In the past, I have written about my own ongoing battle with allergies, sensitivities, skin conditions and itchiness – and how difficult it has been to avoid scratching that itch.
This is a great article offering exceptionally good advice for everyone who has experienced these conditions.
When you have a skin condition that torments you with its incessant itching, it can be extremely difficult not to scratch at it.
It is likely that you have been instructed since childhood that scratching that itch only makes it worse – and that is absolutely correct.
Scratching can cause sores, oozing wounds, scarring and infection. Here are ten tips to help you avoid scratching that irritating itch.
When you already have sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis or one of many of the other skin disorders, it is important that you are cautious as to what you apply topically to your skin. In addition, be aware of certain contact allergens such as wool and stray from making contact with them. Some common skin irritants include: sulfates, pantothenic acid, sunflower oil, and perfumes.
It is important, particularly when dealing with an itchy condition that you keep your nails clean and trimmed short. Make sure that you file your nails smooth, so that if you do scratch that itch, you will do minimal damage to your skin.
Ice the area.
In particular if you are suffering from eczema or psoriasis, icing the area provides some relief to that itch. In fact, ice numbs C-fibers that are responsible for transmitting the signals to your brain that cause you want to scratch. Naturally, it will also numb the surface area of the affected skin.
When every fiber of your being is enticing you to claw at your skin, apply pressure to that area instead. Stroking the area will also alleviate symptoms and refocus your mind to other things.
Skip the PJ’s!
Well while this isn’t entirely true, if you are not wearing soft cotton pajamas to bed it is recommended that it’s better you wear nothing at all.
Beware of dust.
If you have a dust allergy, take precautions to guard against this. In addition to the obvious dusting, invest in mattress, pillow and duvet covers. Rather than making your bed in the morning, it is advised to fold your bedding back. This protects you from providing a nice, warm breeding ground for dust mites.
Mind your moods.
Stress can be a major culprit in provoking eczema and psoriasis flare ups. Try doing Yoga, Tai-Chi or Pilates to help keep your stress levels low. If deep breathing exercises work for you, utilize them as well.
Cigarette smoking has been linked to a number of things including psoriasis. If you are an active smoker and need help quitting, talk to your doctor about it and they will point you in the right direction.
Moisturize that skin.
Moisturizing your skin is a key part of keeping that itch at bay. Avoid using products that contain harsh chemicals, known allergens or ingredients that dry your skin out, such as alcohol. Instead, use products that contain the healing and restoring properties of ceramides. Be mindful or organic topical creams, as they are not always 100% organic and often contain allergens. Steer clear of gluten and oat based products as well.
Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water and keep both body and skin hydrated. Dehydration will increase that uncomfortable itch.
- Use natural oils for skin protection and treatment.
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About the author
Dr. Cheryl Lee Eberting is a board certified dermatologist that has dedicated her practice and research to develop skin care treatment options for conditions such as: eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.