Itch and Irritation of Skin
Itchy skin is an uncomfortable, irritating sensation also known as pruritus. Skin can look normal, or appear red, rough, bumpy, or have dry scaly patches.
Although itch and irritation can make a person want to scratch, scratching can cause further damage to the skin, which then leads to bleeding, infection and scarring. Although it is not easy, breaking the itch-scratch cycle is essential for your skin’s health.
Chronic itch is an itch that lasts more than 6 weeks. It can affect your quality of life and lead to symptoms such as sleep interruption, anxiety, and depression.
Causes of Itchy Skin
Skin that lacks moisture can feel tight and may start flaking. It can also lead to itching.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis (AD), causes rashes, redness and itching. Sore, painful skin, uncontrollable scratching, and severe itching, especially at night, commonly plague eczema sufferers.
AD can significantly affect the quality of life of affected people as well as their families. The causes of AD are complex, and research shows it is likely to be due to immune dysregulation, skin barrier defects, as well as environmental and infectious agents.
Treatment of AD includes restoring the skin barrier through hydration and reparation of the skin, limiting the itch and breaking the itch-scratch cycle, and decreasing inflammation.
Identifying your own personal eczema triggers can be helpful to help keep symptoms and flare-ups at bay. These can include: getting quality sleep time, eating a healthy diet, and managing stress levels. For an in-depth checklist of managing eczema, please click here.
Keeping the itch under control is the most important task of any eczema treatment. Scratching stimulates nerve endings in the skin and causes inflammation, which then causes a visible rash and triggers further itching. Furthermore, bacteria can enter the skin through scratches and other open wounds, which then causes skin infection.
AEIRCREME has a unique, soothing herbal formulation that curbs itch effectively and naturally, without the use of steroids. It provides fast acting itch relief within 2 minutes upon application, and effectively breaks the itch-scratch cycle. When used consistently, AEIRCREME helps reduce flare-ups and brings the skin back to equilibrium.
A chronic, autoimmune skin condition that causes patches of red, raised scaly skin on areas such as elbows, knees, scalp. It is usually less itchy than eczema, and is non contagious.
Psoriasis tends to involve cycles of flare ups and remissions, and may be caused be both environmental factors and genetic predisposition. Common triggers may include stress, cold and dry weather, smoking and alcohol consumption, and certain medications.
Irritant CD is the more common of contact dermatitis, accounting for up to 80% of all CD cases. It happens when skin cells are damaged through exposure to over-washing of hands, or irritating substances e.g. harsh detergents and soaps, bleach, nickel containing items like belt buckles or zippers. Areas where eczema occur are confined to the site of exposure to the irritant.
Diaper rash often occurs in newborns and babies, and symptoms include irritation, redness and tenderness.
There are several types of diaper rash, and identifying the cause can help you to make the right decision to solve the issue. Causes include irritation caused by contact of wet skin with the diaper, yeast overgrowth due to a warm, moist diaper environment, allergic reaction to ingredients or chemicals used in a diaper, wipe, detergent or skincare product, or a bacterial infection.
Management: Frequent diaper changes, washing the diaper’s area with each change, and allowing the skin to air dry can help. A diaper rash ointment is also use to protect the skin and prevent excess moisture from further irritating the skin.
Living with eczema can be challenging and stressful. Individuals with atopic eczema are more likely to experience depression and anxiety due to the symptoms of itch, discomfort, disfigurement, and perceived social stigmatisation. Sleeplessness related to eczema may also increase the risk of mental illnesses. Conversely, stress and anxiety can also trigger eczema flare ups.
Consult a health care provider or mental health specialist if you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety.
References for these information
Kapur, S., Watson, W. and Carr, S., 2018. Atopic dermatitis. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, 14(S2).
Mayo Clinic. 2021. Itchy skin (pruritus) - Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/itchy-skin/symptoms-causes/syc-20355006>
Mayo Clinic. 2021. Psoriasis - Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840>
National Eczema Association. 2021. What is contact dermatitis and how is it treated?. [online] Available at: <https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/types-of-eczema/contact-dermatitis/>
Barrie, L. and Ross Radusky, M., 2021. How to Build a Smart Skin-Care Routine When Managing Eczema | Everyday Health. [online] EverydayHealth.com. Available at: <https://www.everydayhealth.com/eczema/skin-care-routine.aspx>
Meding, B., Alderling, M., Albin, M., Brisman, J. and Wrangsjö, K., 2009. Does tobacco smoking influence the occurrence of hand eczema?. British Journal of Dermatology, 160(3), pp.514-518.
National Eczema Association. 2021. Probiotics and Eczema | Gut Health and Atopic Dermatitis. [online] Available at: <https://nationaleczema.org/search-bacterial-balance/>
Schonmann, Y., Mansfield, K., Hayes, J., Abuabara, K., Roberts, A., Smeeth, L. and Langan, S., 2020. Atopic Eczema in Adulthood and Risk of Depression and Anxiety: A Population-Based Cohort Study. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, 8(1), pp.248-257.e16.
National Eczema Association. 2021. What is atopic dermatitis and how can I tell if I have it?. [online] Available at: <https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/types-of-eczema/atopic-dermatitis/>