There are many ways that you can get itchy skin, and it does help to know the cause. For example, if your itchiness is due to chemicals you were using for cleaning, then stop using them, and use something else, and you shouldn’t have another problem, unless the new product causes you to itch too! Sunburn can cause itching, as can insect stings or insect bites, head lice too, and your skin can itch signaling an allergic reaction to something, possibly food or animals. Dry skin commonly causes itchy skin, and this seems to happen more in older folk as their skin becomes less hydrated, or in other words, dehydrated. Cold weather also brings on itchy skin, but so does too much water, as in having baths with water that is really too hot, and the same applies to showers. During the later stages of pregnancy, the skin has to stretch a lot more, and this can lead to some itchy skin especially in the lower abdomen. Then of course, there are reactions to medications, over the counter (OTC), or prescription, and skin conditions such as psoriasis and urticaria. This shows that there really are a lot of ways that the skin can become dry, and the treatment for dry skin and skin irritations does depend to some extent on the cause.
Obviously, if you know the cause is an allergic reaction to something, then taking antihistamines should help you, and these are available over the counter. However, if this isn’t the reason for your itchy skin, you may need to try some of the following treatments. Use moisturizers after you have showered or bathed, and again before you retire for the night. There are many moisturizers available, and the trick is to find one that works for you and doesn’t make the itchiness worse. For this reason, it may be as well to start with some of the less perfumed variety. Aloe vera is good for itches of the skin and mild skin disorders, applied several times a day if possible. Putting some olive oil, or baby oil into your bath water can help too, but do be aware that this makes the bath very slippy, and it might be better to apply the oil directly to the itchy area after the bath, so that there is less risk of a fall in the bath. Putting oatmeal or baking soda in the bath can help relieve the itching too, and I have read that adding evaporated milk to bath water helps as well, although I personally haven’t tried that option, yet.
I have also seen that cornstarch dusted on the body can help stop the itching, and chamomile lotion helps too, although it does turn white on the body, so you’d best use this at night when no one can see you if you need to use it on your hands and face! Witch hazel is suggested applied to the itchy area, or wheat germ oil or you could even try lemon juice which has been successful for some people. It may depend on the time of the year that your itchy skin occurs, as you really don’t want to go outside reeking of lemon during the summer when all the bees and wasps may head straight for you! Now, obviously if your dry skin continues, or causes severe itching, especially for older adults, then you should see your doctor to see if there is a medical condition causing the excessive itching. It could be something that is unbalanced such as your thyroid, but this can easily be checked by a blood test. Burdock, chickweed, goldenseal, yellow dock or plantain may also help dry itchy skin, but some of the problem may just be caused by bathing too often in too hot water, or the use of too much soap, or too strong a soap. For very dry itchy hands, try putting on petroleum jelly on the hands, then putting on cotton gloves to keep the jelly on your hands. This works very well for hands, but is obviously much harder to do for other parts of the body.
One of the worst things you can do for itchy skin is to scratch it, as it can soon become red, inflamed, swollen and infected, and start to ooze fluid. zIf this happens, you will need to see your doctor, and may have to take a prescription drug to stop the skin infection. To summarize, there are a lot of options to try next time you need to relieve dry itchy skin – hope it clears up fast for you, as it can be very annoying to say the least.