24 March 2015

Scratching Addendum

Since I ruled out scratching to stop an itch--see last Friday’s blog post, Scratch That Itch?--I feel obligated to highlight some other approaches. I want to be careful here. I’m talking about temporary relief of simple itches, such as my winter, dry skin itch. If you’ve an itch that persists or if there’s any chance it’s caused by a medical condition, don’t hesitate to consult a health care professional. OK?

Recommended self-care products that I’m sure you’re familiar with and for which any pharmacist would help are moisturizing or nonprescription anti-itch creams or lotions.

The simplest home remedies are applying ice packs or cool, wet compresses or taking a cool shower or bath. Hot water makes it worse, if I could only resist.

Many other home remedies have been recommended. I don’t follow this sort of thing and knew almost none, but I expect my wife knows most of them. Maybe one or two of the following are new to her and possibly to you, too. Commercial products are widely available.

Baking Soda or Oatmeal: Apply either product as a paste or add 1 cup baking soda or 1 or 2 cups colloidal or finely ground oatmeal to a bath (lukewarm water). (Photo of dog enjoying an oatmeal bath is from multiple websites)
Essential Oils or Herb Leaves: Apply directly or add to a bath the essential oil of, for example, basil, chamomile, clove, lavender, peppermint, rosemary or thyme. Or rub the skin with leaves, or a cooled tea made from leaves, of either basil, mint, thyme or tulsi (holy basil). (Photos are from multiple websites)
Oil Therapies: Apply olive, almond or sesame oil before showering. Another recommendation is to apply a thick layer of coconut oil and cover it before heading to bed. (Photo from multiple websites)
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apply with a cotton swab or cloth or add 2 or 3 cups to bath water. (Photo from multiple websites)
Lemon Juice: Apply juice and allow to dry. (Photo from multiple websites)
Aloe Vera: If you have the plant, cut a piece, squeeze or scoop out the gel and apply it. (Photos are from multiple websites)
Milk: Apply with a cloth. (Yes, you can take a bath in milk, but that seems a bit much unless you’re a movie star or you really, really like milk.) (Photo from multiple websites)
Honey: Heat lightly, apply and wash off after about 15 minutes. (Photo from multiple websites)
Although their preparation is more involved, various mixes have been recommended, such as honey with olive oil and beeswax or juniper berries with cloves and beeswax. So too have certain clays, though those might not be readily available. Along with treatments, it’s also recommended to wear smooth-textured, loose cotton clothing, use soaps without dyes or perfumes, and…well, like treatments, the list goes on.


Example websites that address itchy skin:
Example websites that have recommended home-remedies (lots of redundancy):

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