What are the Causes of Dry, Itchy Skin?
This week we’re diving into a popular and common problem: dry and itchy skin. There can be a number of causes for dry and itchy skin and we’re looking forward to helping you pin down your personal triggers.
We’ve broken it down into two categories: external & internal. Internal causes are the root problem that cannot be seen or felt on the surface of the body. External causes are related to lifestyle, diet, weather, stress among others.
Dry, itchy skin is more than just an annoyance. Millions of people suffer from dry, itchy skin. It can be caused by a number of factors including allergies, individual sensitivity, weather changes, stress and overexposure to the sun. Dry and itchy skin can also occur in conjunction with other medical conditions including eczema and psoriasis.
Itching causes a burning feeling that is worst at night when one is trying to fall asleep or when one wakes up in the morning. In fact, dry and itchy skin significantly disrupts sleep patterns and has been shown to be a causative factor for other serious health conditions including diabetes and obesity.
When your body releases sweat, it is to cool itself. When you itch due to dry skin, this may mean that it is excessively sweating. So, if you are experiencing this particular symptom, it might be your body telling you that you need to drink more water since dehydration is one of the leading causes of dry skin.
It can be caused by factors like anxiety or stress, overexposure to the sun, or low humidity. Another cause could be your diet since it provides the body with the nutrients needed to stay healthy. For some reason, even though you are on a diet, you may not be getting enough of the nutrients your body needs on a daily basis.
Foods that can Reduce Itching
Itching is not the most comfortable feeling in the world. It can also lead to an uncomfortable situation when you get the urge to scratch, especially when you are surrounded by people.
No matter how much we scrub, or how often we shower, a few of us have experienced the nagging of itch from time to time. Itching is something that irritates most people, but how do you stop it?
Here are some foods that are proven to reduce the itching sensation:
- Almond: If you find yourself scratching more than normal, try eating some almonds. Almonds are filled with vitamin B1 (thiamine), which helps regulate your nervous system, which makes them effective in reducing both burning and itching.
- Salmon: Salmon is rich in vitamin B3, which can reduce inflammation and swelling. It is also rich in vitamin D, which is commonly found in fish oils and is responsible for the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D promotes healthy bones, so eating salmon regularly can help build strong bones and protect you against osteoporosis.
- Quercetin-rich Foods: Quercetin is a plant-based flavonoid and powerful source of antioxidants and antihistamines. It can reduce inflammation as well as levels of histamine in your body. Foods rich in quercetin include apples, cherries, blueberries, kale, spinach, broccoli, etc.
- Foods containing Probiotics: Probiotics such as yoghurt contains live cultures that can support a strong immune system. This may help in reducing flare-ups or allergic reactions like itching. Probiotic-rich foods include miso soup, fermented pickles, kefir, tempeh, sourdough bread, soft cheeses, etc.
Foods that can Aggravate Itching
It’s common for people to be allergic to certain plants, foods, or materials. Skin allergies are also common. They can be caused by food or materials that come in contact with your skin. Skin allergy symptoms can look like other health conditions. Make sure your doctor knows about any new symptoms so they can help you get to the right care.
Remember that your best foods largely depend on the type of allergy you have. Foods considered to be eczema-friendly may trigger a flare-up in those who are allergic to them.
Here are some foods that can cause itching:
- Soy: It is estimated that soy can flare-up allergies due to a reaction to soy protein, which is found in so many soy-based products like soybeans, miso, tofu, edamame and tempeh. Soy allergies can cause itching as well as other allergies like atopic dermatitis. It may also cause other adverse health effects like swelling, stomach pain and wheezing.
- Peanuts: Among those with peanut allergies, specific proteins found in peanuts can trigger an immune response in the body resulting in itching. Peanut allergies are often characterized by skin rashes, swelling under the skin, wheezing, shortness of breath and digestive issues.
- Eggs: A protein found in egg whites, including ovalbumin, ovotransferrin, egg white lysozyme and ovomucin can cause egg allergies. The symptoms are mainly itching, redness and swollen skin. It may also cause a range of digestive issues resulting in vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.
Dry, itchy skin usually leads to the use of lotions and creams but while these products temporarily alleviate itching and burning, they do not provide a lasting solution. Other treatments for skin itching range from topical ointments to a switch in a person's diet.
Coconut oil can help reduce itching from a variety of different issues. Coconut oil is a natural anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral. This makes it a great natural remedy for issues such as athlete's foot, eczema and psoriasis. Coconut oil also gets rid of bacterial infections that cause inflammation and itching. Just apply a small amount to the affected area 2-3 times a day.