Itching is an unpleasant skin sensation that occurs in many skin diseases. Itching is a huge challenge for people living with EB. The frequency and intensity of itching differs significantly in the different individual forms of EB. Yet there are also considerable differences within the same form of EB between each individual concerned. Some itching leads typically to scratching and scraping. One of the most common causes of itching in Pakistan is scabies. EB individuals are significantly more prone to scabies. However, in EB itching triggers a further breakdown in skin and causes new blistering, a vicious cycle that is very distressing for patients.
The leading causes of itching in EB are:
- Dry Skin
- Crusty Wounds
- Over Heating
- Persistent skin damage caused by constant wound healing
In EB, besides the blistering and wound healing process, secondary problems can cause or intensify itching, such as iron deficiency, anemia, malnutrition and a severely underweight person.
Mechanisms worsening the itching process
- Skin Inflammation
- Medication and Food
- Environmental allergens (flowers, grass pollen)
- Immunogenic or allergenic substances (antibodies, lymphocytes)
- Substances that are released or introduced by insects and parasites
- Contact materials (allergens such as colorants, perfumes, fragrances)
- Persistent skin damage (dehydration, sunburn)
- Psychological stress
Itching can be extremely distressing in EB, and some patients feel that it can be even worse than skin pain. Whilst there is no single treatment that can stop it, there are certain measure that can be tried to reduce its intensity and duration.
- Drink enough water to stay hydrated
- Avoiding overheating rooms. Install air conditioning (home/apartment, car)
- Avoid the use of desiccants such as gels, alcoholic solutions for rubbing, and powder.
- Minimize use of soaps
- Lukewarm water should be used for bathing and showering, you should not take too long, and it should not be too hot
If tolerable try a cool shower, as this closes the pores of the skin, reduces body heat and does not allow too much moisture to evaporate.
- Damp, cold compresses can also relieve itching. For example, a black tea compress can be left to sit on affected area for 15 minutes and then left to cool.
- Black tea contain tanninswhich may also have a soothing, refreshing and cooling effect
- Light clothing made from allergy-free materials such as cotton and silk (for example, Derma silk® )
- Bed linens made from cooling materials (e.g. pure cotton and Micro air® )
- Fingernails should always be cut short, so injuries from scratching are reduced.
- Before sleeping, cotton gloves can be worn to at least limit the possibility of scratching and causing further skin damage.
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises may be beneficial to learn.
- There are a variety of products available that may help relieve itching. For example, skin care products to prevent dry skin and blistering and bath products (creams, lotions and ointments). Many of them contains urea and zinc that are suitable for use in
- If all general measures have been exhausted and you have also tried enough products that have not provided relief, then taking itch-reducing medication may be necessary.
- If this is the case so-called anti-allergic, which come in tablets, syrup, drops, ointments or as injection can be prescribed.
By summarizing above discussion, there is no simple “magic formula” for the treatment of itching associated with EB. But there are many things you can do that can help reduce the itching at least to a tolerable level. Do not give up too quickly. With a little support and a lot of patience, you often can achieve a lot.