Itchy fingers can range from mild to severe, depending on their cause. While itchy fingers can sometimes just be a sign of dry hands, they can also be a symptom of an underlying condition that needs treatment.

Read on to learn more about what may be causing your fingers to itch, when it might be a symptom of something more serious, and how you can get some relief.

Contact dermatitis (sometimes called contact eczema) happens when your skin comes into contact with an irritant. Common irritants include certain:

  • metals
  • fragrances
  • preservatives
  • personal care product ingredients (i.e. some lotions and soaps)

Sometimes contact dermatitis is triggered by an allergic reaction. It’s common to notice contact dermatitis on your hands, since they interact with so many things throughout the day.

Symptoms of contact dermatitis

  • itching
  • redness or discoloration
  • inflammation

Treatments for contact dermatitis

It can take some time to narrow down what’s causing contact dermatitis, but keeping a log of any products you use and noting any symptoms you have can help. In the meantime, you may be able to find itch relief with:

Dyshidrotic eczema, also known as dyshidrosis, is a skin condition that causes tiny blisters, usually on your palm or the outsides of your fingers. The blisters are often very itchy and may be filled with fluid. They can also appear on your feet and between your toes.

Symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema

  • redness or discoloration
  • flaking
  • scaly or cracked skin
  • pain near blisters

The exact cause of dyshidrotic eczema isn’t known, but it seems to be related to seasonal allergies and stress.

People who have skin allergies to certain substances, such as nickel or cobalt, also seem more prone to it. According to the National Eczema Association, dyshidrotic eczema is usually more common in women than men.

While there’s currently no cure for dyshidrotic eczema, the blisters usually begin to dry out after a few weeks. In the meantime, you can find relief by treating your symptoms with over-the-counter medication and home remedies.

If you have recurrent dyshidrosis flares, you may want to follow up with a dermatologist.

Treatments for dyshidrotic eczema

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid buildup of skin cells. This results in scaly, raised patches on your skin’s surface.

While psoriasis most frequently affects skin over joints, such as the elbows and knees, it can also affect your fingers and nails.

Symptoms of psoriasis

  • inflamed patches of skin
  • silver-white scales on the skin
  • dry skin that may crack and bleed
  • soreness around inflamed patches
  • itching and burning sensations around patches

There is currently no cure for psoriasis, but there are plenty of treatment options to help you manage your symptoms. With assistance from a dermatologist, you can create a treatment plan that works for you.

Treatments for psoriasis can include

If you have diabetes, the tingling or itching in your hands could be due to peripheral neuropathy, a common complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels, and it affects your hands and feet.

Symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy

  • sensitivity to touch
  • loss of sense of touch
  • numbness or pain in your fingers
  • weakness in fingers

Treatments for diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a chronic condition, and there’s currently no way to reverse its course. But there are several options for slowing its progress and relieving the symptoms. These treatments include:

  • working with your doctor to adjust your target blood sugar levels
  • medications, such as anticonvulsants and antidepressants
  • getting regular exercise
  • managing your blood pressure
  • trying not to smoke tobacco
  • applying creams containing capsaicin

Although research is still limited on its effectiveness, some people found acupuncture to be helpful for reducing the impact of some diabetes symptoms.

Scabies is a highly contagious condition. It’s caused by a very small mite that burrows into your skin and lays eggs. This commonly happens in the skin between your fingers.

Symptoms of scabies

  • small, very itchy bumps (primary symptom)
  • small blisters or pus-filled bumps
  • itching that’s worse at night or after bathing
  • thick, scaly skin

Most cases of scabies are spread through skin-to-skin contact or the sharing of clothing, bedding, or towels.

Treatment of scabies

The first-line treatments for scabies are ointments, creams, and lotions. These may include:

  • permethrin cream
  • sulfur ointment
  • benzyl benzoate

In some cases, you may need a few rounds of treatment. Home remedies and over-the-counter medication may help manage your symptoms as you wait for the medicine to work.

If the standard topical therapy options do not work, oral ivermectin may be considered as a potential treatment option.

The treatment for itchy fingers depends on the cause. You need to determine what’s causing your symptoms before you can figure out how to manage the itch. If you don’t know what’s causing your symptoms, contact your doctor to get a proper diagnosis.

Regardless of what’s making your fingers itch, there are a few steps you can take to find relief until you’re able to treat the underlying cause.

For instance, you can:

  • Use mild, unscented soaps and lotions.
  • Apply a cold compress to your hands to soothe the skin and reduce the itchiness.
  • Wear gloves when dealing with any irritating substance that could trigger itching (like scented soaps, cleaning products, hand sanitizer, and anything you are allergic to).
  • Use over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Wear gloves in dry, cold weather.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your body and skin hydrated.
  • Dry your hands thoroughly after washing them, but avoid hand dryers that blow hot air, which can further irritate your skin.

If you have itchy fingers but no other symptoms, you may just need to moisturize your hands. However, if the itch doesn’t go away when you moisturize, or you notice other symptoms, it may not be due to dry hands, but some other condition.

Keep track of anything that seems to make the itching worse, and work with your doctor to narrow down the cause and find the treatment that works best for you.