How To Get Rid of Pruritus

By Subodh / February 21, 2011

There are many different reasons why a person’s skin may itch and there are plenty of different remedies to go along with the cause. Sometimes the cause is as simply as a shower being too hot but other times it is more serious like a very bad skin disorder.

Itch, or otherwise known as pruritus, is explained as the unpleasant feeling that cause a person to either want to scratch or involuntarily scratch the affected area. These pruritic stimuli usually create the same of kind of reaction experimental animals experience with noxious stimuli. The main difference is that humans can tell the major distinction between the sensation of pain and the sensation of itch.

Itch definitely has some features in common with pain as they are both unpleasant but they lead to different reactions. Pain causes the reflex withdrawal whereas itch causes the reflex scratch.

The Treatments Available for Pruritus

There are various treatments that are available in different forms. These are over-the-counter drugs as well as prescription drugs. There are also some plant products that have been used as anti-pruritics but their use may depend on the case as some don’t seem as effective. The non-chemical remedies use cooling and warming effects as well as some soft stimulation. There are the cases that scratching does the job so such items as a back scratcher may be the remedy.

It should be noted that scratching can also make the itching worse and can cause more damage to the skin. This has been called the “itch-scratch-itch cycle” but it can be assisted with the use of products for dry or sensitive skin. This helps the skin retain the moisture and therefore reducing the itch.

The Most Common Treatments for Pruritics

There are anti-itch medicines in the form of creams and sprays but there are also oral anti-itch drugs but these are usually only available through a prescription. The actual ingredients include the following, either alone or in combination:

  • Anti-histamines
  • Corticosteroids
  • Local anesthetics
  • Counterirritants (include such things as mint oil, menthol or camphor)
  • Calamine lotion (combination of zinc oxide and iron oxide)
  • Pulsation stick (creates small pulses that decrease itching)

Possible Home Remedies to Treat the Itch

There are various home remedies that can be used to reduce pruritus. These include the following methods:

  • Keeping cold water applied to the area;
  • Including garlic in the diet;
  • Mixing vinegar with thyme and diluting it in water for an itchy scalp;
  • Cleaning the area and ridding it of as much dust and other allergens as possible;
  • Smoothing on diluted tee tree oil cream or solutions to kill fungal infections.

It should be noted that for more serious skin conditions a person is strongly advised to see a doctor.