Dealing with itchy skin? No one has time for it! Here are 5 tips to help you get relief for itchy skin.
Itchy and irritated skin is very common. In fact, most people will develop some type of mild skin irritation in their lifetime. For some people, skin irritation is chronic. Itchy skin can occur at any age and may affect anyone regardless of your overall health. Older adults are especially prone to itchy skin since their skin tends to become drier.
There are many causes of skin irritation. For example, if you come in contact with something you are allergic to, such as shampoos, cleaning products, or latex, it can make your skin itchy. Irritated and itchy skin can also develop due to the following:
Symptoms of skin irritation can be mild or significant. In addition to becoming annoying and uncomfortable, skin itching has the potential to cause other problems. For instance, the National Eczema Association (NEA) reports that people that often have itchy skin may have trouble sleeping, which can lead to a variety of other issues.
What often happens is irritated skin becomes itchy, so you scratch. But the more you scratch, the worse the itch may become, which starts a vicious cycle of continuous irritation, itching, and scratching. Plus, frequent scratching that leads to cracks in the skin has the potential for infection.
Additional symptoms of itchy skin may include:
Because itchy skin is so annoying, some people turn to steroid creams to relieve symptoms. Steroid creams are known to decrease inflammation and are often prescribed for itch relief. But the use of steroid creams can have side effects. Potential side effects of using steroid creams include:
According to the NEA, a condition called topical steroid withdrawal syndrome can also develop when you stop using steroid cream. Symptoms may include burning and bright red skin. The length of time it takes to develop side effects is not predictable and can vary.
Since there can be side effects when using steroid creams, it makes sense to look for an alternative to relieve symptoms. Consider the following ways to decrease irritated and itchy skin:
It might seem like a no-brainer, but try to avoid scratching the area as much as possible. While it can be difficult to stop scratching, it will only make the situation worse. Also, trim your nails, which may reduce how hard you can scratch.
Homeopathic, non-steroidal anti-itch creams are available that provide symptom relief without the side effects of steroids. Select a homeopathic anti-itch cream with the active ingredient, helichrysum, to soothe the skin and reduce itching. Additional ingredients that provide relief include turmeric root, argan oil, aloe vera, and shea butter. Apply a liberal coat of the cream to the skin, wait a minute, and reapply a second coat.
A lukewarm bath may soothe the skin and decrease itching. Consider adding colloidal oatmeal to the bath to ease symptoms. Colloidal oatmeal is not regular oats you eat for breakfast. Instead, it is finely ground and intended for bathing. Lukewarm water is better for irritated skin than a warm bath. If the water is too warm, it might dry the skin, which can cause further irritation.
Apply a cold pack or a cold washcloth to the affected skin for five to ten minutes at a time. Cooling the skin may decrease inflammation and irritation. The cool sensation on the skin may also ease itching. You can apply a cold pack several times a day as needed. Avoid applying the ice directly to the skin, since that can lead to an injury.
Tight and restrictive clothing may cause further irritation. As the clothing rubs against the skin, it might trigger more itching and inflammation of already irritated skin. Loose clothing that allows the skin to breathe is a better option.
There are several things you can do to keep your skin healthy and itch-free, including the following:
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