An itchy or pruritic skin tempts a person to scratch it. At times, the person may find it irritating and disturbing that he tends to scratch it while doing other activities.
According to Mayo Clinic, skin pruritus is associated to various causes, which include skin dryness, skin rashes, certain medical and nervous disorders, hypersensitivity, certain medications, and pregnancy. As per the publication, dry skin may be caused by hot or cold environment with low humidity, long-term use of air conditioning, and excessive bathing and washing. Specific skin conditions like eczema, scabies, chickenpox, hives, and psoriasis also present skin pruritus, which is usually accompanied by other signs and symptoms like redness, bumps, and blisters. Skin pruritus is also a symptom of medical conditions, such as malabsorption problems, kidney failure, liver disease, thyroid problem, iron deficiency anemia, lymphoma, leukemia, diabetes mellitus, mutiple sclerosis, shingles, and pinched nerves. Also, substances like soap, chemicals, wool, poison ivy, and cosmetics may cause an allergic reaction. Antipyretics, narcotic pain medications, and antifungal agents may also cause hypersensitivity reactions, which include pruritus and rashes. During pregnancy, a woman can also experience pruritus, especially on the arms, breasts, abdomen, and thighs.
There are natural remedies that are known to manage itchy skin. Clay, such as the Montmorillonite or bentonite clay, is one of them, according to Gerson. As per the publication, it is very useful in the management of skin pruritus, and other skin concerns like acne, and insect bites from wasps, bees, and spiders. The clay is mixed in a bowl or a cup with some water until the mixture has a creamy consistency similar to peanut butter. Then, the clay paste is applied to itchy areas, let it dry, and then rinsed or peeled off. In doing a clay pack, the clay is spread on a piece of clean and porous fabric like cotton, muslin, flannel, and wool. Then, the clay-covered cloth is placed to the irritated area, noting that the clay should be in direct contact with the skin. A bandaging tape can be used to wrap the cloth and keep it in place to protect one’s clothing or furniture. Then, the clay pack is left for four hours or until the clay becomes dry and hard.
Aloe vera also stands as one of the best recipes for skin itch. According to The Health Site, the plant has a moisturizing action, which makes it one of the most effective skin soothing agents. The gel is rubbed over the itchy spot to decrease the skin irritation in that area and gives fast relief from the pruritus. The person just breaks a leaf from the plant and is cut lengthwise with a knife. Then, the jelly-like substance inside the plant is obtained with a spoon. After that, it is applied to the itchy part of the skin and is left on for a few minutes.
Soothing bath with olive oil and oats can also be used to treat itchy skin and eczema. According to Nature’s Nurture Blog, the recipe include three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, one-fourth baking soda, and half cup of finely ground oats using a coffee blender and grinder. As per the publication, the ingredients are added to bath water and are mixed well to distribute throughout. Then, they are allowed to soak for 15 to 20 minutes. The publication added that the oats are ground to very fine powder for them not to sink to the bottom of the tub. The whole oats can also be added to a small bag or cheesecloth and hung in water if they cannot be crushed.
Aside from the aforementioned remedies, medications can also be treated by medications. According to Medicine Net, these medications include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), pramoxine (Tronolane, Caladryl), phenol, menthol, and benzocaine.
A person with skin pruritus is at risk for having bacterial infection if there is a break in the continuity of the skin. Thus, it is best not to scratch it.