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Several things can cause your chest to itch. While some causes, like an allergic reaction, can be managed at home, others require professional treatment.
If you have an itchy rash on your chest, it could be a symptom of a number of conditions including:
Allergic contact dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis is sometimes referred to as contact allergies. It occurs when your immune system overreacts to your skin being touched by a triggering substance that commonly wouldn’t cause a reaction. Allergic rashes typically don’t have clearly defined edges. Some substances that commonly trigger allergic contact dermatitis include:
- cleaning agents
- topical medications
- essential oils
Some treatment options for allergic contact dermatitis include:
- determining and avoiding your triggering substance
- applying over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription creams
or ointments that contain a steroid
You can purchase OTC hydrocortisone cream online.
Acne vulgaris occurs when hair follicles become clogged with excess sebum — an oily substance from your skin — and dead skin cells. The plugged follicles can become inflamed with an increase of normal skin bacteria resulting in pimples and even cysts.
Your face, neck, chest, and back are common locations for acne to occur. These areas of your body contain a large amount of the glands that secrete sebum.
Treatment of acne vulgaris may include:
- cleaning the area with gentle cleansers
- avoiding irritants such as abrasive scrubs
- using water-based or noncomedogenic
- trying OTC products that contain benzoyl
- applying prescription topical applications that
include an antibiotic like clindamycin
or erythromycin or retinoid therapy such as tretinoin
- taking prescription oral antibiotic therapy such
as tetracycline or minocycline
Treatment of psoriasis may include prescriptions from your doctor, including:
- topical corticosteroid cream or ointment to reduce
itching and inflammation
- synthetic vitamin D cream
such as calcipotriene or calcitriol
using natural or artificial ultraviolet A or ultraviolet B light
- other prescription medications such as methotrexate
(Rheumatrex), cyclosporine (Gengraf,
(Enbrel), and thioguanine (Tabloid)
Although they haven’t been definitively proven effective, popular home remedies for addressing symptoms include:
- aloe vera
- oral fish oil
(omega-3 fatty acids) supplements
- topical barberry (also known as Oregon grape)
To treat shingles, your doctor may prescribe or recommend:
- oral antiviral medicines including acyclovir, valacyclovir,
- pain-relieving medications
There are also a number of home remedies to help symptoms of shingles, including calamine lotion and colloidal oatmeal baths to relieve itching.
An itchy rash on your chest could be a symptom of a condition that requires medical attention from your doctor. Most itchy chest rashes are relatively easy to diagnose.
Once you know the underlying condition causing your rash, your doctor can recommend treatment to cure or limit progression.