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Essential Oils for Skin Itching and Aquagenic Pruritus

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Swimming... fun for some, itchiness for others.

Swimming... fun for some, itchiness for others.

Itchy much?

Are you itchy?  Do you notice itching after a shower, sometimes lasting for about half an hour, driving you crazy as you try to fall asleep in bed?  Do your arms and legs get an insanely irritating crawly feeling that leaves you wondering if maybe something is on your skin?

If these symptoms sound familiar, first of all, I'm sorry!  It's no fun.  Secondly, you may have aquagenic pruritus, an allergic type reaction to certain kinds of water. 

This condition causes extreme itching after exposure to water, but only certain types of water, in certain locations, and these conditions are prone to change.  You may find yourself itching after a shower in your own home, but not in a hotel shower.  Or you may itch in the rain, but be fine in the pool.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to these factors and how the affect an individual.

While there is no proven way to solve this problem for good, I have found two essential oils that, when combined with a household ingredient, are effective in masking the symptoms of aquagenic pruritus and other temporary itching.

Menthol and Camphor

Methol and camphor essential oils, when added to lotions or creams, create a cooling / heating feeling that "tricks" the skin nerves into not feeling the itching as much.  The itching will not disappear entirely, but it will be soothed and not felt as strongly.

The anti-itch lotion, Sarna, is based on this concept, and it contains the two aforementioned ingredients.

What's Cheaper?

You can pretty much achieve the same thing as Sarna achieves by using any cream containing camphor and menthol.

These include Ben-Gay and Vicks Vaporub.

Dry up immediately after a shower by patting dry.

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Put on lotion right away, along with some cotton clothing.

Within a fw minutes, skin should begin tingling, thereby eliminating the worst of the itching, and hopefully giving you time to fall asleep at least somewhat peacefully.

You could also try...

You could also try making your own cream by heating petroleum jelly to melting and adding camphor essential oil.  Menthol comes in crystals which liquify at high temps, but I am uncertain how these would react in petroleum jelly.  Camphor might be enough to work though.

Another idea along the same vein as camphor and menthol is capsaicin cream.  Anything that causes a hot or cold feeling n the skin inhibits the itchy feelings.

Good luck!


Peter Geekie from Sittingbourne on June 10, 2012:

Dear Morita

An interesting concept - thank you

Voted up

Kind regards peter

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