Here are some of the most effective ways to tame itchy skin—fast.
- Resist the urge to scratch. Scratching is a powerful reflex reaction to itching. However, scratching can actually intensify the itchy sensation and cause further damage to your skin, leaving it susceptible to infection and scarring.
- Try a cold compress. Instead of scratching, try using a cold, wet cloth or an ice pack on the affected area.
- Take an oatmeal bath. A cool or lukewarm oatmeal bath can be very soothing to raw, red, itchy skin.
- Cool it with the hot water. Long, hot showers and baths can strip your skin of its natural hydrators, damaging its protective barrier, and leaving it tight, dry, and sensitive. Short, lukewarm showers are best, especially if you’re already fighting itchy, dry, or damaged skin.
- Use a humidifier. Dry air pulls moisture from your skin. A humidifier can help keep the air inside your home comfortable and healthy for your skin and for you.
- Avoid allergens and irritants. Keep track of any chemicals, products, or substances that cause an allergic reaction, and take care to steer clear. If you’re sensitive to perfumes and dyes, choose gentle, fragrance-free soaps, detergents, and products that are specially formulated for sensitive skin.
- Use medicated creams or ointments. Over the counter cooling creams and ointments like calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can soothe itchy rashes, patches, and bites quickly in addition to reducing redness, swelling, and irritation.
- When in doubt, see a doctor. Although some causes of itchy skin are relatively harmless and easily treatable, itchy skin can be caused by a potentially serious underlying medical condition or disease. If you have uncontrollable itching over the entire body or that can’t be traced to an obvious source, or itching that isn’t soothed by self-care measures, affects your daily life, or is accompanied by other symptoms, see a doctor right away. A medical professional can help diagnose and treat the cause of the itchiness so you can get relief.