Depending on the underlying cause, treatment for skin itching may involve the use of corticosteroid creams or calcineurin inhibitors, states Mayo Clinic. After applying corticosteroid creams, the patient covers the affected areas with moist cotton material that has been immersed in water for better skin absorption of the medicated cream. Doctors sometimes prescribe calcineurin inhibitors, such as tacrolimus or pimecrolimus, if the itchy areas are small.
To relieve itching temporarily, Mayo Clinic suggests using an over-the-counter anti-itch cream, such as a hydrocortisone, calamine, camphor or menthol cream. It also helps to apply a quality moisturizer on the skin one to two times per day, focusing on the regions with severe itching.
To avoid scratching the skin, a person should cover itchy areas with bandages or dressings, keep fingernails properly trimmed, and wear gloves when sleeping, advises Mayo Clinic. Other home-care measures include applying cold, damp compresses; taking a lukewarm bath with colloidal oatmeal, uncooked oatmeal or baking soda; wearing smooth, comfortable cotton clothes; and using perfume- and dye-free mild soaps. It is also important to avoid using irritants that trigger an allergic reaction, especially fragrant skin products, jewelry and nickel.
Doctors sometimes prescribe oral antihistamines or antidepressants to relieve itching, notes Mayo Clinic. They also treat any underlying condition causing the itch or use phototherapy, which exposes the skin to ultraviolet light.