How do I treat a very itchy back?

Though quite a common problem, an itchy back can become very painful and sore if it leads to cracks and inflammation. Itching may be caused due to any one of a number of reasons. Some reasons for itching include - allergic reactions, sunburns, insect bites, poison ivy, reactions to chemicals, allergy to soaps or detergents, dry weather or environment, skin infections and aging.

Understanding what is causing the itching will go a long way in treating it. For instance, if there are no rashes, blisters, redness, scales or other visible skin changes in the itchy area, it is mostly likely a case of xerosis. Xerosis is nothing but dry skin caused due to dry weather or overuse of air-conditioner/heater or excessive washing or bathing.

More serious kinds of itches may sometimes be the result of skin conditions like psoriasis or dermatitis. Sometimes it may even be a symptom of a more serious inner ailment like liver disease or kidney failure. In such cases it is best to get medical treatment. In most other mild cases, one of the best cures for an itchy back is to keep it well hydrated. This can be done by using a moisturizer containing alpha hydroxy acid, which is easily available in the market.

Also, some home remedies and steps which can be taken to curb the itchiness are as follows:

  • Do not scratch. Easier said than done, but scratching will eventually lead to skin thickening, thereby increasing the itchy feeling.
  • Trim nails and wear gloves at night or cover the area so as to prevent scratching.
  • Take cool or cold baths and showers. Hot baths will increase the itchiness. You could also add a dash of baking soda or uncooked or bath oatmeal to bath water.
  • Apply an ice pack or a wet compress dipped in cool teas made of herbs like basil, mint or thyme.
  • Wear soft cotton fabrics which do not aggravate the condition.
  • Use mild, unscented soaps and laundry detergents.
  • Avoid irritants like jewelry, perfume and cosmetics.
  • Slit an Aloe Vera and apply the juice on the skin. Aloe Vera is supposed to work the same way for itchiness as it does for burns.


See a doctor or dermatologist if the itchiness is severe, lasts for more than 10 days or if it is accompanied by fever, tiredness or any other unusual symptoms.



answered by A S

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