Itchy skin is a common problem, but there are several ways to find relief, a dermatologist says.
“There are many reasons for itchy skin,” Dr. Hassan Galadari said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release. “It could be the result of a skin condition, such as eczema, shingles, hives or psoriasis, or it could be a sign of a contagious disease, like scabies or ringworm.”
To relieve itchy skin, Galadari offers these tips:
- Apply a cold, wet cloth or ice pack to the itchy area for five to 10 minutes or until the itch subsides. Or take an oatmeal bath.
- Use skin moisturizers that contain no additives, fragrances or perfumes.
- Apply topical anesthetics that contain pramoxine.
- Apply cooling agents such as menthol or calamine, or refrigerate your moisturizer to help achieve this cooling effect.
- Avoid scratching. It will irritate your skin and could lead to infection.
To prevent itching, bathe in lukewarm, not hot, water; limit baths or showers to 10 minutes; use fragrance-free lotions, soaps and detergents; wear loose-fitting, cotton clothes; keep your home relatively cool with neutral humidity; and use a humidifier in winter if you are prone to dry skin and eczema.
“If your itch does not go away with home treatment, see a board-certified dermatologist. Some people have more than one reason to scratch, and a dermatologist can work with you to find the cause and relieve your itching,” said Galadari, who practices in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.