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An old but useful itch remedy
Member Name: Huomenna
Advantages: does reduce itching to some extent, smell reminds me of childhood, no side effects, goes a long way
Disadvantages: dries a chalky white colour on the skin, sloppy to apply, cold
I'm currently suffering from a condition known as Pityriasis Rosea, which has the unfortunate side effect of making my skin so itchy that at times I could think of nothing else aside from the urge/need to scratch. Luckily while the virus hasn't fully passed yet, the itching has no subsided and I can think straight enough to review some of the products I tried!
Back when I was a child and suffering from the chicken pox, I remember my mum using Calamine lotion - to be honest I can't remember if it worked back then, but numerous people were recommending it to me now so I thought it would be worth a try.
I made a trip to the pharmacy nearest my work and asked what they had to offer - in the end I plumped for a bottle of calamine lotion and a tub of calamine cream. The reason I decided to go for both types is that I needed to use it on most of my body including my hands and forearms - as the lotion dries a white colour, it seemed more sensible to use a cream on the areas of my body which would not be covered by clothing.
Applying the lotion is the worst part - as my rash covered most of my body I wanted to apply a large quantity and in some not so easy to reach areas. I know it's not a pleasant mental image, but believe me when I tell you that covering your bum cheeks in this stuff while trying to avoid dripping it all over the floor is not an easy task! At first I tried applying with a cotton wool ball, but I just couldn't get enough calamine on it to cover larger areas so in the end I resorted to pouring some on my hand and sort of slapping that onto the appropriate part of my body as quickly as possible. I did still manage to get a fair amount on the floor - luckily it's a wipe clean surface! The other issue is that you then have to wait for it to dry - despite standing in the bathroom starkers for a few minutes, it still felt a bit wet when I finally crawled into bed.
Does it work?
Well this is the most important part about any product and the answer is a resounding 'sort of' from me. The lotion is very cold when applied (not such a pleasant feeling in winter) and for me this seems to be what helps alleviate the itch - holding ice to the itchy area seems to have the same effect for me. This initial cooling sensation does disappear quickly as the lotion dries, but the itch has also been dullened - it's still there, but I could normally resist the urge to scratch myself silly. I found that the intensity of the itch didn't really come back again for an hour or so after application (for the most part) and as there are no known side effects or maximum daily applications, you can use it as often as you like.
The above said this didn't completely stop my itching and I did end up using it in collaboration with antihistamine tablets for a number of days.
I spend around £2.00 on a 200ml bottle at the pharmacy and note it's available through amazin from £1.44 with free delivery. Considering how far this stuff goes, even with prolonged applications over most of the body, this should last you a good long time and it does represent good value for money.
The only real criticism I can think of is that many itchy skin conditions go hand in hand with dry skin and I didn't find that calamine lotion has any moisturising properties to it, so I had to use it in combination with E45.
Summary: Worth a try if you're scratching yourself mad