Your concerns: Why does my skin itch when I shower?

Dear doctor, Whenever I take a shower my skin itches for 30 minutes. I have applied different ointments in vain. Is there any drug that might be helpful? Jessica

Dear doctor,

Whenever I take a shower my skin itches for 30 minutes. I have applied different ointments in vain. Is there any drug that might be helpful?

Jessica

Dear Jessica,

Is your problem recent or have you had it for some time. Does itching occur in a particular climate or round the year.

Itching can be due to excess dryness of the skin. Dryness leads to irritation if water or any substance like soap or lotion touches the skin. Using very hot water to shower can also leave the skin dry and parched and cause itching afterwards. Such extreme dryness can be due to exposure to dust, draughts of hot or cold air or even exposure to excess sun. Under functioning of the thyroid gland, diabetes, are some of the hormonal disorders that can as well lead to dryness. Nutritional deficiency particularly of vitamin B complex and some essential minerals can manifest as dry skin. Allergy to any body care product or even water can cause itching after a shower. One may have eczema of the skin where the existing itching is aggravated after contact with water.

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Similarly with fungal infections of the skin, itching may be aggravated after a shower.

It is a good idea to avoid very hot or cold water for a shower. Use mild soap. A suitable moisturizing agent should be applied to the skin when it is still damp after a shower to prevent dryness. If possible a humidifier can be used in the room where one is working to avoid the room air becoming too dry.

Any body care product suspected of causing allergy should be avoided. Having a balanced diet prevents nutritional deficiencies causing dryness and itching.

Whatever the reason, itching is uncomfortable and also embarrassing. It also increases risk of secondary bacterial infections due to scratching. This results in boils. Chronic inflammation of the skin can also occur due to scratching, which adds to the discomfort. If itching is severe, it is useful to take some anti allergy tablet like chlorphenaramine maleate or cetrizine. Use of a local anti allergy cream also helps to reduce itching.

Dr Rachna Pande  is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital

 

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