Do you feel like scratching your skin all the time? Itchy skin is a common problem that affects many people. Depending on the severity, it can be mildly annoying to intensely aggravating, disrupting daily activities and sleep.
Itching can have varied causes like allergic reactions, insect bites, skin infections, dry weather, soaps and detergents, and even some medications.
While scratching gives momentary relief, it can also lead to injuries and infections. Many effective home remedies can give you relief from itchy skin and prevent complications caused by excessive scratching.
Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of itchy skin. Unless otherwise noted, use these remedies as long as needed for your particular condition.
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda is the most common home remedy for itchy skin as well as skin rashes. Baking soda has a soothing effect due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it acts as a natural acid neutralizer that helps relieve itching.
- Add one cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with cool water. Stir it well to distribute the baking soda thoroughly. Soak in this water for about half an hour. Pat yourself dry instead of rubbing the skin with a towel. Do this once daily.
- For more localized itching, prepare a paste by mixing three tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of water. Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Do this once daily.
Note: Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.
2. Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal (oats ground into an extremely fine powder) helps soothe and comfort itchy skin. It contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that provide instant relief from itching.
- Add one to two cups of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with lukewarm water. Soak in this water for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Never use hot water as it may irritate your skin more. You can take an oatmeal bath up to three times a day, depending on the severity of your condition.
- Add a little water to one cup of colloidal oatmeal and leave it until it thickens to a paste-like consistency. Apply this mixture on the itchy skin, cover it with a cloth and leave it on for half an hour. Follow this remedy once daily.
If colloidal oatmeal is not available, you can use unprocessed oat flour or whole oats that have been ground in a food processor.
3. Cool Water
The sensations of both cold and itching travel along the same nerve fibers in the body, so applying cool water on the affected skin can bring instant relief from itchiness. There are many ways to use cool water for itchy skin.
- Run cool tap water over the affected skin for as long as necessary.
- Rub an ice cube wrapped in a cloth over the affected area.
- Take a cool shower or bath.
- Apply a cold compress or cloth wet with cool water to the affected area.
People have used lemon to treat itchy skin for ages. Lemon contains citric and acetic acids, which have great antiseptic, anesthetic, anti-inflammatory and anti-irritating properties.
- Extract the juice from one to two fresh lemons.
- Apply the juice on the affected skin area using a cotton ball.
- Let it dry on its own and then wash the area with lukewarm water.
- Repeat twice daily until the condition improves.
Note: This remedy is not suitable for those who have sensitive skin.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic, anti-itching, antifungal and antibacterial properties that help get rid of itching.
- Add two to three cups of apple cider vinegar to lukewarm bath water. Soak in this water for 15 to 30 minutes. Then pat dry your skin and apply a light moisturizer. Do this daily.
- To treat more localized itching, apply apple cider vinegar on the affected areas using a cotton ball. Leave it on for half an hour and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this once or twice daily for a few days.
6. Juniper Berries and Cloves
Juniper berries and cloves used together make an excellent home remedy for itchy skin. Juniper berries have great anti-inflammatory properties, and cloves contain a powerful essential oil that helps numb the nerve endings to reduce itching sensations.
- Melt six tablespoons of unsalted butter in a saucepan.
- In another saucepan, melt two tablespoons of beeswax.
- Add the melted butter to the melted beeswax and stir well.
- Stir in five tablespoons of ground juniper berries and three tablespoons of ground cloves.
- Allow the mixture to cool.
- Apply the mixture on affected skin and leave it on overnight.
- In the morning, take a cool shower or bath.
- Do this daily.
7. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera contains excellent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Plus, it contains vitamin E that helps keep the skin moisturized and in turn reduces itching.
- Extract the gel from one aloe vera leaf. Apply the gel on the affected area. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Follow this simple remedy once daily.
- Alternatively, make a paste by adding one tablespoon of aloe vera gel to two tablespoons of green clay. Apply the paste on the affected area and allow it to dry on its own. Rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this once daily.
Basil is a useful herb for getting rid of itchy skin. Basil contains a high amount of eugenol, a potent essential oil and topical anesthetic. Plus, it has compounds called camphor and thymol that effectively combat itching.
- Add one tablespoon of dried basil leaves to two cups of boiling water. Cover the pan for a few minutes. Allow the mixture to cool and then apply it on the affected area using a cotton cloth. Save the remaining solution in a jar for later use. Repeat the process as often as necessary.
- Alternatively, crush a few basil leaves and rub them directly on the affected skin. Allow it to dry for some time before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Do this as many times as needed for relief.
Thyme contains significant amounts of thymol, which has anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties. Thymol can numb the nerve fibers as well as reduce inflammation caused by excessive scratching.
- Add one tablespoon of dried thyme leaves to two cups of boiling water.
- Cover it and allow it to cool.
- Strain the solution.
- Use a clean cloth to apply the solution directly on the itchy skin.
- Do this as many times as necessary.
Save any leftover solution in a jar to use later.
10. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, analgesic and soothing properties that help relieve itching caused by dermatitis, scabies or stress.
- Add several drops of peppermint oil to a bathtub filled with lukewarm water. Soak in this water for half an hour. Pat dry and then apply a moisturizing lotion. Do this once daily.
- Add three or four drops of peppermint oil to one tablespoon of carrier oil like coconut, olive or almond oil. Apply the diluted peppermint oil to the affected skin area. Massage gently so the oil penetrates deep into the skin. Follow this remedy once or twice daily.
Go time you suffer from itchy skin, simply try one of these home remedies instead of scratching like crazy.