Why Does My Skin Itch After Taking a Shower?

Some people enjoy taking a shower because it makes them feel clean and refreshed. However for others, hitting the shower brings them pesky, persistent itching. While unusual for some, itching after taking a bath or shower is actually common. There are several conditions that can cause itching after exposure to hot showers. Most of them are benign, while others can be dangerous.

Xerosis Cutis

Dry skin plagues people of all ages, but is more common among older people. Xerosis cutis simply means that your skin is too dry. Xerosis is also called winter itch, because it usually occurs during dry, cold winter months as a result of repeated wetting and drying without applying any moisturizer. Also, soaking your water for extended periods of time removes the skin’s natural oils, irritating the skin that already lacks moisture. Itching usually occurs on the feet and legs, because these are the parts that have much contact with water.

Cholinergic Urticaria

This is a form of hives caused by an increase in body temperature. An increase in body temperature may be caused by hot showers, exercise, spicy foods, and even strong emotions. The hives look similar to a mosquito bite, and usually groups together to form larger hives over time. Like most other forms of urticaria, this can be treated with oral antihistamines.

Aquagenic Urticaria

This is a rare form of hives that is caused when water comes into contact with the skin. People who have aquagenic urticaria experience hives only a few minutes after the skin is exposed to water regardless of its temperature.

Idiopathic Aquagenic Pruritus

It is a rare condition that causes itching without a rash after a person’s skin comes into contact with water. As a result, you get an itchy feeling after a shower or bath. IAP is likely caused by activation of the nervous system, with the release of various chemicals by nerves that are located within the skin after contact with water.

Soap Sensitivities

It can also be possible that the soap you’re using is drying your skin as it cleans it. Soaps that are harsh on the skin does not necessarily cause or leave a visible rash, but it can leave a lasting itch after shower. Failure to wash off the soap completely may leave soap residue on the skin that can cause itching and discomfort.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes. Individuals with this condition have enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, groin, or within the chest. Aside from enlarged lymph nodes, it also causes entire body symptoms including weight loss, fever, night sweats, and itching.

Itch Prevention

Here are some ways and tips on how you can prevent itching or treat it if it happens:

  • Moisturize your skin while it’s still damp to lock in moisture into your skin barrier
  • Use hypoallergenic soaps, moisturizers, and even clothing
  • Take shorter showers that are not too hot
  • Pat dry your skin instead of rubbing it with a towel
  • Use doctor-recommended anti-itch creams and cooling agents such as menthol or calamine lotion on itchy areas
  • Consider using essential oils, but consult your dermatologist first in case you have particular allergies on essential oil ingredients
  • Stay hydrated, drink 8 glasses of water or more a day