Itching is an unpleasant and sometimes painful sensation that makes you want to scratch all the time. Itchy skin is known as pruritus. It can be localized or spread over a large area or even the whole body. Most often, the skin is red, rough, with small pimples, bumps, or blisters, which trigger the itching. However, itching can also occur on healthy skin for no apparent reason.
Itching can be a simple matter of dry skin, but it can also be a symptom of more serious diseases. To find out more, the doctor will conduct an interview and a thorough examination to determine the cause of the itching. He or she may also prescribe additional tests to refine the diagnosis, such as blood tests, allergy tests or skin samples, or refer you to a specialist dermatologist. Once you know found out the nature of your itchy skin, do your best to use natural home remedies instead of quimical medicnes: Natural itch Relief.
Broadly speaking, there are two categories of itching:
– localised itching, i.e. affecting only a limited part of the skin
– generalized itching, involving the entire skin surface.
Possible causes of your itching
The skin is an organ that reacts to our inner state and to the outside world. This sentinel alerts us to our physical state and sometimes even reflects our emotions. Skin diseases can make you feel like scratching your legs, back, chest and sometimes even your face. It depends on the cause of the itching. Viral diseases such as chickenpox, or parasitic diseases such as scabies, can also cause itching.
Itchy skin can have different causes and can affect any part of the body, including the back, face, legs, arms, etc. Here is an overview of what can cause itching:
- a dermatological pathology such as eczema, psoriasis or urticaria. The itching is then accompanied by red patches on the skin.
- Overly dry, reactive and atopic skin, which can sometimes lead to red patches on the body without itching;
- an infectious pathology such as scabies, which causes itching in the interstices of the fingers, for example;
- an insect bite (flea, mosquito, etc.) or plant bite (nettle);
- an allergic reaction caused by a cream, medicine, food or chemical product;
- a psychological cause (stress, jitters, etc.) or a state of fatigue (pregnancy, etc.).
- Internal or external haemorrhoids can cause itching in the anal area.
- Itching can be related to an underlying condition, i.e. an illness you have that triggers itching, such as shingles.
By treating the condition, the itching will disappear.
Itching of the genitals
You can also have itching in the genitals, such as :
- Anal itching (haemorrhoids, fissures, fungus…);
- Itching of the pubic area;
- Itching of the vulva (mycosis or other genital disease such as bacterial vaginosis).
In this case, an appropriate local treatment and intimate hygiene rules are necessary. You should consult your doctor or midwife.
What are the solutions to relieve itching?
If you are prone to itching, try to prevent itching and dry skin by moisturising your skin. There are many milks, creams and ointments available in pharmacies and drugstores for the daily care of dry skin. Avoid, for example, perfumed and overly detergent bath and shower products.
When the skin itches, the first reflex is to scratch. But beyond providing relief for a limited period of time, scratching can aggravate itching and lead to a risk of superinfection, particularly with staphylococcus aureus – this is called impetigo. The more a person scratches, the more likely they are to expose their skin to germs. It is advisable to use appropriate treatments, or at least to relieve yourself with the palm of your hand (not with your nails) and to keep your nails short and clean, especially in the case of young children.
The itching and associated physical consequences (redness, pimples, blisters, etc.) can also be embarrassing and have a psychological impact on the sufferer. Persistent itch can be deeply disabling.
You should also do:
- As itching is a sign of many diseases, do not hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice, especially if it is intense, extensive or persistent.
- If you are allergic, avoid, if possible, the substance responsible (food, cosmetics, medication).
- If you have dry skin, do not take long baths or showers too often, especially when using soap. Apply a daily moisturiser all over your body, paying particular attention to the areas of your skin that itch: face, legs, hands, feet, etc.
- Avoid scratching, especially if the itch is accompanied by pimples. You may be left with scars. In addition, scratching prolongs and worsens the local reaction.
- If the urge to scratch is irresistible, rub the itchy area with the palm of your hand. This has the same effect as scratching, but does not damage the skin and does not keep the itch alive.
- Limit the use of scented skin care products.
- Cut your nails short and file them to prevent your nails from causing scratching injuries.
Which plants to relieve dry skin?
Certain plants with emollient (relaxing and soothing) or moisturising properties can be applied to relieve the irritation and itching of dry skin. They come in the form of baths, oils or creams.
Herbs for treating the effects of menopause do not claim to have an effect on dry skin in postmenopausal women.
- OATS TO RELIEVE DRY SKIN
Oat stalks are traditionally used in emollient baths to relieve irritation and itching. It is advisable to prepare a decoction (100 g of oatmeal, leaves or stalks in one litre of water for twenty minutes), filter it and mix it with the water of a bath. You can also put 60 g of oatmeal directly into the bath.
- OTHER PLANTS TO RELIEVE DRY SKIN
Calendula is used in many cosmetic products to relieve skin irritation and inflammation. Because of its moisturising properties, aloe vera gel is also suggested for relieving itching.
- VEGETABLE OILS TO RELIEVE DRY SKIN
Omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids are fundamental constituents of cell membranes.
Enriching one’s diet with oils extracted from certain plants such as borage (Borrago officinalis), evening primrose (Œnothera biennis) or grape seeds, which are particularly rich in omega-6 fatty acids, is reputed to play a beneficial role in treating dry skin. However, in 2012, European health authorities banned food supplements containing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, omega-6) from claiming to maintain suppleness, hydration or good skin condition, or to relieve skin irritation, due to a lack of convincing evidence of its effectiveness.
Itchy skin during pregnancy
Many women complain of itching during pregnancy, especially at night. This itching can have various causes.
In most cases, dryness of the skin is the cause of the itching, which is often more intense in the area of stretch marks. The new hormonal balance of pregnancy tends to reduce sebum secretion, especially in the last trimester. In this case, the daily application of moisturising milk relieves the symptoms.
More rarely, itching may be due to a malfunctioning liver. Bile acids accumulate under the skin and cause the itching, which often starts on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. This itching most often occurs in the last trimester and warrants a consultation with a gynaecologist. This is because it can be a sign of gestational cholestasis (an accumulation of bile) which can increase the risk of premature delivery. Specific treatment and more frequent monitoring are then necessary.
Itching stops spontaneously within a few days of delivery, but a woman who has suffered from itching during pregnancy has a higher risk of suffering from itching again during a subsequent pregnancy.