One of the most irritating things in life is itchy hands and feet. It is a magical cycle. As you scratch your hands and feet, the skin becomes even more inflamed and irritated, and the itching worsens.
So, what can you do? For starters, you need to find out the cause of the itching, and then look for some remedies.
The good news is that while persistent itching can be annoying, you can easily solve the problem with some home remedies. Itching can cause disturbance in your sleep, and itchy skin is one of the main causes of losing sleep.
Causes of itchy hands and feet
Medically called “xerosis cutis”, dry skin can be caused by a number of factors. Some of them include exposure to sunlight, changes in weather, long exposure to air-conditioning, and of course, aging. These factors contribute to loss of natural oils that moisturize the skin.
The good news is that dry skin can also be easily solved with moisturizing solutions. Some of them are natural, and some are over the counter. Keep your skin moisturized to maintain softness.
The bad news is that psoriasis is a lifelong condition. There is nothing you can do to cure it, but you can reduce the symptoms and get some relief. It is a noncontagious condition that affects between two and three percent of the US population.
You’ll notice thick, scaly, and red patched on the skin, and feel itchy hands and feet. Psoriasis runs in family, and can be triggered by emotional stress, infection, medications, and skin injury.
Treatment usually includes topical skin care products that contain vitamin A, vitamin D, and steroids. But you can also use some home remedies to relieve the itching.
Allergic contact dermatitis
Some allergens like nickel, rubber chemicals, ointments, fragrances chromates, lanolin formaldehyde, and other environmental chemicals can cause itchy hands and feet.
After coming in contact or exposure to the chemicals, you’ll feel itching within 48 to 72 hours. Symptoms will also include ink and red areas of scaly and elevated skin, as well as blisters.
Treatment includes oral antihistamines and topical steroids. The best way to treat the condition, however, is to avoid contact with known allergens.
Another skin condition that can cause itchy hands and feet is eczema. Unlike psoriasis, eczema manifests in itchy and fluid filled blisters. They can appear on the fingers, feet, and palms.
Eczema occurs more frequently in warm weather, but the exact cause is unknown. Eczema often comes and goes, but chronic and severe cases require therapy like ultraviolet light therapy and phototherapy.
It is worth noting that skin problems are usually the early symptoms of diabetes. You’ll notice itching in your hands and feet, and it is caused by out of control diabetes.
The good news is that when you manage and control your diabetes, the itching will go away. Other symptoms include small and yellow bumps on the skin, high cholesterol, and redness around the bumps.
Caused by bacterial infection, this skin condition can affect the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. In addition to itching, it also causes an unpleasant odor. Lesions will appear as white patches with shallow pits on the layers of the skin.
Unlike dry skin, the treatment for this condition is minimizing moisture.
This condition causes only itchy feet due to a fungal infection in the skin of the foot. The bad news is you can get it by direct contact with other humans or through contaminated locker room floors, towels, and other objects.
Diagnosis for this condition requires a lab examination. Treatment usually requires application of topical antifungal creams and lotions.
Certain medications can cause itchy hands and feet. Itchiness is just a side effect of a certain drug, as the person might be allergic to the medication.
Rashes usually appear if medications are a cause for itchiness. Identification of the medication is priority, and it can be done only in a consultation with a physician.
Last, but not least, stress can also cause itchy hands and feet. Chronic stress and anxiety lead to itching.
Studies have shown that high stress can both cause itchiness, and worsen the existing symptoms. In order to treat the condition, you must first identify the source of the stress. Work yourself into calming to relieve the symptoms.
Can you stop the itching?
The answer to how to stop itching always depends on what is making your hands and feet itchy. In most cases, if the cause is dry skin, you can stop itching by using creams, lotions, and ointments. However, if those do not work, you should talk to a physician.
If the cause is an allergic reaction, you will need some antihistamines or corticosteroids. You can get them over the counter, or look for a prescription from your doctor.
Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis that cause itching require a more detailed treatment plan.
No matter what is the cause, the number one rule is to be patient. Never scratch the itch too much, as you run a risk of causing an infection.
How to naturally relieve itchy hands and feet
Whenever you feel itchy hands and feet, soothing them in an oatmeal bath will offer relief. Ground oats into a fine powder, and then pour it into a bathtub.
Place your hands and feet in the bathtub for 10 to 15 minutes to get relief of itching. You can also use a sink if you like.
This is more of a precautionary measure than a remedy, but using unscented soaps might help with itchy hands and feet.
Some soaps with strong fragrances might actually trigger your itching by causing irritation to the skin. Wash your hands only with unscented cleansing soaps for sensitive skin.
Wearing cotton gloves
Another precaution you can take is wearing cotton gloves, especially at night. Most people scratch their hands and feet in sleep.
To prevent it, wear 100% cotton gloves to protect your sensitive hands while you are asleep. Make sure to wash the cotton gloves in mild and unscented detergent.
If you have been reading about home remedies, you’ll notice that cold compress comes in most of them. This is one of the simplest and cheapest tricks to relieve burning, irritation, itching, and pain.
When the itching sensation is unbearable, wet a washcloth, and then gauze with cold water or ice. Apply directly to your itchy hands and feet. Cold and wet compress will temporarily numb the skin and reduce the irritation.
Apple cider vinegar
For many years, apple cider vinegar has been used to reduce skin inflammation, burns, itching, and irritation. ACV also works as a disinfectant.
You can apply the vinegar directly to your itching area by using cotton balls, or with a clean paper towel dipped in equal parts of vinegar and water. However, if your skin is bleeding or cracked, do not use this remedy. Vinegar will irritate the bleeding area.
This is a natural remedy that helps thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids. Olive oil can reduce inflammation and soothe itchy hands and feet.
Rub some warm oil into the affected area. Adding the oil to your diet will also help the skin heal and rejuvenate from the inside.
Tea tree oil
Since it is a harsh essential oil, tea tree oil has to be diluted. You can use olive oil for that, and then apply the solution to your dry skin several times per day.
Tea tree oil helps with itching on any part of your body, and psoriasis patients have been using it for decades.
For this remedy, you’ll need 3 gallons of water and one and a half cups of baking soda. Mix the ingredients, and then use a washcloth to apply it to your affected area. You’ll notice relief almost instantly. Store the remaining solution for a quick relief.