Itchy Hands: Common Causes and Natural Treatments

Itchy Hands – Causes and Natural Treatments
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We have to use our hands for most daily activities, so when you have itchy hands, you know just how frustrating it can be to avoid the urge to scratch.  A constant urge to scratch your hands can be very difficult to cope with because it can interfere with your work, education, sleep, and personal life. In fact, even an occasional intense sensation of itchiness in your hands can be worrying. Very often, scratching only brings temporary relief and before you know it, the itchy feeling in your hands is back.

The key to treating the itch in your hands is knowing what the root cause is. Itchy hands are usually caused by a skin condition like contact dermatitis (a form of eczema), dry skin, psoriasis, an infection, or an allergic reaction to something you have touched or eaten. Itchy hands may also be accompanied by a rash, a burning feeling, raised red bumps on the skin, dry and flaky skin, and thickening of the skin. Sometimes, if one or both hands are itchy, it can be a sign of a more serious underlying health problem.

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This article will help you to find the cause of your itchy hands and gives you helpful advice on the best way to naturally treat hand itchiness. This may help you get complete relief from the urge to scratch a frustrating itch.

Possible Causes and Natural Remedies for Itchy Hands

Dry Skin

Having dry skin (the medical name is xerosis) is a common reason for itchy hands. When your skin loses its moisture or its natural oils are stripped from the skin, the result can be mild to severe itching with flaky patches of skin appearing on your hands.

Dermatologist Dr. Stephanie S. Gardner says that there are a number of reasons for having dry skin. Cold weather usually causes a drop in humidity. The low temperature also means that people turn on their central heating, which can dry your skin out even more. Also, harsh soaps, taking hot showers, and scrubbing your skin can all remove moisture from your skin and cause your hands to itch.1

To avoid itchy hands, it’s necessary to keep your hands properly moisturized. Virgin coconut oil is an excellent natural moisturizer to keep hands hydrated and free of itchiness.

A study which examined the beneficial effects of coconut oil on dry skin found that it helped to treat the symptoms of xerosis like dry, scaly, and itchy skin. It was also shown to be better than mineral oil in acting as a skin moisturizer and providing a protective barrier to the skin.2

If you have an urge to scratch your hands, massage a little virgin coconut oil to put the moisture back into dry hands and get rid of the itch.

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Dr. David Lim, a dermatologist at Middlemore Hospital in New Zealand recommends using oatmeal for dry, itchy skin.3 Studies have shown that oatmeal is a very effective soothing agent for itchy skin and contains anti-inflammatory properties. It also provides a protective barrier on the skin to prevent any loss of moisture.4

To relieve itchy hands and get relief from the discomfort that they cause, put a handful of ground oats into a bowl of warm water. Put your hands in the oatmeal remedy and keep them submerged for 10 minutes. Soak your hands in the oatmeal bath any time that you need relief from the itchiness caused by dry, itchy hands.

Psoriasis

If you have itchy red, thick, scaly patches of skin on your hands and palms, it could be a sign that you have psoriasis.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriatic itch can cause a burning, biting sensation, almost like being bitten by fire ants.5 Apart from severe itching, psoriasis can also cause pain and, because your skin may be cracked, you may also get secondary bacterial infections in your hands. If the skin on your hands becomes infected, the redness and inflammation may become worse as well as the itching.

The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends that the best home remedy to relieve itchy hands is to keep them well moisturized.5 Therefore, you can get instant relief from the severe itching sensation by massaging in some coconut oil or olive oil into the affected skin on your hands.

Another effective natural remedy to soothe recurrent skin itchiness and heal damaged skin caused by psoriasis is to mix aloe vera and coconut oil to make a therapeutic ointment. Aloe vera can help to reduce redness and scaling as well as soothe skin affected by psoriasis.6 You can find the recipe for the aloe vera and coconut oil home remedy for psoriasis in my previous article. Apply the remedy 2-3 times a day to help reduce scaling on your hands and get relief from severe itching.

If you have psoriasis on your hands or other places on your body, please read my article on more natural treatments for psoriasis as well as how to fight psoriasis with vitamin D.

Dermatitis

Dermatitis is a common skin condition that can cause itchiness on the hands. Because our hands are used to carry out our work and other daily activities, they are in constant contact with irritants, and are constantly exposed to the environment, hence can become easily damaged.

According to dermatologist Dr. Amanda Oakley, hand dermatitis can make the hands, the palms or both become very itchy and even painful. The chronic itching may be associated with swelling, blistering, dry skin and scaling.7

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To get rid of the burning itch caused by hand dermatitis, it is important to apply a soothing ointment to keep the affected skin moisturized and soft.

To help treat itchy hands that are affected by dermatitis, you can apply virgin coconut oil to the affected itchy area on your hand. I’ve already mentioned about the amazing moisturizing properties of coconut oil, but its antibacterial properties make coconut oil especially good for hand dermatitis.

A study published in the journal Dermatitis showed that coconut oil contains antibacterial and emollient properties that can help to treat various skin infections. Coconut oil kills off the Staphylococcus aureus strain of bacteria that commonly affects skin dermatitis.8

You can also use the aloe vera and the oatmeal remedies already mentioned in this article to soothe severely itchy skin that is caused by dermatitis. To provide extra relief, you can add some essentials oils that help to soothe the discomfort caused by eczema such as lavender oil, tea tree oil, thyme oil, and chamomile essential oil. You may also want to try some of these natural treatments for eczema.

