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The reason your skin is so itchy — and how to fix it

Itchy skin can be extremely irritating. One of the biggest problems with itchy skin is that scratching usually exacerbates the itchiness by further irritating the skin — despite the fact that it provides immediate, yet temporary, relief.

Itchy skin can be caused by a number of conditions:

Insect bites

Bees, wasps, flys, ants, mosquitoes and spiders are just some of the insects whos bite can cause itchy skin.

The course of treatment will depend on which insect you have been bitten by, with some insect bites requiring medical care. If you experience symptoms like hives, swelling of the face, lips, or throat, breathing problems, nausea or vomiting, call 000 as you could be experiencing anaphylaxis.

In most cases, however, treatments available at your local pharmacy will be sufficient. Topical creams help by numbing the skin, relieving the urge to scratch. They often contain antiseptic to help prevent infection. In some cases, an antihistamine may also help to stop the itch. Your Capital Chemist pharmacist can help you find the right treatment.


Psoriasis is an auto-immune disease where the immune system is overactive, causing new skin cells to multiply at a faster-than-normal rate. This inflammatory skin condition which affects roughly three per cent of all Australians.

Symptoms include red or flaky patches on the skin called plaques which can crack and bleed. It can also cause the skin to become itchy and irritated.

Psoriasis can occur on most parts of the body, but is common on the scalp, knees, elbows, and lower back.

Unfortunately, there’s no known cure for psoriasis — but there are treatments available that can help to manage symptoms. These include topical creams or ointments, medication, and UV or light therapy administered by a dermatologist.

Your Capital Chemist pharmacist can walk you through some of the different treatment options that are available.


Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis, and it’s a condition that causes the skin to become inflamed and itchy. You can have eczema at any age, however it’s most common in children, with up to 20% of all Australian children under two experiencing the condition.

The main symptoms of eczema is sensitive and dry skin that becomes swollen, red, thick, and extremely itchy. Eczema appears as a rash that’s often found on the forehead, cheeks and scalp, as well as the torso, knees, wrists, and the creases of the elbow.

There are lots of different treatment options available, including steroid creams or ointments for persistent eczema, antihistamines, non-steroidal prescription creams, and wet wraps or dressings to soothe especially itchy skin.

There are also lifestyle options that can help, including avoiding hot baths and bathing products with fragrance, keeping the skin hydrated, and avoiding any known triggers.

Dry skin

Sometimes, the issue is that the skin is just dry! Dry skin can be itchy and sensitive, and the level of moisture in our skin can change depending on the weather and time of the year. You may find that you need a richer cream in cool or dry climates to help keep the skin hydrated.

Try putting moisturiser on as soon as you get out of the shower or bath when the skin is still a little bit damp. This can help to lock the moisture into the skin and keep it hydrated for longer.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like the feeling of heavy moisturiser on your skin throughout the day, you may find it easier to apply a rich moisturising cream at night before you go to bed.

There are lots of different skincare products available in-store. Your Capital Chemist pharmacist can help you find the perfect formulation for your skin type.


Tinea is a fungal skin infection that’s often called ‘ringworm’ because it sometimes forms a red rash with a pink central area. Tinea is common on the scalp, nails, feet, body, or groin area. It will usually begin as a round patch that soon becomes scaly before the centre clears, leaving a ring-shaped sore.

Tinea is highly contagious, and you can catch it from skin to skin contact, animals, sharing personal items or using communal bathing areas.

Tinea can be treated with antifungal medicines like creams, gels, lotions or sprays, or as a nail paint, as well as an antifungal laundry rinse to clean your clothes.

Allergies and Dermatitis

Itching can occur as an allergic reaction to a plant, food, or chemical found in cosmetics, toiletries or cleaning products.

If you experience pain, swelling, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty breathing, you could be having a severe allergic reaction and call 000.

Itchiness as a result of a mild to moderate allergic reaction can be treated with antihistamines, topical lotions or creams, and by avoiding products with known irritants like fragrances.

If you’re experiencing itchy skin, it’s important to speak to your pharmacist or doctor to discover what the cause is and how you can treat your symptoms.


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.