There are many things that may cause itching legs, including rashes. For example, if a person starts using a new detergent or soap, he may develop a contact rash on his legs that causes him to itch. An individual may also develop itchy legs after touching an irritant such as poison ivy. Other causes include allergies to ingredients in perfumed lotions; hot, frequent showers; and folliculitis. Another condition called restless leg syndrome also can cause the legs to itch.
Dry skin is a common cause of itching legs. Often, a person has dry skin because of genetics, but sometimes a person's behavior or actions may cause it to develop. For example, some people shower or bathe too frequently while others may bathe in water that is too hot or use harsh soaps and body washes that contribute to dry skin. Sometimes a person may use perfumed lotions that are supposed to moisturize his skin but only seem to make matters worse. In addition, poor nutrition, lack of adequate hydration, aging, exposure to wind, and some chronic skin conditions may also lead to the development of itchy legs.
Sometimes itching legs are caused by a condition called restless leg syndrome. Scientist are not sure what causes restless leg syndrome, but some believe it may be the result of imbalances in a chemical called dopamine in a person’s brain. When an individual has restless leg syndrome, his legs feel itchy and twitchy when he sits or lies down. He typically feels an urge to get up and move his legs, which often results in temporary relief. In addition to itching, a person with restless leg syndrome may have achy, crawling feelings that affect his legs, or he may feel a burning sensation in them.
An individual may also have itching legs that develop because because of a condition called folliculitis. Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles. It can cause bumps, swelling, blisters filled with pus, and redness. Itchiness is one of the main symptoms of folliculitis, but the condition may also cause pain. In some cases, folliculitis may leave scarring behind when the infection is over.
While an individual may develop itchy skin on any part of his body, leg itching can sometimes be among the hardest to ignore. This may be due to the fact that wearing pants often causes friction that serves to make the itching worse. Additionally, irritants in the pants, such as detergent residue, may aggravate the problem.