Applying topical anti-itch medications, such as those containing camphor, menthol, benzocaine or antihistamine, can relieve itchy skin, according to MedicineNet. Applying cool temperatures to the affected area using an ice pack, cold wash cloth or cool bath, also stops skin itching.
Skin itching develops in reaction to a skin irritation, explains MedicineNet. The underlying causes that contribute to an itch vary widely, from psychological factors, including stress and anxiety, to physical factors, such as insect bites and sunburn. Itching caused by an underlying disease receives relief by treating the primary condition, notes Mayo Clinic.
Individuals with a skin itch should avoid hot water, advises MedicineNet. Hot water offers temporary itch relief but later makes the itch even worse. Medications that contain cortisone only help skin itch caused by a rash, such as eczema and seborrhea. These conditions are responsive to cortisone, but require a dosage stronger than what is usually available over the counter.
Scratching an itch also worsens the condition, states MedicineNet. The scratch further irritates the skin, augmenting the itching sensation. Additionally, scratching that creates a break in the skin increases the risk of infecting the area. Chronically scratching one area of skin causes it to thicken and darken over time.