Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To help reduce itching and soothe inflamed skin, try these self-care strategies:

  • Apply an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion to the affected area. A nonprescription cream containing at least 1 percent hydrocortisone can temporarily relieve your itch.
  • Take an over-the-counter antihistamine. A nonprescription oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others), may be helpful if your itching is severe.
  • Apply cool, wet compresses. Moisten soft white washcloths and hold them against affected areas to soothe your skin.
  • Avoid scratching whenever possible. Trim your nails and wear white cotton gloves at night. If you can't keep from scratching an itchy area, cover it with a dressing and bandages.
  • Take a comfortably cool bath. Sprinkle your bath water with baking soda or colloidal oatmeal — a finely ground oatmeal that's made for the bathtub (Aveeno, others).
  • Wear smooth-textured cotton clothing. This will help you avoid irritation.
  • Choose mild soaps without dyes or perfumes. Be sure to rinse soap completely off your body. And after washing, apply a moisturizer to protect your skin.
Jul. 30, 2011