What causes itchy skin?
Getting to The Root

What causes itchy skin?

Do you have an itch that needs scratching? And another... and another? It could be on your leg, or your back, or impossible to pinpoint. Whatever the sensation, it’s uncomfortable and distracting. 

In most cases, itchiness is temporary and treatable with the right skincare products. One of these common causes may bring you a step closer to itch-free relief. 

Dry skin

Dry skin is especially common in the winter because of the dry conditions. The outer surface of the epidermis is called the skin barrier. It protects the body from harmful toxins and requires moisture to function well. But, dry conditions cause moisture to evaporate, leaving the skin itchy and irritated. Gender and age can also affect moisture levels in the skin.

In addition to itchiness, dry skin can cause redness and flaking. Moisturizing skincare products are the best way to treat this. Apply moisturizer immediately after showering or washing your face to lock in the moisture. Avoid products that contain harsh chemicals like alcohol and artificial fragrances, which can dry out the skin more. Instead, opt for products that contain natural super-moisturizers like coconut and jojoba oil and coconut milk. 

Bug bites 

Most of us share our homes with a few insects—like mosquitoes and spiders— that leave behind itchy bites. With many bugs, you’ll be able to find a small hole where the insect bit, but in some cases the hole is so small that you can’t see it.

While bites from mosquitos and spiders will be familiar, mite and bedbug bites can be harder to identify because they look like other common rashes. If you can't tell what kind of bite is affecting you, and symptoms are persistent, it’s a good idea to get a doctor’s opinion. 

Avoid scratching bites as this can increase inflammation and make symptoms worse. Hydrocortisone ointment and calamine lotion can soothe bites.

Allergic reactions

Certain chemicals, fabrics, cosmetics, and household products, can cause itchy and irritated skin. If symptoms appear whenever you use specific products, this indicates an allergic reaction. Itching is also a side effect of certain medications such as: 

  • Ace Inhibitors for high blood pressure
  • Estrogen
  • Simvastatin for high cholesterol

Inform your doctor about itchiness and they might either switch your medication or recommend methods for mitigating symptoms. For example, moisturizers and topical steroids might provide some relief.

If you suspect the itching is caused by a product in your routine, make a list of all the items you used and track symptoms. Discontinue use of the suspected offender and see if that makes a difference. When it comes to trying new skincare products it’s a good idea to spot test before incorporating it into your routine.

Dry skin, bug bites, and allergic reactions all cause uncomfortable itching. Finding the cause and treating it with the right skincare product can relieve inflammation. We like products that feel a bit like stepping into a steamy bath— aaaah, sweet relief. 


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