Skin Health

Easy & Effective At-Home Remedies For Itchy Skin

Itchiness—you know the kind that makes you want to crawl out of your own skin or scratch it off—is a major annoyance. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can impede everything from work to sleeping.

To get some well deserved relief from itchy skin caused by dryness, eczema, hives, mosquito bites, or any general skin irritations, we’ve got 18 soothing remedies that are super easy and effective!

1. Glycerin

Glycerin is an effective skin reliever because it draws water into the body. Its humectant properties create a moisturizing, cooling effect on parched or irritated skin. Over-the-counter glycerin or glycerin soap are great remedies for those who suffer from eczema.

2. Mint

Mint is known for its calming effects on the digestive system. It’s actually the menthol within the plant leaves that have the anti-inflammatory affects on the intestines. However, it has the same affect when applied to the skin as well. Just steep 1-ounce of dried mint leaves in boiling water, let cool, and apply to itchy skin.

3. Baking Soda

Soaking in a bath of baking soda for 30 to 60-minutes can make all the difference. Add 1-cup baking soda to a tub of warm water. After the bath, it is important to gently pat your skin dry with a towel (or air-dry). For more localized itching you can make a paste of one part water to three parts baking soda.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is already used in many skin creams and body washes for sensitive skin. But when natural oats are made into a paste by adding water, it can be spread over irritated skin or sprinkled into a bath for a calming, soothing affect on irritated skin.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends taking an oatmeal bath. “This can be very soothing, especially for blisters or oozing kin due to chickenpox, hives, poison ivy, or sunburn,” writes the source. 

5. Thyme

Like mint, thyme is rich in thymol, an anesthetic and anti-inflammatory natural ingredient that lessens inflammation and numbs that creepy crawling feeling of itchy skin.

To prepare thyme for topical purposes, steep 1/2 ounce of dried thyme leaves in boiling water, let cool, then strain out the leaves and apply the remaining liquid to skin with a damp cloth or compress.

6. Essential Oils

Luckily, several essential oils will do the trick when it comes to soothing itchy, irritated skin. For instance, lavender is known for its soothing properties, as well as bay leaf, calendula, chamomile, rosemary, geranium, and nettle.

You can choose to infuse your bath water or apply them right to the skin using a cotton compress.

7. Basil

Basil is another plant that can provide skin relief thanks to an anesthetic ingredient called eugenol.

Prepare a topical rinse by steeping 1/2 ounce of dried basil leaves in boiling water, let cool, and then apply to bath water or using a damp cloth on the skin.

8. Coconut or Almond Oil

Coconut and almond oils are used in massage oils and in moisturizers for a reason—they are both highly hydrating. If you heat the oil just slightly (or warm it by rubbing your hands together), you can apply it all over your skin after a bath or shower for moisturizing skin relief.

9. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a well known antibacterial, anti-fungal, and cooling skin treatment. Rich in vitamin E, aloe vera is effective for soothing skin burns, inflamed or itchy skin. You can also use a topical menthol because menthol is what provides the cooling effect and it comes from this peppermint plant. Healthline does warn though that “topical menthol should be used with caution due to the possibility of it being an irritant to the skin if not diluted.”

You can either apply aloe topically in over-the-counter gel form or just snip a piece of an aloe vera plant to apply directly to the skin. Both aloe vera gel and a topical menthol can be purchased at most drug stores.

10. Lemon

Believe it or not lemon will soothe itchy skin. You might be wary that the citric and acetic acids will burn. However, both have effective antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits for soothing itchy skin and warding off bacteria.

Simply squeeze some fresh lemon juice onto a cotton pad and apply directly to affected skin.

11. Cold Compress

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends applying a cold compress to relieve itchy skin. You can use either a cold, wet cloth or an ice pack. Apply it to the area for about 5 to 10-minutes or until the itch subsides. The source also recommends using cooling agents like menthol or calamine. “You could also place your moisturizer in the refrigerator to help achieve this cooling effect,” writes the AAD.

The trick with itchy skin is to avoid exposing it to hot water whenever possible because this will only further irritate the itch. The key to relief is cold, says Healthline.

12. Antihistamines

Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergic reactions. This means they are also great for treating itchy skin! “Histamines are chemicals in the body that cause allergy symptoms, including itching,” writes Healthline. “An antihistamine is a common treatment for allergic reactions.”

The source notes that most antihistamines will cause drowsiness, so be sure to only take them before bed. It also recommends using a topical medication for itchiness and apply it directly to the area to avoid all the side effects that come with oral antihistamines.

13. Hydrocortisone

Hydrocortisone is an anti-itch cream that soothes itchy skin. Healthline recommends getting a cream that has at least 1-percent hydrocortisone when looking for over-the-counter treatments. “This drug inhibits inflammatory responses in the body and can help calm inflamed, itchy skin,” writes the source.

Healthline also warns that this cream should only be used for a short period of time while needed and then discontinued.

14. Crisco

Crisco can be used for more than just baking! It’s often used as a common household remedy for itchy skin or skin irritations. “This may sound crazy, but in a pinch vegetable shortening, such a Crisco, is an excellent moisturizer and is often recommended as a DIY or at-home moisturizer for eczema prone skin,” says Melanie Palm, MD, MBA, a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon at Art of Skin MD, in San Diego, California.

Laurin Rinder / Shutterstock.com

15. Drink Lots of Water

We should all be drinking lots of water on a daily basis, but a lot of people struggle to do so. There are so many benefits that come from drinking plenty of water and according to Reader’s Digest, one of these benefits is relieving dry, itchy skin.

“Water is the winner,” says Chris G. Adigun, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at the Dermatology & Laser Center of Chapel Hill, North Carolina to Reader’s Digest. “Keeping your body hydrated will help your skin stay hydrated.”

16. Vitamin D

If you’re like me, you might notice that your skin becomes a lot more dry and itchy in the winter months. This could be because of the lack of vitamin D in the cold, dark days of winter. “You may want to consult with your doctor to ensure your vitamin D level is adequate,” says Mohiba Tareen, MD, a dermatologist at Tareen Dermatology in Roseland, Minnesota, when talking to Reader’s Digest. “When vitamin D is low — which commonly occurs during the winter months — skin conditions and itchy may flare.”

17. Avocado and Salmon

Similar to water, we should already be eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids because they are good for our overall health. But apparently they can also affect how our skin feels by working from the inside. “Eating extra omega-3 fatty acids, found in avocado, nuts, and salmon, infuse the skin with healthy oils from the inside,” says Dr. Tareen to Reader’s Digest.

18. Antidepressant

This one might seem like an odd choice, but according to Healthline, some studies haven found that antidepressants can help itchiness. “Some of these drugs cause a release of serotonin that can relax the receptors in your body that provoke the itchy feeling,” writes the source. However, this treatment is only appropriate in cases where the itchiness is chronic and more severe.

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