Are you dealing with itchy skin? Formally known as pruritus, suffering from intense itchiness all over your body is never fun. Not only is it unpleasant, but it can also make it difficult to get to sleep at night as you toss and turn trying to get comfortable. It can also be very disruptive during your waking hours when you're trying to concentrate at work or school. This can lead to various negative consequences such as daytime fatigue, poor job or academic performance, and increased irritability, anxiety, and depression. As you can see, the effects of itchy skin on a person are more than just physical. It can affect mental and emotional well-being as well.
Although there are many causes for itchy skin, such as skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, itchy skin is usually a result of having dry skin. Dry skin is a fairly common condition, but the good news is that it's usually just a temporary problem. With the right lifestyle changes and the regular use of natural creams and moisturizers, it's possible to restore the skin's moisture and relieve itchiness. Also, the help of at-home remedies can significantly improve hydration and reduce the itching sensation. Some of the best home remedies include wet wrap therapy, enjoying the cooling effects of aloe vera, and relaxing in a colloidal oatmeal bath.
In this post, we'll go over the different causes of dry skin and the accompanying symptoms you may experience. Read on to discover our favorite at-home remedies to reduce your itching and improve your overall skin health.
Why Do I Have Itchy Skin?
You're trying to fall asleep, and your itchy arms and legs are all you can think about. You're trying to prepare for your presentation, and your itchy back is driving you crazy. You're at the grocery store, and your hands feel like they are on fire. If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you've probably asked the question, 'why do I have itchy skin?' That's a great question, and we'll do our best to provide the answer in this next section.
First of all, bear in mind that everybody is unique, and so what causes itchy skin in someone else may not be the cause of your itchy skin. As well, the cause of your itchy skin may change with time or under certain conditions. For example, many people note that their skin gets itchier the older they get. Research shows that 50 percent of adults over 40 years old suffer from dry skin. This is because as the body ages, it naturally produces less oil. This leads to dry skin, which in turn, leads to itchy skin.
You may also notice that your skin only feels itchy and dry during the winter. As temperatures during the winter months are cooler and humidity levels are lower, there is less moisture in the air which can dry out your skin. The dry skin associated with wintertime can cause an increased itchy sensation all over your body, particularly in the areas exposed to the elements, such as the face and hands.
Also, itchy skin can be associated with pregnancy. Many pregnant women note that their skin feels drier and subsequently itchier when they are expecting. Due to all the hormone changes, the skin loses elasticity and moisture as it adapts to the growing baby. Because of this, the skin tends to feel drier on the stomach. However, itchiness can also extend to other body parts such as arms, legs, and breasts.
People who work in water-based jobs (hairdressers, etc!) are also more prone to dry and itchy skin. This is because water tends to dry out the skin further and strip it of its natural oils.
Finally, we cannot ignore the possibility of allergies. If you've ever dealt with an allergic reaction, such as hives, you've likely noticed that itchiness was a prime symptom. Unfortunately, when the skin comes into contact with a substance it doesn't agree with, it can react negatively and break out in a rash. Some of the most common irritating substances are household products that you likely use daily. These potential allergens include cleaning products, laundry detergents, cell phones, jewelry containing nickel, belt buckles, and fabrics such as polyester, wool, and spandex.
An allergic reaction may also result after eating a certain food. In particular, gluten, dairy, shellfish, and nuts are common food triggers for people who suffer from chronic, inflammatory conditions. And of course, the skin may react negatively when exposed to a harmful ingredient or toxins found in beauty and makeup products. This is especially true for those who have sensitive skin. Unfortunately, many skincare products in the market are made with unhealthy ingredients, unnatural fragrances, and cheap fillers or preservatives. To protect your skin health, we invite you to be a conscious shopper and embrace the clean beauty movement.
This movement emphasizes natural, safe ingredients in skincare that puts the health of your skin and our planet first. A great place to start is taking the time to read labels carefully and make sure the product contains pure and wholesome ingredients. Although it can be difficult to know if an ingredient is good for the skin or not, our general rule of thumb is that if you can't pronounce its name, it probably isn't great for your skin. As always, don't forget to do a small patch test on your skin first, especially when you are trying out a new product. This is to avoid an adverse allergic reaction all over your body.
If you're unsure of the exact cause of your dry and itchy skin, we recommend you speak to a medical professional such as your doctor or dermatologist. They will be able to help you pinpoint the cause of your issue and provide an appropriate solution. This is particularly important if your dry skin is a cause of health-related conditions that require immediate medical attention. A blood test or physical examination can help determine whether the cause of your itchiness is the result of an internal disease like liver disease, kidney disease, or blood disease.
Itchy Skin and Eczema
In addition to all the different causes of itchy skin mentioned above, a primary cause of itchiness can be a chronic disease like eczema. Eczema is actually an umbrella term used to describe a group of inflammatory skin conditions. According to WebMD, the most common kind of eczema is called atopic dermatitis. Other common types of this skin disease include contact dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis.
A common skin condition, eczema, affects approximately 32 million people in the United States alone. It affects people of all different ages, ethnicities, and social and economic backgrounds. The itchy and inflammatory skin disease is characterized by patches of red rashes, flakiness, and dryness. While these patches can appear anywhere on the body, their prime locations are the hands, back, legs, and arms. People with eczema suffer from a damaged skin barrier that has difficulty retaining moisture. This leads to the chronically dry skin associated with eczema and the accompanying itchiness. If relentless scratching causes the skin to crack or bleed, an infection may result and finally scars can set in.
If you suspect your eczema is infected, speak to a medical professional immediately. Intense scratching over long periods can also cause the skin to develop a thickened, leathery texture. This is known as lichenification.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for eczema. Still, there are thankfully ways to control and manage symptoms to lead a happier and healthier life. If you are unsure whether or not you have eczema, please speak to a medical professional. Your doctor or dermatologist will be able to help you determine what the cause of your itchy skin is.
