Now that the cold is really setting in, some people may start to find that their skin itches more than usual. This could occur because the cold weather can dry out skin, then again so can hot weather and using soap. People with already existing skin conditions (psoriasis, eczema, etc.) can find that this only irritates their skin even more, like me—I’ve been going nuts scratching my ankles.
So it’s nothing to be terrified of but it is extremely annoying. Thankfully, there are a few ways to go about relieving the terrible itch. First off, don’t scratch. I really hate this one because I suck at it. Trimming your nails can help prevent tearing up your skin and a cool bath/shower may soothe the itching. Just be careful because excessive bathing/showering or using water that’s too hot can make it worse. After bathing, pat your skin dry as rubbing can irritate the skin more. Check your body products (soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc.) because some ingredients can dry out skin or just irritate skin in general. Also, loose, comfortable clothing is preferred, especially during a flare up.
To avoid or lessen the suffering, make sure you are well hydrated. Humidifiers and moisturizers are also recommended, even better if you can apply your moisturizer after washing up, while your skin is still damp. It’s best that your lotions/moisturizers are fragrance-free. Some people recommend oatmeal baths for itching (and a few other things) but, be warned, it’s a bit strange at first. Topical anesthetics and cooling agents can also help. Before turning to any over-the-counter, pharmaceutical treatments, talk to your doctor or a skin-care professional first.
Itchy skin isn’t life threatening, but there are a few signs you should see your doctor. As per Health Direct, they are:
- the lips or tongue are swollen
- you or your child have trouble breathing
- you are unwell or have a fever
- the symptoms keep coming back
- the itching is so bad you can’t sleep
- the rash is bleeding, scabs or has pus
- you develop severe itching while you are pregnant
Again, see your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms and get their recommendation on the best way to help your skin.
Info: Health Direct: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/itchy-skin
American Academy of Dermatology: https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/itchy-skin/itch-relief/relieve-itchy-skin