The Independent Pharmacy

Best Anti-Itch Creams

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 7 Nov 2023

Why Might You Have Itchy Skin?

Experiencing itchy skin is quite common and often manageable with self-care, though it can be both uncomfortable and concerning.

It tends to be caused by irritated, cracked, and dry skin. Or it may be the result of insect bites, as well as contact with plants (such as poison ivy).

Itchy skin can also be a symptom of an existing skin condition, particularly if you find a rash when scratching. In such cases, reaching out to your doctor or local GP for further consultation is a wise step toward understanding and addressing your skin's needs.

Understanding the potential causes of itchy skin is the first step to finding relief. Here are some common culprits:

Long-Term and Chronic Conditions

This category includes skin conditions such as eczema and atopic dermatitis. These conditions tend to show themselves as a dry, scaly patch or bumpy rash. They can be treated in several ways, including over the counter moisturisers and more potent steroid creams. Children, especially those with a family history of asthma and allergies, might be more prone to these conditions, which can be a source of concern for parents and caregivers.

Fungal Skin Infections

Otherwise known as mycosis, this skin disease is caused by a fungus. It often appears as athlete's foot , jock itch or ringworm. Typical symptoms include irritation, blisters, swelling, redness, and intense itching. While over-the-counter antifungal creams and medicines often provide relief, if the problem worsens or persists, seeking further medical advice from a healthcare provider is a prudent choice for better care and peace of mind.

Other Potential Reasons for Itchy Skin

Itchy skin is also often associated with pregnancy menopause If you're experiencing itching beneath the surface of your skin, then it might also be a symptom of hives or psoriasis. The former (hives) is caused by stress, heat, sweat or exposure to the sun. The latter (psoriasis) is a result of an overactive immune system where your body overproduces skin cells.

In much rarer cases, itchy skin might signal underlying conditions such as thyroid, liver, or kidney issues, which can understandably be distressing. It's important to seek medical attention to address any underlying concerns. It can even be a sign of skin cancer if accompanied by a new skin growth or lesion. If you're concerned itchy and irritated skin might be symptomatic of a more serious underlying condition, contact your GP and seek immediate medical attention.

Keep in mind when you're suffering from itchy skin, don't do the following:

  • Wear tight clothes or those made from wool and synthetic fabric
  • Spend extended periods in the bath or shower
  • Use perfumed soap, deodorants or moisturiser

Avoiding the activities above may spare you from further skin irritation and exacerbation of your condition, supporting your journey to more comfortable skin.

Good Anti-Itch Creams for Sensitive Skin (over the counter)

In this section, we've curated a list of over-the-counter anti-itch creams that might offer a comforting solution to your condition.

These creams are often used daily to moisturise your skin and prevent flare-ups from chronic skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.

Note that some emollient creams contain preservatives that may make symptoms of eczema worse. Before using any cream, it's recommended to check with a medical professional first to ensure the cream won't interfere with any existing health conditions.

Aveeno Cream

Aveeno Cream gently and deeply nourishes dry and sensitive skin, particularly if you're prone to eczema. Its soothing relief leaves your skin feeling more comfortable.

This cream contains the active ingredient colloidal oatmeal. Made using ground oat grains, colloidal oatmeal is used as an emollient (an unperfumed moisturiser that softens sensitive skin) to lock in moisture and soothe itchy skin.

Colloidal oatmeal is credited for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce redness and irritation while also protecting skin from infection and damage caused by cracking around open sores.

Aveeno Cream
Aveeno Cream
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Cetraben Cream & Ointment

Perhaps the most popular skin treatment in the Cetraben range, this lotion is an effective treatment against a myriad of skin conditions dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis included and can help you find relief from the intensely itchy symptoms.

This emollient is particularly effective against extreme dryness when applied to the affected area. Why? Because as an ointment, it has greasy properties that hydrate and soothe the skin. It's often recommended you use Cetraben Cream & Ointment overnight to promote skin repair during sleep.

Cetraben Cream & Ointment can be purchased over the counter or prescribed as a daily therapy treatment to prevent flare-ups of chronic skin conditions.

Cetraben Cream & Ointment
Cetraben Cream & Ointment
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Balneum Plus Cream

Balneum Plus is also an emollient and works similarly to standard Balneum Cream, which removes dead skin and builds up the skin's barrier function. The big difference is Balneum Plus contains a local anaesthetic, which works to provide greater relief from the itchiness associated with irritated skin when applied to the affected area.

Containing two active ingredients, urea and lauromacrogols, Balneum Plus provides double-action support against itchiness and dry skin. Urea is a natural substance found on the skin that absorbs water, helping rehydrate dry and scaly patches. Lauromacrogols have the same properties as a local anaesthetic and are effective for itch relief.

This treatment is especially adept at soothing symptoms of eczema and dermatitis, which are exacerbated when the skin is allowed to dry out. Use Balneum Plus regularly to experience the best results.

Balneum Plus Cream
Balneum Plus Cream
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E45 Itch-Relief Cream

E45 Itch Relief Cream is a smooth, non-greasy moisturiser that provides immediate, long-acting relief from itchy and irritated skin caused by conditions such as eczema and dermatitis suitable for the whole family.

This cream contains two active ingredients, Urea and Lauromacrogols to help deeply moisturise the skin while also relieving itching caused by dryness through its anaesthetic properties.

E45 Itch Relief Cream
E45 Itch Relief Cream
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Eurax Cream

Suitable for adults and children over the age of 3 years.

Eurax Cream contains the active ingredient crotamiton, which works quickly to ease itchy skin, offering up to 10 hours of relief.

