For some people, hitting the shower brings with it an uncomfortable side effect: pesky, persistent itching.

Itching after you take a bath or shower isn’t uncommon. It can be caused by dry skin or other skin conditions. Keep reading to find out what’s causing your skin to itch after showering.

There are several culprits that could be the cause of your post-shower itchy skin. Some are more common than others.

Xerosis cutis

“Xerosis cutis” simply means that your skin is too dry. Soaking your skin in hot water for extended periods of time can strip your skin of its natural oils, irritating skin that already lacks moisture. Sometimes that results in itching after a shower.

The itching may mostly happen on your feet or legs because those parts of your body have so much contact with the water.

Soap sensitivities

It’s possible that the soap you’re using is drying out your skin as it cleans. A harsh soap may not always leave a rash that you can see, but it can leave a lasting itch after your shower is over. Failing to wash all the soap residue off your skin after a shower can also be a source of itching and discomfort.

Aquagenic pruritus

With this condition, your nervous system can be activated by water on your skin. As a result, you get itchy after a shower or bath. This condition is rare, and if you have it, you probably already know.

Aquagenic pruritis causes immense itching after any contact with water, including washing your hands, and going into the pool.

If your itching is persistent after a shower, you may want to consider using a home remedy as a treatment. Below are some ways you can prevent itching or treat it if it happens:

  • Pat dry instead of toweling off. Rubbing your skin with a towel after a shower can strip your skin of moisture. Don’t try to remove every water droplet from your skin. Instead, pat your skin dry with your towel after washing off.
  • Moisturize your skin while it’s still wet. Applying moisturizer while your skin is just a bit damp will help to lock moisture into your skin barrier. Opt for a fragrance-free hypoallergenic moisturizer. Consider using one that’s “oil-free” if you have acne-prone skin. For an added cooling benefit, store your moisturizer in the fridge before applying it.
  • Switch your soaps. If you’re having recurrent itching without a rash after you shower, maybe it’s time to switch soaps. Look for a soap with mild, hypo-allergenic ingredients. Moisturizing soap has been found to have a positive effect on reducing the symptoms of dry skin.
  • Change your shower routine. If you take long, steamy showers, you may be leaving your skin parched. Taking shorter showers that aren’t too hot, and that quickly taper off to a lukewarm temperature, may give you skin that’s healthier and less itchy.
  • Try a cooling agent after showering. The American Academy of Dermatologists recommends using menthol or calamine lotion at the site of itching and irritation.
  • Anti-itch creams that contain lactic acid may be used to soothe itching from dry skin and to help bind moisture to the skin. Pramoxine hydrochloride is another promising ingredient that has been shown to decrease itching caused by dry skin. Note that over-the-counter creams designed to soothe itching symptoms caused by inflammation, like topical corticosteroids, don’t usually work to address itching caused by skin that’s just dry.
  • Consider essential oils as part of your shower routine. You can use essential oils to prevent or treat itching. Dilute any essential oil that you choose. The oil should be diluted with a soothing carrier oil, such as sweet almond or jojoba oil, before being applied to skin that’s irritated. Peppermint, chamomile, tea tree, and rose geranium all have potential benefits for soothing skin that’s dry and itchy.
  • Drink more water. Being dehydrated can lead to skin that feels dry. In general, make sure that you’re getting eight cups of water (or more!) each day to hydrate your body properly.

Getting itchy after a shower isn’t uncommon. Luckily, simple changes in your shower routine can usually address the underlying issues causing you to feel itchy.

However, if your itching symptoms don’t subside within an hour or two after showering, or if you feel the itching constantly even after trying home remedies, reach out to your doctor.

There are rare cases when itching can be an indication of a serious health condition, like liver disease or Hodgkin’s lymphoma, so don’t ignore symptoms of persistent itching.