Every time you take your bath, you come out experiencing serious itchiness on your body that can persist for up to several minutes. This happens persistently to the extent, that you dread taking your bath more than once every day. You have tried several things, even visited the hospital but there seems to be no lasting solution to the problem of itchy skin after taking a bath. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
First of all, I am neither a dermatologist nor am I a specialist in any bath-related issues but I am a young medical doctor who has also experienced the same itchy skin as you. The itchy skin happens almost immediately after a shower. In my own case, it started after I relocated to a new place for my medical school programme. I started experiencing this condition after about 3 months in my new location and this problem persisted indefinitely afterwards. Throughout this period, I visited the hospital, tried several solutions using my knowledge of medicine and I found some tips that should help you just as they helped me.
What I have tried for my itchy skin after bathing
I changed my sponge and soap several times, to no avail.
I started using antiseptics, thinking water contamination could have been the cause.
I boiled my water before every bath every day for 3 years. Not so cheap, is it?
I stopped sponging hard during a bath.
I totally stopped using the sponge.
It is possible you have tried these methods above as well, before stumbling on this post. And to be honest, many of these solutions did not help in reducing my skin itching after I have taken my bath, and the few that seemed to work did so only for a very short time.
In order to find the solution to the problem of your itchy skin, we will go through several causes and the solutions to each of them.
1. Skin Dryness
Different people have different skin types; some are dry skin, oily skin and other grades in-between. The skin naturally produces oil substances known as sebum from the sebaceous glands. These oils protect the skin from dryness and can produce certain substances that can help destroy some microbes when they come in contact with the skin. However, as noted, everybody’s skin is not wired the same way to produce these essential oils, hence the different skin types.
If you have dry skin, you may experience itchy skin after taking a bath. This is due to the irritation of sensory nerve endings on your skin as the air touches the skin after you shower. During a thorough bath, your soap and sponge may have removed the little oils that were on the skin before you went in for the bath, and thereafter, it becomes left with nothing else but dryness.
Solutions to Itchy Skin Caused By Skin Dryness
Use a moisturizing cream on the skin while still damp.
Take shorter showers.
Avoid scrubbing your skin too hard.
Use a milder soap/cleanser.
Bathe without a sponge.
2. Skin Hypersensitivity (Allergic dermatitis)
Allergic dermatitis is a common skin reaction, also known as contact dermatitis.Allergic contact dermatitis: Overview – InformedHealth.org – NCBI Bookshelf It occurs when your skin makes contact with any substance that can evoke a skin allergic reaction. Skin hypersensitivity or allergic dermatitis is an exaggerated reaction to substances, which do not cause any reactions for most people. These substances are known as allergens and they may be found in your bathing water. Generally, allergic reactions are commonest in people who have a family history of allergies or asthma.
If you experience an itchy body immediately after bathing, it is not likely to be allergic dermatitis. This is because an itchy body or other reactions from allergic dermatitis usually begin after one to three days after repeated exposure to the allergen. The itchiness usually begins from the area that had the primary contact with the allergen but can become generalised to include the lips, hands, legs, eyes, etc. Common examples of allergens that cause allergic dermatitis include certain metals, scents and latex rubber.
Solutions to Itchy Body Caused By Contact Dermatitis
Identify the culprit allergen by noting down what you came in contact with before the reactions started.
Antihistamines may help for a short time.
Apply corticosteroid creams on your skin.
4. Hard Water
In my own case, I identified water hardness as the cause of the itchiness of my body that occurs after I take my bath. Hard water refers to water that has deposits of minerals (Calcium and Magnesium) that make it resistant to soap. That means that you will need more amounts of soap when you are washing dishes or clothes using hard water. These mineral deposits can be seen as whitish chalky residues at the mouth of your water tap or shower. This may only become obvious if you find a way to open the tap head or showerhead.
This is a type of allergic reaction but in this case, Calcium and Magnesium crystals, especially Calcium, are what precipitate the reactions. Following repeated exposure to hard water containing high amounts of these minerals, some of these minerals might find their way deeper into your skin pores from where the body’s immune cells can over time recognise them as foreign. When next you come in contact with these minerals, you may experience itchiness in your body.
Following intense reactions to your skin, you may develop eczema on the areas of your back, trunk and neck, which are often the most sensitive parts of your skin.
Solution for Itchiness Associated With Hard Water Use
Boil your water before bathing. For temporary hard water, precipitates will settle at the bottom of the bucket after cooling.
Wash your tank regularly.
