If you’ve got sensitive or allergy-prone skin, you’ll know as well as we do how endless and distressing the itch-scratch cycle can be! Allergens make your skin flare-up and trigger the desperate urge to itch, but satisfying the itch with scratching damages the skin and lets more allergens in. And so the cycle continues.
At Balmonds, we want to do what we can to help you keep your skin in healthy, hydrated condition. We know that chronic dry skin or being prone to eczema or allergies isn’t something that can be totally cured and that there’s no single solution that works for everyone, but things can certainly be made more manageable!
1. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
Applying a good emollient at regular intervals is absolutely crucial to keeping on top of itchiness.
Chose a cream, ointment or oil emollient that doesn’t contain known allergens like perfume, irritants such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)* or synthetic emulsifiers; our Daily Moisturising Cream is ideal.
If you’re a parent, make sure that kids keep their cream with them in their school bags. Staff can’t apply moisturisers so kids can learn to top up throughout the day themselves.
*Aqueous cream is NOT recommended as a leave-on emollient because it contains SLS and can damage the top layer of skin.
2. Keep hydrated
Drink lots of water, especially in the heat! Skin can get desperately thirsty and needs water to regenerate and repair any damage. So as well as locking in moisture with emollients, make sure you’re drinking plenty too!
3. Avoid triggers
What triggers our itching is as individual as we are, but common environmental allergens to avoid if at all possible include pollen (try a little smear of Skin Salvation under your nose to trap it and prevent it getting under your skin), pet hair, grass seeds, laundry detergents (try the ultra-sensitive eco-friendly brands), soap, various food types (dairy, nuts etc.), and also chemicals in toiletries. You might have to experiment or keep a flare-up diary but hopefully you will be able to work out what triggers you.
4. Keep cool
...especially at night, if you’re struggling with being too hot and bothered to sleep!
Try cool, loose, natural fibres, such as cotton, silk or hemp, rather than synthetics, and in layers so they’re easily adjustable if you’re moving between air-conditioned buildings and the heat of the day.
Cold packs - whether purpose-made or a pack of peas from the freezer - can bring some relief from the histamine itch too.
5. Keep calm
Stress makes the itch worse, which is unfortunate because relentless itchiness is a pretty stressful thing to be coping with! If you can practice some good calming techniques - meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, self-hypnosis - then you might find that you’re more able to get yourself through the urge to itch without giving into it.
You can also try consciously noticing when you feel the itch begin and clench your fist or press on the spot instead, so your brain thinks you’re doing what you usually do, but without damaging the skin.