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Itchy skin question: noob looking for a natural remedy  RSS feed

 
Luke Burkholder
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Every spring I develop an itch that starts on the back of my hands and neck. It starts out like dry skin from the winter, but eventually, it just seems to take over and move out onto my knuckles and up my arm. If I let it got and really scratch at it, then I will get little weepy bumps. It responds well to topical hydrocortisone cream, and I've always just attributed it to some kind of allergy to an oil in the air as plants are budding in the spring. My mom gets it too, as do several aunts and uncles; we've always just called it "spring itch."

Anybody know what is going on here, and/or what natural remedy I can apply? Or what should I avoid (or seek out) in the first place to prevent it. Thanks in advance, and let me know if I'm not in the right forum. -Luke
 
John Elliott
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I'm not a dermatologist, nor do I play one on TV, but if it was me, I'd put some aloe on it. Always a good plant to have around for any sort of skin ailment.
 
Matu Collins
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Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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It sounds like an allergic reaction/exzema. If I were you I'd visit an allergist to try to narrow down the cause.

Evening primrose oil is helpful for exzema. You can get it in a bottle or get capsules and pierce them. A little goes a long way.

Having lots of good fats in the diet and taking probiotics/rewarding fermented foods can help the skin, as well as staying away from chemical body products.
 
Jessica Gorton
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Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
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I would also talk to a specialist, and a local herbalist as well, who can take a look at the problem in person and also take a good history from you. Skin stuff can be simple, or a symptom of something more complicated and related to any number of lifestyle choices or environmental factors.

But as an amateur herbalist with no formal training, I'd recommend nettle leaf tea, used often as a seasonal allergy herbal go-to. It's a pretty safe herb, but it has a tendency towards lowering blood pressure, so watch out if you're already on BP medication. I might also try other "blood cleansing" herbs, like burdock root or red clover flower. Also, drink lots of water, and I second the good fats advice - I use the fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture - it's pricy, but I think the quality is great.

Edited to add: Oh, and if you've got a friend with a stinging nettle patch, by all means harvest some. Just wear gloves while handling it, until it's dried (or steamed, if you'd like to consume your nettles that way!).
 
Steven Feil
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Location: South Central Idaho
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The itch is the symptom. You have to ask the RIGHT QUESTION(s). http://www.permies.com/t/34028/medicinal-herbs/Wrong

Most specialists do NOT know how to ask the right questions and only address the symptoms.

What changes in your life between the time you do not have the problem to when it starts: Diet? Clothing? Other things? Something changes to cause this. You need to narrow it down.

Also, the skin is a reflection of what is happening in your waste removal organs, specifically the liver. If the liver is overburdened, the skin will take up the job of eliminating toxins.
 
Luke Burkholder
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Well, I got some aloe, and in terms of immediate, local relief, it works very well, better than hydrocortisone in fact, so that's great.

I liked your comment that the itch is the symptom, something else is the cause. It always starts in the late winter / early spring. I will have to reflect and think about what else is changing in my life and routine at the same time.

I definitely get my probiotics and ferments, I just started a fresh batch of kraut today. And I try to get my 64 oz of water (though that can be a tough job, but I'm almost always at 48+ oz/day.)
 
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