There are many possible causes of body itching but the most common are dry skin and allergic reactions. Inflammatory skin conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis and parasitic infestations usually come with itching. Less commonly, internal disorders such as liver disease, kidney disease, anaemia, etc could cause itching too.
For allergic reactions, itching can be managed by simply identifying the trigger and avoiding it. Allergens could be from food, drugs, cosmetic products or environmental pollutants. Anti-allergy medications can be used in form of tablets, cream or lotion (such as calamine lotion)
Now let’s talk about dry skin. The skin is protected by a layer of oil. When this oil is depleted, the skin becomes exposed and easily irritable. Itching from dry skin is a vicious cycle – you scratch, you breach the skin, the itching gets worse and infections may set in… It may also get worse after taking a bath as the protective oil is stripped off.
Keeping your skin moisturised is the best solution for itching. Let’s discuss some tips…
– Bathe with clean water that is neither hard nor overtreated. Some chemicals are harsh on the skin and these might trigger itching
– Avoid bathing with extremely hot or cold water. These will dry out your skin and aggravate itching. Use lukewarm water instead.
– Avoid harsh soaps and body wash gels. Stay away from antiseptic/medicated soaps (unless you have skin problems such as chicken pox). Opt for natural products like those based on the African black soap.
– Try colloidal oatmeal bath. This can be bought from supermarkets or prepared at home by simply blending oats until fine. Pour in your water and add some honey for best results.
– Don’t stay for too long inside the shower or bathtub. As soothing as it is to immerse yourself in that pool of water, it might end up drying out your skin and leaving you scratching more.
– Don’t use the towel! Sounds funny right? If you have a dry and sensitive skin, you may wish to skip the towelling part. Let your skin pores absorb some of the water slowly. If you must use the towel just dab gently, don’t scrub. Rigorous and fast drying with towel often leaves the skin too dry and irritated.
– Use your moisturiser while you’re still wet. Most people make the mistake of letting their skin dry completely before applying their routine moisturiser. During dry seasons, or if your skin is naturally dry, don’t leave it dry even for a few seconds. Apply your lotion immediately after a bath so as to lock in the moisture.
– Choose natural products. Shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter and other natural oils and butters are more preferable when dealing with dry and itchy skin. Petroleum jelly is effective too.
1. If you have a rash, blister or any other forms of lesions, along with the itching, or other symptoms like fever, pains and body weakness. Kindly see your doctor.
2. If you are pregnant and the itching is worse on your palms and soles, please see your doctor ASAP. This could be a case of OBSTETRIC CHOLESTASIS, a disorder which is potentially risky for you and your baby.