Why Do My Fingers Itch?

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Itchy fingers can feel like a slight irritation that goes away, but it can also be severe and accompanied by a rash or other symptoms. Multiple causes are associated with an excessive itch on the fingers and hands.

This article discusses the causes and possible treatment options for itchy fingers.

Person scratching fingers

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Several things can cause your fingers to become irritatingly itchy. They include:

Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrotic eczema is a form of dermatitis that develops on the fingers and palms of the hands. The condition presents as small, fluid-filled blisters that are extremely itchy. When the blisters break, a clear liquid comes out of them. The affected area may also be:

  • Red
  • Flaky
  • Scaly
  • Cracked
  • Painful

At first, one or two blisters may appear, but eventually, they could form clusters and develop into larger lesions and blisters resembling tapioca pudding. An infection can occur if the lesions become severe or are scratched to the point of bleeding.

While the cause of dyshidrotic eczema isn’t well known, there are several risk factors associated with the condition, such as:

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Exposure to irritants
  • Excessive sweating
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to UV light

How Common Is Dyshidrotic Eczema?

It is not known how many people are affected by the condition. However, it is estimated that 5% to 20% of people with hand eczema suffer from this type.


Psoriasis symptoms develop because the immune system is not functioning as it should.

Symptoms such as scaly skin or plaques develop on the skin in people with psoriasis because the immune system is in overdrive, causing skin cells to grow faster than they're being shed—this build-up of cells forms into those plaques. Roughly 7.5 million adults in the United States have some form of psoriasis.

The most common areas that the condition develops are the elbows, knees, and scalp. However, the entire body can be affected by psoriasis. Other symptoms that may accompany the skin growths include:

  • Itchiness
  • Dryness
  • Cracked skin that bleeds
  • Burning
  • Soreness

It isn't well understood why the immune system overreacts in psoriasis. It's thought that genetics may play a role in raising the risk of developing psoriasis as it can run in families. The type of genes a person has may determine the type of psoriasis they have, as there are eight different forms of the condition.

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy isn’t considered a condition, but rather a complication of diabetes. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot manage blood sugar effectively due to a lack of insulin or viable insulin.

It typically occurs when a person with diabetes isn’t managing their blood sugar levels, so they remain high for a long time. This increased blood sugar damages peripheral nerves, which are the nerves that extend to the extremities.

The damage done to the nerves can lead to various sensations in the hands, fingers, arms, legs, and feet, including:

  • Pain
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Pins and needles feeling
  • Throbbing
  • Numbness

Alongside those symptoms, people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy may also experience itching.

There are several risk factors associated with developing diabetic peripheral neuropathy and the symptoms that come along with it, such as:

  • Chronically high blood sugar 
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated levels of unhealthy fats in the body, known as triglycerides

Can Itchy Fingers Be a Sign of Diabetes?

While itchy fingers can present in people with nerve damage caused by diabetes and signal something is wrong, itchy fingers without any other symptoms are rarely the first and only sign of the disease. However, if it is present, it will likely be accompanied by dry skin, increased hunger or thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, and fatigue.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a rash that develops after touching an irritant or a substance that causes an allergic reaction. Substances and objects that can cause contact dermatitis include:

  • Jewelry containing nickel
  • Solvents
  • Detergents
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Soaps
  • Makeup and other cosmetics
  • Clothes with metal snaps or belts with metal buckles
  • Wool
  • Poison ivy
  • Poison oak

The rash that develops is accompanied by excessive itch, blistered skin, and difficulty sleeping.

Preventing Contact Dermatitis

To prevent itchy fingers and other symptoms of contact dermatitis, you can avoid anything that causes a reaction. However, this isn’t always 100% possible because you may not know all of your allergens. Keep a log of things that cause reactions so you can avoid the product or substance.


Scabies is a parasitic infestation that occurs when the human itch mite burrows into the skin and lays eggs. Eventually, more mites are born and live underneath the skin, causing irritation. The symptoms of scabies include:

  • Intense itch in the affected area
  • A skin rash that appears similar to pimples
  • Blistering and scaling
  • Skin sores caused by excessive scratching
  • Secondary bacterial infections if bacteria manage to enter a skin sore
  • Burrows in the skin where the mites crawled through to lay eggs that appear as raised and crooked lines that are gray, white, or skin-colored

While scabies can develop on the hands, other body parts, such as the buttocks, waist, and belt line, can also be affected. Scabies is contagious; typically, people pick them up from prolonged skin-to-skin contact with someone who already has them.

