Here's What May Be Causing Your Post-Shower Itching

You may be relieved to hear that scratching and clawing at your dry, itchy skin is actually quite common and easily treated. The endless irritation can occur for many reasons; however, it all depends on your skin's protective barrier. According to Dermatology Times, your skin comprises several components that work together to protect the surface layer from the external environment and keep water from escaping.


The barrier that protects your skin can be damaged with the right combination of irritants. Those with dedicated and elaborate skincare regimens may relate to the face sensitivity and irritation that often occurs due to over-cleansing or over-exfoliating. The rest of your body can, likewise, suffer from a damaged skin barrier and which can cause severe itching. There may be other factors involved, however, that contribute to dry, irritated skin. Here are the likely culprits behind your itchy post-shower skin.

What is causing your itchy skin?

One of the ways that your skin protects itself is by secreting sebum or natural oils that act as a barrier (via Dermatology Times). Showers can strip the natural oils from your skin and leave your skin feeling dry. Specifically, taking long, hot showers can strip these oils and leave the surface of your skin exposed, thereby affecting the skin's ability to retain moisture. This dryness is further exacerbated by the use of harsh products, including drying soaps or washes, which are often specifically formulated to remove oil build-up, per the Mayo Clinic News Network. However, these harsh cleansers may be too stripping for certain skin types, resulting in irritation and sensitivity.


Itchy skin can also be a result of over-exfoliation and certain skin conditions. For instance, abrasive body scrubs, brushes, and chemical exfoliants are other notorious culprits for dry skin. Products containing strong acids such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid can damage the skin barrier when overapplied or applied to sensitive skin. The skin may be more prone to irritation and dryness due to skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis (via WebMD).

How to prevent post-shower itching

There are several ways to relieve dry, itchy skin after bathing. To put a stop to your post-shower itching, try changing up your routine to identify the cause. If you already stay clear of harsh products and exfoliators, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends taking shorter showers and showering in lukewarm water. Similarly, if you often indulge in luxurious body washes, scrubs, or exfoliating products, you may want to check the ingredient list. Avoid products that contain strong exfoliating acids, abrasive materials, and fragrances — all of which are known irritants for sensitive skin, according to Healthline. And if you are worried about bumpy or textured skin, you can always return to exfoliating once your skin has recovered. In this case, it is best to choose the right products. For instance, opt for loofahs rather than coarse body scrubs and look for a gentle exfoliating acid while limiting use to once a week.


That being said, the most important treatment for itchy skin is moisture retention. If your skin is prone to dryness and struggles to lock in moisture, then make sure you choose a rich moisturizer or body lotion to prevent your skin from further irritation. Look for moisturizers with nourishing and calming ingredients such as shea butter, ceramides, colloidal oatmeal, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and jojoba oil, per AAD. If symptoms persist, contact a health professional or dermatologist to discuss underlying skin conditions or health issues.