Known medically as ‘Pruritis’, itchy skin can result from something as mundane as winter dry skin, an insect bite, or as a byproduct of conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Stress and anxiety are also major culprits behind persistently itchy skin. Regardless of the cause, one thing is for certain: all itches are annoying. Read on for 8 natural remedies-some well-known, others relatively newer-to keep that itch under control:
This natural cure-all neutralizes acids and eliminates harmful bacteria present on the skin’s surface, hence balancing the pH levels for a cleaner, itch-free skin. For body-wide itches, add 1 cup baking soda to your daily bathwater, soak for 30-60 minutes, then gently pat (don’t rub) your skin dry.
For localized itching, apply a paste of 1-part water and 3 parts baking soda, leave on for a few minutes, and rinse with cool-lukewarm water.
Not to be mistaken for breakfast oatmeal, colloidal oatmeal is oats ground into a very fine powder. The anti-inflammatory avenanthramides found in colloidal oatmeal make it a popular ingredient for most soaps and lotions.
Itchy skin due to reactions to cleaning products or sunburn can be soothed by adding 2 cups oatmeal into a lukewarm bath and soaking in it for 30-60 minutes. For added benefits, gently scrub the oatmeal directly over the itchy areas to cool and soothe.
Best for sunburns, mosquito bites, eczema, and psoriasis, the menthol in aloe vera gel cools, hydrates, and forms a protective layer that blocks impurities like dust and bacteria from entering the skin pores.
Simply slice a piece of aloe leaf, squeeze out the gel, and apply directly over itchy patches. In case of irritation, dilute the gel with water before use. It may also leave the skin feeling tight, so apply moisturizer after rinsing the gel.
4-Water and Ice:
Since the sensations for ‘cold’ and ‘itchiness’ travel along the same nerve fibers, exposing itchy patches to cold water and ice can stop the nerve-action and eliminate itchiness.
So, while hot water may be temporarily soothing, it only irritates the skin and further amplifies the itching. Instead, use cool water for bathing and rinsing, and apply ice-packs over the affected areas for long-term soothing.
Highly effective for the more serious eczema and psoriasis-induced itches, beeswax combined with the soothing, anti-inflammatory properties of honey and olive oil can provide prolonged itch-relief.
Melt beeswax in a pan over low heat with occasional stirring, mix in equal parts raw honey and extra virgin olive oil, and stir until the mixture is blended. While it’s still warm, pour into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Apply the refrigerated mix daily over the affected patches. However, make sure to keep the mixture no longer than 3 months to avoid risking spoilage and a possible reaction.
For itchiness caused by dry skin, utilize the anti-inflammatory properties of milk by pouring it into a bowl, dipping in a clean washcloth, and applying it directly over itchy patches for 5 minutes. Repeat daily and consider a milk bath once a month for body-wide itch-relief and moisturization.
The anesthetic action of eugenol, thymol, and camphor present in basil leaves eliminates itching by removing bacteria and reducing inflammation. For direct application, gently scrub the leaves over itchy areas, or grind them and apply the paste instead.
Alternatively, make basil tea by adding ½ ounce dried basil leaves to 1-pint (0.57 liters) boiling water, cover and let simmer. After a few minutes, take off the flame and allow to cool. Dip in a clean washcloth and apply over itchy patches.
8-Some Common Sense:
- Avoid scratching at all costs. It only interrupts healing and increases exposure to dirt and harmful bacteria by tearing up the skin.
- Drink lots of water for an inside-out cleanse, as adequate hydration keeps the skin moist and dryness-free.
- Wear loose cotton clothes to avoid irritating inflamed, itchy skin.
While itching isn’t usually a cause for medical concern, consult with your doctor immediately if it is body-wide, starts suddenly without explanation, persists for over 4 days, is severe, does not improve with self-care, has turned into scarring or an infection, and/or is accompanied by fatigue, weight loss, or fever; as it may indicate thyroid, kidney, and liver disease, or even cancer.
You can also book an appointment with a top Dermatologist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your dermal concerns.
About the Writer:
Yashfa Marrium is a freelance writer and health enthusiast. You can reach her at [email protected]