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Here's why your skin might be itchy and how to fix it

We all get itchy skin at times. Sometimes, the itch will pass without much fanfare, but other times it can last much longer, and become irritating and uncomfortable.

When you’re itchy it can be hard not to scratch—sometimes we even do it without realising—but the frustrating part is sometimes scratching an itch can actually make it worse.

So here are some reasons why your skin might be itchy, plus how to ease the itchiness and get some relief.

Before we dive in, remember that if alongside your itch you are experiencing pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, or throat, you could be having a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, and should call 000 for emergency assistance.

It might be… dry skin.

Dry skin can leave you itchy. Some people naturally have drier skin than others, while a change in temperature to drier conditions can also cause the condition. To help, keep your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and externally, apply moisturiser or oils to the skin. You may need to switch to a thicker moisturiser during the dry seasons. Applying it straight after a bath or shower when the skin is still a bit wet can help your skin absorb it better.

It might be… a bite.

Is the itch coming from a red raised bump or bumps on the skin? It may be an insect bite. Bees, wasps, flies, ants, mosquitoes and spiders can all leave a bite which can become very itchy. The best treatment will depend on what bit you, but could involve a topical cream or antihistamine.

It might be… Eczema.

Eczema is another skin condition that can cause the skin to become swollen, red, thick and very itchy. It appears as a rash, often on the forehead, cheeks and scalp, as well as the torso, knees, wrists, and creases of the elbow. If you get Eczema, try not to have hot baths and steer clear of topical products with fragrance in them to help avoid an outbreak. Persistent eczema can also be treated using steroid creams or ointments, antihistamines, non-steroidal prescription creams, and wet wraps.

It might be… Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an auto-immune disease that can cause red or flaky patches on the skin called plaques, which can crack and bleed. While there is no known cure for psoriasis, there are treatments that can help manage symptoms, including topical creams or ointments, medication, or UV or light therapy administered by a dermatologist.

It might be… allergies.

An allergy can be developed at any age, and can leave you with an itchy reaction to a plant, food, or even a chemical found in cosmetics, toiletries or cleaning products. A mild or moderate allergic reaction can be treated with antihistamines, topical lotions or creams. To avoid an outbreak in the first place, avoid the irritant you are allergic to. If you’re not sure what it is, your GP may be able to help narrow it down. And remember, if you’re experiencing a severe reaction, to call 000.

Sometimes it can actually be more than one thing leading you to itch and scratch. Dry skin can make eczema worse, allergic reactions can inflame other skin conditions, and psoriasis can sometimes look a lot like eczema. Whatever the cause, we can help find a cure for your itch, to get you some relief.

Chat to your friendly local Capital Chemist pharmacist who can help determine which treatment is best for you.

You may also be interested in the following:

Eczema Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

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Acknowledgement of Country

Capital Chemist acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live and gather as employees, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.