As the weather gets warmer and more humid, we might start experiencing itches caused by the hotter weather, allergies or insect bites. Instead of reaching for oral medication or pharmaceutical products, are there natural ways to stop the itch?
Here are 6 easily accessible natural remedies you may wish to try:
- Use a wet wrap
Applying a cool water-soaked fabric wrap on itchy skin could soothe and hydrate the affected areas. It would also serve as a physical barrier that protects the area from our nails.
The NEA suggest the following steps for applying wet wraps:
- Moisten a section of gauze in warm water until it becomes damp.
- Wrap the gauze around the itchy area of the skin.
- Wrap a dry piece of gauze over the top of the damp one.
- Carefully put on soft, cotton pyjamas, taking care not to disturb the bandages.
- Leave the bandages on for several hours or overnight.
A person can use a wet wrap for a few days to control an intense flare-up of itching. If the itching does not stop, it would be advisable to seek the help of a doctor or dermatologist.
2. Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal is finely ground oatmeal that dissolves in water. The resulting solution forms a protective barrier on the surface of the skin, which helps to seal in moisture and can help to relieve dryness and itching.
Colloidal oatmeal also has known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which help to reduce skin irritation.
A small study from 2015Trusted Source found that colloidal oatmeal reduced scaling, dryness, roughness, and the intensity of itching in healthy females with mild to moderate itching.
Colloidal oatmeal is widely available in creams and lotions. Alternatively, a person can add the finely ground powder directly to bathwater.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda is often an addition to bath products. Known to have antifungal properties, research into baking soda has suggested that it is an effective treatment for a range of fungal skin conditions, many of which can cause itching.
The NEA recommend adding one-quarter of a cup of baking soda to a warm bath. An alternative option is to mix the baking soda with a little water to form a paste, which a person can apply directly onto itchy areas.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Acetic acid has been used for thousands of years as a natural wound disinfectant and antiseptic. This is a key component of apple cider vinegar and according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), apple cider vinegar may be particularly helpful in relieving an itchy scalp.
Always dilute the vinegar in water using a 1-to-1 ratio. Do not apply directly to your skin.
Please note that vinegar can cause a burning sensation on open wounds. People with cracked and/or bleeding skin should avoid this treatment.
Menthol is an essential oil found in plants of the mint family which has a cooling effect and can help relieve pain and itching. Always dilute the oil with a carrier oil before applying it to your skin.
6. a cold compress
Cooling the affected skin areas could help to reduce inflammation that may be contributing to the itch.
Another option is to keep moisturising creams and lotions in the refrigerator. This will ensure they have a direct cooling effect when a person applies them to the skin.