ITCHY SKIN ON LOWER LEGS
Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
Itching is often a response to a skin irritant. The nerves that tell the brain to feel itching are the same ones that tell it to feel pain. So when brain senses the irritant and tells us that it itches, our natural instinct is to scratch that spot and remove the irritant. Almost anything that causes itching is accompanied by inflammation. So, if we want to help decrease itching, we need to work on decreasing inflammation.
However, itchiness on the lower legs may also be a sign of neurological problems, autoimmune response, various diseases, an infection or circulatory issue that is making the legs uncomfortable.
– One of the most common is a condition called xerosis, a term for very dry skin. It often occurs on the lower legs. It is more common as you age as the skin becomes drier. You might not see signs of the skin being dry, but you may well feel it. A clue to this condition is not having a rash before the itching starts. You may develop red bumps, lines and irritation from the scratching. You may notice that the itching from xerosis is more common in the winter, when the heat in your house makes the air drier. You may also notice that it is worse when you take a hot bath. It isn’t limited to the lower legs, but it often is most troublesome there and can itch to the point of pain. It’s nearly impossible not to scratch the area, but of course, this just makes it worse for you. The hands may also be affected.
– Restless leg syndrome causes a temporary tingling or itching sensation that is accompanied by an overwhelming urge to move your legs. This sensation is typically more intense in the evening and may cause the legs to twitch while you sleep. The cause of this condition is currently unknown. There are reasons to assume it could be a neurological or autoimmune problem.
– When the skin is excessively dry it can become itchy and uncomfortable. Dry skin can be caused by a variety of conditions including a diet that lacks an adequate supply of fatty acids, old age, dehydration, and diseases such as hypothyroidism.
– Various allergies, including food allergies, may trigger itching in the lower legs.
– Keratosis is a condition which causes small, benign, goose bump like growths to appear on the legs. They are caused by keratin protein plugging the hair follicles. The bumps may be slightly pink, but are typically the same colour as the skin and around the size of a grain of sand. Besides being itchy, they will feel quite rough, often causing the skin to take on the texture of sandpaper. Keratosis is more common in winter months and in those that suffer from atopic dermatitis or dry skin.
– Stasis or gravitational eczema causes purple or reddish, itchy and swollen patches to appear on the lower legs. This is more common in those that suffer from vessel disorders such as varicose veins or vein thrombosis.
– Hepatitis, diabetes, kidney failure or lymphomas may cause the lower legs to become itchy.
– Most important aspect of the treatment is implementing principles included in the HEALTH RECOVERY PLAN >
– In case you suffer from Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, Atopic dermatitis (Eczema), or Psoriasis, go to DISEASES find your condition and try to recover from it by implementing principles and using remedies listed there.
– Read about SKIN CARE OPTIONS >
NUTRITIONAL AND LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS
– Increase humidity in your room/house as dry air can be one of the key causes of itchy legs.
– Drink vegetable juices instead of fruit juices.
– Eat red onion (source of quercetin which lowers histamine).
– Avoid sugar, white flour products, dairy, peanuts, wheat, gluten, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine as they are linked to itching.
– Avoid tight fitting unnatural and irritating clothes. Wear 100% cotton whenever possible.
– Moving the legs can also provide temporary relief.
– Avoid scratching the affected areas that are itchy may intensify the sensation and cause the skin in this area to become thick and leather-like. The skin may also become red or darker than other areas of the body.
– Exercise every day for 30-60 minutes.
– Learn to control stress as it is often associated with itching.
SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBAL REMEDIES
– Take antihistamine supplements such as quercetin.
– Consume foods high in omega 3 fatty acids: Ground flax seed, flax oil, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes chia seeds to treat dry skin problem. In addition take 2000mg a day of good quality and free from heavy metals (molecularly distilled) omega 3 fish oil.
– Include good quality Probiotic formula to boost good bacteria in your colon.
– Take 1000mg of Evening primrose oil or star flower oil (borage oil).
– Everyday take organic Chlorella and other super foods such as Barley grass, Alfalfa, Wheat grass, etc.
– Take 5,000 – 20,000 IU of Vitamin D3 a day.
– Other beneficial supplements and remedies: Calcium citrate, Magnesium citrate, Zinc citrate, Vitamin A, C, E, H (Biotin), Ginkgo biloba, etc.
– Applying icy or very cold compress on the affected area for 5-10 minutes is often very effective in bringing relieve.
– Clay or Charcoal compress over night.
– For external use: Aloe vera gel, Comfrey gel, Calendula cream or gel.
– Alternative hot and very cold water applications such as showers are very effective to reduce itching. The physiological reason heat stops itching is because hot shower or compress, causes mast cells to dump their histamine contents (histamine is the chemical that causes itching). Such histamine-reduction provides several hours of relief as it takes several hours for mast cells to re-synthesize histamine. Heat directed at an area of itch often provides as much relief as taking an anti-histamine tablet. But heat works even better when used alternatively with ice pack or a very cold application such as compress or a shower. Read more >
– Menthol and phenol or 2-3 drops of peppermint oil mixed with a tablespoon of a base oil such as raw organic raw coconut oil used externally may help reduce the itching.
– Those that suffer from keratosis may try creams that include lactic acid, urea, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and vitamin D for the best results.
– Creams containing lactate are often recommended.
– Eurax cream is an anti-itching component, it is usually recommended to be used two to three times daily.
– Use only soaps, gels, shampoos, cosmetics, deodorant or detergents with only harmless natural ingredients.
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