As a fibromyalgia patient for over 15 years, I am also an avid beekeeper, researcher, writer, and a firm believer in natural remedies.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Widespread musculoskeletal pain, chronic fatigue, sleep issues, headaches and migraines, and many other symptoms describe fibromyalgia (fibro). Researchers believe this disorder amplifies pain sensations by affecting the ways your brain and spinal cord process pain signals. About 2% of the adult population in the United States has it. It is unknown what causes the condition and there is no cure.
When we think about fibro, we instantly think of the common symptoms mentioned above. However, there are many more associated symptoms. There are way too many to list. For some people, including myself, itching and dry skin are on the list.
Itching and Fibromyalgia: Are They Linked?
We often question if every health issue we face is associated. Intense itching or neuropathic itch is associated! Fibro attacks the nerves in the body, and those nerves become inflamed. Once they are inflamed, they can start to itch, and unfortunately, no amount of scratching will help.
Scratching can make things much worse. Sometimes we accidentally scratch excessively, which can cause the skin to form open sores. Those sores might become infected and cause scarring. The affected area will be more irritated and also take longer to heal. Scratching might feel like it helps at first, but it seems that it only intensifies the itching.
Proper Skincare for Fibromyalgia Itch
Ordinary skincare does not help the itching nearly enough. However, if you have dry skin, proper skincare will be helpful. My main tip is to be gentle with your skin! You can do this by following these tips.
- Hot water can dehydrate your skin. Try using cooler water. If using a cooler temperature is too painful, you can make the bathroom warmer by turning a heater on and warming the room before getting in the shower.
- Limit the amount of time in the bath. Long showers or baths will remove oils from your skin, making your skin dry and unprotected. Try to be finished within 15-20 minutes.
- Avoid perfume-scented soaps. Some scented products may irritate your skin, plus they can strip oils from your skin. Try using mild or all-natural soap, shampoo, and body wash.
- Shave slowly with a clean, sharp razor, and gently press. Always use a cream or lubricant. Shave in the direction the hair grows to avoid razor burn and more irritation. You could use a trimmer designed for legs and body instead of using a razor. Trimmers are easier on sensitive skin. However, I have not found one that gets a close shave like a razor.
- When drying off after showering, gently pat dry your skin. Rubbing can make itching worse and can irritate your skin. For me, this was challenging. I am always in a hurry to get dry because until then, I freeze.
- Cover your skin with oils after showering or bathing and at night before bed. Essential oils can help majorly with skin hydration, rashes, and other skin issues. Many people, including myself, find that lotions do not help much. They can make skin look better but rarely heal my skin.
Some oils are great for hydrating and healing skin. My favorites are frankincense, tea tree, and helichrysum essential oil. However, there are more essential oils and oil blends that are known to help with skin issues. You can purchase essential oils just about anywhere, such as online stores, pharmacies, big-box stores, and even some local mom-and-pop stores. Be sure to check with your doctor about contraindications when using essential oils. Spot check with diluted oil to be sure you don't experience an allergic reaction or burn.
Common Skin Irritants
Certain things in our lives might be causing skin irritation. It is possible to eliminate potential concerns one at a time to determine what if anything is irritating.
Does your laundry detergent contain perfumes and dyes? Your itching could be from your laundry detergent. Try a detergent that is perfume-free and dye-free.
Tighter clothing and certain fabrics give skin less room to breathe and can be irritating. Wear your clothes looser and use breathable clothing. Cotton is the number one breathable fabric.
Sunshine and heat can cause dry skin. Wear thin breathable long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a hat. You might also want to avoid going outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun rays are more powerful. Remember, it is possible to get a sunburn in the shade. Applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before going outdoors will help prevent sunburn.
If you use sunscreen, be sure to reapply every two hours. Be careful in choosing sunscreen because some can dry skin out even more. Try to find ingredients that are moisturizing, soothing, and hydrating. Look for sunscreens with natural formulas using hydrating ingredients like oat, aloe vera, and shea butter. Hyaluronic acid hydrates skin and ceramides lock in moisture. Avoid sunscreens with parabens, dyes, alcohol, strong fragrances, and chemical sunscreen filters.
Increasing your daily fluid intake will keep your skin hydrated and help every system in your body function. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a healthy man needs around 15.5 cups of fluids, and a woman needs 11.5 cups. Drinks such as water and other beverages, as well as food fluids, are included.
Read More From Remedygrove
Many medications are associated with itchy skin. If you start itching after beginning medication, you should talk to your doctor. It could be an allergic reaction, and the dosage may need to be adjusted, or you may need an alternative. Common medications that cause itching include pregabalin, duloxetine, milnacipran, tramadol, ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen.
Stress can cause itching. Forty million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders per year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Take actions to lower your stress levels. It is crucial to eat well, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly. You can try stress-reducing supplements, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.
Deep Breathing Exercises for Anxiety
Effective Natural Ways to Relieve Itching
Besides eliminating things that might cause dry and itchy skin, you can try these fast-acting tips to help relieve the itch once it starts. For me, my legs, down my tibia bone, tend to itch the most. In the past, I scratched my legs bloody before learning these tips.
Using a cold compress helps relieve the itch and pain very fast! Apply a cold compress to the affected area for about 10 minutes. You can do this off and on as long as needed. Some people rotate between ice and a heating pad. If you use a heating pad, the heat can dry the skin out. Use a moisturizer afterward.
Colloidal oatmeal can relieve dryness and itching by forming a protective barrier on your skin, sealing in moisture. Add the oatmeal to warm (not hot) bath water and soak for 15-20 minutes.
Colloidal oatmeal is oats that are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and work as an antioxidant. They are proven to help with dry, itchy, irritated skin.
To prevent a reaction to gluten contamination in the oats, buy certified gluten-free oats if you have celiac disease.
Bees are amazing creatures that provide us with a valuable product. I did not know how wonderful honey was until I studied bees and became a beekeeper. Now, I use honey every day in multiple ways. Honey promotes retention of moisture, is antibacterial, and has anti-inflammatory properties. It will calm the itch and pain from scratching and help heal your skin.
Apply a thin layer of raw honey to the affected area and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse it with warm water and pat dry with a towel. You can also mix 1/2 cup of water with 1 tbsp. of raw honey. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray it on your skin. There is no need to rinse it off.
The cooling effect of Aloe Vera gel straight from the fridge or freezer is fast, plus it can moisturize and heal skin naturally. Gently rub the cold aloe onto the affected area as often as needed.
100% pure aloe extract is best. If you have aloe plants, you can make aloe gel from them. You can also purchase pure aloe online. Before purchasing, check the ingredients list for harsh ingredients or fillers such as alcohol, chlorine, dyes, preservatives, or chemicals that can otherwise harm your skin.
Dry, itchy skin does not always occur with fibromyalgia. If you have itchy skin, it could be a neuropathic itch. If you have visibly dry skin, it could be unhealthy skin. Why not treat both! Having healthy skin will not heal neuropathic itch, but it can help. Keep your skin healthy and use fast natural remedies to soothe the madness.
It is always a good idea to let your doctor know of all issues, especially if you scratch excessively. It is possible for excessive scratching to result in a variety of problems. Your doctor will have more ideas of what to try. Additionally, they will know if the medications you are taking might cause a reaction and how to handle it.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2021 Amanda Payne