That irritating itch

Itching, also known as ‘pruritus,’ can be more than a small annoyance. It can cause a lot of discomfort and may even become a distraction. You may be wondering when itching is serious and how you can cure your itchiness at home.

Your skin can itch for a variety of reasons. For example, you may have touched a certain type of plant, such as ragweed or poison ivy. Psoriasis is a condition that causes scaly, dry skin because of skin cell buildup, as well as itching around the patches of dry skin. Illness, an insect bite, or healing from a burn or cut can also cause you to feel itchy.

Read on for some tips on how to cure that itch.

1. Oatmeal

Colloidal oatmeal isn’t something you eat for breakfast. This type of oatmeal is made from oats that have been ground into a very fine powder. A natural product used in many types of soaps and lotions, it can also be added to a cool bath.

One 2012 study found that this product is safe and helps treat itchiness from any variety of causes. You can find colloidal oatmeal at many pharmacies, or make your own by grinding oats into a fine powder.

Buy colloidal oatmeal online today.

2. Leaf gels

Try a plant-based product like aloe vera gel or cooling menthol for simple itches caused by sunburns or mosquito bites.

Menthol, which produces a cooling effect, is made from the peppermint plant. Topical menthol should be used with caution due to the possibility of it being an irritant to the skin if not diluted. Both of these products can be purchased at most drug stores.

Shop for aloe vera gel and topical menthol.

3. High-quality moisturizers

Good quality moisturizers hold water in the outermost layer of your skin. This can help your skin feel hydrated and less dry and itchy.

Examples of high-quality moisturizers include brands like Eucerin and Cetaphil. Find them online now.

4. Be cool

The Mayo Clinic recommends a simple solution for mosquito bites: a cold pack or a bag filled with ice. The key, as you might have noticed, is cold. Avoid exposing the affected area to hot water as much as possible. It will only irritate the itching skin more.

5. Antihistamines

Histamines are chemicals in the body that cause allergy symptoms, including itching. An antihistamine is a common treatment for allergic reactions. However, many antihistamine drugs will make you sleepy, so they’re best used before bed.

One study from 1996 recommends applying topical antihistamines directly to the affected area to avoid side effects associated with oral antihistamines.

6. Hydrocortisone

An anti-itch cream is another common way to soothe itchy skin. Get an anti-itch cream that contains at least 1 percent hydrocortisone. This drug inhibits inflammatory responses in the body and can help calm inflamed, itchy skin.

Anti-itch creams are available over-the-counter. Shop for hydrocortisone cream.

7. Antidepressants?

According to some studies, antidepressants might be able to help with itching, too. Some of these drugs cause a release of serotonin that can relax the receptors in your body that provoke the itchy feeling. This treatment is typically used in more chronic cases of itching.

8. Stop scratching!

When you have an itch, scratching is the natural response. But it won’t help the problem. In fact, it may tear up the skin and prevent it from healing. It may even cause infection.

Try extra hard not to scratch your skin. Wear comfortable clothes that don’t irritate the skin and keep your fingernails properly trimmed.

When is itching a serious problem?

Regardless of the cause, schedule an appointment with your doctor if you’re itching consistently for three or more days.

While itching usually doesn’t indicate a serious problem, general itchiness all over can sometimes be a sign of a serious condition, including thyroid, kidney, or liver disease, or even cancer.

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe itchiness without any bites, wounds, or rash.

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