Everyone gets an itch once in a while, usually it only lasts for a short time and is often caused by annoyances like a mosquito bite or scratchy fabric, however if an itch lasts for more than six weeks, it is considered a chronic itch and is more likely to disrupt your life. There are many reasons for itchy skin including eczema, shingles, hives and psoriasis. It could also be a sign of a contagious disease such as scabies or ringworm. To help soothe itchy skin, dermatologists recommend the following tips, apply a cold wet cloth or ice pack to the skin that itches for five to ten minutes, take an oatmeal bath, this can be very soothing especially for blisters or losing skin due to chickenpox, hives, poison ivy or sunburn. Moisturize your skin, choose a moisturizer free of additives, fragrances and perfumes. Apply topical anesthetics that contain from boxing, apply cooling agents such as menthol or calamine, you could also place your moisturizer in the refrigerator to help achieve this cooling effect.
While you are treating your skin, follow these tips from dermatologists to help prevent your skin from itching, bathe with lukewarm not hot water and limit your bath or shower to just 10 minutes, always use fragrance free lotions soaps and detergents to minimize irritation, be wary of products labeled unscented as they still have chemicals that cause irritation as directed by your dermatologist, apply medications before moisturizing then apply your moisturizer to all areas of your skin including areas treated with medication. Wear loose-fitting cotton clothes, wool and other rough feeling fabrics can irritate your skin causing intense itching, avoid extreme temperature changes. Maintain a relatively cool neutral humidity environment or else use a humidifier during winter. If you are prone to dry skin and eczema, try to reduce stress as stress can make your itch worse, if your age does not go away with home treatments, see a board-certified dermatologist. Some people have more than one reason to scratch and a dermatologist can work with you to find causes and treatment.