Itchy and irritated skin can be quite annoying. Although it is completely normal to experience a bit of itchiness once in a while, the real problem starts when this becomes a regular occurrence and you have no means to deal with it.
Even though the main cause of an occasional itchy face could be actually dry skin or an insect bite, the problem could run deeper and indicate other skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, etc. Therefore, in order to actually understand how to deal with this problem, it would be wiser to start with finding out what exactly is causing you to have an itchy face, what do the symptoms look like and then move on to the solutions.
But we know that this sounds like too much for you to do all alone, which is why we contacted the leading dermatologist and skin expert, Dr. Mrunal Shah Modi to walk you through the entire problem of an itchy face; its causes, symptoms, treatments and preventions included. So let’s get started…
- Causes of Itchy Face
- Can pimples and acne make your skin feel itchy?
- How to prevent itchy face?
- FAQs about itchy face
Causes of Itchy Face
Dr. Modi says that the reasons for an itchy face could be anything. From an allergy, irritation or infection to wrong product usage, or even over-scrubbing can cause your face to feel itchy and irritated all the time.
1. Dry skin -
This is a super common, yet easily treatable cause of itchy face. Not having a hydrating skincare routine, washing your face with hot water and using a lot of harsh chemicals can all aggravate this problem.
2. Ageing -
As we age, our skin tends to become thinner, which can disrupt the natural pH balance of the skin. Additionally, problems such as lower water retention but imbalanced hormones can all cause your skin to feel dry, thereby leading to itchy skin.
3. Insect bites -
Another cause of itchy face could be insect bites from mosquitoes, bed bugs, termites, etc. This can sometimes even be followed by a rash, especially if you have sensitive skin.
4. Skin conditions -
A persistent itchy face could also be the result of a skin condition such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, rosacea, hives, etc. Mainly caused by severely dry skin, these conditions need immediate medical intervention. If you notice the itchy skin just doesn’t subside upon using a moisturiser and is followed by flaking and peeling skin or even rashes, please visit a dermatologist ASAP.
5. Allergic reactions -
A lot of times, you are allergic to certain ingredients in your food, skincare products or the environment. In order to deal with this, start noting when and how the itchiness becomes worse. If it is after eating certain foods, then perhaps you are allergic to certain ingredients.
Sometimes, an itchy face is also followed by other conditions reactions such as acne, hormonal imbalance and pregnancy. To elaborate further, Dr. Modi says, there is a complete psychological and physical change in women during pregnancy that causes hormonal imbalance, which then can in turn make your skin dry and itchy. But this itchiness is often pretty mild and it usually goes away completely after the delivery.
“But sometimes there is severe itchiness, and that is when we check the liver functions to check for underlying disorders, as that leads to build-up of bile and in turn, itchiness”, concludes the doctor.
Can pimples and acne make your skin feel itchy?
“Pimples and acne don’t usually cause itchiness, but if there is an irritation along with acne, then the patient can experience itching. This happens because there is friction between clogged pores and dry skin, that causes irritation and itching. Additionally, it could be related to the products you are using as well as how and when you are using them, especially with oily skin. Using too much salicylic acid, retinol, benzoyl peroxide, adapalene or undergoing acid peels, especially on active acne can cause an allergic reaction. Additionally, the kind of scrub you are using, how gentle you are with applying these products can all cause dryness, thereby making your acne and pimples feel itchy”, explains Dr. Modi.
How to prevent itchy face?
“When someone comes with an itchy face, I start by finding out their history to see if it’s acute, since when it has been happening, as well as the products they have been using. The first step in treating itchy faces is to eliminate that irritating factor and stop using that product. Then depending on the factors, we either ask the patient to switch their moisturiser, apply soothing creams, use cold compresses or simply wash their face with cold water.
If you have a constantly itchy face, then it is important for you to moisturise regularly. Constant dry skin can lead to a compromised skin barrier and exposure to harmful environmental aggressors. This is why you need to apply a thick and nourishing face moisturiser at least twice a day. When choosing a moisturiser, ensure that you pick something which has ceramides and lipids to offer intense hydration to give you supple skin.
2. Avoid harsh chemicals
When choosing your skincare products, ensure that you always read the ingredients carefully. Consult a doctor if you must, but make sure to avoid irritating ingredients such as SLS, fragrances and alcohol. This is because these ingredients can disrupt your skin’s pH balance, thereby making your skin super dry and itchy. Additionally, avoid using any sort of scrubs and exfoliators completely if you experience itching, as that can aggravate the condition.
3. Reduce stress
Stress has never done anyone any good, and it stands true for an itchy face as well. Whenever you are stressed, it affects your hormones. And since imbalanced hormones are considered to be a cause of itchy faces, we would highly recommend you to undertake some calming activity every single day. Spend a little time unwinding, exercising and doing things you enjoy to keep your itchy face under control.
4. Use OTC soothing creams
If your face has been feeling particularly itchy lately, then you can even try applying some over-the-counter soothing creams. The most common OTC creams are antihistamines, which are nothing but generic drugs used to provide relief from itching caused by dust, pollen, hives, animal fur, etc. But since you are applying this to your face, we would advise you to consult your doctor and avoid application around the eye area.
5. Stay hydrated
You already know the importance of keeping your skin well moisturised, but simply hydrating from the inside is not enough. To truly keep your skin calm, it is equally important to moisturise from the inside by drinking a lot of water. Drinking enough water not only makes your skin soft and glowy but also flushes out toxins from your body to reduce the chance of an allergic reaction.
FAQs about itchy face
Q. Is an itchy face always accompanied by a rash?
A. Dr. Modi explains, “An itchy face may not always be accompanied by a rash because sometimes the skin is just dry, and initial stages of skin dryness does not cause an apparent rash on the face. But an itchy face usually feels rough, and there are also allergic reactions that cause small dry patches, but they don’t have a rash. This is known as dry itch.”
Q. Which home remedies work to stop the itching?
A. Home remedies can definitely work in controlling and treating an itchy face, provided it is mild. “If you have severe itchiness, then it is best to avoid trying home remedies and quickly go to a doctor because certain home remedies could actually cause further itchiness and inflammation. Even though home remedies are usually subjective, always speak to your doctor and patch test before trying them out. Here are certain things you can do after consulting a doctor –
- Use a cold compress
- Stop using all creams and cosmetics immediately
- Applying cooling calamine lotions
- Use menthol-based products
- Apply pure aloe vera gel
- Use moisturiser and sunscreen