Help Fix my Itchy Skin!
We've all been there (and if you haven't, lucky you!): desperately trying every trick in the book to try to get rid of that horrible itchy skin. Maybe it's just your arms, or maybe it's your face or scalp or feet or - worst of all - more delicate areas. Wherever that itch is, it sucks. But I have good news: there are some simple things you can do to try to eliminate your discomfort! So here are my recommended first steps:
Check Your Laundry
Laundry detergents and fabric softeners are some of the most common skin irritants out there. Imagine those chemicals hanging out in the clothing that is touching your skin 24/7 (or 16/7? I don't judge!), it's no wonder you're itchy! I recommend starting out here, in order:
Use less detergent and/or run an extra rinse cycle; you may not need as much detergent as the box says. Try just using less and see if your clothes still come out clean. You'll save money too! Another option is to give your clothing an extra rinse before drying. Obviously that uses more water, but it may help get that extra detergent out of your clothes and provide you some relief.
Stop using all fabric softeners and dryer sheets! You should be doing this already; not only are they full of horrible chemicals and fragrance, but they're actually really bad for your clothes and linens too. They can clog clothing fibres, yellowing white fabrics and reducing the absorbency of cottons and microfibers. And if they can do that to fabric, imagine what they can do to your poor skin? Try using vinegar in your washing machine instead of fabric softener, or wool dryer balls in your dryer to reduce static cling and soften your clothes naturally.
Switch to a "free and clear" laundry detergent with no added colours or fragrances. As detailed below, if you have itchy skin, artificial fragrances are one of the most likely culprits.
Try these out and see if it helps. Checking your laundry is always my first suggestion when people ask for my advice on soothing sensitive skin, and in about 75% of cases, it's all that's needed to fix the problem.
The Dreaded Fragrances
Artificial fragrances are simply awful. They're really harsh chemicals with absolutely zero practical use, so have no place in today's products. And yet, they're everywhere. Check your body care products, household cleaners, and air fresheners; chances are, almost every product you own has fragrance in it. There are more and more "fragrance free zones" popping up in public areas due to fragrance sensitivities and allergies, so why not just cut them out of your life entirely and make things easier on everyone, yourself (and your itchy skin) included? Any products with the ingredient "fragrance" or "parfum" should be avoided, and look for products that are either scented with essential oils, or (even better) fragrance free. We have lots of fragrance free options here if you're interested.
What's in Your Soap?
Remember Sodium Lauryl Sulfate from our earlier blog post? It can be a big skin irritant, and can be found in over 90% of skin care products. Yikes! Have a look at that blog post again to see a few other ingredients to avoid if you've got itchy skin that just won't go away. It may be one of these chemicals causing it. Don't forget, we don't use any of these ingredients here, and we make lots of great fragrance free products, including a liquid shampoo, solid bar soaps, and even a wicked body butter!
Give your changes a few weeks to take full effect. Still not working? There are many skin conditions that need medical intervention, some mild, and some much more serious. Contact dermatitis may sometimes need corticosteroids to be fully cured, while autoimmune diseases like psoriasis and eczema may be relieved by changes in diet or stronger medication. If you have made your home chemical free and you're still having a problem with itchy skin, it's time to see a doctor.
I'm on vacation next week, but I'll see if I have time to write a quick article anyway. In the meantime, please comment below with subjects you'd like to see on our blog; I'd love to do some research and write an article to answer a question you may have!
* Remember, I'm not a doctor, and I can't claim to diagnose or cure any ailments, including skin conditions. These are just good places to start. If your condition worsens or becomes unbearable, please see a doctor!