If you have ever found yourself itching for no reason, you’re not alone. Most of us feel itchy at times, whether it’s from poison ivy, grass oils, side effects from medications, insect bites, hives, chickenpox, and more. Contrary to what you probably think, a rash isn’t always to blame for the uncomfortable sensation. Body itchiness is most likely related to a minor cause, but there are other causes for feeling itchy that may require specialized treatment from dermatologists or allergists.

Below are five reasons you may be feeling itchy without an apparent rash. You shouldn’t dismiss these reasons. If you notice prolonged itchiness, speak to a dermatologist or allergist as soon as possible. They’ll be able to guide you towards an appropriate treatment plan.

Blame your dry skin

You have probably experienced dry skin at least once in your lifetime. Dry skin is the most common reason why people itch all over their bodies. Some people tend to have dry skin more often during the cold winter months when their skin is less exposed to sunlight.

But dry skin is also caused by your lack of proper moisturizing. You probably wash your skin, but you’re not washing enough. When the skin is too dry or oily, many skin problems, including acne and rashes, tend to occur. Moisturizers help lock in hydration and protect the skin’s natural oil barriers. You’ll want to choose a heavier moisturizer, like an oil-based cream, for the most effective results.

While it’s important to wash and moisturize your skin, you don’t need to overdo it. You can also over wash your skin. Excess washing dries out your skin’s necessary oil glands. If your skin has a tight and dry feeling, that’s how you know you’re going overboard.

According to aesthetician Athena Hewett, “It [Your skin] can also feel sensitive or show signs of sensitivity with reddish, dry patches.” Hewett adds that it’s best to stick to washing your skin at least twice a day — once in the morning and again in the evening.

You have a pinched nerve

A pinched nerve occurs when there’s extra pressure added on a nerve by bone or cartilage, or other tissues surrounding the nerve. This pressure often elicits an uncomfortable “tingly” sensation or numbness for several minutes. Your skin might even feel itchy.

However, you might also be experiencing brachioradial pruritus, a condition characterized by a “tingly” or burning sensation in the shoulder, neck, or forearm. While doctors are unsure of the exact cause of this condition, many believe it’s from too much sun exposure.

Other nervous system conditions, including shingles, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes, could trigger your skin to itch more than usual. If you think you have a pinched nerve or other nervous system conditions, apply cold compresses to the area to temporarily relieve the “tingly” sensations. You might still feel itchy all over your skin, but at least you’re able to relieve some of the discomforts.

You have an overactive thyroid gland

Itchiness is a frequent symptom related to hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland). You could also develop dry skin, along with other troubling symptoms, including depression, low body temperature, memory loss, muscle aches, and slow muscle reflexes.

If you notice body itchiness along with inconsistent weight changes, poor appetite, and fatigue, health experts recommend speaking to your primary care physician as soon as possible. A physician or endocrinologist can perform a blood test to determine any abnormality of your thyroid gland. They will then proceed with a treatment plan and help relieve your body discomfort.

Check on your kidneys and liver

You never know what’s going on inside your body. It wouldn’t make any sense for your kidneys to be involved with body itchiness. What do your kidneys have to do with your skin? But sometimes the human body is difficult to understand. Excessive itching could be an early sign of kidney disease. The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood and removing excess fluid and toxins from the body. When the kidneys no longer function properly or even begin to fail altogether, your blood fills up with abnormally high amounts of waste. Your body begins to itch, especially on your back.

But you shouldn’t just be worried about your kidneys. Body itching could be caused by cholestasis, a condition closely related to your liver or pancreas. The condition occurs when there’s an issue with the flow of bile, a digestive fluid, and waste gets into the bloodstream. This complication could cause itchiness due to the waste product building up in the skin. Treatment depends on each individual case, but there are medications to help ease body discomfort. Speak to your physician as soon as possible.

More serious than you think

We don’t blame you for panicking if you notice your skin itching more than usual. Itching is an uncomfortable sensation. If you don’t notice a rash on your body but you’re still itching for apparently no reason, it’s normal to be concerned. Excessive itching could be more serious than you think.

For example, excessive itching is an early symptom of certain types of cancer, including lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancers. Patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) often experience itching before they’re diagnosed.

You never know what could be going on inside your body, so it’s always best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If it is a serious condition, you would want an early diagnosis to begin treatment. You shouldn’t be itching all over your body. You should be relaxed. After all, you deserve to feel comfortable in your own skin.