Why the sudden itch?

Discover some of the reasons why we may come out in a sudden itch or rash.



Skin Health Advisor
@AVogelUK
Ask Felicity


06 March 2018

Change

From time to time we may decide to change the products we use on our skin. A thoughtful gift for example, means we have a new au du toilette to try out, or when the store runs out of our go-to deodorant, we may choose something else instead. We like a bit of variety but unfortunately, sometimes our skin does not.  

We shouldn’t just consider the effect of cosmetic products on our skin though - even what you use to clean your kitchen can affect your skin! To make you aware, we’ve made a handy list of products that have the potential to upset your skin. By knowing what can cause a sudden itch or rash, you’ll be able to rule these out (or in) as the culprit.

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Face masks
  • Creams eg. moisturiser, exfoliator
  • Shower gel
  • Bath lotions and bath bombs
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume and after shave
  • Make-up
  • Washing powder
  • Cleaning products such as surface spray and washing up liquid
  • Air freshener (don’t forget about car air fresheners too!)

So, there are many products that can cause itching or a rash but why do they have this effect?

  • If you don’t realise you are allergic to one of the ingredients in your new product, it can cause problems for your skin. This means it’s not really the products fault, it’s just that you skin was a little sensitive to something inside it.
  • The fragrance of the product itself can impact upon your skin because the distinctive scent is usually created using strong, unnatural ingredients that the skin doesn’t always agree with. 
  • If you use a lot of cleaning products or apply a variety of make-ups and creams to your face, this can overwhelm the skin. Sometimes less is better!
  • It may be that you have picked up the wrong product for your skin type. Using oil-based products when you have dry skin for example, can cause redness and itching. 

By this point you’re probably thinking about two things – how to prevent skin irritation and what to do should you have a break out of the sort we have already discussed. Well, once again we’ve got your back!

  • There are lots of harsh chemicals in things like shampoo and conditioner which can sometimes have a negative effect on the skin. Therefore, to prevent irritation you could use a shampoo such as our Neem Shampoo which has natural ingredients. Although, this would still involve switching products, this one is geared up to soothe dry, irritated and flaky scalps and is therefore perfect if your skin is feeling irritated. 
  • There are occasions when the simple tricks are the most effective. You could wear rubber gloves when cleaning for example, or buy products for your skin that are labelled sensitive. This should ease you symptoms and leave your skin feeling more comfortable.

 

The Weather

Whether its icy cold or roasting hot, the weather can really affect your skin! Since we’re currently in the depths of winter (even though it’s March), let’s start by discussing how this chilly weather can irritate our skin!

It’s common for the skin to dry out in winter because the cold means there’s less moisture in the air. The wind can also be a problem at this time because it subtracts moisture leaving the skin feeling sore or chapped. On top of this, the constant move from chilly outdoor air to warm, heated homes can shock the skin and cause more irritation. 

With all these elements acting against our skin, it’s no wonder problems emerge but what exactly can you do about it?

  • When it’s cold outside it is tempting to stay in a warm, relaxing shower for as long as possible however, this actually dries your skin out even more. Therefore, to prevent further upset to your skin, it’s a good idea to cut down the time you spend showering. Five to ten minutes should be long enough to wash, but will also help prevent irritation.
  • With moisture being taken from your skin in every direction during the winter months, it’s a good idea to moisturise to prevent your skin from drying out further. Our Soothing Neem Cream  is a really good choice for this as it calms dry, sore, itchy and even eczema-prone skin. 

In the summer months, heat and humidity can cause problems for the skin. A heat rash for example, occurs when the sweat glands are blocked and so sweat cannot reach the surface of the skin to evaporate. The problem shows itself through itching, red bumps on the skin and even a prickly feeling. 

A sweat rash is also common at this time. This usually occurs in the folds of the arms or knees - areas of the skin where ventilation is less possible or the skin rubs together. It shows itself through itching, burning, redness and broken skin.  

