Simple Home Remedies For Itch Relief

Household fixes for skin itching caused by bug bites, sunburn, poison ivy.

It's the middle of the night, and your sunburn or poison ivy is itching like mad. Do you jump in the car to find an all-night drugstore? No, head for the kitchen cabinet - you'll probably find something in there that will help. How to deal with a persistent itch can depend on what is causing it; rubbing alcohol will temporarily cool and take the sting out of bug bites, but will aggravate itch caused by winter-dry skin - alcohol is very drying to the skin.

The sovereign remedy for skin problems, of course, is aloe vera. If you can keep an aloe vera plant growing in your house, you'll always have a supply on hand. Aloe vera is a succulent (like a cactus without thorns); to use, just pull off one of the fleshy spear-like leaves and break or cut open. The leaf is full of a clear soothing gel that can be applied directly to the skin. Many commercial skin products contain aloe vera, but the plant is your best source.If you own cats, however, you may wish to try other solutions - cats will want to eat the plant, and then they will vomit it all back up. Unless you can keep it out of cats' reach (and this is usually impossible), don't bring an aloe vera plant into a house with cats.

If winter itch is the issue, the solution is moisture. A home humidifier will help, as will drinking your daily eight-ten glasses of water. But if you have to go out in the cold often, you may need an external moisturizer to keep your skin from itching and flaking. The best moisturizers for skin are animal-fats; southern belle Scarlet O'Hara and ladies of her generation would go to bed wearing gloves to cover their chicken fat-coated hands before a major social event. If the idea of smearing yourself with chicken fat is distasteful, buy commercially available emu oil. It not only will provide your skin with plenty of needed moisture, it is also thought to provide some analgesic (pain-killing) effects as well. A little dab of emu oil goes a long way. It is especially suited to sensitive facial skin.

For an itch that originates at a point, such as a bug bite, your grandmother knew the solution - make a paste out of a little bit of baking soda and just enough water to make it gummy. Apply to the area of the bite and allow it to dry. When dry, it will flake and fall off, but the irritation should have subsided. Another excellent solution to bug-bite itch is a drop or two of lavender or tea-tree essential oils right on the bite. Lavender and tea-tree oils are both mild enough to use without diluting. Tea-tree oil has also proven effective against fungal infections like athlete's foot - apply the oil full-strength directly to the rash.

If you have a large area of skin that itches, as with sunburn or a bad case of poison ivy, an oatmeal or baking soda bath may prove effective. Just add one-two cups of oatmeal and/or a cup of baking soda to a warm bath and soak. You can purchase oatmeal that has been ground to a fine powder specifically for bathing, or just use the oatmeal you may have already on hand. If the thought of oatmeal floating around you in the water seems messy to you, make a giant 'teabag' of oatmeal tied up in a square of cheesecloth. Use the 'teabag' as a loofah to gently scrub your affected skin. Don't scrub your skin with the towel when done, or you will start itching all over again - pat yourself dry and then wear loose clothing that won't be so likely to further irritate your skin.

With a little forethought and perhaps a few additions to your grocery list, you can always have solutions to itchy skin on hand.

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