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7 Best Home Remedies to Soothe Itchy Skin – How to Relieve Itching – Prevention.com


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Itchy skin doesn't always require a run to the drugstore. Home remedies for itchy skin can help you quit scratching too.

Generally speaking, the key to soothing an itch is getting rid of whats causing it in the first place, says Melanie Grossman, M.D., a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, whether that means treating your apartment for bed bugs (ugh), stripping off that irritating wool sweater, or getting treatment for an underlying condition (of which there are many).

Just remember: While itching is usually easy to treat (thank you, moisturizer!), if you try a couple of home remedies for itchy skin and youre still scratching, see a dermatologist, says Alix J. Charles, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Youll want to rule out a skin condition like psoriasis or eczemaor complications from pregnancy or diabetes. And if you have blisters, sores, or ulcers, head for help sooner rather than later.

Find relief ASAP with these dermatologist-approved home remedies:

This one is simple: If youre itchy, changing your clothes can make a big difference. Heat, irritating fabrics (scratchy leggings), and detergent or fabric softener clinging to your clothes can cause or worsen itchy skin, says Dr. Grossman. Letting your skin breathe can reduce the intensity of that must-scratch feeling.

A hot shower isnt always a cure-all: Heat and water exposure dial up the itch factor from mosquito bites, peeling sunburn, and dry skin alike by further drying out your skin, making it feel worse in the long-run.

A cold compress, on the other hand? The cold (and the anti-inflammatory benefits that come with it) can help relieve an itch. Aim for 10- to 15-minute icing sessions until your itch is resolved, suggests Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entire Dermatology.

A short-term solution for bug bites: Press an ice cube to your most bothersome hot spots, suggests Dr. Grossman.

Think about it: Do you ever moisturize? Many people dont, says Dr. Charles. If your skin is dry, itchy, and perhaps even a bit scaly-looking, it might just be super parched (which, yep, triggers an itch). Lather up every day with a body lotion or moisturizer free of additives, fragrances, and perfumes, per the AAD. (We love CeraVes Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion, which is free of steroids and fragrances.)

Pro tip: Keep some in a jar in your fridge and put it on for a one-two punch of coolness and moisture, suggests board-certified dermatologist Lauren Ploch, M.D., fellow of the AAD.

Over-the-counter lotions, gels, and creams with ingredients like menthol, camphor, calamine, and aloe vera make for great natural remedies to spot-treat itchy skin, says Dr. Charles.

If youre dealing with milder itchy skin issues like bug bites, a rash from poison ivy, or peeling sunburn, all of the above ingredients can help soothe your skin and relieve the need to scratch, which can actually aggravate the irritated area and increase your risk of infection.

Sure, an oatmeal soak is far less luxurious than a steamy bubble bath, but it might help soothe your itchy skin, says Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin.

Colloidal oatmeal (a.k.a. finely-ground oats) has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities that can rehydrate your skin and dial down the intensity of an itch, per a small study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.

Not a fan of baths? Colloidal oatmeal is also available in a number of OTC creams and lotions, like Aveenos Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion.

LOTION

CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion

OATMEAL SOAK

Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment with Colloidal Oatmeal

ANTIHISTAMINE

Allegra Adult 24 Hour Allergy Tablets

HYDROCORTISONE

Cortizone 10 Maximum Strength Anti-Itch Ointment

When your body comes into contact with any number of irritants (think: allergens, plants like poison ivy and oak, or insect bites), it reacts by releasing histamine, a compound that results in hives, rashes, and itchy skin.

In this case, taking an antihistamine can be a great way to treat your itchy skin at home, says Dr. Grossman. For mild to moderate cases (as in, you dont have full-body hives or other symptoms like trouble breathing), try an OTC medication like Allegra or Zyrtec, suggests Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin.

Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help the itch that comes along with many common skin conditions, says Dr. Charles. Look for an anti-itch cream with at least 1% hydrocortisone to calm a must-scratch sensation, like this one from Cortizone 10.

Just note: If a week passes and youre still itching, stop using the cream and make an appointment with a dermatologist for a proper ID and treatment, per the National Institutes of Health.

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7 Best Home Remedies to Soothe Itchy Skin - How to Relieve Itching - Prevention.com

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