No one likes an aggravating itch. They can range from minor annoyances to major life distractions, and the effectiveness of treatment options vary as well. Depending on the type of itch, there are a number of methods that may help you win the battle.
But first, what causes an itch? Itches come from an irritation of nerve or skin cells and intensity and spread can be different from person to person. Bug bites can cause localized itchy bumps in some people and widespread rashes in others. Harsh detergents, dry skin, reactions to medications or cosmetics, and some environmental factors are all possible causes. Other types of itch can be caused by nervous system disorders or internal problems with the kidneys and liver.
How can you get rid of a bothersome itch? It might take some trial and error due to differences between skin types and conditions. The first tip is simple: do not scratch. It might take every ounce of willpower to avoid it, but scratching can break open the skin and allow infections to take root. Repeated scratching can cause scarring, and if your itch is caused by an infectious rash, you could spread it to other parts of your body.
To tame the itch and get rid of that urge to scratch, you could try a natural home remedy like ozonated oils, taking a bath with a small amount of apple cider vinegar, baking soda, or neem leaves, placing an ice pack on the area for a few minutes, or using preparations of mint, lemon, coconut oil, olive oil, garlic, or holy basil. Some recommend almond oil, honey and aloe vera as well. Essential oils like peppermint or tea tree oil have been helpful to some, but you'll only want to use a few drops in a tablespoon of coconut or olive oil.
For stubborn itches, especially poison ivy rashes, calamine lotion can be ideal for some.
One of the best ways to alleviate an itch is to try to never get it in the first place. There are a number of things that can help.
Take a look at your diet. If your diet doesn't provide a good balance of vitamins, you may need to adjust it. Talk to someone who can test to determine which vitamins you are missing and consider supplementation. Having a healthy amount of vitamins helps more than just the skin.
Don't wear tight clothing. Reduce your stress levels, limit alcohol and caffeine intake, stay hydrated with water, use a moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated, and shower daily. When showering, consider not using very hot water. Try lowering it as much as you can and still be comfortable. Pat yourself dry. If your space is too dry, a humidifier might be needed to bring the levels up to an ideal number. Avoid bug bites if possible by using a repellent. Know what poison ivy looks like and stay away.
When to Take More Action
Talk to a dermatologist or doctor if your itch is severe, isn't helped by standard treatments, lasts for weeks, covers large areas of the body or the entire body, has turned into an infection, or comes with fever, weight loss, or fatigue. You may need to be checked for allergies, an infection, or liver or kidney issues. In these cases that itch might be a good thing as it can lead you to important information about your health.