Itching skin can be dismissed by people, including doctors, as a minor problem, but the scratching can drive you nuts. And the more you scratch an itch, the worse the problem can get but you just can't help yourself sometimes. Read on for valuable tips on causes of skin irritation and how to fix it.

Itchy skin on a small patch of skin might be caused by an insect bite or an allergic reaction to a plant, cosmetic, chemical or particular metal. Larger areas of itching skin irritations are usually due to a heat rash, hives, dry skin or skin diseases like psoriasis or eczema. Infections such as scabies or ringworm might cause your skin to itch like crazy too. Scabies is a contagious infection of the skin called by tiny little mites, often called 'itch mites' that bury themselves into the outer layers of your skin. Ringworm is nothing to do with worms at all, it's simply the name for a particular type of fungal infection. Ringworm is also called Tinea. Other causes of skin irritation can be allergic reactions to medicines, foods or drinks ~ this may be the case in particular if you feel itching all over the body though the itching might be restricted to certain areas as well.

If you think the itching skin is caused by medicines, go see your doctor straight away ~ perhaps he/she will be able to find an alternative treatment for you.

For ringworm there are certain fungus-destroying medicines or creams you can use. Scabies treatment too involves creams and perhaps medicated soap and oral tablets for more persistent cases. If severe skin rashes or sores develop, anti-biotics may be prescribed.

Here's what you can do for yourself to relieve any skin itching or persistent skin irritation

Try, try, try NOT to scratch.

I know it's so hard not to scratch your itchiness, but you have to use all the willpower you can muster not to. And you should keep your fingernails short too so that any scratching you might do does not result in deeper scratches and even cuts. This can cause infections and also make you feel itchier than ever

Try and figure out the cause as soon as you can.

Perhaps your itchy skin rash has an obvious cause such as an insect bite or nettle sting. If you're not sure, but you think it might be caused by an allergy ~ keep an allergy diary. Write down everything you eat and drink, what chemicals you use to wash your clothes, what clothes you wear, what perfume or beauty product you've been in contact with, any animals you might have touched or been in close contact. Basically ~ try and take note of everything! When you are going through an itchy patch, try and check back in your allergy diary to see if it's caused by food, or a particular perfume, or a visit to a friend's house who has a an allergy detective! If you suspect the cause is your washing powder, for example, you can try switching to an non-biological powder instead and see if your itchiness improves.

Wear loose clothing.

Tight clothing might make the area even more itchy. Wear loose-fitting clothes and wear clothes made from natural fibers and materials. Wool can make your skin itch more, so avoid wool right next to your skin.

Use a cold compress

Rinse a damp, clean face cloth in cold water and press it against your rashy area. Repeat as necessary to help soothe the scratchy area.

Try to keep out of hot, humid conditions

If you can, stay out of humid and hot environments.

Try a soothing cream.

Calamine lotion can cool the skin down and provide temporary relief from all the itchiness. Hydrocortisone cream works for certain skin reactions (such as a reaction to a metal bracelet) and insect stings. As with all medications, read the instructions carefully, and consult your doctor for any concerns or if you have any other symptoms or medical problems.

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