Itching after a shower: causes and remedies

Many people enjoy showering as part of their hygiene routine. However, if a person has an uncomfortable and itchy skin after a shower, it can be anything but refreshing.

Dry skin is often the cause of itching after taking a shower. Shower water can remove natural oils from the skin, causing dryness and itching.

The treatment is not always as simple as applying a lotion or moisturizer. Sometimes dry and sensitive skin needs extra care to relieve the irritation and dryness caused by itching.

It is also important to observe other symptoms, such as peeling, peeling or rashes, which may indicate a condition that needs treatment.

Read on for more information on the possible causes of itching after a shower, and how to treat them.

Many things can cause itchy skin after showering or bathing. These are some of the most common reasons for itching after a shower:

Dry Skin

A person who stings his arm after showering. Share on Pinterest
Dry skin is a common cause of itching after a shower.

Dry skin lacks moisture and may feel tight or itchy, especially after a shower. Cleansers, soap and water can remove natural oils from the skin that keep it flexible and prevent dryness.

When a person takes a hot shower, soap and water will remove oils from the skin. This can make the skin feel tight and itchy. In extreme cases, the skin may even crack or bleed.

The best way to prevent itchy skin after showering is to apply a moisturizer immediately after drying with a towel. Using a strong moisturizer such as a cream, oil or ointment while the skin is still slightly moist can help seal the moisture.

People with very dry or sensitive skin should read product labels before using a moisturizer. This is because some products can make itching worse, as they contain irritating ingredients or cause allergic reactions.

Avoid products that contain fragrance, menthol and alcohol, as they can cause dryness, irritation and itching.


Eczema refers to inflammation of the skin that can cause itching and excessive dryness. It is a chronic condition that can also cause a red rash or bumps on the skin.

Eczema may feel even more itchy and uncomfortable after bathing or showering, when the skin lacks its natural oils. Scented body soaps, soaps and hot shower water can also cause itching.

People with eczema may need to use hypoallergenic products and apply moisturizers throughout the day. A dermatologist can provide recommendations on what products to use.

Learn about 12 of the best remedies for eczema here.

Reactions to skin care products.

Many people enjoy the use of scented cleansers, soaps and hair products in the shower. However, these types of products can trigger allergic reactions in some people, which causes itching and other symptoms. This is known as contact dermatitis.

The National Eczema Association explains that fragrance is one of the most common ingredients that can cause a skin reaction.

If a person discovers that hydration alone does not deal with itching, they may need to change shower products. Test cleansers and moisturizers without perfume to see if the itching disappears.

Reaction to laundry products.

Scented laundry products can also cause itching after showering, especially if a person uses scented products on their towels.

Drying with a towel after bathing could transfer some of the fragrances from laundry soap or fabric softener to the skin. This can cause itching and irritation if a person has an allergy or sensitivity to them.

People with sensitive or itchy skin can avoid using laundry products that contain fragrance or dye on their towels or clothes.

People who notice itching after bathing can find relief by following the steps below:

  • Keep showers as short and fresh as possible.: Avoid very hot water and very long showers. Use colder water for shorter periods of time to avoid stripping the skin of its natural protective oils.
  • Avoid showering more than once a day.: More showers mean more possibilities to remove natural oils from the skin. If possible, limit the shower to once a day. Children may shower less frequently than adults, approximately once or twice a week, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Avoid long and hot baths.: For the same reason that you avoid long and hot showers, avoid taking long and hot baths. Also, when bathing, consider adding colloidal oatmeal or bath oils to help moisturize the skin.
  • Not scratch the skin: Scratching the skin can irritate and damage it, and it can make itching worse.
  • Avoid using cloths, scrubs or hard sponges.: These can irritate the skin in the same way it scratches.
  • Use soaps or moisturizing cleansers without perfume: Avoid using products that contain fragrances or alcohol. Look for hypoallergenic products or those designed for people with eczema and sensitive skin. Also, avoid products with strong foam or detergents.
  • Gently dry the skin: Do not rub the skin with towels, as this can also cause irritation and remove natural oils from the skin.
  • Apply a moisturizer or ointment thick and fragrant: Be sure to do this immediately after drying the skin with pats.
  • Do not apply large amounts of soaps or foam cleaners.: Foaming agents can worsen dry skin and are not necessary to clean the skin effectively.
  • Use a humidifier: This can be especially useful in dry climates or during the winter months. Low humidity can exacerbate dry skin.
  • Avoid fragrances in laundry detergent and fabric softener: These ingredients can reach the towels and clothes and cause itching after a shower.
  • Avoid using products that contain retinoids.: Retinoids regulate the growth of epithelial cells, but they can be irritating and worsen dry skin. Retinoids include retinol, adapalene and tretinoin. Unless a doctor has prescribed them, people should avoid using retinoids.
  • Avoid or limit products that contain alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA): AHA is an ingredient that can cause burning or itching of dry or sensitive skin.

If, after following these steps, there are no signs of improvement or relief of itching after a shower, it is better to consult a health care provider.

Some natural home remedies can also be useful for treating dry skin. Read about them here.

Usually, a person can treat mild itching after taking a shower by following the steps above and taking care to keep the skin hydrated.

In some cases, however, the itching is not related to the skin itself. Health conditions such as nerve damage and multiple sclerosis can make skin nerves hyperactive. This can cause itching without a rash or other obvious cause.

Itching from nerve-related health conditions can cause excessive scratching, which can irritate the skin and make itching worse. It can also cause an infection.

Sometimes, a mental health condition can cause a person to scratch their skin excessively. Some mental health conditions that can cause this include:

If a person suspects that he has a mental or nervous health condition, he should talk to a health care provider.

Most people can treat itching after showering using moisturizers, lotions and other home remedies.

However, if the itching persists after trying these remedies, a person may wish to see their health care provider to rule out other more serious health conditions.

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