Itching (Pruritus) on Skin- Causes, Symptoms, Home Remedies and Prevention

Itching-(Pruritus)-on-Skin--Causes,-Symptoms,-Home-Remedies-and-Prevention

What Is An Itch?

An itch is a sensation on the skin that is felt either due to the irritation of the skin or aggravation of the nerves underlying the skin. While the causes of an itch are numerous, they may take serious forms and end up making one feel extremely uncomfortable. In medical terms, an itch is known as pruritus.

What Are The Causes of Itchy Skin?

Some of the common causes of itchy skin include

  • Dry or flaky skin, also known as xerosis will lead to the skin feeling irritated, which eventually causes itching.
  • Rashes on the skin caused due to allergic reactions can lead to skin irritation which also causes itching.
  • Allergic reaction to certain fabrics such as wool and fleece can lead to inflammation of the skin and subsequent itching.
  • Itching can be an internal body reaction to any antibiotics or antifungal medication. Even the use of narcotic drugs can cause itching.
  • Old age makes the skin lose its elasticity and become dry and dehydrated as well. This can cause itching.
  • Environmental factors such as scrubbing your body too much during a bath, frequent baths, heavy air-conditioning etc. can also significantly contribute to itching of the skin.

Signs and Symptoms

While the most common sign or symptom that you will face is itching either in certain parts of your body such as in the arms or legs, you may also experience itching all over your body. There are other accompanying symptoms as well. Some of them include

  1. Redness
  2. The appearance of spots, bumps and blisters
  3. Dry skin that may peel off
  4. The scale-like appearance of the skin

How to Treat Itching Naturally?

1. Holy Basil

Holy Basil

Ingredients

  • 6-8 basil/tulsi leaves

Method

  1. Grind the basil leaves into a thick, consistent paste.
  2. Apply the paste all over the itchy areas of the skin and wash after a few minutes.
  3. You can also scrub the affected parts of your skin with the tulsi leaves directly, or brew the leaves and apply the liquid brew on the skin with a cotton pad.

Benefits

There are many benefits of Basil for the skin. Different kinds of basil contains compounds such as camphor, thymol and eugenol which are anti-inflammatory agents that reduce swelling, itching as well as redness.

How Often to Do

As many times a day to provide instant relief.

2. Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of oatmeal

Method

  1. Add the oatmeal into your bathwater and soak your body in the water for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Then, gently scrub the soaked oatmeal onto the parts of your body that are itchy and irritated.
  3. Rinse and dry.

Benefits

Oatmeal is said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties soothe the skin, providing instant relief against itching.

How Often to Do

Once a day.

3. Baking Soda

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • Warm bath water

Method

  1. Add the baking soda to the bath water and wait until the soda can completely dissolve in the water to form a homogenous solution.
  2. Soak in the water for 15-20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

Benefits

Baking soda is an anti-inflammatory agent that reduces inflammation as well as itching of the skin. Since the soda is alkaline in nature, it helps maintain the pH level of the skin by acting as an acid neutralizer and soothing the skin down.

How Often to Do

Once a day.

Baking soda has a versatile use. Find out how to use baking soda for home cleaning purposes as well.

4. Aloe Vera

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel

Method

  1. Apply the gel directly onto clean skin, concentrating on the affected areas.
  2. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. Rinse with normal water and pat dry.

Benefits

Aloe Vera contains Vitamin E which hydrates the skin and prevents drying and flaking out of the skin. At the same time, it is also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial and can thus cure skin infections that contribute to the itching, to begin with.

How Often to Do

Once a day.

5. Garlic

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic

Method

  1. Add finely minced garlic to a saucepan and mix it with the Olive oil.
  2. Make sure to not overheat the oil but bring it to a lukewarm temperature instead. At this stage, turn the heat off and let the oil sit overnight so that the garlic can infuse with the Olive Oil.
  3. Apply this oil with a cotton ball onto the affected areas of the skin the next morning.
  4. Leave it on for 20 minutes or so and then wash it off.

Benefits

Topical application of garlic on the skin can treat various skin infections due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The Olive Oil, on the other hand, makes sure that the skin stays hydrated and prevents it from becoming dry and flaky.

