Itchy skin can be crazy-making, there’s no doubt about it. Sometimes it can feel like a sort of tunnel vision overtakes you, and all you can think about is relief from the unbearable itch. To get a little personal here, the most intense episode of itching that I have ever experienced actually landed me up in the hospital. Before you start to panic, this was a rare and bizarre circumstance (When I say rare, I mean close to one in a million, if that brings you any comfort). I can vividly recall how distressing the sensation of itching was. Imagine feeling itchy but not being able to access the itch as though it is right under your skin, but no matter how much you scratch, you just can’t reach it. That’s precisely what it felt like, from head to toe!
If you have experienced itchy skin, you understand the magnitude of discomfort that it can cause. An itch is an irritating sensation that can really get “under your skin.” If you are currently experiencing the infamous itch, I deeply empathize with you.
Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, can be caused by some kind of irritation, and may accompany a rash, redness, and/ or other skin maladies. The unpleasant sensation of itching may be due to various causes, including an allergic reaction, skin irritants, chiggers, chicken pox, etc, and can sometimes be caused by an immune response. The actual sensation of itchy skin is often caused by the body’s release of a chemical known as histamine.
It is normal to want to “itchhh awayyy” the feeling with a nice round of scratching. However, I do not recommend this! In fact, scratching can actually cause more skin inflammation and—you guessed it—more itching. While I do admit, the temporary relief might be tempting, keep in mind that the word “tempting” shares the same prefix as: temporary. Don’t succumb to the temptation; it’s not worth it.
Here are some healthier ways to cope:
Calm is a super power. It’s easy to get panicky from itchy skin that’s driving you up the wall. Instead, to help reduce discomfort try the art of calming techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and EFT (EFT is a holistic tapping technique used by many people for pain relief, including professional athletes and even Olympic athletes!).
Cool your skin! ICE WORKS;) Try placing an ice cube on the area to reduce swelling, inflammation, & chill that itch.
Take a tepid shower. Lukewarm water is the most skin-soothing temperature to help relieve itchy skin. Your best bet is a “happy medium” shower climate—not too hot—not too cold. Try this out and your skin will thank you.