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EXPERT ADVICE Why does my skin itch?

THE PROBLEM  ‘I get really itchy forearms and legs especially in the mornings and evenings.  I have a fairly healthy diet though I exercise and sweat a lot. What could this be?’  Annette, 44, an IT consultant from Croydon

Sarah Bowles-FlanneryTHE EXPERT Sarah Bowles-Flannery is a naturopath, medical nutritionist and herbalist.  Find out more at

THE SOLUTION ‘There are lots of reasons for itchy skin, and often a combination of factors.   The two most common and simple reasons are slight dehydration and a deficiency of essential fatty acids.   On average, two litres of water a day is sufficient but this may need to be more as you are exercising, especially in the current hot weather or if you’re also consuming any diuretic liquids such as coffee, tea or alcohol.   For the essential fatty acids it’s worthwhile supplementing with a Fish oil supplement which also includes evening primrose or borage oil.  Plus include lots of good fats in the diet such as coconut oil, avocado, cold pressed olive oil, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna).    The water and essential fats guidelines are helpful whatever the additional reason for the itching as this will help reduce inflammation and support healthier skin. The other common reason for itchy skin is an allergy or sensitivity to something – this could be foods, or external substances like body washes, soaps, washing powders.    Make sure all the products you use on or around the skin are as natural as possible.    And avoid soaps/body washes as these will further dry out and irritate the skin.  Click here to read today’s new story about a new skin allergan identified in everyday toiletries that could be to blame.

Another trigger for itchy skin is low oestrogen which usually happens around the time of menopause and if this applies to you, there are safe and gentle estorgenic herbs that can help.     Stress makes itchy skin much worse.
A quick way of soothing itchy skin is to have a bath with two large handfuls of Dead Sea Salts – the water should be just warm enough (not hot), soak for 20 minutes then pat the skin dry.     If the skin is generally dry – use a natural moisturiser such as raw coconut oil (which is also anti fungal), or a blend of sweet almond oil with a little pure vitamin E oil added.  Sometimes a few drops of lavender essential oil added to the sweet almond/vitamin E mix is also soothing as this is an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial oil.
Buy dead sea salts from £4.99 here

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