It happens every year without fail. The weather starts getting colder and suddenly my skin is dry, itchy, and a total pain! I’ve definitely started to feel it this past week, so I have been looking for relief anywhere and everywhere! I actually learned quite a bit about itchiness while searching for remedies, and it turns out one of the most common causes of itching is actually due to stress and anxiety. I didn’t know that! Of course dry skin (xerosis) is another frequent cause of itchiness, but I’m definitely not ruling out the stress as a contributing cause!
But regardless of why your skin is itchy, there are LOTS of good home remedies to help control itch. Try a few and figure out what works best for your skin!
Natural Remedies For Dry, Itchy Skin
1. Baking Soda Bath
Soaking in a bath of baking soda for 30-60 minutes can make all the difference. Add one cup baking soda to a tub of warm water. After the bath, it is important to gently pat your skin dry with a towel (or air-dry). For more localized itching you can make a paste of 1 part water to 3 parts baking soda.
Mixing oatmeal in water and spreading it on irritated skin can also be cooling and soothing. Add 2 cups of colloidal oatmeal to a lukewarm bath and soak to soothe itchy skin. Avoid using very hot water, as it can irritate the skin and cause it to itch more.
3. Cold Water
Because cold and itch travel along the same nerve fibers, the use of cold can “jam the circuits” and deaden itch. Cool showers or baths or even ice packs can be an instant remedy for itchy skin. Again, hot water feels good temporarily, but it often leaves you feeling itchier later.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
If you have a small patch of dry, itchy skin, dot vinegar on the spot with a cotton ball. If you’re experiencing all-over itching and dryness, add two or three cups of vinegar to your bath water and soak for 15 to 30 minutes.
5. Milk and Honey
Pour some milk into a bowl, dip a clean white washcloth into the milk and apply it to the dry itchy skin patch for 5 minutes. Milk has anti-inflammatory properties that often remove the itch from dry skin. Milk is very soothing to inflamed, dry, itchy skin. A milk bath once in a month can also help.
Lightly heat 2 teaspoons of honey and apply it to skin while warm. Leave it on for 15 minutes, and then wash it off. Honey helps lock in moisture, has antioxidant and anti-microbial properties, which is why it’s found in so many over-the-counter skincare products.
6. Essential Oils
There are many good essential oils with anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that have the ability to give relief to itchy skin and alleviate irritations. (I’ve been using LOTS of Lavender lately!) You can add them to your bath water or apply directly on your skin. Just make sure to follow the dosage recommendations exactly as directed on the package.
The following are some of the best essential oils for itchy skin: Agrimony oil, Basil oil, Bay leaf oil, Calendula oil, Chamomile oil, Chickweed oil, Clove oil, Geranium oil, Jewelweed oil, Lavender oil, Neem oil, Nettle oil, Peppermint oil, Rosemary oil, Thyme oil
7. Oil Therapy
Rub on some olive, almond or sesame oil and massage lightly on to your hands, legs and the rest of your body before heading for a shower. If time permits, heat the oil and then apply. Post shower, use a light moisturizer/sunscreen, because winter sun isn’t any less harsh.
8. Coconut Oil
The driest of the dry winter skin usually occurs on the heels, hands and elbows. Use coconut oil to spot-treat these areas overnight, and you should see significant improvement in the morning. Soak in a lukewarm bath until your fingers shrivel, this indicates that the skin is full hydrated. Pat skin dry, but leave slightly damp. Put a thick layer of coconut oil on heels, hands and elbows, covering the greased areas with socks, gloves and long sleeved pajama top, and go to bed. You should have a restful itch-free night of sleep and improved skin in the morning.
9. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice can be directly applied on itchy skin to relieve the irritation. You may want to avoid this one if you have been scratching a lot.
10. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk not only reduces skin dryness, but also helps combat dark spots and blemishes. Rub it onto your face and body, and leave it overnight.
11. Dried Fruits
A diet rich in Vitamin A, B and E is also a dry skin remedy as deficiency of these vitamins lead to dry skin. Dry fruits help to retain moisture in the skin. Consuming dry fruits regularly can help in treating extremely dry skin.
—Herbs & Spices
12. Juniper Berries
Juniper Berries contain anti-inflammatory, volatile substances. And cloves contain eugenol which numb nerve endings, so the combination of the two can help end an itch. Make a salve of both spices by melting 3 ounces of unsalted butter in a saucepan. In a separate pan, melt a lump of beeswax — about the amount of 2 tablespoons. When the beeswax has melted, combine with butter and stir well. Add 5 tablespoons ground juniper berries and 3 teaspoons ground cloves to the mixture and stir. Allow to cool and apply to itchy skin. (Note: It is best to grind the spices at home because the volatile substances are preserved better in whole berries and cloves.)
Basil contains high amounts of eugenol, a topical anesthetic. Place 1/2 ounce dried basil leaves in a 1-pint jar of boiling water. Keep it covered to prevent the escape of the aromatic eugenol from the tea. Allow to cool. Dip a clean cloth into the tea and apply to itchy skin as often as necessary.
Mint contains significant amounts of menthol, which has anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties when applied topically. To make a mint tea rinse, place 1 ounce dried mint leaves in 1 pint boiling water. Cover and allow to cool. Strain, dip a clean cloth in the tea, and apply to the itchy area when necessary.
Thyme contains large amounts of the volatile constituent thymol, which also has anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties. It numbs the itch while reducing inflammation caused by scratching. To make a thyme rinse, place 1/2 ounce dried thyme leaves in a 1-pint jar of boiling water. Cover and allow to cool. Strain and dip a clean cloth into the tea, then apply to affected areas.
16. Aloe Vera
Slice a piece of aloe, squeeze all the gel out and apply to itchy skin. It will not only moisturise your skin, it will also form a protective layer that will keep impurities from entering your pores. Although aloe is a good skin hydrant, it can leave your skin feeling tight. So you might want to also put on moisturizer.
A combination of honey, olive oil, and beeswax can provide significant benefit to people suffering from eczema or psoriasis. Combining equal parts of raw (unprocessed) honey, beeswax, and olive oil. Melt the beeswax in a small pan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, remove it from the heat and mix in the honey, then the olive oil, stirring the mixture until well blended. While the mixture is still warm, pour it into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. The mixture should keep for up to three months. A few drops of vitamin E oil (from a gel cap) may be added to each batch for longer shelf life, and to enhance its healing properties.
Glycerin is a humectant (draws water to your body) and has a cooling, hydrating effect on the skin which is why it is used so prevalently in soap and skin care products. Combine with rose water for even better results.
19. Cotton Clothing
Avoid wearing wool and polyester and other synthetic materials, as they can cause skin to itch. 100% cotton clothing can often help an itchy situation.
20. Avoid Scented Soap
Wash your clothing in unscented detergent. Scented detergent may contain chemicals and other irritants that make skin itch. Unscented detergent is more gentle and will help allow skin to heal.
21. Humidify Your Environment
Sleep with a humidifier in your room. A humidifier releases water into the air, which can be absorbed by your itchy skin, which will soothe it.
22. Drink More Water
Drink lots of water to keep skin hydrated. Moreover water helps to remove toxins through urine. Excessive toxin levels in the body may create irritation and itchiness.
23. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Alcohol and drinks high in caffeine are dehydrating and can make itching worse!
So there you have it, more information than you ever thought there was to know about relieving the torment of itchy skin. 🙂 If you’re suffering from the “agony of itch” like me, stop the madness and try one of these remedies today!