Some people suffer from dyshidrotic eczema. This type of eczema only affects the hands and feet, but particularly causes itching on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

Scabies

Scabies is a contagious, intensely itchy skin condition caused by a tiny, burrowing mite. Scabies can affect the hands and other areas of the body and it causes intense itching in the affected area. The itchy skin will usually be accompanied by a blotchy red rash resembling small red bumps which are the body’s immune system’s response to the scabies mites.

According to Dr. Tim Kenny on Patient.info, the itch on your hands can be so severe that scratching is almost unavoidable. However, scratching the infested skin usually leads to bacterial infections making the itch and rash worse.9 You may also notice dark or silver lines on the palms or back of the hands where the mites have burrowed under the skin.

Scabies will cause your hands to itch worse at night when the mites are more active.

Applying neem oil to the itchy red rash in your hands is an effective way to get rid of the mites and reduce the need to scratch the skin. Neem oil is a natural pesticide which will destroy the scabies mites. In fact, a study published in Veterinary Parasitology showed that neem oil is a potent natural remedy to get rid of scabies mites.

Massage neem oil directly onto the affected skin to eliminate the scabies mites and get rid of the cause of your itchy hands. After applying the neem oil remedy, leave it on your skin for a while before washing your hands. Apply daily until you completely get rid of the mites and your itchy rash is gone.

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Tea tree oil is also an effective natural remedy for scabies. It kills off the mites that cause scabies and helps to reduce inflammation. You can read my previous article to find out more about that and other natural methods for treating scabies.

Stress

Stress is a known cause of itchy skin, and it could be one of the reasons why your hands are itchy. Stress affects the body in many ways and can aggravate underlying skin conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis.

World-renowned dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman says that stress can make the skin more sensitive and react more acutely to certain triggers. Also, stress increases the body’s production of cortisol and makes the skin more oily. You may also suffer frequent outbreaks of fever blisters, itchy skin rashes, and hives.10

Unfortunately, we can’t always do something about stress in our lives. However, there are many effective natural ways to control stress better and lessen its negative impact on our skin. Dr. Jaliman suggests getting regular exercise to help cope better with stress and improve your skin’s condition. It’s also essential to get enough sleep – she recommends getting 7 to 8 hours a night.

Chamomile is a great herb to help you relax naturally and reduce redness and itching on skin rashes. For example, a controlled study in 2009 found that capsules of 200 mg chamomile extract help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and can induce a feeling of calmness. So, if you need to relax after a stressful day, try drinking a soothing cup of chamomile tea to relax your nerves and feel calmer.

The anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile oil can help to reduce patches of red itchy skin on your hands caused by stress. The book Herbal Treatment for Dermatologic Disorders commented on research which has shown that chamomile is as effective as 0.25% hydrocortisone creams.12 These medicated creams are usually prescribed to alleviate itchy skin conditions.

To soothe itchy skin on your hands, add 5 drops of chamomile essential oil to one tablespoon of coconut oil or other carrier oil such as sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or olive oil. Gently massage some of the oil into the itchy patch on your hand to relieve the discomfort.

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Diabetes

A skin problem could be one of the first signs of diabetes. One symptom of diabetes is a condition called eruptive xanthomatosis which causes red itchy bumps on the backs of the hands, arms, legs, buttocks, and feet.

The Cleveland Clinic says that diabetes can also cause a number of other itchy skin conditions which can cause itching all over the body.13

To get relief from itchy hands caused by diabetes, it’s important to visit your doctor who can recommend the proper course of treatment to get your diabetes under control.

You can try any of the home remedies for itchy hands from this article to get quick relief from the itchiness and help reduce redness of the inflamed bumps.

I have many articles in this website about diabetes which you can have a look at, for examples, the best foods, herbs and spices to control diabetes, how to use apple cider vinegar for diabetes, as well as okra water and bitter melon.

Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction to certain foods, insect stings, or medications can cause itchy red bumps to appear on the hands, face, tongue, throat, or ears. These itchy patches are usually called hives or urticaria. Usually, hives go away on their own within 24 hours, but in the meantime, there are some effective natural remedies for the itch.

If you notice swelling under the skin that is itchy and red, you could be suffering from a condition called angioedema, which is similar to hives.

You can use some natural antihistamines to help and reduce the swelling and itchiness caused by hives and angioedema. One very effective herbal supplement for allergic reactions is stinging nettle. You can read about the research into stinging nettle for allergies as well as other natural ways to fight allergies in my article about the best natural antihistamines to fight allergic reactions.

To get instant relief from itchy hives on your hands, you can apply some baking soda. This is a cheap and easy way to reduce skin inflammation and soothe itchy red skin. Just mix a little water with some baking soda to form a thick paste. Apply this to the affected skin for 10 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Use the baking soda home remedy as needed to relieve the itching and any pain in your hands.

Alternatively, you can use the chamomile essential oil and coconut oil recipe that is mentioned earlier in the article.

Erythromelalgia

Erythromelalgia is a rare condition which starts off as an intense itching sensation of the hands or feet and becomes sore and painful. This itchy skin condition usually affects both hands at the same time.

According to Dr. Sara de Menezes on DermNet, the pain and itchiness can become so unbearable that it has a detrimental effect on a person’s quality of life. For some people, the flare-up can last for only a few minutes but some people may experience extreme pain and a burning sensation in their hands or feet for days.

Erythromelalgia is a difficult skin condition to treat. Dr. de Menezes says that the anti-inflammatory properties of capsaicin cream have helped many people find relief from the symptoms of erythromelalgia.

Read my other related articles:
1. Itching All Over the Body – Causes and Natural Treatments
2. Itchy Skin After Shower – Causes and Treatments
3. Itchy Armpits: Causes and Effective Natural Treatments
4. Pruney fingers: Causes, Treatments and When to See a Doctor

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