Itchy Skin After Shower: Causes and Effective Home Treatments

Itchy Skin After Shower - Causes and Treatments
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Itchy skin after showering or bathing makes a pleasant experience annoying, with the possibility of health risks. Itchy skin is known by the medical name pruritus, and can be associated with a number of disorders.1 Itchy skin after shower has many degrees of severity – it can occur on a certain area or all over your body, it can be accompanied by rash, and it can be mild or intense.

Many people find that they itch after a shower, and that can cause redness or lead to broken skin if you can’t keep yourself from scratching. Broken skin can leave you vulnerable to secondary skin infections if it’s not controlled, and can aggravate existing skin condition.

Fortunately, there are several home remedies you can use that can provide relief and help treat the underlying cause of itchy skin. In this article, you will also find tips on how to prevent itchiness after showering.

Causes of Itchy Skin after Shower or Bath

There are several reasons why you experience itchy skin right after showering:

Long Hot Showers

Long hot showers can leave your skin feeling dry, tight and itchy. Your skin produces natural oils to protect and moisturize itself. These oils can be stripped away when you take long, hot showers, leaving your skin dry and itchy.2

Bathing in Hard water

You may also experience itchy skin after showering if you have hard water. Hard water is defined as highly alkaline water that contains high levels of calcium ions.

Hard water affects your skin because it reduces the effectiveness of your soap and cleanser by reducing the foaming action of your skincare products. The soap residue left behind on your skin irritates the skin, making it itchy, flaky, and dry.

The minerals in the hard water itself can also clog skin pores, which can be especially harmful to more sensitive areas in your body. It can be especially irritating to people who naturally have dry skin or already suffer from existing skin condition like dermatitis.

Skin Allergy or Sensitivity to Skincare Products

Harsh chemicals in your skincare products can irritate your delicate skin, causing itchy arms and legs. This itching sensation can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours after finishing your shower and may accompany a rash.

Products containing alcohol, or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), or fragrances may dry out your skin, increasing your likelihood of itchy skin after showers.3 You may also experience an allergic reaction to an ingredient in one of your skincare products, which may leave you with severe and intense itching sensations. This allergic reaction can also cause hives, red itchy bumps on the surface of the skin.

Existing Skin Conditions

Your itchy skin after showering may also be a symptom of a pre-existing skin condition such as eczema. According to WebMD, showering, especially in hot water, may aggravate eczema and cause a flare-up. Other things that can trigger eczema are soaps or scented body products.17

Another uncommon cause may be aquagenic pruritus, a rare skin condition characterized by severe itching with any contact with water.4, 5

Knowing the cause of your itchy skin, can help you find an effective treatment to get rid of it effectively.

Home Remedies for Itchy Skin after Showering

Here are a number of ways that can help you to get a relief from your itchy skin after shower. They will treat the symptoms as well as the underlying cause of your discomfort.

Limit shower time – You should limit shower or bath time to no more than 5-10 minutes so your skin doesn’t lose its natural oils. Long hot shower may cause your skin to dry excessively, which is one of the most common causes for having itchy skin after a shower. Use warm rather than hot water.2, 3

Don’t bath too frequently – You should limit the number of showers or baths you take to prevent itchy skin. Bathing too frequently can cause skin irritation and itchiness, especially if you have dry skin or an existing skin condition. It can also leave your skin vulnerable to infections. As Dr. Richard Gallo, chief of the dermatology division at the University of California, San Diego explains, frequent showering can lead to dry skin by removing some of the good bacteria from the skin and disrupt the skin’s normal microflora.3

The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends to bathe less often and recommends short, cooler baths that are better than long hot baths.17

Avoid vigorous scrubbing – The University of Maryland Medical Center also recommends to avoid scrubbing the skin too hard during your shower or bath to reduce the risk of itchiness.17 Vigorous scrubbing will irritate your skin and lead to itchy skin after your bath. You may also set yourself up for infections, especially if you break your skin.

