Thursday, August 20, 2015

Prone to Sunburn? Watch Out for Hell’s Itch! Ouch! Aargh!

Prone to Sunburn? Watch Out for Hell’s Itch! Ouch! Aargh!  

Prone to Sunburn? Watch Out for Hell’s Itch! Ouch! Aargh! Prone to sunburn, then you have to read this post. It may save you a hell of a lot of suffering. And believe me when I say I know what I mean.  I’m prone to sunburn. Naturally, I wear suntan lotion. A great deal of it. Sometimes, I do forget. Usually, when I do I don’t get sunburn because I wasn’t out in the sun that long. You know what I mean. If I walk to my mailbox to get the mail, I don’t put on suntan lotion. If I go sit in the backyard for some air to get some Vitamin D, I don’t wear any lotion. Why would I? Other times, I forget and then, I get the dreaded sunburn. Ouch! Ooh! Youza! I’m sure you know what I mean there too. You know the routine. You get sunburned. It hurts for a few days. It peels and then, that’s the end of it.
     Uh-Uh-Uh. Unfortunately, the last sunburn I received a few weeks ago wasn’t the usual sunburn and the effects of it are with me still nearly two months later. I’m talking about a sunburn that doesn’t hurt, barely peels, but results in a lasting, painful, itch that doesn’t seem to want to go away. I know. I’m dealing with it now. I made the mistake of mowing my property without wearing lotion or proper coverage. To avoid problems that first night and thereafter, I applied Gold Bond Skin lotion and everything seemed to go well. Then, one night after dinner, my two forearms which were sunburned began to itch relentlessly. I applied Gold Bond Skin lotion without respite. I applied Cortisone without letup. My skin felt as if angry red ants were trying to burrow their way out of my arms. My spouse suggested a cool shower, which I gladly took. I applied Aveeno Body Wash for Itchy, Dry skin with oatmeal. It felt good in the shower, but once I got out, the itch returned. I applied Coconut Oil to it and the maddening itch subsided. The oil worked wonders for a few days, but never truly got rid of all of the insane itch. I next tried applying cortisone cream again. It worked for a few days then stopped. 
I tried Cetaphil skin lotion, which worked for a couple of days and then, nada. Desperate, I searched online and found a few sites that mentioned this “Hell’s Itch” or as someone else nicknamed it, “Satan’s Red Ants.” It definitely feels like the monikers. Others out there endured this itch and tried numerous medicines and treatments to no avail. I, too tried them all. Some had relief with Aloe lotion. Others with Ocean Potion, which I could not find anywhere. Poor me. Others said they had luck with A&D ointment, which I just happened to have and it worked, (Thank god!) for about a week and then didn’t. I must admit it. I have a strange body in the way that medicines don’t always work on me as they should. I quickly found out that I had to use something different every couple of days to get the itch down to a tolerable level. I tried Benadryl spray but it didn't work at all.

 I even tried what others recommended: I took two Benadryl pills at bedtime, which helped me sleep. Unfortunately, for the first couple of nights, I woke up at 3 in the morning with the itch driving me nearly insane and desperate for a solution. Unlike some others, hot showers didn’t work for me. Cold compresses didn’t work either. The itch just worsened. The coconut oil seemed the best solution. Yesterday, I went back to applying the Cetaphil cream. Thing is, this sunburn is the weirdest, not only because of the itch, but because it made my skin so very dry, almost like sand paper. Yuck. I never had such terribly dry skin. Today, thanks to online shopping, I received my Ocean Potion, Aveeno Skin Cream for Sensitive, Itchy Skin to try and see what happens.  So far, I get by with using each one for a day or two and switch back to another. Truthfully, the best treatment that seems to work for me is applying coconut oil as often as I can before any itching starts. Don't let the itching start. As soon as you feel a twinge apply whatever works for you because once the itching begins, it is very difficult to get it down to a tolerable level. One good thing though: The itching means the sunburned skin is healing deep within, but does it have to itch so badly?
    Now, here’s the real rub. Whatever you do, while you have this sunburn, or this itch, don’t go outside in the sun without a cover-up. The itch will return with a vengeance you do not want to encounter. It’s terrible. I know. I made the dumb mistake of going outside for a quick run to fill the humming bird feeder and get the mail and then that night the itch returned. I could almost hear it snickering at me. Now, I will never, ever go outside without adequate coverage, and never again will I be so foolish to ever go outside without suntan lotion, even for the fifteen minutes to absorb some Vitamin D. If there is a hell, I’ve already been there. It’s called Hell’s Itch and I never want to see it again. If you are currently experiencing this, I feel your pain and hope you find what works for you. If you are over it, please let others know here what worked for you.