The Spread of Scabies

Scabies isn’t considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI). However, it is often contracted by adults through sexual relations. It can also be spread through sharing bedding, towels, or clothing.


Treating itchy fingers depends highly on why it is occurring. Treatments by cause include:

  • Dyshidrotic eczema: In some cases, this condition is treated using corticosteroids that reduce inflammation. A cool compress is also used to dry out blisters. Antifungals may also be used if there is a fungal infection present. Knowing triggers and practicing good skin care routines is best for eliminating flare-ups.
  • Psoriasis: There is no cure for psoriasis, but it can be treated using topical creams or ointments that contain corticosteroids, vitamin D3 analogs, retinoids, and other anti-inflammatory or soothing ingredients. Light therapy alongside oral or topical medications may also be used. Injectable biologics, which are molecules that block inflammation pathways, can also be used in some cases of psoriasis. A person may have to use multiple treatment options to find relief.
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy: The nerve damage in diabetic peripheral neuropathy cannot be cured, only managed. Medications aim to reduce pain and unwanted sensations and restore nerve function. Treatments involve managing blood sugar levels appropriately to slow the progression of nerve damage and using antidepressants or anticonvulsants to reduce pain. Some specific medications include Lyrica, Neurontin, and Cymbalta.
  • Contact dermatitis: Contact dermatitis will clear up after removing the irritant or allergen from the skin. However, in the meantime, to reduce irritation and itchiness, you can use an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch cream or ointment that will soothe the skin. Anti-itch creams typically contain hydrocortisone. You can also apply a cool compress to the area.
  • Scabies: Treating scabies requires using a product known as a scabicide. Scabicides kill the mites and the eggs. These products must be prescribed to you, so you must see your healthcare provider before treatment.

At-Home Remedies for Itchy Fingers

If you are experiencing itchy fingers and want to find relief while you are undergoing treatment, you can try using calamine lotion or a cool compress. These therapies may reduce the itch while curbing irritation and inflammation of the area. Be sure to speak to your healthcare provider beforehand using any OTC creams or ointments.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

A treatable condition or infection often causes itchy fingers. However, since treatments can vary, it's best to see your healthcare provider if:

  • You experience an intense itch on your fingers or hands
  • The itch doesn't go away in a week
  • The irritation is accompanied by a rash, blisters, cracking of the skin, or skin plaques

These symptoms indicate that there may be an underlying health condition at play and require a specific form of diagnosis and treatment to be remedied.

In the case of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the itching sensations can be indicative of nerve damage. You will want to see your healthcare provider immediately if you suspect you may have diabetes based on other symptoms such as fatigue, increased thirst or hunger, weight loss, or other sensations in the extremities.


Itchy fingers have many causes, such as dyshidrotic eczema, psoriasis, or scabies. Since the causes vary, so do the treatment options. In many cases, topical application of creams or ointments will do the trick if you use the right one. Additionally, it is a good idea to avoid harsh skin care products that may irritate. Ensure that your hands are completely dry after washing, and wear gloves during cold, dry weather. Before trying any OTC therapies, see your healthcare provider. You should also see them if you have other symptoms alerting you to a treatable health disorder or diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are itchy fingers a symptom of?

    Itchy fingers can be a symptom of various health disorders. Skin conditions such as psoriasis and dyshidrotic eczema can cause the skin on the fingers to become excessively itchy. Diabetes and the parasitic infestation of scabies can also cause the symptom.

  • What is the fastest way to stop my fingers from itching?

    You can apply a cold compress to the affected area to stop itching fast. That will help ease the itching sensation while reducing inflammation. For lasting relief, you will want to contact your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis before starting any at-home remedies.

  • When should I be concerned about itchy fingers?

    If you have itchy fingers and are experiencing other symptoms, you may need to consider seeing your healthcare provider. Pay attention to other symptoms, such as skin blistering, irritation, bleeding, numbness or tingling in the limbs, and fatigue. These symptoms should prompt you to visit your healthcare provider.

14 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  9. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Contact dermatitis.

  10. National Eczema Association. Contact dermatitis.

  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scabies frequently asked questions (FAQs).

  12. National Eczema Association. Dyshidrotic eczema.

  13. Canadian Dermatology Association. Psoriasis.

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By Angelica Bottaro
Angelica Bottaro is a professional freelance writer with over 5 years of experience. She has been educated in both psychology and journalism, and her dual education has given her the research and writing skills needed to deliver sound and engaging content in the health space.