Here’s the skinny on, well, your skin. As your body’s largest organ, its main job is to act as a barrier, protecting your insides from harmful things that lurk outside.
It contains countless nerve endings that gauge pain, pressure, and temperature and send important information back to your brain. Since you shed dead skin cells day and night — even while you sleep — about every 28 days you get to start fresh with brand-spanking-new skin.
And some of that new skin will become itchy skin.
So what causes it? As you age, the sweat and oil glands that helped naturally moisturize your skin start to dry up, leaving behind those itchy, flaky patches.
You can’t hold back the hands of time, but there are some steps you can take to hold off dry, itchy skin.
Solutions to Itchy Skin
Be cool. Wash your skin with warm or cool water — never hot.
Soak up some softness. Baths are actually less drying to your skin than showers — as long as you use warm water and don’t soak longer than 10 minutes.
Take a break. Try to bathe every other day or even just a few times a week. This will reduce how often you strip the protective oils from your skin.
Heat the air, not the water. Warm-up your bathroom — with a space heater if necessary — so you’ll feel more comfortable bathing in cooler water.
Choose a mild soap. Save the strong, antibacterial deodorant soaps for your underarms, feet, and genital area.
Stop scrubbing. Don’t rub your skin too hard after bathing. In fact, patting or blotting with a soft towel is best.
Moisturize. Pat on some Waxelene Multi-Purpose Ointment right after your bath or shower to lock in moisture.
Avoid the elements. Don’t expose your skin to too much sun, wind, or cold.
Go tropical. Avoid dry air if possible. Keep a humidifier running in your home or office.
Balance your diet. Eat plenty of foods containing vitamins A and C to keep your skin smooth and supple. For vitamin A, choose dark green and orange fruits and vegetables, meat, and dairy products. To get extra vitamin C, eat citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables.
Turn on the tap. Drink lots of water every day — at least three large glasses.
Don’t forget your fingers. Wear gloves when you do housework or dishes to protect your hands from drying chemicals and hot water.
When it comes to natural home solutions you can use to stop itchy skin it’s best to focus on products that have some form of credibility.
The majority of the products listed you can find in your pantry or can be found at your local market.
Calendula for Itchy Skin
This herb, also known as common marigold, has yellow or orange flowers that are a familiar sight in many gardens and flower beds. Calendula essential oil can be mixed with Waxelene Multi-Purpose Ointment and applied to the skin.
Capsaicin for Itchy Skin
If you suffer from psoriasis, you’ll want to try capsaicin cream. Made from the potent ingredient in cayenne pepper, it may surprise you at first with its fiery sensation on your skin. Most people find the long-term benefits are worth any initial discomfort. Capsaicin can be mixed with Waxelene Multi-Purpose Ointment and applied to the skin.
Chamomile for Itchy Skin
A member of the daisy family, chamomile is perhaps most widely used as a soothing herbal tea. But in Germany, chamomile cream was found to be almost as effective as hydrocortisone at healing dermatitis, skin ulcers, and other minor irritations. Chamomile can be mixed with Waxelene Multi-Purpose Ointment and applied to the skin.
Witch hazel for Itchy Skin
If your skin is itchy or inflamed, reach for a bottle of witch hazel. It has been used for years to soothe various skin problems, including dermatitis.
Aloe vera for Itchy Skin
This soothing liquid may have been one of the key ingredients used to preserve ancient Egyptian mummies. Use it fresh or substitute one of the many aloe-based products you’ll find at the drugstore.
Action Items for Itchy Skin
- Soak your troubles away. A relaxing bath may be just the thing to relieve allergic symptoms — just leave out the bubbles and turn down the heat. Instead, mix some oatmeal, baking soda, or vinegar in a tub of cool water to ease the itching.
- Brew a healing pot. Just a few cups of oolong tea may let you say so long to itchy, scaly skin caused by a type of allergic disorder called dermatitis. In a clinical trial, drinking one liter of this Chinese beverage every day improved symptoms within one or two weeks. At the end of a month, two-thirds of those in the study reported relief. Experts believe oolong tea contains certain compounds that block allergic reactions.
- Doctor it with dairy. The uncomfortable itching of poison oak or ivy can ruin the fun of a day outdoors, but you may find relief inside your refrigerator. Make a soothing milk compress by soaking a clean cloth — linen, gauze, and soft flannel are good choices — in cool whole milk. Place it loosely on the affected area for 10 to 20 minutes every hour until your skin feels better. This works well with painful sunburn and other skin conditions, too.
On another note, if you know you’ve been exposed to poison oak or ivy, you can often prevent an itchy rash by following 3 easy steps:
- Wash the exposed areas immediately with soap and cold water. Don’t use warm water. It will just encourage the toxic oils from the plant to seep into your skin.
- Create a baking soda paste. Simply add enough water to some baking soda to make it spread easily. Apply to the affected area. Let the paste harden then wash it off with cold water.
- Apply honey to the exposed areas to soothe your skin and prevent infection.
If you’re still not able to figure out how to stop itchy skin or determine what causes it, visit a dermatologist. He/she can prescribe special creams, ointments, or even an oral antihistamine.
They will also try to find out what’s causing your problem — allergies, a drug reaction, or some other condition.