Are you suffering from itchy knees? We’ll tell you what could be causing the itch and what you can do to treat and prevent this uncomfortable condition.

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Itchy Knees: Causes, Treatment, And Prevention

09/16/20238 min read

When you have itchy knees, it’s hard to think about anything else. Your skin can be red, painful, and unsightly in shorts or dresses. You might even find it hard to sleep.

In this article, we’ll tell you what could be causing the uncomfortable condition and what you can do to treat and prevent it. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to ditch that itch!

Table Of Contents

Causes Of Itchy Knees

There are several things that could be causing your itchy knees, ranging from underlying skin conditions to environmental factors. Here are a few factors that may be at the root of your irritated skin.

Dry Skin

Your itchy knees may just be a case of dry skin. If your knees aren’t getting enough moisture, your skin barrier will break down and let irritants in. This can trigger your immune system and nervous system, causing redness, swelling, and itching.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

If you’ve encountered something you’re allergic to, your itchy skin may be due to allergic contact dermatitis. Common culprits include jewelry (especially if it contains nickel or chrome) and plants like poison oak and poison ivy.

In addition to itching, your skin may appear red, scabbed, or flakey and may be painful to the touch.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

Irritant contact dermatitis could be another reason that your knees itch.

This type of skin reaction is triggered by irritating substances coming into contact with your skin. Some usual offenders include harsh cleaning products, soaps, and detergents.


Child suffering from itchy knees caused by eczema

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition affecting 30 percent of people in the United States. Flexural eczema is the type of eczema commonly affecting joints, like elbows and knees.

Eczema often causes dry, itchy, or bumpy patches of skin that can flare up as a result of allergens or irritants, weather changes, certain foods, or even stress.

Eczema presents differently depending on your skin color. For lighter-skinned people, eczema rashes are pink, red, or purple. For people with darker skin, the eczema rash can appear purple, brown, or gray.


Psoriasis is another skin condition that might be at the root of your itchy knees. Psoriasis causes a rash that’s itchy and scaly ― often on the knees, elbows, trunk, or scalp — thanks to an overgrowth of skin cells.

This genetic condition is an autoimmune disorder in which your body attacks its own healthy cells. Issues like obesity, smoking, stress, and alcohol can trigger flare-ups of this condition.


Scabies is a parasitic infestation that causes a pimple-like rash usually appearing around your wrists, elbows, armpits, knees, ankles, groin, waist, or fingers. Scabies mites burrow under the skin and lay eggs, causing an intense itch.

Distinctively, the itchiness often gets worse at night.

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral condition that causes bumps on the skin. Although the bumps are painless, they can be itchy. Scratching can spread the infection.

Chigger Bites

If you’re in a grassy or wooded area, your itchy knees could be the result of chigger bites. Chiggers are microscopic red mites that will attach to your clothing and bite your skin. The mites are most active in the summertime.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Dermatitis herpetiformis is a chronic skin condition that’s often associated with gluten sensitivity from celiac disease. The immune system overreacts to gluten, potentially causing itchy bumps and blisters.


Dermatofibromas are non-cancerous skin bumps that can look like moles. These occur more commonly in women and are generally on the lower part of the leg, including the knees.

The flesh-colored, brown, or reddish spots tend to be less than one centimeter in diameter and are firm to the touch. They can be itchy or even painful.

Treatment For Itchy Knees

Depending on the cause of your itchy knees, there are a range of treatments that can help soothe your skin.

Apply A Cold Compress

Woman placing a cold compress on her itchy knee

A cold compress is an easy way to quell your itch. Simply apply a wet washcloth or ice pack to your itchy knees for five to 10 minutes.


As we mentioned, itchy skin is often caused by dryness. Applying a rich moisturizer to the area can help with the itch. Moisturizers can help protect your skin from environmental irritants and lock in moisture.

If your itchy knees are due to dry skin caused by eczema, Bodewell Eczema Daily Calming Cream can help. This moisturizing cream contains colloidal oatmeal to help relieve eczema irritation and itch. Try our On-The-Go version for travel!

Try Anti-Itch Cream

Child applying anti-itch cream to itchy knees

For immediate relief, try an anti-itch cream. Hydrocortisone cream is a corticosteroid that can be used to relieve itchiness caused by dermatitis.

Take A Colloidal Oatmeal Bath

Drawing a warm bath with colloidal oatmeal can work wonders in soothing itchy knees. Not only does colloidal oatmeal help skin maintain its normal pH, but it also helps reduce histamines from allergic reactions.

Wear Loose Clothing

Sometimes tight clothing rubs against your skin and can trigger an itch. If this could be causing your itchy knees, you might want to try looser, less abrasive clothing.

Try Phototherapy

If a skin condition is causing your itch, you might want to talk to your healthcare provider about trying phototherapy. This treatment can help suppress an overactive immune system and reduce or eliminate itching.

Phototherapy involves exposing your skin to ultraviolet light while under medical supervision. Several sessions are generally required to get results from this treatment.

Don’t Scratch

Even though you’ll want to, it’s important not to scratch your already-irritated knees. Scratching your itchy knees will make the condition even worse.

Contact Your Doctor

If you’ve tried some of these remedies and your symptoms don't get better in a few days, you might want to contact your doctor.

And if your itching is extreme or accompanied by a fever or other concerning symptoms, see your doctor right away, as these could be a sign of something more serious.

Itchy Knee Prevention

If you’ve ever had itchy knees, you probably don’t want this condition again. Here are some simple steps you can take to help prevent the itch from coming back.

Avoid Allergens And Irritants

This is pretty obvious, but to prevent itchy knees, you’ll want to avoid any allergens or irritants that could cause an itch.

Maintain A Good Skincare Routine

Having healthy skin is a goal for everyone, and a good skincare routine is the key.

For starters, always wash with warm water — never hot — and use gentle cleansers. Pat dry after a brief (10-15 minute) bath or shower, and moisturize your damp skin to lock that moisture in.

Manage Stress

Woman meditating to relieve stress

Stress can exacerbate any preexisting skin condition, so it’s best to manage your stress regularly.

Stress-relieving strategies can help. Yoga, meditation, and breathwork can be calming. Also, regular exercise has been known to reduce overall stress in the body.

Eat Healthily

It’s not only what you put on your body that matters, but also what you put in it. A diet of healthy fats, protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains can make your skin sing.

Processed food, on the other hand, will throw it off-key. Cut down on chips, sugary sodas, and other snack foods.


Drinking plenty of water is a must if you want to beat the itch. Hydrating your skin is done both inside and out, so in addition to slathering on your moisturizer, you’ll want to fill up your glass.

If it’s dry inside your home or office, you also want to consider getting a humidifier, as this will help hydrate your skin as well.

The Bee’s Knees

Woman showing her healthy skin and happy knees

If you have itchy knees, don’t despair. We’ve discussed what could be causing the itch and offered lots of ways to treat and prevent the condition. A range of simple remedies and some good habits at home can help to keep you itch-free.

And if your itchy knees are caused by eczema, our Eczema Daily Calming Cream can help. This steroid-free cream starts working immediately to soothe skin, while our proprietary botanical formula helps strengthen the skin barrier so your skin can start healing itself.

Trust Bodewell as your skin partner and get back to soft, itch-free skin!


American Academy Of Dermatology
Mayo Clinic
National Eczema Association
National Institutes Of Health

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