Use moisturizer on damaged skin before and after showering – Use an emollient on damaged skin before bathing to retain moisture on the affected area while forming a protective layer to reduce the risk of itchiness after shower. Then after the shower follow up with a moisturizer on the skin while it is still damp to help trap moisture in the skin to keep your skin soft and supple.17

Use Gentle skin care products

You may find a relief from your itchy skin after showering by replacing harsh skincare products that can irritate and dry out your skin. Mayo Clinic recommends using gentle cleansers for dry and sensitive skin.7 You might also want to use products made especially for sensitive skin. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests avoiding products with fragrances and using unscented products instead.3

Eczema / Psoriasis Treatments

Taking an oatmeal bath can soothe your skin and prevent your skin from itching after you bathe. This is an especially effective remedy if your itchiness is aggravated after shower due to existing skin condition, such as eczema or psoriasis.

To make an oatmeal bath for soothing itchy skin, place 1-2 cups of oatmeal in a sock or pantyhose. Secure the filled sock under the tap as you draw a warm bath. Then, sit back and relax. Soak in the bath for 20 minutes. Soaking in oatmeal bath can also help to get rid of a large itchy skin rash between your legs.

A study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that oatmeal has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the swelling and redness associated with dry skin.9 Another study published in the same journal also found that oatmeal can strengthen the natural skin barrier which protects your body from infections.10 Oatmeal can provide a preventive barrier for infections and a treatment for itchy skin.

You can also use oatmeal as an effective home remedy to keep your hands and fingers well moisturized and free from peeling skin.

Virgin Coconut Oil for Dry Skin after Showering

Coconut oil acts as a natural moisturizer to prevent itchy skin after showering. It offers a soothing treatment for dry, irritated skin. It can also treat atopic dermatitis or eczema as it is commonly known.11 In addition, its antibacterial properties can help ward off infections, especially if you have broken skin from scratching too much.

One study published in the journal Dermatitis reported that in clinical trials extra virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer was just as effective as mineral oil in people with atopic dermatitis (eczema). However, the study also noted that coconut oil is also a proven antiseptic. Therefore, coconut oil is one of the best natural oils to moisturize damaged skin.18 You can find more reasons to use coconut oil for treating eczema in my previous article.

To soothe damaged itchy skin after shower, apply a small amount of virgin coconut oil directly on your itchy areas, making sure to work it into your skin completely.

There are many other reasons to keep coconut oil in your bathroom.

Treat Your Sunburn

Sunburns can cause itchy skin, especially if your skin is peeling. If your itchiness after shower is a result of a sunburn, you can treat sunburns with aloe vera to encourage the healing process and prevent intense itching after your shower.8 Aloe vera also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help decrease inflammation caused by sunburn.19 Another study showed that aloe vera gel significantly reduced UV-inflammation and was better than 1% hydrocortisone in a gel.20

You can apply aloe vera directly to your skin as often as needed. To lock in moisture, apply it immediately after showering or bathing, explains the American Academy of Dermatology.3

Glycerin

Glycerol, or glycerin as it is commonly known, is a naturally-occurring moisturizer that can improve your skin’s appearance and nip itchy dry skin in the bud. Glycerol can moisturize the skin due to its hygroscopic properties, which means that it absorbs water from the air. It is a common ingredient in many skincare products, soaps, and medical products.12, 13

A study published in the Journal of Oleo Science tested the effects of a skin lotion containing glycerol on skin hydration on human skin. Researchers found that glycerol offered a long-term solution for moisturizing skin.14 You can get the benefits of glycerol in glycerin soap for a gentle cleanser that won’t irritate your skin.

Glycerin is also one of the best natural moisturizers to get rid of dead dry skin on feet.

Itchy Skin after Shower – Prevention Tips

Prevention ensures you can avoid some of the complications of dry itchy skin after showering when you are vulnerable to infections. The humid environment of your bathroom is the ideal setting for bacteria to develop. Simple tips can help you prevent dry itchy skin after showering before it occurs.

Patch test new or replaced products

Place a small amount of a new skincare product in an inconspicuous place, such as your forearm to test to see if you are allergic to it. You should also do this every time you replace a skincare product, even if you’ve had no history of a reaction. Companies occasionally change formulations or may substitute different ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction, skin irritation and itchiness.

