I wish I wasn’t an expert on itching skin, but I’ve suffered from it so many times that I finally know how I can get relief from the annoyance of itching–and pretty quickly at that. Maybe my tips will help you.
Here are my top five home remedies, and they are all free or cheap. They’ve helped with insect bites, poison oak or ivy, food allergies, and just plain dry skin.
Of course sometimes you need medical help, and if so, do get it. I’ve had to myself a few times. Itching can be such a torment, no need to suffer more than you have to! Some people itch more easily than others and sad to say I’m part of that exclusive club.
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1. A Very Hot Shower
It may surprise you but this is my go-to remedy. I’ve even gotten out of bed in the middle of the night for a hot shower! You DO have to be careful not to get the water so hot that you could burn yourself, and for this reason I don’t suggest this method for children until they are older, maybe in their teens. I usually set the shower for pretty hot, then get in and turn it up a little until it’s as hot as I can handle.
Why does this work? The heat causes your body to have a histamine reaction, which means you will itch even more for a very few minutes. But once that is past, you have used up most if not all of the histamine in your system and if you are like me, you should have a couple of hours or more of blessed relief. I learned this method one summer when my dogs got into a lot of poison oak, and it literally saved my skin!
If you have an itch on one part of your skin, say on one leg or one arm or the back of a hand, you can also do this just for the area that is bothering you, putting it in a sink and running hot water over it.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is my main home remedy for dry skin. I keep a container of it in the bathroom, just whatever I’d use to cook with in the kitchen, and I often put a little on the places that tend to itch. For me that’s the backs of my knees, my neck, a few private spots, and more. I just rub in a very little bit, either after a shower or before bed. It goes further down into the skin that some other things and that is part of its benefit.
One of my dogs loves to lick the coconut oil so if he is right there, I may substitute a gentle skin lotion with almost as good results.
3. Aloe Vera
We always have an aloe vera plant growing in our house. You just snip off a little bit of it, cut it open, and rub it on the itchy place. I actually do this even more for small burns in the kitchen than for itches.
It’s an easy plant to start from a small bit you might buy or a friend might give you. We’ve had our one plant (at least 10 times the size of the one in the photo) for many years. Our cat loves to nibble on it too, but I don’t know what benefits she gets from it.
If you prefer the convenience, there are numerous aloe vera gel products you can get and keep handy. I used one of those when we traveled recently. Here’s a nice one in a spray bottle: Aloe Vera Gel for Face, Body & Hair – 100% Pure & Natural, Certified Organic and Cold Pressed – Great for Sunburns, dry and damaged skin, Acne & razor bumps 8 oz. Now that’s a description!
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda is such an all-purpose cleanser that I always have it on hand… that link takes you to another article of mine all about it. For combating itching in a small area, something like a mosquito bite or other small spot, just mix up some baking soda in a little cup with hardly any water until you have a rather thick paste. Then apply it to the place that is bothering you. It can stay there for hours… you could wrap it with a bandage if you wanted to.
Another way to use baking soda is to pour yourself a nice bath, pretty warm but not scalding, and to pour in a cup or more of baking soda. Spread it along the tub and then take a big spoon of some sort and stir it a while till you have it mostly dissolved. I do this rarely but it can help. I’ve read that if your skin has a rash that is broken up, it’s best not to use baking soda in that case.
5. Stop Eating… What?
There are several foods that I can have an allergic reaction to. Something might set you off that isn’t a problem for me. Here are some of the things I have to watch out for: peanuts, cashews, Chinese food if it has MSG or something of the sort (this is rarer now than it once was), and marijuana. Say what? Yep, when we lived in Colorado, where it had become legal, I had a reaction to eating it… my hands would itch between my fingers.
So notice what you have eaten lately and maybe you will get some clues. Wheat, eggs, sugar? Meats with nitrates?
Stay away from poison oak and poison ivy but if you get into the plants, here’s my favorite remedy, . It removes the urushiol oils in poison oak or poison ivy and I have had excellent success with it.
Apple cider vinegar, cool water, bentonite clay, and many other things have been used.
A Video on Home Remedies for Itching Skin