How Often to Do

Once a day.

6. Mint

Ingredients

  • 6-9 mint leaves
  • Water
  • Cotton balls

Method

  1. Boil the mint leaves in the water using a saucepan.
  2. Once the water is sufficiently boiling, turn the heat off and cover the solution, letting it cool.
  3. Once the solution is at room temperature, filter the leaves out and apply the liquid using a cotton ball onto the areas that are itching.

Benefits

Mint contains a high percentage of menthol in it. Menthol not only cools the skin down but has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and redness as well.

How Often to Do

Once or twice a day.

7. Neem

Ingredients

  • A handful of neem leaves
  • Water

Method

  1. Boil the neem leaves in the water and allow the juices from the leaves to seep into the water for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Once the water turns sufficiently lukewarm, you can use the water to take a bath with.

Benefits

Neem is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Thus, it soothes the skin and helps combat pruritus.

How Often to Do

Thrice a week.

8. Sesame Oil

Sesame-Oil

Ingredients

  • A few teaspoons of sesame oil.

Method

  1. Apply lukewarm sesame oil all over the affected areas of the skin right after a shower and massage it into the skin.

Benefits

Sesame oil contains a lot of antioxidants that are beneficial for the skin. Thus, it fights inflammation of the skin, reduces redness and soothes the itching of the skin.

How Often to Do

Once a day or every alternate day.

9. Fenugreek Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fenugreek seeds

Method

  1. Soak the fenugreek seeds in water for a few hours or preferably overnight.
  2. Grind the soaked seeds with a little water to form a consistent and thick paste.
  3. Apply this paste all over the body, making sure to massage it onto affected itchy areas of the skin.
  4. Wash the paste off once it is completely dry.

Benefits

One of the natural solutions for itchy skin is fenugreek seeds as they exhibit very potent antimicrobial properties that eliminate skin infections, rashes and itching within no time at all. If your skin seems a little inflamed, this might be the best remedy for it.

How Often to Do

Thrice a week

10. Olive Oil

Ingredients

  • A few teaspoons of Olive oil

Method

  1. Warm Olive oil with your palms and apply it all over the skin right after a shower, making sure to massage it in thoroughly.

Benefits

Not only does Olive Oil hydrate the skin from within, eliminating dry and flaky skin, but it also acts as a great source of antioxidants such as polyphenols that possess anti-inflammatory properties which provides relief against the itchy and inflamed skin.

How Often to Do

Once a day.

11. Lemon

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons
  • Cotton pads.

Method

  1. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into a cup.
  2. Using the cotton pad, dip it into the juice obtained and directly place the pad onto the affected and itchy areas of the skin.
  3. Let it dry for a while. You can then rinse it off with normal water and pat dry.

Benefits

Lemons can provide relief from the itchy skin as they are rich in acetic and citric acids that perform as an anti-irritant. Lemon juice also contains astringent properties which help balance the pH of the skin, thus treating itchy and inflamed skin.

How Often to Do

Twice a day.

12. Almond OilAlmond Oil

 

Ingredients

  • A few teaspoons of almond oil.

Method

  1. Warm the almond oil with the palms of your hand and apply it all over the skin after a shower, concentrating on the areas of your skin that appear inflamed and itchy.
  2. Make sure that you are massaging this oil into the skin.

Benefits

Almond oil is super nourishing and hydrating for the skin. Thus, it treats flaky, dry and itchy skin. It also has some antioxidants that help speed up the process of healing of the itchy skin.

How Often to Do

Once a day.

13. Honey

Ingredients

  • A few teaspoons of honey.

Method

  1. Heat honey in a saucepan for a few seconds until it becomes lukewarm. Make sure that you are not heating it too much.
  2. Apply the warm honey directly onto the itchy and affected parts of the skin.
  3. Let it sit for a few minutes until it becomes sufficiently dry and then wash it off with normal water and pat dry.

Benefits

Honey is a natural humectant, meaning that it locks the moisture of the skin and prevents dry and flaky skin. Thus, this will help in reducing itching. Apart from this, honey is also antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory in nature. This will fight the occurrence of skin infections and treat the symptoms of itching.

How Often to Do

Once or twice a day

14. Ginger

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 2-3 pieces of ginger

Method

  1. Add finely minced ginger to a saucepan and mix it with the Olive oil.
  2. Make sure to not overheat the oil but bring it to a lukewarm temperature instead. At this stage, turn the heat off and let the oil sit overnight so that the ginger can infuse with the Olive Oil.
  3. Apply this oil with a cotton ball onto the affected areas of the skin the next morning.
  4. Leave it on for 20 minutes or so and then wash it off.

Benefits

Ginger is said to be rich in antioxidants that nourish the skin from within. Also, the anti-inflammation properties of Ginger treat itchy and irritated skin as well. The Olive Oil, on the other hand, makes sure that the skin stays hydrated and prevents it from becoming dry and flaky.

How Often to Do

Once a day.

15. Essential Oils

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of carrier oil such as Olive Oil or Coconut oil
  • 2-3 drops of essential oils such as peppermint oil or tea tree oil.

Method

a) Mix the peppermint oil with the Olive Oil to make a homogenous oil mixture.

Apply this mixture onto parts of your skin that are itchy, red and inflamed using a cotton ball.

b) Mix the tea tree oil with the Olive Oil to make a homogenous oil mixture.

Apply this mixture onto parts of your skin that are itchy, red and inflamed using a cotton ball.

Benefits

Peppermint oil is said to be an analgesic as well as an anti-inflammatory agent that cools the skin down instantly, soothes irritated skin as well as reduces redness and itching.

Tea tree oil acts as a natural antiseptic that does not allow any skin infections to spread. It is also antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory in nature which makes it a perfect remedy to treat itchy skin. Alternatively, tea tree oil can also be used to treat acne and rashes as well.

How Often to Do

Once or twice a day.

16. Cold Compress

Cold Compress

Ingredients

  • Ice pack

Method

  1. Apply the ice pack all over the affected area for a couple of minutes.

Benefits

The cold temperature of the ice from the ice pack will help calm down inflamed and itchy skin.

How Often to Do

Once a day.

17. Coconut Oil

Ingredients

  • A few teaspoons of coconut oil.

Method

  1. Warm the coconut oil with the palms of your hand and apply it all over the skin after a shower, concentrating on the areas of your skin that appear inflamed and itchy.
  2. Make sure that you are massaging this oil into the skin.

Benefits

Coconut oil contains fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory as well as antihistamine properties. Thus, itching of the skin is instantly reduced. It also acts as a moisturizing agent that hydrates the skin from within, making sure that the skin is not dry and flaky.

How Often to Do

Once a day.

Recommended Tips to Prevent Itching:

While natural solutions for itchy skin work just as fine, there are some pointers that one must keep in mind which also significantly contribute to the condition of your skin. Some of them include

  • Do not bathe with hot water as that can dry out your skin. Use lukewarm water instead and try and limit your bath time to around 10 minutes.
  • Use fragrance-free bath and body products. These include lotions, soaps and detergents. Some artificial scents contain chemicals which can irritate the skin.
  • Apply a moisturizer all over the skin after a shower. This will lock the moisture in the skin, preventing dry, flaky and itchy skin.
  • In case it’s your trigger, avoid wearing fabrics such as wool and fleece that can irritate your skin and cause itching.
  • Make sure to maintain a relatively cool, clean and humidity-free environment around you. This will reduce the chances of skin infections.
  • Stay stress-free. Along with impacting your overall health, stress can also contribute to making your itch worse.

When to Call a Doctor?

It is imperative to consult your doctor if the itching is serious. Specially when the itching:-

  • Does not improve whatsoever even after natural remedies and self-care.
  • Lasts for more than a week or keeps recurring.
  • Has turned into a skin infection or is leaving behind scars on the body.
  • Is accompanied by other symptoms such as weight loss, fever and tiredness.

Also read: Skin Allergies and Rashes – Causes, Symptoms and Effective Home Remedies

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