Itching can cause a lot of discomfort and may even become a distraction. You may be wondering when itching is serious and how you can cure your itchiness at home. Skin can itch for a variety of reasons. For example, you may have touched a certain type of plant, such as ragweed or poison ivy. Psoriasis is a condition that causes scaly, dry skin because of skin cell buildup, as well as itching around the patches of dry skin.
If you’re itchy, changing your clothes can make a big difference. Heat, irritating fabrics (scratchy leggings), and detergent or fabric softener clinging to your clothes can cause or worsen itchy skin. Letting your skin breathe can reduce the intensity of that must-scratch feeling.
A hot shower isn’t always a cure-all: Heat and water exposure dial up the itch factor from mosquito bites, peeling sunburn, and dry skin alike by further drying out your skin, making it feel worse in the long-run. The cold (and the anti-inflammatory benefits that come with it) can help relieve an itch. Aim for 10- to 15-minute icing sessions until your itch is resolved, suggests Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology.
Over-the-counter lotions, gels, and creams with ingredients like menthol, camphor, calamine, and aloe vera make for great natural remedies to spot-treat itchy skin. If you’re dealing with milder itchy skin issues like bug bites, a rash from poison ivy, or peeling sunburn, all of the above ingredients can help soothe your skin and relieve the need to scratch, which can actually aggravate the irritated area and increase your risk of infection.
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Histamines are chemicals in the body that cause allergy symptoms, including itching. An antihistamine is a common treatment for allergic reactions. However, many antihistamine drugs will make you sleepy, so they’re best used before bed. Recommends applying topical antihistamines directly to the affected area to avoid side effects associated with oral antihistamines.
An anti-itch cream is another common way to soothe itchy skin. Get an anti-itch cream that contains at least 1 percent hydrocortisone. This drug inhibits inflammatory responses in the body and can help calm inflamed, itchy skin. This cream should be used for the shortest period possible and then discontinued.
Participants applied the oils to areas of itchy skin twice a day for 2 weeks. Those who used the peppermint-infused oil reported a significant reduction in itch severity compared to those who used the other product. Colloidal oatmeal is finely ground oatmeal that a person can dissolve in water. The resulting solution forms a protective barrier on the surface of the skin, which helps to seal in moisture. Colloidal oatmeal can help to relieve dryness and itching.
Regardless of the cause, schedule an appointment with your doctor if you’re itching consistently for three or more days. While itching usually doesn’t indicate a serious problem, general itchiness all over can sometimes be a sign of a serious condition, including thyroid, kidney, or liver disease, or even cancer.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe itchiness without any bites, wounds, or rash.