Spring has sprung, but April showers bring more than just May flowers. This is the season of the itch! Seasonal allergies, bug bites and prickly sunburns can all add up to seriously stressed skin. But before you slather up with conventional creams, consider these natural remedies to soothe even the itchiest skin.
Who knew the unassuming little oat packs such a powerhouse ingredient against itchy skin? Oatmeal avenanthramides – antioxidant compounds that are unique to this grain – produce an anti-inflammatory effect that is much like that of hydrocortisone. And unlike commercially produced lotions with their laundry lists of ingredients, natural oatmeal isn’t likely to cause allergic reactions. Plus, it’s inexpensive and you can buy it everywhere.
How: In the Tub
Fill an old sock with a few handfuls of oats. Tie a knot in the end, and run a warm bath, holding the sock in the running water and squeezing. The water will become quite cloudy. You can also rub the sock directly on the skin for soothing relief.
Tip: Do your pipes a favor and don’t dump oatmeal straight into the tub, even if it’s been ground to a find powder. Using a sock or pantyhose makes clean up much easier and means you can skip the grinding. Just use regular oats.
What: Baking Soda
It’s in almost every pantry – maybe that’s why baking soda is the most common home remedy for itchy, rashy skin. Natural anti-inflammatory properties give it a soothing quality, and this natural acid neutralizer also helps relieve itching.
Run a warm bath and stir in one cup of baking soda. Soak at least thirty minutes, then pat skin dry instead of rubbing.
Tip: Baking soda will sting broken skin, so skip this remedy if your rash is severe.
What: Aloe Vera
The gel found inside the leaves of this spiky succulent have been used for centuries to treat skin woes. Aloe packs a hefty dose of both glycoproteins, which have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and polysaccharides, which have soothing and hydrating qualities. A natural pain reliever known as bradykinase and magnesium lactate, which promotes skin repair and reduces itching, round out the benefits.
How: Apply it Directly
If you have access to an aloe plant, use a pair of scissors to cut off a leaf near the base. Slice the leaf open and squeeze out the gel, applying it directly to the irritated skin.
Tip: Despite offering hydrating qualities, pure aloe gel can make skin feel tight. Follow up with a moisturizing balm. Our Intensive Baby Balm works well for on-the-spot hydration for even the driest and most sensitive itchy skin. It’s certified USDA organic and effective yet gentle.
What: Best Practices
There are a few precautions you can take to reduce skin irritations.
• Stick to warm water, not hot. Hot water may feel nice while you’re in it, but it’s a surefire way to strip your skin of its natural oils.
• Avoid soaps and detergents with perfumes and dyes. Questionable ingredients like synthetic fragrances and colors in your soaps and detergents can exacerbate dry, itchy skin. Use mild lotions and balms as well.
• Wear smooth-textured cotton clothing. This will be gentlest on irritated skin.
Tags: aloe vera, baby balm, baking soda, itchy, oatmeal