfectants, cobalt (in hair dyes or deodorants), metal jewelry, belts or watches, and some hand creams. It is important to avoid the allergen (triggering substance). Relieving symptoms is possible through antihistamine creams or oral (taken by mouth) over-the-counter medications, corticosteroid creams and phototherapy (treatment via light).

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy and finger itching

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which multiple peripheral nerves are affected (nerves located outside the central nervous system and spinal cord). Diabetic neuropathy, a complication of diabetes mellitus, is caused by high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) leading to nerve damage. This affects both the hands and feet. The patient’s fingers are sensitive to touch. In addition, the patient may feel itching, pain, burning, tingling, numbness or weakness in the fingers. It is not possible to cure diabetic peripheral neuropathy, but some treatments relieve symptoms and slow progression. It is important that the patient gets their blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control. Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and quitting smoking, are other self-care measures. If necessary, the patient applies creams containing capsaicin to the affected areas. Sometimes the doctor must prescribe medication, such as anticonvulsants and antidepressants.Moisturizing the skin regularly is useful to prevent dehydrated skin / Source: Kiyok, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Dyshidrotic eczema and itching of fingers

A patient with dyshidrotic eczema experiences lesions on the hands, fingers and often between toes and on the feet. This disease may be caused by stress, contact with skin irritants and seasonal allergies. A patient with dyshidrotic eczema has small, fluid-filled blisters. In addition, the skin is severely itchy, painful, red, inflamed, flaky, scaly or cracked. Patients who are prone to allergies are more likely to deal with the skin conditions. Women are also affected twice as often as men. Treatment consists of applying a cold compress to the affected area to reduce itching and swelling, regularly moisturizing the skin with a moisturizer to prevent dehydrated skin and washing hands with mild soap and detergents


A number of different infections can lead to finger itching. Viruses, bacteria and fungi often cause skin problems.


Bacterial infections are more common when skin damage occurs, causing the bacteria to settle in the deeper layers of the skin. This causes burning and painful skin, sometimes also causing itching. Prescribed antibiotics fight bacterial skin infections.


Fungal infections of the skin cause chronic itching in many patients. Most infections are due to dermatophytes. These are types of fungi that specifically infect the skin. Tinea manuum (hand fungus) is a skin infection caused by a fungus that also affects the fingers, especially the space between the fingers. The patient usually experiences intense itching, flaky and dry skin and red edges. The doctor prescribes antifungal agents (antimycotics), which the patient usually must first apply topically (on the skin).


Chickenpox (general symptoms and rash) and measles (eye and skin symptoms) are common viral skin infections that cause an itchy rash.


Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which skin cells build up rapidly, resulting in patches of inflamed, flaky, very dry, cracked, red (sometimes bleeding), itchy, chapped white flaky skin. The patient has pain around the inflamed skin spots. In addition to the skin, psoriasis affects various parts of a patient’s body, mainly the joints, fingers and nails. The treatment of psoriasis is difficult and sometimes the patient must try several (combinations of) treatments before the symptoms are controlled. Possible treatments include applying corticosteroid creams, salicylic acid creams or creams containing vitamin D analogues. Phototherapy and oral medication, usually prescribed by a doctor, can also be used.Sharing a towel can also cause scabies / Source: Pexels, Pixabay


Scabies is a highly contagious condition in which small mites burrow into the skin and lay their eggs there. Symptoms appear up to eight weeks after a patient comes into contact with the scabies mite. The mites mainly burrow between the fingers and toes, the inner elbows and knees and the genitals. The patient experiences small blisters or pus-filled bumps on the skin surface. The skin thickens and is flaky. The patient also has visible traces of the mites in the skin. The itching associated with scabies worsens after showering or bathing and is also worse at night. Scabies is spread through skin-to-skin contact, but sharing clothing, towels or bedding allows the mite to be passed on. Medication can be used to remove the mites and eggs, although the treatment is sometimes challenging.

Other causes of hands and fingers that itch

A number of other skin conditions cause itchy fingers, including:

  • exfoliative keratolysis (inflammation and loss of skin)
  • psoriatic arthritis (symptoms of joints and skin)
  • hives (urticaria: skin disease with itchy bumps)
  • dry skin (xeroderma)

 Washing hands thoroughly with a mild soap is necessary / Source: Gentle07, Pixabay

Prevention of itching of skin

The following steps can help treat or prevent itchy fingers in many cases:

  • avoiding harsh skin care products that may cause irritation
  • dry hands completely after washing
  • often moisturize the skin with hypoallergenic skin creams or lotions
  • do not apply new chemicals or cleaning products to the skin
  • wash hands regularly and thoroughly with a mild soap
  • wear gloves when in contact with aggressive chemicals and cleaning agents
  • wear gloves during cold and dry weather
  • soaking fingers in cold water to relieve itching
  • Apply calamine lotion (soothes itchy skin lesions)
  • Apply topical (applied to the skin) medications (prescribed by the doctor) such as corticosteroids (powerful anti-inflammatories), antifungals (antifungals), and antimicrobial creams.


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