If your legs itch at night, you're not alone. It's a hugely common problem that many people have no idea how to stop. There are a variety of reasons why your legs might be itching more at night—and some simple changes you can make in order to get relief.
Some causes are more common than others. For example, low humidity can cause dry skin and make you itch more at night. However, there are also some less common causes for nighttime itching—such as iron deficiency.
The body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is the reason why you might notice the intensity of your nighttime leg itching increase around bedtime.
In the evening, our bodies produce more heat. As a result, blood flow to our skin increases—and along with it comes increased sensitivity to external stimuli like allergens and irritants that touch our legs. The added circulation also makes us sweat more (which can make itching more pronounced).
At night also brings on an increase in cytokines—immune system proteins that create inflammation and cause itchiness—that may be contributing factors behind excessive nighttime leg itching as well.
One of the most common reasons why your legs itch more at night is because of low humidity in your home, especially during winter months. Your skin can become dry and painful when the air is too dry. When you have dry skin, it's more prone to itching and irritation. To help relieve discomfort, try using a humidifier to increase the moisture in your environment.
Lack of moisture
If you don't moisturize, or if your routine is too drying, it could be a culprit. When your skin lacks moisture, it can become dry and flaky. This can make your legs feel uncomfortable and lead to itching. To keep your skin moisturized, use a moisture rich cleanser like CLn 2-in-1 Gentle Wash and Shampoo. It soothes and hydrates sensitive skin, scalp and hair with a lightweight formula that's mild enough for daily cleansing. You can add the bottle pump to your order for easy use in the shower.
If you've recently switched to a new product like skincare, detergent or soap and your legs are itching more at night, it's possible that your skin is allergic to it. In some cases, sensitivity to a new product can cause itching and other symptoms. Stop using it immediately, and see if your itchiness goes away.
Stress is a major trigger for itching, and it often causes conditions like eczema or psoriasis to flare up. If you're under a lot of stress, it can be difficult to resist scratching. Try to find ways to relieve your stress, such as exercising or meditating.
You might be scratching your legs because of an infestation. Bed bugs, lice and scabies all cause itching, especially at night. If you have a bed bug infestation, you'll likely notice small red bumps on your skin that itch. As the name suggests, these bites appear in groups and are often found on the arms or torso.
One of the most common reasons for night time itching is related to hormones. Hormone changes can affect skin, so you may be more likely to feel irritation at night than during the day.
Another possibility is that you have an infection or fungus on your body, like athlete’s foot or ringworm. Itching at night can also mean that this infection has spread to other parts of your body and is now being triggered by nighttime levels of humidity.
Allergies are a common cause of itching, and can be seasonal or year-round. Allergens include food, dust mites and pet dander, but also many other things like pollen or chemicals. If you have allergies that cause itching at night, avoid triggers such as pets, pollen or perfumes or take antihistamines before bedtime.
Iron deficiency anemia
This develops when your body doesn't have enough iron to make hemoglobin, which can lead to night-time itching, pale skin, weakness and fatigue.
If you experience excessive nighttime itching along with other symptoms, it's important to see a doctor right away so they can test whether you have anemia and recommend treatment options.
No matter the reason for your night-time itching, there are ways to address it. If you’re suffering from something as simple as dry skin or an allergic reaction to a new product, you can treat those problems with self-care measures. But if you have more severe symptoms like skin rashes or infections, visit the doctor right away!