How To Assess And Treat An Itch (Complete Guide)


itch-image-design-1If you want to assess and treat an itch, you’ll be happy to know that our comprehensive guide will help you to figure out what’s causing your itching, as well as how to stop it. We’re here to share information about how to assess itching and how to stop it or minimize it.

We’ve researched the main causes of itching in depth and gathered facts from authority sources. As well, we’ve researched and compiled information about the most effective treatments for many different types of itching.

To start things off, let’s share some basic information about itching.

Why Do We Itch?

Woman scratching her back closeup

Itching is a defense mechanism. It’s designed to protect us from stimuli which are noxious. It’s a signal from our body to scratch the itch. When we do scratch, we affect the irritant and disrupt what it is doing. Unfortunately, too much scratching is a bad thing. It can trigger inflammation. Itch is also known as pruritus.

What are the Main Causes?

Dermatologic conditions which cause itching are triggered by many different things. For example, systemic diseases, such as endocrine, hepatic and renal diseases, may cause skin disorders which include itching. As well, malignancies and medication may cause skin issues that itch.

All of these root causes of itching are actually triggered by our central nervous systems. If you have to itch, and you don’t have obvious lesions or skin irritation, you should see your doctor. While most people who itch don’t have systemic diseases, malignancies and so on, it’s best to see a doctor if you think there may be an underlying health issue which is causing the problem.

A doctor will be able to exclude or confirm the presence of an underlying health issue which is linked with itching. Therefore, you should look at your skin. Is there some obvious irritation which is likely making you itch? Or does the itching seem to come out of nowhere? If it does seem to come out of nowhere, you should go to the doctor.

In cases where there really are underlying health issues, the right medication, or change of medication (if the medication is the problem) may be enough to stop the itching. Treating the root cause will also treat the symptoms.

Going to the doctor is good advice, no matter why you’re itching. However, many itches have causes that are fairly easy to trace and quite treatable. Self-care for itching is usually possible.

Why is Scratching Harmful?

Young asian boy scratching his skin over white

Scratching causes more inflammation to skin which has already been inflamed. It causes stimulation of the nerve’s fibers, and this starts a cycle of itching and scratching. When you scratch, you’ll initiate skin damage which causes inflammatory chemicals to be released.

This will make you even itchier! This cycle also changes the structure of your skin, by damaging its natural barrier. This may cause conditions known as lichenification or prurigonodularis.

Proper and early assessment of itching will assist you with figuring out the right treatment. It’s the key to saving your skin and getting it back into pristine condition. It’s also the key to relieving the annoying itch for good.

More Assessment Tips for Itchy People

We’ve already talked about assessing the type of itching which is systemic. It’s caused by organs, instead of the skin itself, or triggered by medications.

Another type of itch is a dermatologic itch, and it’s linked with skin disorders.

The third type of itch is neurogenic or neuropathic itching. It’s caused by issues with the peripheral or central nervous systems. It may also be triggered by compression of nerves or by irritation of nerves.

The fourth type of itching is psychogenic, and it’s triggered by psychological issues. It doesn’t have a physical cause.

Lastly, itching may be triggered by more than one cause.

Asian boy scratching his arm on white background.

When assessing your own itchiness, think about what you’re feeling. What is the actual itching sensation? Is it something that’s occasional, a new thing or chronic? As well, does your scratching make it go away? If it doesn’t, the root cause may be systemic or psychological. Most people don’t experience itching for psychological reasons. However, it has happened and did happen.

Also, another question to ask yourself is, does your skin have a rash which is in a specific area that itches? A localized, rash-like area may indicate dermatitis. Sometimes, we itch because of allergens or insect bites. We may itch due to eczema or something like that.

If itching is generalized, you should see a doctor. Non-localized itching is sometimes a signal that tests are needed.

Quick Relief Tips for Itchy Skin

Now, we’ve talked about what itching is, why it happens, which forms of itching there are and how to self-assess. At this point, we want to move forward and provide you with some quick relief tips. Our tips will help you to feel better fast. There is so much that you can do at home to stop itching. If our tips don’t work, a doctor will be able to help. Again, if your itching is generalized, happens a fair bit and seems to have no physical cause, it’s best to see a doctor in short order.

One tip is to use oatmeal to stop the itch. Oatmeal is so gentle on the skin and its compounds, which are known as avenanthramide, will stop inflammatory compounds from being released. They will reduce itching fast. This is why so many skin care companies, including Aveeno, use natural colloidal oatmeal in their skin care lotions.

Oatmeal soothes the skin. You may buy Aveeno lotions or other anti-itch, anti-irritation lotions with oatmeal in them. However, it’s cheaper to use real oatmeal. You may do so by grinding up a couple of cups of oatmeal which is uncooked and pulsing it in your blender until it’s a coarse-textured powder.

