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Tips for Relieving Itchy Skin

Everyone suffers from itching from time to time. Usually it lasts only a short time and is often caused by things like a mosquito bite or an itchy substance. However, if itching lasts longer than six weeks, it's considered chronic and more likely to disrupt your life. There are many reasons for itchy skin. It could be the result of a skin condition, such as eczema, shingles, hives, or psoriasis, or it could be a sign of an infectious disease, such as scabies or ringworm. To soothe itchy skin, here are some tips:

1. Apply a cold, wet cloth or ice pack to the itchy skin. Do this for about five to ten minutes or until the itch disappears.

2. Take an oatmeal bath. This can be very soothing, especially for blisters or moist skin due to chickenpox, hives or sunburn.

3. Moisturize your skin. Always choose a moisturizer without additives, fragrances and perfumes.

4. Apply coolants, such as menthol or calamine. You can also place your moisturizer in the fridge to achieve this cooling effect.

While treating your skin, try to avoid scratching, as this further irritates your skin and can increase your risk of a skin infection. It's also a good idea to take steps to prevent your skin from itching.

To help prevent itching, here are some tips:

1. Shower with lukewarm – not hot water. Try to limit your bath or shower to just 10 minutes.

2. Always use “unscented” lotions, soaps and cleansers to minimize irritation. Be wary of products labeled “unscented” as they still contain chemicals that can irritate your skin.

3. Apply medications before the moisturizer. Then apply your moisturizer to all areas of your skin, including the medicated areas.

4. Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing. Wool and other rough to the touch fabrics can irritate your skin and cause intense itching.

5. Avoid extreme temperature changes. Maintain a relatively cool, neutral humidity environment in your home. Use a humidifier in the winter if you are prone to dry skin and eczema.

6. Reduce stress, as stress can make itching worse.

If your itching doesn't go away with home treatment, see your doctor. He or she can refer you to a dermatologist who can try to determine the cause and relieve your itching.