Treat your bathing water tank with water softeners or tank filters. They soften water by exchanging calcium and magnesium with sodium ions and may require professional water softening services.
Add soda ash (washing soda) to water in a bucket before bathing. This softens the water, however, you may need to calculate or gauge the amount of soda ash required to correct the hardness.
The aim of these is to reduce contact of skin with calcium or magnesium residues that are causing the itchy body or to change these minerals to their insoluble form that cannot enter the skin.
Combine with the use of antihistamine and corticosteroids.
3. Fungal skin infection
Some fungal skin infections have been shown to itchiness of the body that may become pronounced after having a shower or when you are sweaty. Fungal infections that affect the skin are medically referred to as “dermatophytosis. Dermatophytes generally belong to the three groups – Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton. An example is Tinea (or ringworm) but there are several others.
Fungal skin infection can cause naturally cause body itching that may become pronounced when the body is wet. The use of antiseptics may also irritate the fungal cells on your skin to produce chemicals that can trigger skin itch that resembles hypersensitivity skin reactions. It is common for people with poor personal hygiene, those who share bathing towels, etc
Solutions to Itchiness Caused By Fungal Skin Infections
Observe good personal hygiene.
Take oral antifungal medications.
Use topical antifungal creams, and in combination with corticosteroids.
Avoid contact with anyone with a fungal skin infection.
5. Aquagenic Urticaria
Aquagenic Urticaria, also known as water allergy, is an allergic reaction to water without any observable skin lesions or rashes. It is a rare skin condition with only about 50 cases reported throughout the medical literature.Acquagenic Urticaria – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1027811717302069 Acquagenic urticaria was described by Shelley and Rawnsley in 1964 when a patient experienced wheals (raised skin redness) within 30 minutes of contact with any type of water (hot or cold). This skin reaction can last from between 30minutes to 2 hours after cessation of exposure to water, and it is reported to develop on the trunk and upper limbs.
According to Shelley and Rawnsley’s hypothesis on the cause of water allergy, the water interacts with sebum or sebaceous glands produced by the skin to generate toxic substances that stimulate perifollicular mast cells degranulation with the release of histamine. This is what happens for other skin allergies but in this case, water is the allergen (trigger for the allergic reaction).
Solutions to Body Itching From Aquagenic Urticaria
Current treatment for aquagenic urticaria involves the use of long-acting antihistamines
Topical barrier treatment with water-repelling gels
Omalizumab (a monoclonal antibody) has been successfully used to treat a patient with aquagenic urticaria.
For skin itching caused by chlorine rash, you already guess the cause is excess chlorine in water, didn’t you? You may see skin lesions, otherwise known as rashes on the skin which may blister and drain fluid from it.
Cold urticaria is a skin reaction that may include itchiness of the body, that results from exposure to cold air or water. Cold generally worsens allergic reactions or urticarias, but in this case, cold directly triggers the reactions.
Chronic disease conditions like liver failure and renal failure, as well as drug reactions, can cause itchiness in the body. It is important to see a doctor for specific instructions on how to reduce or prevent itchy skin resulting from any of these causes.
Regular washing of your towels.
Keep towels clean and dry always.
Avoid bathing with dirty, slippery water.
Avoid storing your sponge in a damp container.
Keep your soap dry to avoid fungal over-growth.
Avoid sharing body wear and towels.
Principles of Use of Medications For Itchy Body
Antihistamines: These drugs are often used as prevention for itchy because they block histamines responsible for allergic reactions. Once histamines have been produced by the body, these drugs will not be effective any longer until the already produced histamines have been broken down. Hence, long-acting antihistamines are recommended when you experience an itchy body after taking your bath.
Corticosteroids: These are potent anti-inflammatory medications that are used for all types of hypersensitivity reactions including asthma. The two major products involved in allergic reactions are histamines and prostaglandins. Antihistamines block histamines while corticosteroids block the prostaglandin actions.
Antifungal medications: These are available as oral tablets and topical creams applied on the body. They destroy fungal organisms on the skin and may help if the itchiness on the body is caused by a fungal infection of the skin. In some cases, a previous allergic skin reaction can cause fungal infection because the allergy results in a weakening of the protective barrier of the skin resulting in a superimposed infection with skin fungi.
The experience of itchiness of the body after having a bath can be very demoralizing. The best thing to do is to provide good ways to prevent it or lasting solutions to the problem after it might have been experienced. Personal hygiene also plays a role in the prevention and treatment of itchiness of the body after taking a bath.
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