Itchy skin? Why and what to do
Posted by Dana Ramos, author The Skin Regime: Boot Camp for Beautiful Skin on Jul 21, 2017
Itchy skin is one of the most common skin problems, and with summertime bug bites, it can also be dangerous to your health.
An itch that you scratch can lead to mild skin damage and infections, which causes more itching and scratching and then you are off and running on a cycle of worsening skin trouble and itching—so getting the cause of the itch identified and controlled is important.
Let’s address that buggy issue first. This is a big deal to me not only because I don’t like bugs (except ladybugs), but because if there is a mosquito anywhere in the vicinity, it will find me and bite me and give me a terrible itch followed by a bump or scab that leaves a scar on my skin for weeks. I even discovered I can get bites on my legs through pantyhose—no protection provided there! As a result, I keep a small spray of bug repellent in my glove compartment so that if there is even a chance that I will be outdoors, I will have protection.
We also know that mosquitos and ticks carry serious diseases (Lyme being only one of them), so invest in a good repellent. Some all-natural repellents may not have the ability to repel all types of bugs, so do your research and to be on the safe side, go with a strong non-natural repellent, especially if you are in a high-tick area; you’re better off not getting a mosquito or tick-borne disease than worrying about some chemicals on your skin for a short period of time.
If you do get a bug bite—or bee/wasp sting—apply over-the-counter cortisone cream to reduce the itch and inflammation. Alternate this with using some over-the-counter anti-bacterial cream or ointment with “pain relief,” added to it to help prevent the bump from getting infected and to help control itching.
Dry skin is the most common reason for skin itching. Cold, dry weather dehydrates our skin—even children are susceptible—and hot weather is also drying as well as causing us to sweat, which can increase the itch-factor. To prevent or alleviate dry skin, avoid extreme cold or hot water for bathing or showering, and always apply a good moisturizer afterwards.
Some soaps only make dry skin worse, so avoid deodorant soaps which can be drying and switch to a gentle soap like Dudu Osun, with honey and shea butter and natural oils, or the No 15 Clean Soap Bar with Emu Oil—so moisturizing! As for moisturizer, try Pure Virgin Shea Butter after you bathe.
**CEO Jen Comment* Dealing with pregnancy belly stretching and itching? Grab for the Emu oil, then put shea butter on top. *I did this with my 2nd pregnancy and had a much, much easier time with those last months. And bonus, no stretch marks.
Keeping your skin exfoliated can help with itch control, but you want to be gentle—use a rough washcloth on dry, sensitive skin instead of something rough like a loofah. *If you are not sensitive, then go for it! Use the 15% Lactic & Glycolic Body Wash with a puff in your daily showers for ultra smooth and hydrated skin!
Toxic plants like poison ivy and poison sumac can wreak havoc on the skin, so wear long clothing while hiking and wash those clothes thoroughly afterwards—remove the clothing carefully because the plants oils can be on your clothing and get to your hands. If you think you may have brushed up against a poisonous plant, best to use gloves to remove the clothing.
Common allergens such as dust and pollen can make your eyes and skin itch as well. Using over-the-counter products such as eye drops, allergy pills or Benadryl can help, but Benadryl is often known to make a person very sleepy, and some allergy medications shouldn’t be taken with other medications, so ask your doctor or pharmacist for the best recommendations for you.
Some shampoos and soaps can give you an allergic rash that itches, too. I never had an allergy to a single thing, so a few years ago, it was a total mystery when my scalp and neck developed a red rash and began to itch terribly. After a couple of days, I figured it had to be the new “all natural” shampoo I had just switched to: it contained real herbal and floral essences. I stopped using it and the itchy rash disappeared.
If you are on the look out for a great emu oil based natural Shampoo and Conditioner, check out Platinum's other company, The Emu Oil Company, and try their options.
Have you considered that your laundry soap may be an itch-culprit? Try switching to one of the newer dye/perfume/scent free laundry soaps, and make sure you rinse all washed clothing well.
Some people only get product allergies or itching in certain places—like under the arms or between the legs where the skin is more sensitive. Switching to a non-allergy or natural soap can clear that up, as can using a deodorant that has no perfumes, such as Dove Sensitive.
You can also be allergic to certain foods that can cause a rash/itch; pay attention to how your skin reacts to dairy, eggs, gluten, soy, peanuts, acidic foods like tomatoes and oranges, and some spicy foods. Certain foods contain histamine that leads to itching: Red wine, tuna, mackerel, spinach, cheese, eggplant, bell peppers and yeast all contain histamine.
Other symptoms of food allergies can include headaches, skin flushing, a rapid heart rate, wheezing and fainting. Keep in mind that you might not get an itch for a day or so after eating a “trigger food,” so if you suspect a food item might be a problem, keep a food diary and note how you feel in the days after eating foods like those I just listed.
Just a note: You can be allergic to anything, even a food not listed—I once ate a ton of strawberries one day and the next day had a rash. Hmmm—coincidence or Strawberry Conspiracy Theory?
Anxiety and nervousness can cause rashes, hives and itching. Certain medications such as prescription painkillers and antibiotics can give you an itch. Pregnancy is also known to create itchy skin—thanks to hormones. If you have occasional itchy skin that appears during certain stressful times, try a luke-warm bath with special bath soaking soaps like Aveeno, and don’t overlook de-stressing your lifestyle with meditation, yoga, and acupuncture.
When to see a dermatologist for a rash or itch.
Okay, you can’t figure it out and it won’t go away. There could be an underlying medical condition causing the problem and you must rule that out with a blood test and/or allergy test. If a rash or itch lasts more than two weeks, is so severe you can’t sleep, has come on suddenly and severely, affects your entire body, or comes with other symptoms such as fever, fatigue or changes in bowel or urinary functions—don’t wait and make that doctor appointment!
Here’s wishing you a bug-free, itch-free summer!
Where can I buy Dana's Book?
The Skin Regime; Boot Camp for Beautiful Skin, available as a Kindle download or Buy paperback to buy your paperback copy from Platinum Skin Care. You can also read the first chapter--FREE--by click here to read 1st chapter.
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