Itchy skin or Pruritis is an unpleasant sensation that evokes a strong desire to itch or scratch. Itch is the most common skin disorder reported in people over the age of 65. It can largely impact their quality of life. So, in this blog, I bring you a few simple home remedies for itchy skin that everyone must know.
The risk of Pruritis increases as the skin ages. Major changes in skin structure and its reduced ability to regenerate impact skin health. Along with that, the cumulative effects of the environment diminish the skin barrier and hydration of the skin. All these factors make Pruritis more common in elderlies.
Although it’s common in elders, it can occur in younger people too. It has been found to be associated with dry skin, skin diseases, pregnancy, and rarely, cancer.
Though it’s not fatal, it can severely impact the quality of life. Apart from being, uncomfortable and frustrating, it can also lead to sleep impairment and clinical depression. It can also result in small tears on the skin, which are prone to infection. That’s why it’s important to manage pruritus.
Fortunately, many natural and home remedies can help provide relief.
Here are a few home remedies for itchy skin or senile pruritus
Cool the itch
Cooling is an excellent way to relieve itchy skin. It helps in reducing inflammation that may contribute to the itch. Cooling therapy will ease your itch, prevent swelling and prevent skin rash.
Apply a cold compress, wet cloth, or ice pack to the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also keep your moisturizers or lotions in the refrigerator. Cool showers can help too.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an age-old natural wound disinfectant and antiseptic. It contains acetic acid and is very helpful in relieving an itchy scalp. Vinegar is considered extremely beneficial in soothing itchy skin.
However, vinegar can cause a burning sensation on open wounds. So, people with cracked or bleeding skin should avoid it.
Apply a few drops of apple cider vinegar on the affected region directly with a washcloth. You can add 2-3 cups of vinegar to your bath water and soak it for about half an hour.
Baking soda is another popular home remedy for itchy skin or senile pruritus. It has strong antifungal properties too. Studies have proven its efficacy in treating and managing pruritus.
You can add half a cup of baking soda to your bathing water and mix it properly. You can also make a thick paste by mixing baking soda with water and applying it directly to the affected area.
Colloidal oatmeal is finely ground oatmeal that has strong antioxidizing and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce skin irritation and relieve dryness and itching. A study found that colloidal oatmeal helps in reducing scaling, dryness, roughness, and intensity of itching.
Dissolve colloidal oatmeal in water and apply this paste to the skin. It forms a protective barrier on the surface of the skin and helps seal the moisture. You can also add the ground oatmeal powder to the bath water.
Moisturizing the skin is one of the most effective treatments for itchy skin or senile pruritus. Moisturizers help hydrate the outermost layer of the skin. Thus, keeping itching and dryness away.
Choose a moisturizer with high oil content. That contains humectants and emollients. Humectants draw water into the skin. Emollients form a protective film over the skin’s surface. This helps lock in moisture.
Apply a good natural moisturizer right after the bath when the skin is still a little damp. And apply it before bed.
Ayurvedic Herbs for itchy skin
Khadira – It is a powerhouse of active phytochemicals such as tannins, catechu tannic acid, and catechins. It is effective in treating skin disorders that result in itching.
Daruharidra – This Ayurvedic herb helps in eliminating excess Pitta from the body. This is very helpful in treating various skin disorders. It also helps in eliminating and neutralizing ama (toxins).
Nimba – Nimba is renowned for its antiseptic, anthelmintic, soothing, and astringent properties. It can provide immediate relief from itching. Additionally, it is a blood-purifying herb that helps in washing toxins from the body.
Haridra – Haridra is known for its anthelmintic, carminative, and antibacterial properties in Ayurveda. This herb too is a blood purifier and helps in the development of blood tissue.
Manjishtha – Ayurveda considers one of the most potent blood-purifying herb. Manjishtha also helps in eliminating toxins and improving overall blood circulation.
Tips to improve Itchy skin
Try avoiding the triggers
Avoid bathing in hot water, being in an A.C room, or extremely hot baths. Avoid fabrics, like wool and synthetics, that can make skin itch. Switch to light cotton clothing and bed sheets.
Choose the right products
There are various products for sensitive skin including laundry detergent and soaps. Also, don’t forget to use sunscreens regularly to prevent sunburns and skin damage.
Avoid hot water baths
Showering in hot water washes away moisture from the skin. This can make one more prone to dryness, redness, and itching. Reducing the water temperature even by a few degrees can help.
Use a humidifier
Extreme changes in temperature can dry out the skin. This tends to cause flaking and itching. A humidifier can help maintain indoor humidity and counteract the drying effects.
Maintain your skin’s moisture
Use a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free thick moisturizer at least once a day.
Swipe your stress
Stress and anxiety are known to aggravate skin conditions. Counselling, meditation, yoga, and aromatherapy can help.
Cover the itchy area with cool aloe vera gel. Trim your nails and avoid scratching.
Bathing can be soothing
Bath in lukewarm water sprinkled with about half a cup of Epsom salts or baking soda. Do not use it on your underarms or private parts.
Take good Rest
A good night’s sleep can reduce the risk of itchy skin. Try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep