– This epidermal layer we wear on our bodies can sometimes seem closer to a scratchy coat than anything else. We're accustomed to daily itches - sensations so minor and so immediately rectified with an automatic movement of hand and fingers that we don't even consciously register them. That's most of the time, anyway: in some cases, itches can be intense and utterly distracting.
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If you're seeking relief for itchy skin caused by any number of issues, you'll find a huge variety of potentially helpful remedies here at drugstore.com, all produced by a similarly impressive spread of leading manufacturers. Check out the selection of itch and rash products today!
Rashes and Itchiness
The potential triggers for an itch are innumerable, and some are phantasmal or psychosomatic: most of us can relate to sudden outbreaks of itchiness when we hear a story about someone else's spider encounter or blunder into a nettle patch (a sympathetic reaction, you might say).
The technical name for an itching sensation is "pruritus." It may stem from an internal malady such as liver disease or shingles, or - as is commonly the case - it might result from some epidermal aggravation. A number of plants can cause contact dermatitis, for example. Among the most notorious are poison-ivy and poison-oak, which contain in their sap a compound called urushiol that provokes a rash in most people who come in contact with it. And coming in contact with the sap of poison-ivy or poison-oak can be deceptively easy: a mere light brush against a plant can result in contact dermatitis manifesting as an angry, almost painful breakout. You don't even need to touch the offending plant with your skin: you can obtain a rash from a piece of clothing that touched the plant - or from your intrepid, go-anywhere pooch.
Spider and insect bites are other common causes of itchiness: mosquitoes, no-see-'ums, blackflies, fleas, spiders, ticks, bedbugs, and many other members of the invertebrate rogue’s gallery.
Various bacterial, viral, and fungal infections can lead to itchy skin. For example, a fungus provokes tinea pedis - better known as "athlete's foot" - between toes and in other sweaty crevices of the foot. The resultant rash can spur an intense sensory reaction, ranging from mild itchiness to harsh stinging and burning sensations.
Addressing an acute or persistent itch with nothing more than vigorous scratching can only aggravate the situation: you can easily cause more dermatological irritation with chronic scratching, and in the case of offending substances such as the urushiol of poison-ivy or poison-oak you can even spread them around with such action and thereby expand the zone of misery on your body.
It's therefore a smart idea to have anti-itch products on hand for home-based and on-the-go first aid. As inconsequential as they may seem at first, itches can become obnoxious hindrances, and may pass the fine line into the painful territory before too long. From a medicine and health perspective, you want ointments, sprays, creams, and other itch-relieving balms at the ready in case of an eruption.
Browse the selection here and find what you need to be prepared in the event of unexpected - and, as ever, unwelcome - pruritus.
Be sure to consult with a doctor if you experience severe itching or if your symptoms persist.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.