Ever had a persistent itch that you just couldn’t help but scratch? We’ve all been there, whether we’re suffering from something chronic, such as eczema, or something temporary such as finding our way into a patch of poison ivy. Whatever the reason, there’s nothing enjoyable about being itchy. And it can be incredibly hard to avoid scratching. However, scratching that itch can lead to broken skin, which ups the risk of infection and can prolong the healing process. Here are some ways you can keep yourself from scratching. I think you’ll find relief almost right away.
1. Clip Your Nails
It’s most definitely easier to scratch when you have long fingernails. While they can provide much needed relief momentarily, in the end they’ll just make the situation worse. To help keep yourself from using them, cut your fingernails as short as is comfortable. That way you won’t get the feeling you crave and you won’t feel the need to scratch with your fingernails. Easy enough, right?
2. Get Distracted
This usually isn’t the best advice, but when it comes to scratching an itch, finding something to occupy yourself with can make a big difference. Grab that book you’ve been meaning to read or start a new knitting project. Before you know it, you’ll be involved and not even thinking about the itch.
3. Try Hydrocortisone Cream
This stuff is like an anti-itch miracle. It only takes a small dab to get the job done. Simply place a very thin layer over the itchy spot and gently rub it in. The ingredients in the cream provide almost instant itch relief and can treat certain conditions that cause itching, such as eczema.
4. Apply Something Cold
For some reason, a cold compress can stop itching in its tracks. According to experts, this is because the sensation of cold is stronger than the sensation of itching. Apply cold, wet washcloths to your itch or chill some lotion and rub it into the area. Even a cold can of soda or a bag of frozen peas will do the trick.
5. Reduce Stress
Easier said than done, I know. However, experts say that when you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that diminish the skin barrier, leading to itching. Take time out each day to decompress and relax. Deep breathing, spending time with a loved one, yoga and even a massage are great options.
6. Wear Mittens
I know – weird, right? This is for all you ladies who scratch mindlessly or while you sleep. If you don the mittens, you might try to scratch, but won’t be successful. If you wake up scratching an itch or you find yourself doing so while zoned out in front of the television, mittens can really make a difference.
7. Practice Mindfulness
I was skeptical too, but a recent study published in Psychosomatic Medicine reveals that a personal mantra can help you avoid scratching. Staying positive can help alleviate the severity of an itch, helping reduce the need to scratch. Find a phrase or word that allows you to relax and feel happy. Repeat it anytime the urge to scratch is trying to get the best of you. You’ll be surprised at how much this helps.
Do you have trouble not scratching an itch? Of course, the random itch is fine to scratch, but going after a chronic itch can really turn into a problem. How do stop the urge to scratch?