Oatmeal isn't just for breakfast -- it also helps soothe itchy skin.

How to Soothe Itchy Skin That Is Irritated Due to Heat

by S.R. Becker

Your skin can start to itch for a number of reasons, from pregnancy to sunburn. People with sensitive skin may also experience itching as a response to fragrances or dyes in personal care products, such as soap or laundry detergent. Scratching just makes the problem worse, often making the itch come back with a vengeance. Itchy skin is often dry, and replacing the lost moisture can relieve the itch before you damage your skin further by scratching.

Add 1 cup of dry oatmeal to a lukewarm bath, or use a colloidal oatmeal packet from the skin-care aisle of the pharmacy. Soak in the bath for half an hour, dunking a washcloth into the water and squeezing it over your skin. Gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel or an old T-shirt.

Apply a thick, unscented moisturizing lotion all over your body to help replace lost moisture. Look for a product formulated for dry or sensitive skin. Continue to apply lotion throughout the day as needed.

Dip a washcloth in cold water, wring it out and lay it over itchy spots whenever you're tempted to scratch. Wash the cloths first in unscented, dye-free laundry detergent to prevent further irritation of your skin.

Apply over-the-counter anti-itch cream as needed. Ask your pharmacist for a product recommendation suited to your needs. Look for a dye-free product to avoid unnecessary potential irritants.

Wash your skin with mild, unscented, moisturizing soap for the duration of the itching. Take showers instead of baths so you'll be in the water for less time, and keep the water cool, as hot water can further dry your skin and exacerbate the irritation. After you shower, dress in loose-fitting clothing washed in unscented laundry detergent.

Items you will need

  • Oatmeal
  • Unscented lotion
  • Washcloth
  • Unscented laundry detergent
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Unscented moisturizing soap


  • Persistent itching may be a sign of a more serious problem. If the itching lasts for more than a few days or is accompanied by fever or a rash, visit your doctor.

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images