Dry Itchy Skin
Continued Skip the Scented Soap Deodorant bath soaps can leave you smelling great, but their ingredients actually strip moisture from your skin. That can trigger your urge to itch. It’s best to limit using such soaps to body areas prone to odor, such as the armpits, feet, and groin area. For other parts of your body, choose a mild cleanser. If you are prone to dry skin, unscented bath soaps or those labeled “for sensitive skin” are the best choices for lathering up in the bath or shower. Fragrant soaps and body washes can also lead to dry skin and itchiness. Some people develop dry, itchy skin when they come in contact with certain perfumes or dyes found in these soaps, detergents, and many other products. If you avoid such irritants, you can often prevent skin discomfort. That goes for laundry detergent too. Avoid perfumed or scented detergents and fabric softeners. Detergent names or labels often contain the word “free” to indicate they do not contain perfumes or dyes. Other Tips for Preventing Dry Skin Do not use cleansing toners, colognes, body mists and splashes, aftershaves, or similar products that contain alcohol. Alcohol dries out skin. Avoid coarse, scratchy, or rough fabrics, such as wool, which can make skin feel itchy. Choose softer fabrics, like 100% cotton or silk. Keep this in mind when choosing bedding as well. Dry air and low-humidity can pull water from your skin. Running a humidifier in your home, particularly when you have the heat on, can restore moisture to the air. Aim for a humidity level of about 45% to 55%. Treating Dry, Itchy Skin If dry skin has left you with small, itchy areas on your body, an over-the-counter anti-itch cream or ointment containing 1% hydrocortisone may offer some relief. Hydrocortisone is a type of steroid medicine that helps reduce itching, redness, and swelling. If you have extreme itchiness, see a doctor. You may need a prescription for a stronger type of hydrocortisone or other steroid. Your doctor may refer to these products as topical corticosteroids. Topical means you put it on your skin.
Dry Itchy Skin
Got dry, itchy skin? Quench it properly and you could prevent the itch. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize If you have dry skin, you should moisturize daily. Do it right after you shower, bathe, or wash your hands, while your skin is still damp. If you can tolerate the greasy feeling, choose a moisturizer that is thick, heavy, and gooey. Skin care experts say ointments (called emollients), such as petroleum jelly, are best. They help seal the skin and prevent water loss. But their greasy feel may be a turn-off for some people. Creams are the next best bet. Lotions are not quite as effective but often feel far better than creams and ointments on your skin. These products are mainly water-based, and the water quickly evaporates when applied to the skin. The moisturizer should be free of dyes, fragrances, and other possible irritants. Make sure the label says the product is hypoallergenic. This means the moisturizer is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, which can make you itch more. If a skin cream or ointment isn’t handy, check your kitchen cupboard for a quick fix. Cooking oils and shortening can work just as well as commercial moisturizers and are likely to be less expensive. They are, though, messy. Frequent hand washing can often lead to dry skin. Place a tube of hand moisturizer (ointment or cream) next to the sink so it is within reach each time you wash your hands. Take Shorter Showers Bathing or showering too often strips the natural oils from your skin, causing it to become dry. Hot water also robs your skin of moisture. If you have dry skin, try these tips: Use cool or lukewarm water only while showering or bathing. Limit showers to 10 minutes maximum. Do not bathe more than once a day. Add baby oil or oatmeal soaks to your bath to help relieve itching. If you use oil, be extremely careful to avoid slipping when you get out of the tub. (Don’t forget, you still need to use moisturizer when you are finished bathing.) Gently pat yourself dry with a towel and avoid vigorous rubbing.
Dry Itchy Skin
Milk and Honey Pour some milk into a bowl, dip a clean white washcloth into the milk and apply it to the dry itchy skin patch for 5 minutes. Milk has anti-inflammatory properties that often remove the itch from dry skin. Milk is very soothing to inflamed, dry, itchy skin. A milk bath once in a month can also help. OR Lightly heat 2 teaspoons of honey and apply it to skin while warm. Leave it on for 15 minutes, and then wash it off. Honey helps lock in moisture, has antioxidant and anti-microbial properties, which is why it’s found in so many over-the-counter skincare products.
Dry Itchy Skin
For other parts of your body, choose a mild cleanser. If you are prone to dry skin, unscented bath soaps or those labeled “for sensitive skin” are the best choices for lathering up in the bath or shower. Fragrant soaps and body washes can also lead to dry skin and itchiness. Some people develop dry, itchy skin when they come in contact with certain perfumes or dyes found in these soaps, detergents, and many other products. If you avoid such irritants, you can often prevent skin discomfort. That goes for laundry detergent too. Avoid perfumed or scented detergents and fabric softeners. Detergent names or labels often contain the word “free” to indicate they do not contain perfumes or dyes.
Dry skin is defined as flaking or scaling–which may or may not be itchy–when there is no evidence of dermatitis, or inflammation, of the skin. Flaking, however, may be a sign of underlying dermatitis (which also is called eczema). There are different types of dermatitis that may cause dry, itchy, flaking skin. They include:
Dry skin may be mimicked by a genetic condition called ichthyosis. There are many types of ichthyosis. Ichthyosis vulgaris is the most common type and it is a severe scaly skin condition, often of the front of the lower legs. This is not really dry skin, but rather scaly skin caused by the failure of old skin to slough propperly. Ichthyosis vulgaris causes dry, fishlike scales. This type of ichthyosis tends to run in families. Dry skin is also more common in atopic dermatitis, which is thought to have a genetic component.
Coconut Oil The driest of the dry itchy skin in winter usually occurs on the heels, hands and elbows. An overnight spot treatment on these skin areas with coconut oil can result in much improvement by the next morning. Soak in a lukewarm bath until your fingers shrivel, this indicates that the skin is full hydrated. Pat skin dry, but leave slightly damp. Put a thick layer of coconut oil on heels, hands and elbows, covering the greased areas with socks, gloves and long sleeved pajama top, and go to bed. You should have a restful itch-free night of sleep and improved skin in the morning.
Winter itch is a common name for the skin symptom of generalized itching in the winter. It is primarily caused by dry skin and is most common in the elderly. Winter itch caused by dry skin may also be seen in those with a history of eczema. External factors, including cold temperatures, low humidity, and the use of central heat, tend to worsen dry skin during the winter season. Therefore, some people refer the condition of dry skin in the winter as “winter itch.”
Dry skin itches because it is irritated easily. If your skin is very dry and itchy, see a doctor. Dry skin and itching can affect your sleep, cause irritability, or be a symptom of a disease. For example, diabetes and kidney disease can cause itching. Some medicines make the itchiness worse.
Essential Oils There are many good essential oils with anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that have the ability to give relief to itchy skin and alleviate irritations. (I’ve been using LOTS of Lavender lately!) You can add them to your bath water or apply directly on your skin. Just make sure to follow the dosage recommendations exactly as directed on the package. The following are some of the best essential oils for itchy skin: Agrimony oil, Basil oil, Bay leaf oil, Calendula oil, Chamomile oil, Chickweed oil, Clove oil, Geranium oil, Jewelweed oil, Lavender oil, Neem oil, Nettle oil, Peppermint oil, Rosemary oil, Thyme oil
You may have itchy skin over certain small areas, such as on an arm or leg, or over your whole body. Itchy skin can occur without any other noticeable changes on the skin. Or it may be associated with:
Many older people suffer from dry skin, particularly on their lower legs, elbows, and forearms. The skin feels rough and scaly and often is accompanied by a distressing, intense itchiness. Low humidity — caused by overheating during the winter and air conditioning during the summer — contributes to dryness and itching. The loss of sweat and oil glands as you age also may worsen dry skin. Anything that further dries your skin — such as overuse of soaps, antiperspirants, perfumes, or hot baths — will make the problem worse. Dehydration, sun exposure, smoking, and stress also may cause dry skin.