All about itchy skin

Dry or sensitive skin conditions like atopic eczema are really common and affect around 54% of the population and 1 in 5 children in the UK. Most children grow out of it by the time they are 7, but the constant cycle of itching & scratching can make them really uncomfortable. It can keep them awake, make them self-conscious and put a strain on the whole family. The good news is that there are ways to help children and adults soothe itchiness and manage sensitive skin effectively.

Find out how to break the itch / scratch cycle and to read our tips for dealing with sensitive skin.

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Dry Skin

Dry skin has a rough texture and may be scaly or prone to forming open cracks. Unlike the smooth and glowing appearance of normal skin, dry skin lacks moisture and may look dull and flaky.

Dry skin can feel itchy and uncomfortable, and may lead to the development of other skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.

What causes dry skin?

Some people are born with a natural tendency towards dry skin. People who suffer from conditions such as asthma, hay fever or allergies may also develop dry skin.

Causes of dry skin include:

  • Soaps and strong detergents
  • Hot baths and showers
  • Exposure to the sun and wind
  • Air-conditioning.

As we age, our bodies produce less sebum (an oily substance, naturally produced by the skin that helps to keep skin smooth and supple), leading to naturally drier skin.

What does dry skin look like?

Your skin is made up of layers of cells that interlock like the bricks in a wall. The top layer of the skin forms a barrier to prevent moisture being lost from your body and to prevent foreign substances from getting in. When this protective layer loses moisture, the skin becomes dry and flaky. As a result, the top layer tends to shrivel up and crack, allowing foreign substances to enter. This can increase the potential for irritation.

What can I do if I have dry skin?

  • Avoid using soap – even mild soaps can remove the skin’s natural oils, causing it to dry out. Moisturise frequently to help seal in your body’s own moisture and relieve skin dryness.
  • Wash with cool to warm water.
  • Reduce exposure to the sun, wind and air-conditioning where possible.

Living with dry skin

Dr David Wong, dermatologist and clinical lecturer from the Prince of Wales Hospital, NSW says "Dry skin can often be aggravated by the way we wash and look after our skin. We have a tendency to over-cleanse with long hot showers and too much soap, which dries the skin out. We can help manage dry skin if we use only cool to warm water for washing and reduce our time in the shower. I also encourage people with dry skin to use soap alternatives only and to find an appropriate moisturiser to ydrate their skin. It’s important to find a moisturiser that suits your skin – you may use a lighter lotion in summertime when it’s humid and a heavier cream or ointment during wintertime, depending on the needs of your skin."

What products are best for dry skin?

Look for products that help moisturise skin and protect skin from drying out. Avoid products that contain potential irritants such as colour, fragrance, lanolin and propylene glycol. You should also avoid soap, which can dry your skin further. Choose a soap-free cleanser instead.

Suitable products should contain an emollient and a humectant, preferably, glycerol. The light liquid paraffin and white soft paraffin belong to a group of medicines called emollients. Emollients form a film on the skin surface which slows down the loss of water from the skin.
The glycerol acts as a humectant. Humectants increase the amount of water retained by the skin. Glycerol may also have a direct beneficial action on the skin .
Together, the light liquid paraffin, white soft paraffin and glycerol allow the skin to re-hydrate, making it soft and smooth.
Dry skin may become itchy. Re-hydration of the skin will also relieve the itchiness due to dry skin, thus soothing the skin.

The QV range

QV has a range of skincare products suitable for people with dry skin. QV products are formulated at the same pH as the skin to help maintain your skin's natural pH protection. The entire QV range is SLS free and also free from fragrance, colour, lanolin and propylene glycol to help cleanse and moisturise without irritation.

View QV Product Range

Dermatitis/eczema

Dermatitis/eczema are terms used to describe inflammation of the skin, which occurs after contact with a substance that causes either irritation (irritant dermatitis/eczema) or an allergic reaction (allergic contact dermatitis/eczema).

The terms 'dermatitis' and 'eczema' can be used interchangeably. Dermatitis/eczema occurs in both children and adults, but often first appears during infancy. Very mild forms of dermatitis are sometimes referred to as "sensitive skin"

What causes dermatitis/eczema?

The cause of dermatitis/eczema is not known, but it often affects people who suffer from asthma, hay fever and allergies, or who have family members who do.

Common triggers of dermatitis/eczema include:

  • Soaps, strong detergents, disinfectants
  • Sweating, overheating and sudden temperature changes
  • Dust mites and animal dander
  • Stress
  • Food allergies

What does dermatitis/eczema look like?

Dermatitis/eczema may appear as dry, red patches on the skin and be associated with itch, stinging or burning. In infants, it typically occurs on the forehead, cheeks, forearms, legs, scalp and neck. In children and adults, it typically occurs on the face, neck and the insides of the elbows, knees and ankles.

A similar rash will appear whether the trigger is an irritant or allergic substance, as both cause inflammation.

What can I do if I have dermatitis/eczema?

  • Avoid soap, which can strip the skin of protective oils.
  • Avoid known triggers.
  • Moisturise all over frequently, especially after bathing
  • Try not to scratch.
  • After bathing, pat skin dry; do not rub.
  • Dress in breathable clothing, preferably cotton.

