Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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

  • Avoid allowing the reaction-causing substance to touch your skin. If it's a piece of jewelry, you may be able to wear it by putting a barrier between you and the metal. For example, line the inside of a bracelet with a piece of clear tape or paint it with clear nail polish.
  • 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 anti-itch drug. A nonprescription oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others), may be helpful if your itching is severe.
  • Apply cool, wet compresses. Moisten soft washcloths and hold them against the rash to soothe your skin for 15 to 30 minutes. Repeat several times a day.
  • Avoid scratching. Trim your nails. If you can't keep from scratching an itchy area, cover it with a dressing and bandage.
  • Soak in a comfortably cool bath. Sprinkle the water with baking soda or an oatmeal-based bath product (Aveeno, others).
  • Wear smooth-textured cotton clothing. This helps avoid irritation.
  • Choose mild soaps without dyes or perfumes. Rinse completely, pat your skin dry and apply moisturizer.
  • Protect your hands with moisturizers and gloves. Reapply moisturizers throughout the day. And choose gloves based on what you're protecting your hands from. For example, plastic gloves lined with cotton are good if your hands are often wet.
Jul. 16, 2014

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