We have all experienced the urge to scratch, a sensation that is usually very hard to resist. Whether it’s all over your body or confined to a specific body part, itchy skin is an uncomfortable, but common, symptom for a number of health conditions. If you have itchy skin, listen to your body and talk to your doctor about your symptoms. For those instances that do not require medical attention, here are five ways you can reduce itch without medication:
- Keep Your Skin Clean – Did you know that harsh soap and cleansers can wreak havoc on your skin, stripping it of essential moisture and natural oil? As the outer layer of your skin loses moisture, your skin becomes sensitive to harsh irritants such as fragrances, house cleaners, harsh weather conditions, etc. If you are experiencing itch, consider using low-pH balanced products, and, for more sensitive skin, try to avoid perfumes and dyes, including laundry and dish detergents.
- Stay Hydrated – The easiest way to improve your skin is to increase your daily water intake. Experts recommend drinking at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day to remain hydrated. Drinking enough water not only reduces itchy skin symptoms but also improves overall health.
- Moisturize Your Skin – Using a topical moisturizer can help keep your skin moist, which is crucial to reducing irritation and redness. Look for moisturizers that contain ingredients such as shea butter, dimethicone and ceramides.
- Eat Healthy Fats – Low-fat diets can often impact the amount of natural oils needed to keep your skin moisturized from within. Talk to your physician about the types of fats that are good for maintaining healthy skin to ensure you are making the right dietary choices to meet your specific needs.
- Reduce Stress – Research shows that stress can aggravate itch. Yoga and exercise, meditation, and/or counseling and therapy are excellent ways to relieve stress and its physical manifestations.
American Skin Association. Dry Skin. 2012. http://www.americanskin.org/resource/dryskin.php.
WebMD. Why is it important to drink enough water? 2014. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/drinking-enough-water-topic-overview.
National Psoriasis Foundation. Stress and psoriatic disease. 2015. https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/stress.
Photo credit: Tanya
“Every day my patients ask me how they can prevent wrinkles and brown spots. My advice is to first and foremost protect yourself from the sun and UV rays.” –Dr. Gigler