There are many reasons that you may have itchy skin, some of them could be quite serious. When itching is accompanied by difficulty in breathing with swelling of the face or tongue the itching my be do to an allergic reaction and anaphylaxis, which is a life threatening emergency. Seek immediate medical care, call 911 immediately.
For normal itching associated with dry skin, contact dermatitis, eczema, menopause, pregnancy and sun-burn there are a few simple remedies. When you itch at night and can’t sleep, you need help. For the extreme itch of poison ivy and bug bites see the special sections below.
• Ice packs, you can put ice cubes in a zip lock bag or use a frozen bag of peas.
• Cool showers or running cool water over affected area. A cool bath using products that contain colloidal oatmeal (available over-the-counter) have helped me a lot. Also adding baking soda can help. Do not use hot water, it may feel good for a while, but will only dry out your skin.
• Avoid soaps and harsh cleansers. My dermatologist recommends Dove for Sensitive Skin. I have tested Dr. Bronner’s Organic Soap and found it very soothing to my skin. If you are allergic to perfume try Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby soap, or I like his almond scented soap.
• Apply a rich moisturizer to your skin while it is still damp from your bath or shower. You should try not to bathe more than once a day, so your skin doesn’t dry out. But I find that not bathing every day causes more itching with the build-up of dry skin.
• Wear loose comfortable clothes in natural fabrics. Choose clothes that are soft and not highly colored.
• Anti-itch over-the-counter creams can help. Try creams containing: Pramoxine, Phenol, menthol, chamomile lotion or camphor. I have to admit, all of these help me for only a short time, then increase the itching. Benzocain (Solarcaine) can be applied every few minutes to deaden the nerve endings.
• For itching caused by allergies a non-sedating antihistamine may help. Loratidine (Claritin), Fexofenadine (Allegra) and my favorite, cetirizine hydrochloride (Zyrtec).
• Aloe Vera is used by many for itching. I seem to be allergic to it, Aloe Vera always causes my skin to become inflamed.
For insect bites:
• Make a paste of baking soda and household ammonia • Cider vinegar • Toothpaste • Mouthwash • A wet aspirin held over the bite • Underarm deodorant • The inside skin of a banana
• Use meat tenderizer, baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice and rubbing alcohol and ice wrapped in fabric.
I have written about remedies for Poison Ivy in my blog. Here is the link: http://wp.me/pL8NX-3v
Visit my Skin Allergy Comfort Products store for products I recommend. If you have any other remedies that work for you, leave a comment below.