     Prone to sunburn? Always wear suntan lotion, or proper coverage. Otherwise, you may encounter the itch from hell and trust me it is way worse than the worst sunburn you can imagine. I know. I had the worst sunburn that hurt so badly that I wanted to die. This itch is worse than that. If you’re so unlucky that you do get sunburn and with it the resulting Itch, there are a couple of things you can try. You can search for solutions on the internet, as I did and see what works for you. You can try the things that I’ve mentioned here that may or may not work for you. You can go to your doctor or emergency room and get something stronger to help stop the itch. Or you can suffer with it. I wouldn’t recommend the last option, but, hey, maybe you have the patience of a saint and the hide of a rhino and the heart of a Lion. I don’t. Whatever you choose, be reassured that you are not alone. Others have, are, or will also encounter “Hell’s Itch”. I hope you never do. It is definitely hell. How about you? Have you ever encountered “Hell’s Itch”? If so, what worked for you? What didn’t? How did you deal with it?
Want to learn more about the Hell's Itch as the aftermath of sunburn? Check out this fellow blogger's take on it:   or you can try searching for "sunburn and itching like crazy" and view all the results....or...

Read more: What causes this particular type of sunburn itch?   

Curing the Sunburn Itch From HELL   by John Curry:


Update: Nothing worked for me to get rid of this itch. Nothing. Hence, I made the dreaded trip to my doctor's office. Shockingly, he was very familiar with it. His brother had it once. Also, while in college, a mutual acquaintance had this itch. It was so bad that this student committed suicide from the itch. It seems, according to my doctor, there is only one way to treat this was with oral steroids, which I didn't want to do. Instead, I applied my topical cortisone to the itch. Three months later, the itch is slowly diminishing without the oral steroids. Hopefully, this means I'm in the clear. We'll see. If you ever get this itch, you're not alone. There are a number of things you can try as attested above. However, what may work for one may not work for you. Experiment and see what works for you. I wish you well on the road to healing and finding what works for you.
UPDATE 10/5/17: The dreaded itch returns from time to time whether I was out in the sun or not. ARRGH!  I use my prescription cortisone cream when that happens. I visited with my dermatologist recently. The physician educated in disorders of the skin never heard of it. that is scary. Here is another article I discovered about it. Hope your itch goes away and never comes back.

Whitest man's burden: For an unlucky few, sunburn means a debilitating itch torture:

     That’s it for now. Until next time, I wish you well. Have a great day, a great week and a great month. May all your dreams come true. Be safe. Be happy. Show compassion. Be kind to one another, especially those without a voice. Love one another. Don't follow the crowd. Go against the flow. And no matter what, don't ever share your personal information just because one asks for it, even it's your doctor's office that is asking.


    S.J. Francis
    Advocate for the underdog, and cat, et al.
   In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family."  Coming in 2015 from Black Opal Books.

       My Black Opal Books Author Page:
View My ShoutOut:  
     My Official Web page:

                    A Book Review 4 U: 
             A Consumer's View: 
One for the Animals: 
                Good Reads:        

And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2015 by S.J. Francis.
Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.