Having itchy skin can be very frustrating. Your first response is to scratch at your skin in order to get some relief, only to find that the more you scratch the itchier it becomes. But the good news are that, unless you are having an allergic reaction or have been exposed to irritating substances, the most likely reason why your skin itches is because it is too dry and all you need to do is to maintain proper hydration to stop the itching and restore skin to health.
In this post we cover the basics of itchy skin, some measures to prevent dry skin, and the top five natural remedies to soothe dry, itchy skin. We end with recommendations to identify signals on your skin that require you to see your doctor, and a list of articles that you can read to get more information about itchy skin.
Dry skin is most likely to occur on the face, lower legs, on the arms, and on the sides of your trunk. This happens when the natural oils produced by your sebaceous glands are not enough to keep skin soft and supple, or when it has been washed away. In some cases, the itching can be so bad that it prevents you from going about your normal activities during the day and getting good sleep at night. However, itchiness serves an important function: it is the skin’s way of alerting you that it is irritated and needs attention.
If you believe that your itchy skin is just a result of dryness in the skin, the first thing you need to do is refrain from using harsh and abrasive skin care products, which strip the skin of the oils that it needs. Second, you need to soothe the skin so that you can have some relief from the itching and the flaking. Third, you need to keep the skin well-moisturized at all times, especially when the weather turns colder (winter itch) or when you stay in rooms where humidity is kept low.
Although hydration is important when skin feels itchy, ordinary lotions and creams are not always the best choice when you are seeking relief. Most of these products actually contain ingredients, which can aggravate already irritated skin, like fragrances, alcohol and preservatives. Others have waxes or petrolatum, which prevents it from being absorbed; they just sit on the skin and form a barrier layer. They may give the impression of moisturizing but effects are only temporary and do nothing to address skin inflammation.
The unique formulation of RENUCELL® will allow moisture to be easily absorbed upon application so that active ingredients can penetrate the surface and start soothing dry itchy skin. It promotes healing and moisturizes the skin to prevent flare-ups and further episodes.
Aside from applying creams and balms as needed, you can also try some of these remedies to relieve skin itchiness and discomfort:
BAKING SODA PASTE.
As a natural acid neutralizer, baking soda has anti-inflammatory properties. If your itchy skin is intact (no breaks or open wounds), fill the tub with room temperature water and add a cup of baking soda. Soak in the tub for half an hour, rinse off and pat skin dry. If you do not have a tub at home, you can simply prepare baking soda paste with 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Dab the paste on itchy areas and let it stay as long as needed before rinsing.
If you can’t find baking soda in the kitchen, substitute with cornstarch. However, make sure that you do not have thrush or a yeast infection because cornstarch can ‘feed’ the yeast organism and make it worse. Cornstarch is particularly useful for soothing heat rash because it is very effective at preventing the natural salts in sweat from stinging the open eruptions.
Oats have been used to treat dry skin for centuries . But only recently have researchers discovered what eases the itch: chemicals called avenanthramides that fight inflammation and redness. Colloidal oatmeal is the best kind for this purpose but if you don’t have any readily available, you can use unprocessed oat flour. You can also take whole oats and grind it to a powder using a food processor. Add enough water to a cup of colloidal (or whichever you are using) oatmeal to create a smooth paste and apply mixture to itchy skin. Let it sit for half an hour before rinsing.
The healing property of milk was known even in ancient cultures. Fresh whole milk can soothe and moisturize irritated skin. Brush some on and let it dry, then rinse thoroughly. Babies and small children suffering from viral rashes like measles can also find it comforting to soak in a milk bath.
If the options above just seem so messy for you, you can try to alleviate itching by using cold water or compresses. The sensation of itching travels along the same nerve fibers which sense cold, so by flooding these nerves with cold stimulus you can trick your brain into forgetting about the itchiness. A soak in cold water or applying an ice pack can prevent you from scratching.
Dry, itchy skin can usually be prevented or treated easily at home. However, if the dryness and itching does not improve or seems to be getting worse, it is best to consult a doctor. Also seek medical help if you develop a rash, sores or cracks and cuts from scratching because these could indicate a more serious skin issue that just dry skin. Psoriasis, eczema and various kinds of dermatitis need specific interventions.
Observe your skin for signs and symptoms that indicate potential skin issues like fungal infection, psoriasis, allergic dermatitis, etc. Distinctive changes like rashes or thick patches of skin immediately be reported to your doctor for diagnosis. Avoid scratching the skin because any break in its surface provides an entry for bacteria, putting you at a higher risk for infection. Children who are too young to control their scratching should have their nails cut close to the quick. Parents can also provide them with mittens or socks on their hands so that they won’t unknowingly scratch during their sleep. Both adults and children should alsomaintain adequate fluid intake to ensure that the body has enough water to keep the skin hydrated.
- Eczema in Adults: Dealing With Itching
- 5 Essential Dry Skin Remedies
- 7 Tips to Soothe Your Dry, Itchy Skin
- 11 Amazing Health Benefits of Using Baking Soda
- Itching by Medline Plus
- Dry Skin by Medline Plus
- Tips To Prevent Winter Dry Skin
- Does drinking water cause hydrated skin?
- 10 Amazing Uses for Cornstarch