What Does It Mean When Your Left Hand Itches?

Call it superstition, an old wives’ tale, or childhood playground rules, but on the rare occasion that your left palm gets itchy, you might immediately think money’s coming your way. As it turns out, a little bit of hope in the unbelievable might not be such a bad thing. Take Mary Shammas of Brooklyn, New York. According to CBS, back in 2010, the 73-year-old grandma was riding the bus when her left palm started getting itchy. Remembering the superstition, she got off at the next stop, bought a lottery ticket, and won $64 million.

Was it simply a coincidence? Maybe, but had it not been for the itch, which she described as one she’d “never had before,” she might not have taken a chance on that very day. There’s only one problem with the theory, however. The location of the itch and what it means seems to vary greatly. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, it’s an itchy right palm that means money is coming in, and an itchy left palm means you’re going to be, unfortunately, paying money out. The blog Stack Your Dollars cites the superstition the same way Shammas did — “Left to receive, right to give.”

Maybe it’s not so much which palm is itchy but more the credence you place in the belief itself that matters. And according to a 2019 survey by Research For Good, a whole bunch of Americans believe in superstitions, to the tune of 52 percent, with only 22 percent thinking it’s all just silly.

If you have persistently itchy hands – left or right – you should see a doctor

While an occasional itch on the palm, right or left, can be tied to whichever superstition you believe, a persistent itch could be a sign of a medical condition. According to Healthline, incessant itchy palms could be a sign of a chronic skin condition like eczema or psoriasis or an allergy to something you’ve touched. More often than not, however, dry winter skin or excessive hand washing without proper moisturizing afterward is the main culprit for annoyingly itchy palms. If the addition of hand cream to your daily routine doesn’t improve the condition, or if you develop a rash, cracked skin, or painful blistering, you should definitely have it checked out.

Whether you believe in superstitions or not, there’s something to be said for these universal beliefs. As a general life rule, it’s certainly wise not to walk under ladders, finding a penny or any form of money is a windfall because it’s free, and beginner’s luck might actually be real since you are less inhibited and more likely to take risks when you first try something because you aren’t concerned with winning. With so many unknown mysteries in life, who’s to say an itchy palm isn’t worthy of, at the very least, acknowledgement — it certainly worked for Mary Shammas!

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