By MH Staff - Posted on 10th April 2014
Itching was designed to help your body detect such threats as insects and microbes. Sure, scratching an itch is kind of orgasmic. Just know when to pull in your claws.
Use a non-sedating one for daytime relief of histamine-triggered itches. (Seasonal allergies and mosquito bites are two culprits.) Antihistamines that can cause drowsiness are good for overnight itching – you’ll scratch less if you’re slightly sedated, says Dr Martin Steinhoff, a professor of dermatology in San Francisco.
2 Topical Corticosteroids
These stop itching from inflammatory causes, like eczema, allergic reactions, poison ivy or rashes. “Use hydrocortisone only briefly and for very mild itches,” says Steinhoff. For severe itching, see your GP for a stronger steroid. “Hydrocortisone is often too weak,” he says. Just avoid using any steroid for too long. “This can lead to thinning of the skin,” Steinhoff warns.
3 Oat Baths
Oats are packed with anti-inflammatory chemicals that soothe itchy skin. But don’t pour your breakfast into the bath: sprinkle about a tablespoon of ground oats (you want to grind them to a fine powder) under the tap and soak for 15 to 20 minutes, recommend researchers in Iran.
Desert-dry skin, a common cause of itching, needs moisture – but water evaporates, which can have a drying effect. “Lotions are more than 70% water; creams are around 50%,” says Steinhoff. If you’re desperate, create a “wet wrap” by soaking bandages in water and wrapping them around the moisturised itchy area, says Dr Adrian Morris, allergy specialist at allergyclinic.co.za. Still itchy? Go see your doctor.