Dry your skin completely before dressing

Allow yourself to dry completely before you dress in order to prevent development of bacteria that can cause you to itch your skin after showering. The moist, humid air in your bathroom is the breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

Reduce stress to prevent flare-ups of existing skin conditions

Stress can worsen existing skin conditions like eczema and make the sensation of itching more intense after showering. WebMD recommends reducing your stress through relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation.15

Itchy Skin – When to See a Doctor

If you are not finding relief from your itchy skin after bathing, consult your doctor. Your doctor can rule out other skin conditions like eczema that may be the root of your problem. It’s important to find the cause of dry irritated skin to prevent complications, including psychological stress when your skin continually itches after showering.

Read my other related articles:
1. Itching All Over the Body – Causes and Natural Treatments
2. The Best Home Remedies for a Dry, Itchy Scalp
3. Itchy Armpits: Causes and Effective Natural Treatments
4. The Best Natural Treatments for Dry Skin Around Eyes

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8 Responses to Itchy Skin After Shower: Causes and Effective Home Treatments

  1. Cal Newsham says:

    I had severe itching all over my body right after having a shower, bath, swimming etc. (Even when I didn’t use soap, shampoo etc. (Just water) My Doctor sent me to a Dermatologist who put me on anti histamines. (They did nothing) Then I was sent to a allergist who found nothing wrong with me. I read about a boy taking Cod Liver Oil for the same thing so I thought I’d give it a try. I took 750 mg per day. It took about a month to start working. But after 1 month my itching was about half. After 2 months it was dramatically reduced. After 3 months I could hardly feel it anymore. I’ve been taking Cod Liver Oil for almost 2 years now and my condition is almost nonexistent. I tried stopping the Cod Liver Oil capsules for about a week and the itching was back with a vengeance. When I’m in Countries like Mexico I get a slight reaction, but nothing like it used to be. I told this to another woman with the same condition and she emailed me that it’s working perfect for her too. After just 3 weeks she could feel an amazing difference. Everyone with this condition should have the right to know about this and decide for themselves if they want to try it. As long as you don’t take more than the recommended daily dose what can it hurt.

  2. Jen says:

    Thank you Cal, I am going to try this. I’m really suffering with this issue at the moment. Also seen dermatologist who prescribed anti histamine but they are not working. I’ve tried them before over the years with no good effect. The dermatologist told me I was depressed even though my life is fantastic and just how I like it. I am certainly not unhappy. Love my life. He kept comparing me to his GP wife. He clearly has issues there & did not see me as an individual with my own circumstances. It was. Very weird experience. I am too scared to go back as his comments about my life (not married at 37 years old with no children) really did then upset me. I have a fantastic career, just about to graduate from university with a degree, I have a lovely sports car, financially very secure, fantastic other family, a couple of cats! Why can I not be happy with my life!? It’s fantastic. I am not keen to go back to GP or Dermatologist after last week’s experience but still suffering with bathing/showering.

  3. Christy says:

    Thanks cal…… I’ve been suffering from this for long, my doctor even said they didn’t know the causes, I will start using cod liver oil now and see how effective it is

  4. sivuyise says:

    thanks cal,its been more than 15 years having this problem of itching I tried everything it not working. I went to different doctors they don’t see anything wrong but my problem is continuing so I dont but anyway thanks for sharing us your experience

  5. Zeeshan says:

    I also have the same issue of itchiness, but in my case I only feel itchy in rainy season and in humid environment. I never bath in warm or hot shower, almost never soap use on skin,and never use towel. some one told me to eat and drink cold efficacy foods and I also feel good. but every rainy season I have the same problem.

    • mariam says:

      i suffered from this when i was still an undergraduates.i have gone to meet different dermatologists they are all given me different theraphy. I read about this condition online i saw different causes of it then i went to nairaland to read comments and seek peoples opinion there u was advise not to use sponge when bathing, This was funny to me but i tried this at home, Guess what it was miraculous.You all can try this to and i pray it works.

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