When an individual is looking for relief from skin irritations that makes him or her want to scratch, he or she can use an anti-itch ointment to get the results they are looking for. There are three types of products that can be used for this purpose. Depending on the type of itch and where the problem area is on the body, an individual may choose to use an ointment with an antihistamine, a topical steroid or one containing a local anesthetic, such as benzocaine. The type of anti-itch product chosen will depend on the type of skin irritation involved.
An anti-itch ointment containing an antihistamine can be used to treat itchy skin conditions caused by an allergic reaction. Insect bites and the irritation caused by poison ivy and poison oak fall into these categories. A topical antihistamine works in the same way as an oral one; it helps to block the histamines that the body produces to excess when it has come into contact with an allergen.
Another option for someone who wants to get relief from an itchy skin condition is to use an ointment containing a topical steroid. This type of anti-itch ointment is available in a number of strengths and is applied sparingly to the affected area. This type of anti-itch ointment has an anti-inflammatory effect, which helps to reduce swelling. It can be used for eczema, dermatitis, and skin rashes. Anti-itch ointment containing topical steroids can also be used for poison ivy, poison oak and insect bites.
Topical steroids are available over the counter in relatively low concentrations. For more serious conditions, a doctor can prescribe a stronger anti-itch ointment. These remedies should be used only as directed and for a limited time. If the condition being treated hasn't resolved itself within seven days, a doctor should be consulted.
Anti-itch ointments containing a local anesthetic can be used to treat skin conditions that can cause pain and itching, such as sunburn, cuts, scratches and minor burns. The product works by numbing the nerve endings in the area it is applied to. This type of anti-itch remedy can also be used to treat rashes, poison sumac, poison ivy and poison oak.
Products containing a local anesthetic are available in several different formulations. Consumers can buy them in a cream, lotion or spray. Anti-itch remedies of this type are also available as a gel, foam or patch.