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How To Prevent Itchy Skin

The best way to deal with itchy skin is to stop it before it starts. Here are 5 tips to prevent itchy skin:

1. Cover Up When Around At-Risk Areas

In areas where biting insects or poison plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac might be prevalent, protect your skin by wearing clothes that cover as much as possible. Wear long pants, long-sleeve shirts, socks that cover the ankles, closed-toed shoes, and hats can to help prevent exposure to itchy skin triggers.

2. Use Insect Repellent Outdoors

Bug bites from mosquitos or other insects can cause skin to itch. To discourage insects from snacking on you when outdoors, find an insect repellent that feels comfortable on your skin. On your next camping or hiking trip be sure to pack insect repellant that contains 20 to 30 percent DEET for use on exposed skin and clothing.1

If you also suffer from respiratory allergies when outdoors check out helpful tips to manage your symptoms here.

3. Wear Sunscreen To Avoid Sunburn

Prolonged sun exposure and sunburn can lead to dry, itchy skin. The best way to stop sunburn itch is to avoid sunburn in the first place. 

Avoid prolonged or direct sun exposure, and take precautions such as covering exposed skin and wearing sunscreen. Find a sunscreen that’s comfortable on your skin, and reapply as directed. Wearing sunscreen can provide both moisturizing properties and protect from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

4. Use a Humidifier in the Winter

During the winter, low humidity and temperature can dry out skin, leading to itchy, dry, and scaly skin. Using a humidifier puts moisture back into indoor air, which can help moisturize the skin and prevent itching. 

5. Moisturize To Keep Your Skin From Drying

Moisturizing your skin can greatly reduce dry skin that causes itchiness and scaliness. Be careful to avoid moisturizers with fragrances and dyes that are more likely to trigger a skin reaction and make the itching worse.

How To Treat and Relieve Itchy Skin

Here are 5 tips to treat and relieve itchy skin by using your head instead of your fingernails: 

1. Resist the Urge To Scratch at Night

At nighttime or while asleep, sometimes it is easy to scratch when skin is itchy because you are less conscious of your actions. Scratching at night can both interrupt your sleep pattern and make your itch worse. It can also lead to problems like breaking the skin and introducing bacteria, which can lead to infection. If you can’t resist scratching, try wearing gloves to bed, which can help prevent scratching in your sleep.

If you also suffer from allergies at night these tips might also help you get a better night’s sleep.

2. Keep Your Scratches Clean

Scratching is unavoidable, especially for children. So keep both the affected area and fingernails as clean as possible to lower irritation and infection risks. Wash your hands regularly, and keep the affected area of itchy skin clean with soap and water.

3. Apply Cold Compress to Burning and Itching Skin

Applying an ice pack or a cold compress made from a cool, wet cloth to the affected area can reduce swelling and pain for burning and itching skin.

4. Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes

Tight clothing and certain fabrics can irritate the skin. Loose-fitting cotton clothing is the way to go when you’re feeling itchy and scratchy.

5. Use a Topical Antihistamine Like BENADRYL® (Diphenhydramine HCl)

For adults and children 2 years of age and older, consider BENADRYL® topical products for temporary relief from pain and itching.

Ask a doctor for children under 2 years. Apply to the affected area not more than 3–4 times daily.

BENADRYL® topical products contain the active ingredient diphenhydramine HCl and are available in the following formulations:

Related Articles


  1. American Academy of Dermatology. Tips To Prevent and Treat Bug Bites. Accessed from: