Itchy skin, medically known as pruritus, is an uncomfortable sensation that can occur anywhere on the body. Itchy skin can feel tight, make you want to scratch, and be accompanied by redness or rashes. There are several known triggers of itchy skin, like hot showers, that are best avoided. It is crucial to protect skin and maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent itchiness. Keep reading to learn more about unhealthy habits that trigger itchy skin.
Habits to Avoid
These common habits can contribute to itchy skin and make the skin take longer to heal.
Taking hot showers
Long, hot showers may feel good, but they are very harsh and can significantly dry out skin. Try taking shorter showers with warm water instead. Likewise, washing your hands too often can also cause itchy, dry skin.
Smoking is a hazardous habit for a number of reasons. Nicotine is thought to prevent collagen production, drying skin from the inside out. Smoking is obviously detrimental to your lungs, but it also affects your teeth and skin as well. The best option is to reduce how much you smoke with the aim of quitting.
Not using sunscreen
Neglecting sunscreen not only makes you more susceptible to itchy skin and sunburns, but it also increases your risk of developing skin cancer. Using a lotion of SPF 15 or higher every day can prevent itchy skin. Use sunscreen even when it is not sunny outside, as the harmful UV rays can still damage skin through the clouds.
Eating healthy is vital to looking and feeling your best. This is no different for skin health. A diet that is heavy in saturated fats, salt, and sugar can lead to itchy skin, as well as breakouts. Try to incorporate plenty of foods that are rich in vitamins A and C. They are particularly important to skin health because they support collagen production, so eating more carrots, citrus fruit, and low-fat dairy can help nourish skin. Essential fatty acids are also wonderful for skin health, so try to eat more avocadoes and salmon.
Food allergies or allergic reactions to certain substances, like cosmetics or fabrics, can cause itchy, irritated skin. It is important to be aware of your allergies, and try to avoid contact with allergens as much as possible.
Not drinking enough water
Dehydration is a primary cause of itchy skin, so it is essential to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep skin healthy and nourished.
Letting stress build up
High stress causes the body to release a compound called histamine, which causes itching, flushing, and rashes. It is important to try and reduce stress as much as possible to avoid menopausal symptoms. Yoga and meditation are helpful ways to reduce stress.
Itchy skin is an irritating symptom that can occur anywhere on the body at any time of the day. It is recommended to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle and avoid certain triggers - like hot showers, smoking, and poor diet - in order to prevent itchy skin.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Itchy skin (pruritus). Retrieved December 18, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/itchy-skin/basics/causes/con-20028460
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Itching - Causes. Retrieved December 18, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Itching/Pages/Causes.aspx
- University of Washington. (2014). Maintaining Healthy Skin - Part 1. Retrieved December 18, 2014, from http://sci.washington.edu/info/pamphlets/skin_1.asp