Why does skin itch after a shower and how to prevent it?

Certain factors can cause itching after a shower or bath, including skin conditions or reactions. It is possible to prevent them, but it is advisable to consult a dermatologist in the event of a problem.

Dry skin is often the cause of itching after taking a shower. Shower water can strip the skin of its natural oils, causing dryness and itchiness. To treat these symptoms, it is not always enough to apply a lotion or a moisturizing cream. Sometimes dry, sensitive skin needs extra care to relieve the irritation and dryness that causes itching. It’s also important to watch for other symptoms, such as peeling, flaking, or rashes, as these can indicate a condition that needs treatment.

This article discusses the potential causes of itching after showering and how to treat it.

What does this have to do with seasonal changes?

People living in areas with seasonal weather changes may develop a dry, itchy rash in summer and winter.


If the outside air is warm and humid, it can lead to dry and easily irritated skin. Other skin problems that can develop due to summer weather include:

– Heat rashes: Heat can cause itchy bumps to appear on the skin. People call this rash “heat rash”.

– Sun rash: Itchy or burning patches or bumps may appear on areas of the skin exposed to the sun.

– Sun allergy: People may develop hives after sun exposure due to sun sensitivity. Certain medications can increase this sensitivity. They include ketoprofen and tetracycline-type antibiotics.

– Sunburn: If a person gets a sunburn, their skin can be irritated, itchy and damaged.

Possible Treatments and Remedies for Itchy Skin

People can take steps to prevent or minimize these conditions. These measures include:

– wash your body with cool, clean water and a mild, delicate cleanser or shower gel

– apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before going outside

– take hot showers and baths

– apply a moisturizer after each shower or bath

– increase the thermostat if the air conditioning makes the house too dry

– wear loose cotton clothing and sun protection items.


Winter rash refers to dehydrated skin that occurs during the winter season. Possible causes are:

– cold temperatures
– low humidity
– central heating

The winter rash can cause itching, inflammation, and rough patches on certain parts of the body. In some cases, it can extend to several parts of the body.
The areas most commonly affected are the hands and arms, which are generally more exposed to cold temperatures.

Possible treatments and remedies

The main treatments for winter rash include moisturizers, oils, and rehydrating creams. As with heat rash treatments, avoid harsh soaps or cleansers and use hot water to wash. People can also benefit from using a humidifier in their home to counter the effects of central heating.

Causes of itching after a shower

Many factors can cause itching after a shower or bath. Here are some of the most common causes of itching after a shower:

Dry skin

Dry skin lacks moisture and may feel tight or itchy, especially after a shower. Cleansers, soap, and water can strip the skin’s natural oils that keep it supple and prevent dryness. When a person takes a hot shower, the soap and water remove oils from the skin, which can cause a feeling of tightness and itching. In extreme cases, the skin may even crack or bleed.

Prevention of itching after a shower

The best way to avoid itching after a shower is to apply moisturizer immediately after towel drying. A thick moisturizer, such as a cream, oil, or ointment, can help lock in moisture if applied while the skin is still slightly damp. People with very dry or sensitive skin should read the product label carefully before using moisturizer. Some products can make itching worse because they contain irritating ingredients or cause allergic reactions. In general, it’s best to avoid products containing fragrances, menthol, and alcohol, as they can make dryness, irritation, and itching worse.


Eczema refers to inflammation of the skin that can lead to itching and excessive dryness. This is a chronic condition that can also cause a rash or bumps on the skin. Eczema can cause even greater itching and discomfort after bathing or showering, when the skin lacks natural oils. Perfumed shower gels, soaps and hot water from the shower can also cause itching.


People with eczema should use hypoallergenic products and apply moisturizer throughout the day. A dermatologist may be able to provide recommendations on specific products to use.

Reactions to skin care products

Many people like to use scented cleansers, soaps, and hair products in the shower. However, these products can trigger allergic reactions in some people, leading to itching and other symptoms. This is called contact dermatitis. Fragrance is one of the ingredients most likely to cause a skin reaction.


If a person finds that moisturizing alone does not relieve itching, they may need to switch shower products. She can try using only fragrance-free cleansers and moisturizers and see if the itching goes away.

Reaction to laundry products

Scented laundry products can also cause itching after showering, especially if a person uses scented products on their towels. Drying off after bathing can transfer some of the scents from laundry soap or fabric softener to the skin. This can lead to itching and irritation if the person is allergic or sensitive to this product.


People with sensitive or itchy skin may wish to avoid using laundry products that contain fragrances or dyes to wash their towels or clothes.

Treatment and Remedies

People who notice itching after taking a shower can find relief by following the steps below:

– Keep showers as short and cool as possible: Using cooler water for shorter periods of time can help avoid stripping the skin of its natural protective oils.

– Do not shower more than once a day: More showers means more chances to strip the skin of its natural oils. Children can shower less often than adults, about once or twice a week.

– Avoid long, hot baths: These can dry out the skin. One can also consider adding colloidal oatmeal or bath oils when bathing to help moisturize the skin.

– Refrain from scratching the skin: Scratching the skin can irritate and injure it, which aggravates the itching.

– Avoid using washcloths, scrubs or harsh sponges: They can irritate the skin in the same way as scratching.

– Use fragrance-free moisturizing cleansers or soaps: People can look for products that are hypoallergenic or suitable for eczema and sensitive skin.

– Dry the skin by patting it gently: It is important not to rub the skin with a towel, as this can cause irritation and strip the skin’s natural oils.

– Apply a thick, fragrance-free moisturizer or ointment: This is best done immediately after patting the skin dry.

– Avoid applying large amounts of soaps or foaming cleansers: Foaming agents can make skin dryness worse, and they are not necessary to effectively cleanse the skin.

– Use a humidifier: This can be especially useful in dry climates or during the winter months. Low humidity can exacerbate dry skin.

– Avoid fragrances in detergents and fabric softeners: These ingredients can end up on towels and clothes and cause itching after showering.

– Avoid using products that contain retinoids: Retinoids regulate the growth of epithelial cells, but they can be irritating and aggravate dry skin. Unless a doctor has prescribed them, people should avoid using retinoids. Retinoids include:

Limit or exclude products that contain alpha hydroxy acid (AHA): AHA is an ingredient that can cause burning or itching on dry or sensitive skin.

If after following these steps there is no sign of improvement or relief from itching after a shower, it is best to speak to a medical professional.

When to consult a doctor

In general, a person can deal with mild itching after taking a shower by following the steps above and taking care to keep the skin moisturized. In some cases, however, the itching is not related to the skin itself. A health condition such as nerve damage or multiple sclerosis can cause the nerves in the skin to become overactive. It can be itchy with no rash or other obvious cause. Itching due to nerve-related health issues can lead to excessive scratching, which can irritate the skin and make the itch worse. It can also cause minor injuries that make infection possible.

Sometimes a mental health issue can cause a person to scratch their skin excessively. Among the mental health problems that can cause this phenomenon are the following:

the Depression
obsessive compulsive disorder
excoriation, a pecking disorder of the skin

If a person suspects that they have a nervous or mental problem, they should talk to a medical professional.


Most people can treat post-shower itch with moisturizers, lotions, and other home remedies. However, if the itching persists after trying these remedies, it is best to consult a medical professional to rule out other more serious health issues.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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