These Anti-Itch Creams Will Save You From Dry, Itchy Summer Skin

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Slide 1 of 11: Virtually everyone has dealt with itchy, irritated skin at one point or another, whether it’s from an allergic reaction, skin sensitivity, or pesky bug bite. (Boo mosquitoes bites!) But whatever type of skin itching you’re experiencing, there's one thing in common: they’ll make you want to find relief, ASAP...and anti-itch creams are an easy place to start.Why does my skin itch in the first place? you're wondering. Well, summertime itchy skin is commonly due to mosquito bites, or potentially from poison ivy or other rashes after spending extended time outdoors and in nature. But itchy skin can also be due to chronic conditions such as eczema, an allergic reaction, or simply because you’re dealing with dry skin. Fortunately, there are various over-the-counter anti-itch creams you can purchase to bring your skin some relief.What is anti-itch cream?Over-the-counter anti-itch creams can help to reduce itching from conditions such as mosquito bites or poison ivy or other rashes, according to Rajani Katta, MD, a board-certified dermatologist who serves as voluntary clinical faculty of both the Baylor College of Medicine and the McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Houston. “These creams use several different types of active ingredients, and choosing between them means knowing how they work so you can opt for the right ingredient for the right purpose,” she says. “It's also important to remember that chronic itchy skin may be due to dry skin, and that moisturizing creams may help.”What ingredients should I look for in anti-itch cream?Not all anti-itch creams are alike. When shopping the aisles, you'll find five main types:Hydrocortisone One major ingredient found in anti-itch creams is hydrocortisone, which fights skin inflammation. The products sold over the counter have a low concentration of hydrocortisone, which is a topical steroid. “Applied to the skin, hydrocortisone helps reduce redness, itching, and the other symptoms of skin inflammation,” Dr. Katta explains. However, topical steroids can produce side effects, and they're meant to be used for short-term use only. If you’re using it for more than two weeks and not seeing improvement, she recommends talking to your dermatologist.Topical anestheticsAnother major category of ingredients is topical anesthetics, Dr. Katta says. These products don’t actually reduce any skin inflammation, rather the ingredients numb the skin so that you don’t feel the itching anymore. Examples include pramoxine, benzocaine, and lanacaine.Topical antihistaminesAnother category of ingredients is topical antihistamines, which you’re likely familiar with if you have allergies. “These battle the effects of histamine, a chemical produced by the body that can cause itching,” Dr. Katta explains. One example would be diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Cooling creams One way to quell skin irritation? Cool it down. "Menthol/phenol creams provide a cooling effect on the skin that helps combat the sensation of itching," says Dr. Katta.Oatmeal Lastly, another ingredient that can help is colloidal oatmeal, which exerts soothing qualities for irritated skin. Next, read on for 10 dermatologist-approved anti-itch creams.Virtually everyone has dealt with itchy, irritated skin at one point or another, whether it’s from an allergic reaction, skin sensitivity, or pesky bug bite. (Boo mosquitoes bites!) But whatever type of skin itching you’re experiencing, there’s one thing in common: they’ll make you want to find relief, ASAP…and anti-itch creams are an easy place to start.

Why does my skin itch in the first place? you’re wondering. Well, summertime itchy skin is commonly due to mosquito bites, or potentially from poison ivy or other rashes after spending extended time outdoors and in nature. But itchy skin can also be due to chronic conditions such as eczema, an allergic reaction, or simply because you’re dealing with dry skin. Fortunately, there are various over-the-counter anti-itch creams you can purchase to bring your skin some relief.

Over-the-counter anti-itch creams can help to reduce itching from conditions such as mosquito bites or poison ivy or other rashes, according to Rajani Katta, MD, a board-certified dermatologist who serves as voluntary clinical faculty of both the Baylor College of Medicine and the McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Houston.

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