Interview transcription

We interviewed Dr Penelope Pratsou to find out what factors can cause itchy skin.

Can clothing and the environment cause skin to become dry and itchy?

Penelope Pratsou: Sometimes our skin can be affected by the materials we wear or even the dry weather. To some extent, you can prevent itchy skin (pruritus) by simply wearing cotton and moisturising regularly.

However, there are some causes of itchy skin that are internal and cannot be entirely avoided unless we know the exact cause. It is so important that you seek the advice of a health professional, such as myself, so that a thorough investigation can be done to make sure that there’s nothing else going on. In most cases, there isn’t.

The first step to feeling in charge of your skin is to book an initial consultation


Can soap make your skin dry and itchy?

Penelope Pratsou: Yes. Soap can often make your skin dry and itchy if you are not thoroughly rinsing it off your skin, or if it has stripped away your natural oils.  There is a chemical called SLS in most soaps which enables it to lather up nicely. This chemical is harmful to the skin barrier, especially for those people who have chronic skin problems.

If you’ve already got dry skin, you definitely don’t want to be putting something on it that’s potentially going to irritate and dry it out further.

If you have any of the symptoms or conditions that we’ve just discussed, we invite you to book a consultation with Dr Penelope Pratsou where she’ll be able to assess your condition and give you a suitable treatment plan.

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About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.