Eurax Cream is particularly effective in soothing the itching sensation caused by skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, however, it is also a very effective treatment for itchy skin caused by insect bites or stings, nettle or heat rash, sunburn, chickenpox and scabies.

Eurax Cream
Eurax Cream
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Dermol Cream

Dermol Cream is another product that could help you to find relief from itchy skin and is suitable for people of all ages - even babies.

Itching is often connected to dry skin and eczema and this is exactly where the Dermol Cream can be so effective. So, you'll be able to say goodbye to the constant redness, itching, and irritation. The antimicrobial agents in the cream can also help you protect your skin against bacteria that could cause infection.

With Dermol Cream by your side, you can make your skin soft and smooth again.

Dermol Cream
Dermol Cream
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CeraVe Moisturising Cream

CeraVe Moisturising Cream can be a suitable relief from itchy and dry skin for people of all ages.

When you have dry skin, this cream can help you to keep your skin moisturised throughout the day. With 3 essential ceramides, this product can help you to support the protective barrier of your skin and keep the itching at bay.

CeraVe Moisturising Cream
CeraVe Moisturising Cream
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Best Steroid Creams for Itchy Skin

In this section, we've highlighted the best anti-itch steroid creams (both prescription and over-the-counter) you can buy to soothe your condition.

Topical corticosteroids contain steroids and are used to treat painful itching associated with chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and atopic dermatitis.

These steroids come in a range of strengths, from mild to very strong. Weaker corticosteroid creams may be available over the counter, but stronger formulations require a prescription from your doctor, who can provide medical advice when using the treatment.

These types of treatment are often recommended for use over the short term (typically up to ten days). This is because topical corticosteroids can cause thinning of the skin, resulting in further inflammation when used for extended periods. In this section, we list the best steroid creams for itchy skin in order from least to most potent.

Hc45 Hydrocortisone Cream

Hc45 Hydrocortisone Cream is an effective mild corticosteroid used to reduce skin inflammation and general itchiness caused by allergies or irritation. It's available over the counter from The Independent Pharmacy to get fast skin relief.

Containing the steroid hydrocortisone acetate, this cream is produced by the skincare experts at E45 to combat itching and irritation of the skin in those aged ten and above.

HC45 Hydrocortisone Cream
HC45 Hydrocortisone Cream
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Eumovate Cream & Ointment

Eumovate Cream & Ointment belongs to a group of moderate-strength topical steroids, which are available from The Independent Pharmacy following an online consultation.

These anti-itch creams work by mimicking the body's natural hormones, suppressing cell reactions to irritations and allergies. This alleviates symptoms of chronic skin conditions and insect bites. Eumovate can also be used as a preventive measure to stop eczema flare-ups.

Clobetasone is the active ingredient in Eumovate Cream & Ointment. It's a topical steroid intended to be a short-term eczema remedy that reduces itchiness, inflammation, and swelling with very few side effects. Because clobetasone is more moderate than some other corticosteroid creams.

Eumovate Cream & Ointment
Eumovate Cream & Ointment
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Betnovate Cream & Ointment

Betnovate Cream & Ointment is a potent corticosteroid cream. It's strictly a prescription-only treatment used to combat serious cases of psoriasis, eczema, and atopic dermatitis, among other similar skin conditions. Unlike mild corticosteroids like Hc45 Hydrocortisone, Betnovate is not suitable for the face and groin. It should be applied to areas of thick skin only.

Typically a short course between seven and ten days is prescribed to those who require Betnovate Cream & Ointment to treat severe itchy skin and irritation. This is because the active ingredient is betamethasone valerate, which is a particularly potent corticosteroid that should be used when weaker steroids have proven ineffective.

Betnovate Cream & Ointment
Betnovate Cream & Ointment
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Allergy Tablets for Itchy Skin

If you're looking to reduce itchiness as a result of bug bites, oral antihistamines such as cetirizine can also prove to be an effective treatment. These tablets are non-drowsy and treat allergies for a range of scenarios, including hay fever, dust mites, and pets. They work by blocking the production of histamine in your body, which causes allergic reactions.

Find Relief for Your Itchy Skin Today

Whether your itchy skin arises from bugs, allergies, fungal infections, or a chronic condition, rest assured, there's a soothing anti-itch cream awaiting you at The Independent Pharmacy. Your comfort and relief are within reach.

People Also Ask

What is the best cream to stop itching?

The ideal cream to alleviate itching depends on its cause. Over-the-counter options like Hc45 Hydrocortisone Cream serve well for general itchiness, while Aveeno or E45 cater to dry skin. You need to consult a healthcare professional for enduring itchiness or if it's associated with skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis to receive personalised advice.

What can I put on my skin for severe itching?

For severe itching, a healthcare consultation is advisable. Over-the-counter remedies include hydrocortisone creams, calamine lotion, or antihistamine creams. Regular moisturising with emollient-rich creams and avoiding irritants like harsh soaps can also provide relief. The accessibility of these creams over the counter in the UK provides a convenient solution for mild to moderate itchiness.

Is E45 good for itchy skin?

E45 is a commendable choice for itchy skin, especially beneficial for dry or sensitive skin types. The E45 Itch Relief Cream encompasses urea and lauromacrogols, acting to rehydrate the skin and provide a local anaesthetic effect, mitigating itching and promoting skin comfort.

Why is my body so itchy all over?

Full-body itchiness can emanate from various sources including dry skin, allergic reactions, or skin conditions like eczema. External irritants or internal conditions like liver disorders can also be culprits. It's imperative to consult a healthcare provider for a precise diagnosis and tailored treatment plan to alleviate widespread itching and address any underlying concerns.

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