What products are best for dermatitis/eczema?

Look for products that relieve itch and reduce inflammation without irritating the skin. Avoid products that contain potential irritants such as colour, fragrance, lanolin and propylene glycol. You should also avoid soap, which can upset the pH balance of the skin. Choose a soap-free cleanser instead.

The QV range

QV has a range of skincare products suitable for people with dermatitis/eczema. QV products are formulated at the same pH as the skin to help maintain your skin's natural pH protection. The entire QV range is SLS free and also free from fragrance, colour, lanolin and propylene glycol to help cleanse and moisturise without irritation.

View QV Product Range

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition causing the appearance of red, scaly patches on the skin. Psoriasis usually affects the knees, elbows, scalp and back, but any part of the skin or nails can be involved.

Psoriasis is a common, chronic condition that affects about 2% of the population. People of all ages can suffer from psoriasis.

Psoriasis is not contagious but does have the tendency to recur and flare throughout a person’s lifetime. However, with treatment, psoriasis can be controlled.

What causes psoriasis?

Normal skin cells multiply, grow and shed over about a four-week period. In psoriasis, this process is abnormally rapid, occurring every 3–6 days. This results in thick and scaly skin.

What does psoriasis look like?

There are several forms of psoriasis. The most common type, chronic or plaque psoriasis, appears as raised, red patches of skin (plaques) covered by a silvery white scale. Inflamed skin appears red while the silvery scale results from the build-up of dead skin cells. During a flare-up, skin may become severely inflamed. Scales or crusts may also appear on the scalp, but these do not affect hair growth or cause baldness. People with psoriasis affecting the scalp often complain of ‘snowstorms’ of white, dandruff-like flakes.

What can I do if I have psoriasis?

  • Avoid soap, which can exacerbate the condition.
  • Minimise stress to help avoid flare-ups.
  • Try a variety of treatments as suggested by a medical professional to see what works for you. Some treatments may work better during the different phases of psoriasis.
  • Do not suddenly stop treatment. You should continue to use a topical preparation for a number of weeks after the surface of the skin clears so that deeper skin layers also have time to improve.
  • Continued but less frequent use of topical preparations such as QV when the skin has improved can reduce the number and severity of future flare-ups.
  • The use of emollients together with psoriasis-specific medication has been shown to be beneficial and to reduce the amount of medication needed to keep the condition under control .

What products are best for psoriasis?

Look for products with good emollients.
Look for products that help relieve the itch and inflammation of psoriasis without irritating already aggravated skin. Avoid products that contain potential irritants such as colour, fragrance, lanolin and propylene glycol and soap. Choose a soap-free cleanser instead.

The QV range

QV has a range of skincare products that suit people with psoriasis. QV products are formulated at the same pH as the skin to help maintain your skin’s natural pH protection. The entire QV range is SLS free and also free from fragrance, colour, lanolin and propylene glycol to help cleanse and moisturise without irritation.

View QV Product RangeView QV Product Range

Baby's skin

Baby's skin is more delicate and less oily than adults’. It is also less resistant to harmful substances in the environment, so it can be easily irritated.

Your baby’s skin needs special care.

Common childhood skin conditions

  • Heat rash – small pink pimples may appear, often across the body, as a result of high heat and humidity and blockage of the sweat glands.
  • Infant acne – pink spots on the face may develop due to the maternal hormones that continue to circulate in your baby’s bloodstream shortly after birth.
  • Cradle cap – crusty patches on the scalp may appear due to overactive glands in your baby’s scalp.
  • Chafing – friction between your baby’s clothing and skin, or where areas of skin rub together, can cause chafing.
  • Dermatitis/eczema – red and itchy inflammation of the skin can occur after contact with a substance that causes either irritation or an allergic reaction.

These conditions can usually be easily managed.

How can I look after my baby’s skin?

  • Avoid soap, which can strip the skin of protective oils.
  • Use mild, gentle non-soap cleansers and shampoos.
  • Use a moisturiser to help increase your baby’s skin hydration and lock in moisture.
  • Change soiled nappies as soon as possible to reduce the chance of skin irritation.
  • Avoid exposure to the sun. The Cancer Council recommends infants 0-12 months wear broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen, use a hat, stay in the shade and wear sun protective clothing.
  • Do not suddenly stop treatment. You should continue to use a topical preparation for a number of weeks after the surface of the skin clears so that deeper skin layers also have time to improve.

What products are best for my baby’s skin?

Look for products that cleanse and soothe without irritating your baby’s delicate skin. Avoid products that contain potential irritants such as colour, fragrance, lanolin and propylene glycol. You should also avoid soap, which can upset the pH balance of the skin. Choose a soap-free cleanser instead.

The QV range

QV has a range of products to suit your baby’s skin. QV products are formulated at the pH of the skin to help maintain your baby’s natural skin pH. The entire QV range is SLS free and also free from fragrance, colour, lanolin and propylene glycol to help cleanse and moisturise without irritation.

View QV Product Range

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