A Guide to Selecting an Anti-Itch Cream
A Guide to Buying an Anti-Itch Cream
As we approach the summer months, you’ll have more opportunities to enjoy the warm weather. But, there are also risks involved. Depending on where you live, you may encounter skin allergies due to plants, such as poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. You may also have run-ins with various biting insects, such as mosquitoes or midges. Or perhaps you suffer from skin allergies such as eczema, or an autoimmune skin ailment, like psoriasis. Also, since you sweat more in the summer, there’s also a chance of different skin irritations, such as chafing. Fortunately, there are lots of anti-itch creams that can help considerably in providing you with relief.
We’ll see that there are anti-itch skin creams that employ corticosteroids. Other products try to use natural ingredients, such as menthol, aloe vera, or colloidal oatmeal. You might want to go with a multi-pronged approach, using formulas that combine a number of active ingredients that usually work to relieve itching and inflammation. Most importantly, with so many effective forms of relief out there, you’re sure to be able to find something that’ll let you enjoy your summer, itch-free!
How do anti-itch creams work?
Creams specifically for itching work by blocking the nerve signals that transmit the itching sensation to the brain, thus reducing the urge to scratch. They may contain active ingredients such as menthol or camphor that cool or numb the skin. Another popular ingredient is hydrocortisone, which has an anti-inflammatory property that can reduce redness and swelling.
How can I know how much anti-itch cream to apply?
It is important to follow the instructions on how much cream to use and how often to apply it, as excessive use of these products can cause skin irritation or other side effects. While anti-itch creams can be effective in relieving mild itching and irritation, severe cases may require prescription-strength medications or a visit to a healthcare professional for further evaluation.
Why do so many anti-itch creams contain hydrocortisone?
You’ll see hydrocortisone in a number of OTC pharmaceutical products, such as in anti-itch creams, suppositories for treating hemorrhoids, relief from canker sores, and more. Hydrocortisone is an immunosuppressant: it works by calming down your body’s immune response. So, if you brushed up against poison ivy, or received a bunch of insect bites, hydrocortisone cream will reduce the itching and swelling that normally comes with these irritants.
What’s in poison ivy that causes a rash, and how do these creams help?
The poison ivy plant contains urushiol, which causes an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis. Lotions that can reduce the body’s allergic reaction, as well as lotions that reduce swelling and cool the affected area, can relieve the symptoms.
Types of Anti Itch Creams
Looking at the different products in the Best Reviews Guide list of anti-itch creams, you’ll notice a few different options among the main ingredients:
Hydrocortisone: We mentioned in the FAQ section how corticosteroids are used to reduce the body’s response to irritants that cause inflammation and rashes, as well as conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. An example is Cortizone 10 Maximum Strength Ointment. It contains 1% hydrocortisone, which is the maximum concentration allowed in an over-the-counter product.