Tips and tricks for chronic pruritus

How can I deal better with chronic pruritus in everyday life?

Dr. Claudia Zeidler, an expert in chronic pruritus, answered these and many other questions at our lecture series for patients with chronic pruritus.

Acute itching (pruritus) is a warning function of the body that draws attention to foreign bodies on the surface of the skin. These can be insects, parasites or plant components that can be removed by scratching.

Persistent itching, on the other hand, lasts for more than 6 weeks, can have different causes and is more difficult to treat. As this is an interdisciplinary symptom, it is usually necessary to work with doctors from different specialties.

According to studies, 16.8% of the working population and 13.5% in the general population suffered from chronic pruritus at the time of the survey, 22% of the respondents stated that they had already suffered from chronic pruritus at least once in their lives.

Chronic pruritus is a very distressing symptom for those affected, which can be accompanied by visible skin lesions, withdrawal from social life and reactive development of psychological symptoms such as sleep disorders, anxiety and depression.

The itching can be exacerbated, for example:

  • Skin dryness (scaly, oily skin)
  • Overheated rooms
  • rough clothing
  • Contact with skin-damaging substances (e.g. degreasing alcohol wraps)
  • Frequent washing and bathing
  • Scratching with sharp objects
  • Chronic stress in the private or professional sphere

General strategies against pruritus (itching)

  • Redirect the need to scratch: Using small scratching pads or the comforter to work off the scratching reflex
  • Mental and physical relaxation through e.g. maintenance therapy, autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation or acupuncture
  • Keep fingernails short
  • Applying cooling and itch-relieving creams instead of scratching
  • Use mild soaps and a moisturizing therapy (possibly with urea, menthol, polidocanol)
  • Take a short, not too hot shower (be sure to apply cream afterwards!)
  • Wear airy, non-synthetic clothing

Dry skin can lead to pruritus and can be the sole cause or a co-factor. Approximately 50-70% of patients with pruritus have dry skin. Dry skin is easily irritated: banal irritations can lead to eczema.

Itching at night

  • Cotton gloves overnight
  • light cotton clothing overnight
  • Do not sleep too warm
  • Apply cream before sleeping
  • Relaxation methods
  • report the sleep disorders to your doctor


  • Certain stimulants (alcohol, hot spices, hot drinks, etc.) can promote itching by increasing blood circulation
  • a balanced diet (we will offer a separate presentation on this topic)

Scalp itching

  • No daily hair washing
  • Wear almond oil head caps several times a week overnight for dry scalps
  • Shampoos with itch-relieving ingredients
  • Blow-drying at a low temperature

Itching and pollen

  • Allergies to pollen can increase itching
  • Special pollen apps can predict flight

In order to record the course and intensity of the pruritus, it can help to document the itching:

Via the freely available app (ItchyApp,, data is only stored on the smartphone and is not passed on to third parties. When you visit your doctor, you can decide for yourself whether the data may be copied to your medical records using a handheld scanner.

Many thanks to Dr. Zeidler for this valuable information. And a big thank you to all participants for their interest.
You can find all other dates for our lecture series at you can register for one or all lectures.

For the sake of your skin ❤️

Further reports
Skin and nutrition
Skin and nutrition

Our lecture in the "Skin Health" series in July focused on the...

SkinHealthCampus on site
SkinHealthCampus on site

Yesterday we were at the Leonardocampus-Run in Münster. There we...

SkinHealthCampus on site
SkinHealthCampus on site

Wonderful evening with René Borninkhof. Caroline Forner and Sonja S...