In our article on chronic itch, we discussed just how serious of an issue itchy skin can be. Many people suffer greatly from this problem and are looking for things they can do at home to help. Here is a list of 5 simple, natural, and affordable DIY treatments for itchy skin. A few of these things are already in your cupboard, and if not, can easily be purchased at your local grocery store or health food store.
Aloe vera is a good treatment option for chronic itch as it's convenient for daily use. It has a soothing effect on skin, so it's effective in treating itchy skin that is caused by irritation or rashes. You can buy a natural, unscented aloe vera gel, or you can get the gel directly from the actual plant, and then you can apply it to your skin just after you shower and dry off. It's light enough to wear throughout the day, and it's a great moisturizer so it treats dry skin as well as skin itch.
Is your scalp itchy? Is it dry and flaky yet still paradoxically greasy? Do you shed a blizzard of flakes? Redness and tenderness to the scalp got you down? You very well may have dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis as dermatologist like to call it.
So why do some people get dandruff? The cause of dandruff is believed to be a complicated interaction between naturally occurring yeast, your skin oil, and the resultant inflammation. For unclear reasons, the yeast finds the composition of some individuals’ scalp oil to be delicious. The digestion of these oils generates fatty acids that penetrate the skin and stir up inflammation (hence the redness and flaking). It is not an infection of yeast per se, but a poorly understood reaction to your skin’s natural inhabitants.
It is 2014 isn’t it? One would like to believe some degree of pragmatism and scientific thought has woven its way into the world by now right? Don’t get your hopes up too high. Allow me to tell you about life as an albino in east Africa.Albinism is a genetic skin condition in which individuals are born without the ability to make pigment. The skin is extremely pale and the eyes tend to be a soft blue or pinkish hue. This predisposes albinos to early skin cancers and a lifetime of poor eyesight since neither the skin nor the eyes are shielded by normal pigment. Life as an albino is tough enough as it is. Now imagine you are a native African albino, standing out glaringly white against your family and community of dark skinned people.
Both psoriasis and eczema (or atopic dermatitis) cause red, scaly skin rashes and can occur on the same parts of the body which is why sometimes people confuse one for the other. They do have somewhat different symptoms so a dermatologist is the best person to diagnose which skin condition it is and how to treat it. Here are some of the characteristics of psoriasis and eczema and how to tell the difference between the two:
Molluscum isn't dangerous, but it's inconvenient for parents.
“A pox upon your house!” cried a dying Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. ( I know it’s actually “a plague upon your house” but somewhere along the line we started saying “pox.”)
The highly contagious nature of pox viruses has been known for centuries. Smallpox ranks as one of the most formidable killers in history. And other pox viruses, like monkeypox and chickenpox, are no laughing matter despite their humorous names.
As if veterans exposed to Agent Orange needed another thing to worry about, a new study published in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery identifies a potential new connection between certain types of skin cancers and exposure to Agent Orange.
Apparently about 50,000 years ago, a few amorous Homo sapiens gazed across the campfire at a few receptive Neanderthals and decided to mix genetic material. Out of all the early humanoids to walk this earth, we are the only surviving species. The prospect of interbreeding between the two species has long been debated and subject of science fiction. But now we have proof that not only did interspecies breeding occur, but most of us carry Neanderthal genes. In fact every time you look in the mirror, more Neanderthal than Homo sapien may be looking back.
In medicine, just as in life, things are not always what they appear to be. Chances are that if you have a funky looking or off-color toenail, someone has helpfully informed you it is fungus. If they are very helpful, they even mentioned that your doctor has a pill for it. The cause of distorted nails is myriad. We see frustrated patients who have been shelling out co pays for medications but just “can’t seem to get rid of this fungus!”
Toenail fungus plagues about 12% of Americans. Some are genetically prone to getting it; and therefore will probably get it again despite the best of treatments. Going barefoot, being an athlete, and having a weak immune system are other risk factors. Fungi love warm dark moist places, be it old rotting logs in the forest or your earthy smelling sneakers.
Sometimes the stars align and the universe continually puts things in front of you until you take notice. Over the past few months patients have been raving about a new product they’ve bought from veterinarians and equestrian outlets. This miracle product "kills everything" they say. Marketed for uncomplicated skin infections, this product promotes a cure for well…just about everything. Got ringworm? Sores? Abscesses? Skin Rot? Then this $35 a bottle product is for you! (It is not hard to imagine the old Patent Medicine Salesman circa 1900 barking out the same promises to a local rubes). What is this miracle product you ask? I actually chuckled out loud when I read it: Diluted bleach.