Itchy skin can have a very detrimental effect upon your life. A constant, nagging itch is distracting and uncomfortable, making it difficult to work, enjoy your hobbies and even sleep. Many people who suffer from itchy skin have difficulty treating the problem because they don't fully understand its causes.
In rare cases, itchy skin is caused by medical disorders, such as liver disease, diabetes, anemia and thyroid problems, so the first step toward getting relief from the itch is talking to your doctor to outrule any type of underlying problem. Once you've uncovered the specific cause of your itchy skin, you'll find a variety of treatments available to manage it.
Dry skin or xerosis is the most common cause of itchiness. In addition to being itchy, dry skin is often flaky and rough and may be thickened or red, depending on the severity and its location. Some people have naturally dry complexions because their bodies do not produce enough sebum, the oil that keeps skin lubricated and prevents itchiness. Dry air, such as the type found year round in desert climates and in the winter in temperate zones, can also dry out the tissue, causing dehydration and itchy skin. The heat from furnaces and bathing too frequently can also contribute to dryness.
Typically, the itch from dry skin does not require medical treatment; once you correct the problem of dehydration, the itchiness will stop. In the meantime, you can assist with the healing process by not scratching the affected area, as this can cause irritation and just exacerbate the itch. If you find yourself scratching without meaning to, keep your nails trimmed short to minimize the damage to the tissue.
Over-the-counter beauty treatments are ideal for treating dry skin. To prevent dry skin’s itchy return, adopt a skin care regimen that is specifically designed for dry skin and use it daily. Some products are especially effective for treating dry skin, and you may want to build your regimen around them.
When you're pregnant, the hormone levels in your body fluctuate greatly and can cause a variety of unexpected and unpleasant symptoms, including itchy skin. In addition, the stretching of the skin on your breasts and midsection can interfere with the distribution of sebum throughout the tissue, which can lead to dryness and symptoms of itching. Because cosmetics products are easily absorbed through the skin, where it can enter the bloodstream, it's crucial that you use caution when selecting products to treat itchy skin caused by pregnancy.
Your immune system is designed to identify germs and protect your body from infections, but sometimes it can make mistakes. Allergies and skin irritation can occur when your body falsely identifies an everyday object, such as a chemical in soap or wool fabric, as a potential threat. Your body then releases histamine to help protect you from the object, which has the unfortunate side effect of causing skin itching.
Determining what's to blame for your skin irritation and itching can be difficult. The best way to try to determine the cause and eliminate your contact with it is by eliminating common items that lead to reactions one at a time and looking for a change in your condition. For example, if the irritation began when you switched laundry soaps, you could start by discontinuing the use of the new brand. If no change occurs, stop using your facial cleanser and so on.
While you're dealing with skin irritation caused by allergies and sensitivities, you can get relief from the itching through home remedies. A cool bath that contains baking soda or dry oatmeal often eases itchiness for a few hours. You can also apply cold compresses to the irritated areas and use over-the-counter medicinal creams that contain cortisone or diphenhydramine. These creams decrease the levels of histamine in your skin either by suppressing the actions of your immune system or interfering with the actions of histamine itself.
If the irritation is severe, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter oral antihistamine drug. Should you use an oral drug to get relief, keep in mind that many of these medications cause drowsiness, and you should see how you are affected before driving while taking the drug. Prescription topical medications, such as corticosteroids, are also used to treat itchy skin caused by skin irritation.
Over-the-counter beauty treatments creams are also effective at relieving the itch caused by skin irritation for many sufferers. When selecting such products, always look for those that are hypoallergenic or fragrance free to prevent further irritating troubled tissue.