What Causes Eczema?
According to WebMD, researchers aren't exactly sure what causes this chronic skin disease. That being said, it's believed to be linked to both environmental and genetic factors. Some of the most common eczema triggers include sweat, stress, pet fur, mold, pollen, and contact with irritating fabrics such as polyester, latex, nylon, and spandex. Even the foods you eat can trigger flare-ups. Because people with eczema have sensitive skin, a reaction is more likely to develop after contact with chemicals or irritants found in makeup, beauty, or cleaning products. This is why we want to reiterate just how important it is to choose natural products free from these ingredients. Finally, bear in mind that triggers vary from person to person, and what may cause a flare-up in one person may not do the same for you.
The Dangers of the Itch-Scratch Cycle
If you suffer from itchy skin, you're likely very familiar with the vicious itch-scratch cycle. Unfortunately, the natural reaction to relieve itchy skin is to scratch. Even though you know this probably isn't the best thing to do, you automatically do it. As you can imagine, scratching only increases inflammation, potentially damages or scars the skin, and can even lead to bleeding or infection. And let's not forget that scratching only provides temporary relief. Your skin will likely feel even itchier after scratching!
So why is it so hard to stop scratching? Let's take a closer look at how the itch-scratch cycle works. When your skin itches, you seek to relieve the irritation by scratching it. But this does more harm than good. Rather than reducing the itch, your itchy symptoms get worse. WebMD states that scratching triggers mild pain in your skin. When your brain is alerted that something hurts, it's temporarily distracted from the itch. But once the pain subsides, your skin will feel even itchier. And so the itch-scratch cycle begins!
It's not all doom and gloom. It's possible to break the itch-scratch cycle, but it can take a lot of conscious effort and willpower. You might also need a variety of natural remedies to relieve your skin!
Itchy Skin at Home Remedies
Let's explore how you can care for your skin, reduce itchy symptoms safely, and improve your overall skin health using natural at-home remedies.
Relax in a Colloidal Oatmeal Bath
Does relaxing in a colloidal oatmeal bath sound nice? We hope so! Indulging in a home spa treatment is a gentle way to care for your itchy skin. We love using colloidal oatmeal because it's rich in beta-glucans and improves skin health, reduces inflammation, and relieves itchiness. Many people who suffer from eczema benefit from colloidal oatmeal. It also helps to smooth skin roughness and reduce flakiness. This is thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties. Not to be confused with breakfast cereal, colloidal oatmeal is finely ground oatmeal that can easily dissolve in water.
To benefit from this at-home treatment, start by grinding 2-3 cups of colloidal oatmeal in a coffee grinder or food processor. Pour the colloidal oatmeal into the bath as the water is filling. We recommend using lukewarm water as hot water can feel good at the moment but has a drying effect on your skin. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the soothing effect colloidal oatmeal has on your itchy skin.
Does Baking Soda Help Itchy Skin?
If an oatmeal bath isn't your thing, maybe you'll prefer a baking soda bath instead. A baking soda bath is a natural and healthier alternative to a bleach bath. Not only can baking soda help relieve itchy skin and reduce discomfort, but it can also help balance the skin's pH levels, reduce skin inflammation, and decrease the presence of harmful bacteria. One of the best things about a baking soda bath is that it's so easy to do since you probably already have baking soda in the house. If not, baking soda can be found in most shops, so it's easy to find.
We recommend using ½ to 1 cup of baking soda. For children, we suggest using ¼ cup. When bathing, remember to use lukewarm water and be sure to pat the skin with a towel when finished, as rough scrubbing can further irritate your skin. We recommend soaking your skin in baking soda water for approximately 40 minutes.
Coconut Oil and Itchy Skin
Coconut oil can help improve skin health in many ways. Many people use this tropical fruit to relieve dry skin and soothe itchy skin. You can also use coconut oil to help reduce the risk of infection, especially if scratching causes the skin to crack or bleed. It's truly perfect for treating dry skin or managing itchy symptoms of skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. You can apply coconut oil directly to itchy skin, or you can draw up a coconut oil bath.
The Cooling Effect of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a natural remedy that has actually been used to treat a variety of skin conditions for hundreds of years. The gel from its leaves is potent, containing over 74 different nutrients that improve overall skin health. If you've ever suffered from a bad sunburn, you've probably already benefited from the healing powers of aloe vera. It can also help reduce inflammation, provide a boost of hydration, and soothe skin pain. You can put a dab of aloe vera directly on the skin by cutting an aloe leaf and squeezing out the gel. Alternatively, it is a popular ingredient in many natural skin care products.
The Best Moisturizer to Soothe Itching
To soothe itchy skin, we recommend you try our best-selling Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream. This oil-based balm is made with just six ingredients, including the powerful Manuka honey which is more potent than tea tree oil. It's an excellent choice for anyone with sensitive skin and does not burn or sting. Because it's made with 100% natural ingredients, it's gentle enough to use on delicate areas like the eyelids and lips.
Dry Wrap Therapy
One of our favorite at-home remedies for relieving itchy skin is dry wrap therapy. This is an effective at-home treatment that provides a much-needed boost of moisture to the areas you need it most. The process is simple: apply a natural cream to the affected area and cover it with a wet piece of clothing such as these hypoallergenic bandages from Remedywear™. To allow the emollient to better permeate the skin, cover the wet layer with a dry layer. Leave the wraps on overnight or for a minimum of two hours. Once removed, apply another layer of moisturizer. For full body treatment, check out our Remedywear™ shirts for adults and kids and pants for adults and kids.
You are now equipped with the top remedies for itchy skin. Which one will you try first?