Itch Itch, scratch scratch. Tips for relief

January 19, 2017

Does the weather have you trying to scratch that itch?

Sometimes chemicals from new detergents or fabrics can cause an itch. However, if your skin is itching and it lasts for more than four weeks, says Dr. Jerry Cooper of Atlanta Dermatology & Laser Surgery, then it is time to get an appointment and see a doctor.

“The importance of seeing a dermatologist is that they can determine the root of the problem,” said board-certified dermatologist Jerry Cooper, MD. “People try to self diagnose skin conditions, such as eczema, shingles, hives or psoriasis, when it could be something more serious, say a contagious disease, like scabies or ringworm. Addressing the issue as soon as possible is the best way to relief”

Dr. Cooper recommends the following tips to help calm itchy skin,:

Apply a cold, wet cloth or ice pack to the area that itches. (5 to 10 minutes)
Apply cooling agents, such as menthol or calamine.
Take an oatmeal bath. This can be very effective for blisters, chickenpox, hives, poison ivy or sunburn.
Moisturize your skin. Always choose a moisturizer free of additives, fragrances and perfumes.
Apply topical anesthetics that contain pramoxine.

“The best way to avoid scratching is to prevent it. Scratching irritates your skin and can increase your chances for infection”. said Dr. Cooper.

Preventive skin tips:

Bathe with lukewarm – not hot – water. Limit your bath or shower to just 10 minutes.
Always use “fragrance-free” lotions, soaps and detergents to minimize irritation.
As directed by your dermatologist, apply medications before moisturizing. Then, apply your moisturizer to all areas of your skin, including areas treated with medication.
Wear loose-fitting, cotton clothes. Wool and other rough-feeling fabrics can irritate your skin, causing intense itching.
Avoid extreme temperature changes. Hard to do in Georgia but try to keep a neutral climate in your house. Use a humidifier during winter if you are prone to dry skin and eczema.
Stress can make your itch worse, try to reduce it as much as possible.

“Working with your dermatologist can help determine the cause of your itching and help to relieve it and prevent future occurrences” said Dr. Cooper. ATL DERM's Board Certified Dermatologist are known as the Skin Care Experts in Atlanta. You can schedule an appointment at 404.296.8000 or visit them on the web at


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