Itchy Skin After Hot Showers & Sun Exposure
Itchy skin is often caused by dry skin, also known as xerosis. Hot showers, sun exposure and other environmental factors can all cause dry skin, but the condition is usually easy to treat and prevent by making minor daily changes.
In addition to itching, the skin may feel tight and may appear scaly, flaky and red. The skin may also have a whitish appearance that you're able to peel with your fingers. The fine lines of the epidermis may be more visibly prominent and cracking of the skin may be present. The skin may look rough and dull.
Hot showers and sun exposure are common causes of dry skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, hot showers will remove natural protective skin oils more quickly than a lukewarm shower. Sun exposure increases the rate that your skin ages. As your skin ages, it becomes more difficult to retain moisture, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Other causes of dry skin involve low humidity, such as winter weather.
The best treatment for itchy skin is an effective moisturizer. An ointment such as petroleum jelly will trap the most moisture into the skin. A thick cream applied regularly to dry skin will also be effective. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, a water-based lotion is more beneficial for cosmetic reasons, but an oil-based cream is needed for dry skin. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, a 1 percent hydrocortisone steroid cream can be used for a week if moisturizing alone does not help.
Avoid hot showers and keep showers under 10 minutes. According to the University of Iowa, apply a moisturizer within three minutes of exiting the shower because this will seal moisture into your skin. Also avoid taking multiple showers in one day. If you will be outside, apply a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to protect your skin from the aging effects of the sun. Sun exposure is just as harmful in the winter and on cloudy days as it is during a sunny summer day.
A reaction to the sun because of a medication, such as birth control pills, can also cause itchy skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, bumps, hives and red blotches often accompany an allergic reaction caused by the sun. If moisturizers are not helping or the itching is severe enough to keep you awake at night, contact a dermatologist to discuss your treatment options.
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