Add one-quarter of a cup of baking soda. This mixes everything together and put it into a container with an airtight lid. Once you’ve got the mixture ready, you’ll be able to add a cup of it to a warm bath. It’ll help to relieve your itching. Some people also add some water to a bit of the mix and put it on their skin as a healing mask.

Invest in Cortisone Cream

Detail baby with chicken pox rash

Cortisone cream is another super-quick-fix for so many skin irritations and the itching that they cause. You can find a tube of Cortisone cream at almost any drugstore or grocery store. Just a dab to an affected area should be enough to provide exceptional relief in no time flat. This cream takes down inflammation so fast, and that’s why people use it to treat insect bites, contact dermatitis and a host of other itchy ailments. Keep a tube in your car and one at home. It’s the easiest way to get rid of the itching, it’s not expensive, and it’s very effective regarding reducing redness and swelling.

You don’t want to overuse cortisone or cortisone creams from the doctor. Eventually, they tend to thin the skin. For example, prescription-strength cortisone creams have a lot more active ingredient than the drugstore products, so they’re going to have more of a thinning effect on the skin. They should be used sparingly, for the amount of time that the doctor suggests. Usually, these creams are prescribed to combat chronic skin conditions which trigger itching and redness. If you want more information about prescription-strength creams of this type, talk to your doctor.

Wash the Affected Area

This tip is simple and straightforward. If you want quick relief, it may be as easy as watching the itchy area with warm water and a mild soap, such as Dove. It’s possible that you’ve come in contact with an allergen which is resting on your skin and causing the itching. Washing the affected area may be enough to stop the adverse reaction. This tip won’t work if the itching is really severe.

Try a Glycerin Soap

Stack of new colorful Soap Bars on white background.Dove soap or another gentle soap may stop itching. Another option is to try soap which contains Glycerin. Glycerin is known for its ability to draw water into the human body. It’s a humectant, and this means that it adds moisture. It also cools down the skin and this feels great. You can find Glycerin soaps almost anywhere. Health food stores are good places to look.

Make a Mint Treatment

Mint is very calming to the skin, and the menthol which is found in mint has anti-inflammatory properties. To make your own mint skin treatment, steep an ounce of dried mint leaves in some water which is boiling hot. Once the mixture has cooled down, apply it to your skin with a clean washcloth or clean cotton pad.

Use Baking Soda to Soothe Itching

If you want to soothe itchy skin, we recommend a baking soda bath. Soaking in a tub filled with warm water and a cup of baking soda is likely to solve the problem, and you’ll be able to relax as it gets solved. People with chicken pox have been taking baking soda baths for ages to stop the excruciating itchiness, at least for a while. It will work on many different types of skin irritations and skin reactions. Plus, baking soda is cheap and natural. If you want to, make a paste with a bit of baking soda and water and then apply it to the affected area.

Thyme is Also Very Healing

Thyme oil on wooden background

The fragrant herb known as Thyme contains thymol. This is a compound which numbs the skin and also takes down swelling. If you want to use Thyme to soothe itching, rather than to flavor a turkey or other savory dish, you’ll find that it’s very easy to do. Just boil up half a cup of dried Thyme leaves in some boiling water and then let the steeped mixture cool off. Then, apply it to your itchy areas.

Experiment with Essential Oils

There are an array of essential oils which help itchy skin. Examples include soothing Lavender, healing Chamomile, and gentle Calendula. Some people add these oils to their baths or put them directly onto the skin, via cotton compresses. Other essential oils to consider include Rosemary, Nettle, and Geranium.

Try Our Skin Care Tips Today

Family hands on team

Hopefully, this detailed guide has given you all of the information that you’re looking for. The best way to begin caring for itchy skin is doing a self-assessment. Our assessment tips should help you to get a clearer sense of why the itching is happening. Once you’ve assessed your itching, you’ll be ready to move forward and choose a treatment. This may be a visit to the doctor or therapy with one of the home remedies that we’ve mentioned here. Cortisone cream is also a great choice.

If you got value from this article, be sure to bookmark it and use it as a reference. Also, you may want to share it on social media to let your friends and family know about these handy and practical tips.

Learning how to stop itching is really useful. A lot of people don’t understand that certain types of itching may be a signal of underlying health problems, so it’s good to know this, too!

Hopefully, your itching will be temporary and won’t be a signal of any real health problem. Most itching is caused by an external irritant. This type of itching is typically pretty easy to remedy, and you should be able to take care of it on your own. With serious itching that doesn’t stop, more care will be needed, and that’s when you should think about dropping by the doctor.

Once you’ve tried our anti-itching tips, you’ll be one step closer to enjoying itch-free comfort. Try one tip or all of them to get the care that you need. We believe in home remedies and quick fixes like cortisone cream. They deliver so much assistance and cost almost nothing. So, why not try our tips today?

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