Living with itchy skin (otherwise known as pruritus) can be an absolute nightmare – whether it’s keeping you awake at night, distracting you from your daily activities, or weakening your natural skin barrier.
That’s why, throughout this post, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about:
- The leading causes of itchy skin
- Conventional medical treatments to relieve itchy skin
- How to soothe your skin irritation naturally
If you’ve got an itch that you can’t scratch, keep reading to learn why your skin is irritating and sensitive and discover the best anti-itch creams.
What Are The Main Causes of Itchy Skin?
The root cause of itchy skin will, of course, vary for every individual. Having said this, there are a few common triggers to consider:
- Skin dryness may be caused by internal and environmental factors, such as sudden weather changes, emotional stress, lack of hydration, or illness.
- Underlying skin conditions, including eczema (atopic dermatitis), psoriasis, and hives.
- Allergic reactions triggered by your immune system in response to environmental allergens or skin irritants, including pollen, poison ivy, poison oak, certain fabrics, specific types of metal, harsh chemicals in your soaps, and cleaning detergents.
- A bacterial, viral, or fungal infection may also cause itchy skin.
Why Do We Experience Itching?
When your skin becomes irritated, the body releases chemicals such as histamine and kinins, which cause localized inflammation, swelling, and nerve irritation. These chemicals send signals to your brain, registering these nerve irritations as an itch, and creating that irresistible urge to scratch!
When your skin is dry, too, technically, the natural skin barrier is compromised by thousands of tiny microfractures, leaving your body extra sensitive to environmental triggers. Constant itching worsens cracked skin, contributing to the vicious itch-scratch cycle.
How Do You Treat Itchy Skin?
Western medical professionals tend to use three main types of topical anti-itch creams and over-the-counter products when treating skin irritations.
Many popular corticosteroid creams (such as hydrocortisone anti-itch cream) have been designed as short-term solutions for reducing skin inflammation.
While these anti-itch products are effective, it is essential to be aware that overusing topical steroids can lead to various adverse side effects. These may include thinning skin and topical steroid withdrawal syndrome, which can cause a burning or stinging sensation, intense itching, peeling of the skin, and oozing open sores.
Particularly in the case of allergic reactions, itchy skin can be triggered as part of a cascade of biological responses driven by the release of the chemical histamine. Other symptoms may also include rashes like hives, inflamed skin, a runny nose, and watery eyes – all designed to help defend your body against any threatening irritants or environmental allergens.
Topical antihistamines work by blocking the functions of histamine, and therefore, stopping your itchy rash outbreak. It is also possible to take oral antihistamines too.
It is worth noting that over-using these topical anti-itch creams can lead to even more severe skin irritation and sensitivity.
Finally, some anti-itch creams will work by numbing the skin by blocking your nerve receptors to help reduce pain signals and itching.
You might find topical anesthetics in creams for insect bites, for example, or minor burns and poison ivy rashes.
How Can I Treat Itchy Skin Naturally?
As we’ve seen, although topical steroids, antihistamines, and anesthetics offer effective itch relief, these medicated creams are often only suitable for short-term use.
Particularly if you’re coping with a chronic skin condition such as atopic dermatitis, finding itchy skin treatments that are natural and safe to use in the long run discovering little ways to soothe your skin irritation as part of your daily skincare and lifestyle practices is essential.
Wear Hypoallergenic, Gentle Clothing
When you’re struggling with intense itching, there’s nothing worse than having your symptoms intensified by rough, scratchy clothing fabrics – especially when trying to get a good night’s sleep.
These 100% Organic Cotton Adult Pajamas Pants and accompanying 100% Organic Cotton Scratch Mittens have been designed especially with people with atopic dermatitis in mind, helping to keep skin protected from incessant scratching while allowing the skin to breathe. Made from 100% Organic Cotton, these pajamas are also latex-free and elastic-free to avoid allergic reactions.
Use A Nourishing Moisturizer
Dry skin is one of the leading causes of itching, so finding a moisturizer that deeply nourishes and hydrates your skin barrier, helping to repair cracked skin and soothe your nerve endings, is essential. Ideally, look for fragrance and paraben-free moisturizers to avoid further irritation.
The Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream is an oil-based balm with a uniquely soft buttery texture that your skin will adore. Use this honey-kissed, sensitive skin moisturizer to soothe intense itching anywhere on your body – including delicate parts like eyes and lips down to knees and feet, and every space in between. Made with New Zealand Active Manuka honey, this balm also boasts antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, helping to fight itchy rash infections.
Take an Oatmeal Bath
Consider taking a colloidal oatmeal bath if you struggle with constant skin itching.
Colloidal oatmeal is a rich source of beta-glucans, which fight skin sensitivity and diminish visible redness. This Conqueror Oatmeal Bath for Eczema has a nourishing formula of dead sea salt, vitamin C, coconut milk powder, and sodium bicarbonate to detoxify, hydrate, and sensitive, dry skin.
When Is It Time To Talk To A Doctor?
If your itching persists after home treatment, we urge you to contact a healthcare professional for medical advice.
Soothe Your Irritated Skin Today
Whether you’re coping with an annoying bug bite, an allergic reaction, or an underlying chronic skin condition, follow these tips to help you better understand where your itchy skin might be coming from and how to relieve itching safely and effectively today.