  • During this time it’s a good idea to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and your skin looking healthy!
  • You should also make sure you wear loose clothing to prevent anything from irritating your skin further.
  • It may prove beneficial to try a natural deodorant such as Salt of the Earth Spray  because, without the harsh ingredients found in other deodorants, it’s kinder to the skin. It provides long lasting protection and won’t leave any white marks on your clothes either.
  • Also, as with in winter, our Soothing Neem Cream  is a great way to calm troublesome skin problems. 

Stress/Anxiety

From work to family life, we all know that modern life can create a lot stress for the body to deal with. As discussed in our blog, ‘Can eczema really be affected by stress?’, skin problems can often be linked to stress as well. It can aggravate existing conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis and can even cause more specific problems like a stress rash or hives. These usually form as raised, red lumps on the body or as a large swelling. It can be itchy, sore and may even cause a burning sensation on your skin.   

In this case, there are a few things you could do to try and reduce your stress levels and therefore help your skin as well.

  • If you’re feeling under pressure, AvenaCalm is a licensed herbal remedy specifically for mild stress and anxiety. It helps to restore a state of calm in the body and even helps with sleep.
  • Exercise is another good way to reduce stress levels. You could try something low impact for starters such as swimming or walking. Not only will this get your body moving, it will keep your mind active and reduce the prominence of stress.

Medication

Itching or a rash can be linked to a variety of medications but this symptom is most common if you have only recently been put on a prescription.

  • Despite your rash, do not stop your medication without consulting with your doctor first. You have been given it for a reason and not following through with the prescription means it will be less effective.
  • In this case, the best advice we can give is to return to your doctor as soon as possible and show them your irritated skin. They’ll be able to advise you on whether or not to continue with the medication or whether you should try something else instead. 

Clothing

We all have a favourite jumper or top but could that be the cause of your skin irritation? Well, the answer is unfortunately yes. Tight-fitting clothes are more likely to cause itching or a rash because they rub against the skin and trap heat coming from the body. So, you might think, I’ll wear a big jumper instead however, depending on the material, this can also cause problems. 

There are solutions to these clothing and skin-related problems.

  • With a bit of experience, you’ll work out what materials you can wear and which you cannot. You might find your skin is more sensitive to wool than cotton for example, or it likes nylon better than polyester. Once you’ve worked it out, try and stick to the materials your skin prefers, even if it means you can’t buy a nice wool jumper at the shops!
  • Another solution, once again, would be to wear loose fitting clothes as this means your skin will have less contact with the materials you’re wearing.
  • It’s also a good idea to wash your clothing with a washing powder for sensitive skin as this reduces the chances of your skin becoming irritated by what you wear.

Excessive Washing

You might love regular long, hot bubble baths but this can again cause issues for your skin. First, there’s the problem of what goes into the bath to create the bubbles – usually these are a mixture of many different, strongly fragranced and unnatural ingredients. Therefore, using these regularly can definitely cause skin problems.

Second, excessive washing can be problematic as it takes away the natural oils within the skin and so results in dryness and redness. 

  • Here at A. Vogel we always suggest that a natural approach is best therefore, why not try swapping your regular bubble bath for more natural bath salts
  • When having a bath or shower use warm water instead of hot to lessen irritation. It’s also a good idea to keep your baths and showers short – five to ten minutes is plenty of time.

Diet

Diet has a big impact on the skin! An allergic reaction to certain foods such as milk or eggs for example, can result in a rash. However, your body also needs the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega fatty acids contained in certain foods to prevent and get over a bout of dry skin or itchiness. Therefore, what you eat is crucial in determining first, if you will get an outbreak of itchiness and second, how quickly you will get over it. 

  • As noted in our blog ‘7 great foods for dry skin’, to help your skin out we’d recommend a varied diet with lots of fruit and veg. Things like sweet potatoes, fish and avocados are all excellent choices. However, don’t be scared to try out new recipes too - an avocado dip is a tasty way to get the all-important vitamin E your skin needs.

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