Itchy skin does not always require running to the pharmacy. Home remedies for itchy skin can also help you stop scratching.
Generally speaking, the key to calming an itch is to get rid of what is causing it, says Melanie Grossman, MD, a dermatologist certified by the New York City board, whether that means treating your apartment for bedbugs (ugh) , take off that irritating wool sweater or receive treatment for an underlying condition (of which there are many).
Just remember: while itching is usually easy to treat (thanks, moisturizer!), If you try a couple of home remedies for itchy skin and still scratch, see a dermatologist, says Alix J. Charles, MD , a certified dermatologist council and member of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
You should rule out a skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema, or complications of pregnancy or diabetes. And if you have blisters, sores or ulcers, seek help as soon as possible.
Find relief as soon as possible with these dermatologist-approved home remedies:
1. Wear light and baggy clothes.
This is simple: if it itches you, changing your clothes can make a big difference. Heat, irritating fabrics (scratchy shoes) and detergent or fabric softener that adhere to clothing can cause or worsen itchy skin, says Dr. Grossman. Letting your skin breathe can reduce the intensity of that essential scratch sensation.
2. Ice the itch away.
A hot shower is not always a cure for everything: exposure to heat and water increases the itching factor of mosquito bites, sunburn and dry skin alike, by further drying the skin and making it Feel worse in the long run.
A cold compress, on the other hand? The cold (and the accompanying anti-inflammatory benefits) can help relieve itching. Sign up for 10 to 15 minutes of icing sessions until your itching resolves, suggests Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., dermatologist certified by the board and founder of Entière Dermatology.
A short-term solution for insect bites: press an ice cube into the most annoying hot spots, Dr. Grossman suggests.
3. Rehydrate your skin with a moisturizing lotion.
Think you forever hydrate? Many people do not, says Dr. Charles. If your skin is dry, itchy, and maybe even a little flaky, it could be super dry (which, yes, triggers an itch). Stand every day with a body lotion or moisturizer free of additives, fragrances and perfumes, according to the ADF. (We love moisturizing lotion to relieve the itching of CeraVe, which does not contain steroids or fragrances).
Professional advice: Store a little in a jar in your refrigerator and put it for a stroke of freshness and moisture, suggests certified dermatologist Lauren Ploch, M.D., member of the AAD.
4. Refresh yourself with herbal herbal remedies.
Over-the-counter lotions, gels and creams with ingredients such as menthol, camphor, calamine and aloe vera are excellent natural remedies to treat itchy skin, says Dr. Charles.
If you are dealing with mild skin itching problems, such as insect bites, poison ivy rash or sunburn flaking, all of the above ingredients can help soothe your skin and relieve the need for scratching, which can aggravate the area irritated and increase your risk of infection.
5. Take a warm oatmeal bath.
Sure, an oatmeal bath is much less luxurious than a smoking bubble bath, but it could help soothe the itchy skin, says Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin.
Colloidal oatmeal (also known as finely ground oats) has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities that can rehydrate the skin and reduce the intensity of an itch, according to a small study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.
Not a fan of bathrooms? Colloidal oatmeal is also available in several over-the-counter creams and lotions, such as Aveeno Skin Relief moisturizing lotion.
CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion
Aveeno Soothing bath treatment with colloidal oatmeal
Allegra adult allergy tablets 24 hours
Cortizona ointment 10 for maximum resistance against itching
6. Add an antihistamine.
When your body comes into contact with any amount of irritants (think: allergens, plants like poison ivy and oak, or insect bites), it reacts by releasing histamine, a compound that produces hives, skin rashes and itchy skin.
In this case, taking an antihistamine can be an excellent way to treat itchy skin at home, says Dr. Grossman. For mild to moderate cases (such as if you do not have full body hives or other symptoms such as breathing problems), try an over-the-counter medication such as Allegra or Zyrtec, suggests Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin.
7. Try hydrocortisone cream.
Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help relieve the itching that accompanies many common skin conditions, says Dr. Charles. Look for an anti-itch cream with at least 1% hydrocortisone to soothe an essential scratch sensation, such as Cortizone 10.
Just keep in mind: if a week passes and you still have itching, stop using the cream and make an appointment with a dermatologist for proper identification and treatment, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Like what you just read? You will love our magazine! Go here To subscribe. Don't miss anything by downloading Apple News here and following Prevention. Oh and we are also on Instagram.