Itchy skin, medically known as pruritus, may develop on a single area of the body or the entire body.
Itchiness causes a sensation on the skin that makes you almost desperate to scratch it and can be highly irritating.
While itchy skin can occur in any part of the body, the feet are more prone to this problem because they are more frequently sweaty as compared to other body parts. Trapped sweat can lead to all kinds of issues.
In addition to sweat, itchy feet is most often caused by dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, diseases like liver disease and celiac disease, nerve disorders, irritation and allergic reactions, drugs and pregnancy. It can also be due to athlete’s foot or some kind of fungal infection.
You can have itchy skin without any other noticeable symptoms, but at times, it is associated with symptoms like redness, bumps, blisters, spots, lesions, dry and cracking skin, and a scaly texture on the skin.
The duration and intensity of itchy feet varies depending upon the cause of the problem, but you must avoid rubbing or scratching your feet, as it will only worsen the condition.
In the meantime, you can use a few natural remedies to help relieve the symptoms of the itchy feet and keep your skin soft and moisturized.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for itchy feet.
1. Cold Compress
To get instant relief from itchy feet, nothing works better than a cold compress.
The sensations of both cold and itching travel along the same nerve fibers in the body, so applying a cold compress can bring immediate relief from itchiness. The cold temperature also helps numb the area, which in turn helps reduce the itching sensation.
- Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth. Put this ice pack on the itchy area of your feet for a few minutes. Take a break for 30 seconds and reapply it. Repeat until the itching stops. Use this remedy as needed.
- You can also run cool tap water over the affected feet for as long as necessary.
Caution: Never put ice directly on the skin, as it can lead to frostbite.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been used as a natural remedy for centuries to ease itchiness of any type. Being acidic in nature, it helps kill fungi and bacteria that can be responsible for itchiness on your feet. It also helps restore the natural pH balance of your skin.
Apple cider vinegar can be used in multiple ways, including topically and orally.
- For topical use: Mix 1 part raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with 3 parts warm water in a small tub or a bucket. Soak your feet in this solution for 15 minutes, then thoroughly pat them dry. Do this twice every day for 1 week or so.
- For consumption: Add 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water. Optionally, add 1 teaspoon of raw honey. Drink it twice daily.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda can help soothe and heal itchy feet. It has a soothing effect on itchy skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Baking soda also balances pH levels on your skin, thus creating an environment that doesn’t facilitate the growth and development of bacteria.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment supports the use of baking soda baths to treat psoriasis by promoting less itchiness and irritation (1).
For topical use:
- Add ½ cup of baking soda to a small tub filled with cool water. Stir it well to distribute the baking soda thoroughly. Soak your feet in this water for 20 to 30 minutes. Pat your feet dry with a towel. Do this once daily.
- Alternatively, prepare a paste by mixing 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water. Apply the paste on the itchy area of your feet, and leave it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off. Do this once daily.
Caution: Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.
4. Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal (oats ground into an extremely fine powder) helps soothe and comfort itchy skin, even if the problem is just on your feet. It contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that provide instant relief from itching.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology demonstrated that colloidal oat extracts exhibit direct antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, which may provide the mechanisms for observed dermatological benefits while using the colloidal oatmeal skin protectant lotion (2).
For topical use:
- Add ½ cup of colloidal oatmeal to a small tub filled with lukewarm water. Soak your feet in this water for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Use this remedy up to 3 times a day, depending on the severity of your condition.
- Alternatively, add a little water to 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal and leave it until it thickens into a paste-like consistency. Apply this mixture on your itchy feet, cover it with a cloth and leave it on for 30 minutes. Use this remedy once daily.
5. Aloe Vera
If you have itchy feet due to extremely dry skin or scabies, aloe vera can come to your rescue.
Aloe vera contains excellent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Plus, it contains vitamin E that helps keep the skin moisturized and in turn reduces itching.
A 2009 study published in Phytotherapy Research concludes that aloe vera gel is as effective as benzyl benzoate in the treatment of scabies (3).
For topical use:
- Extract the gel from an aloe vera leaf. Apply the gel on the itchy area of your feet. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Use this simple remedy once daily.
- Alternatively, make a paste by adding 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel to 2 tablespoons of green clay. Apply the paste on your feet and allow it to dry on its own. Rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this twice a week.
6. Tea Tree Oil
If athlete’s foot is the main cause behind your itchy feet, then try tea tree oil.
It has strong antiseptic and antifungal properties that help fight the root cause behind the fungal infection and stop the itchiness.
For topical use:
- Mix equal amounts of 100 percent pure tea tree oil and olive oil. Rub the mixture on the itchy area twice a day. You can rinse it off after 30 minutes. Use this remedy for a few weeks to prevent a recurrence of this annoying problem.
- Alternatively, mix a few drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel. Rub the mixture on the infected area twice a day for several weeks. Let the mixture sit on your skin for 20 minutes before you rinse it off.
7. Salt Water Soak
A salt water soak is another remedy that helps provide relief from an itching sensation on your feet.
Salt controls the growth of the microbes causing any kind of foot infection, and in turn reduces itching and other discomforts. Plus, it helps soothe tired feet.
- Stir 2 teaspoons of salt into 1 pint of warm water.
- Pour the mixture into a foot tub.
- Immerse your itching feet in the solution for 10 minutes.
- Repeat the process a few times a day until the worst of the itching subsides.
To make this remedy more effective, you can use Epsom salt instead of regular salt.
Caution: Do not use salt remedies if you have any skin tears or open sores.
Due to its powerful anti-allergenic effects, chamomile can also be used to deal with itchy feet.
It inhibits the release of histamine, which helps prevent an allergic reaction that can lead to itchiness on the skin.
- For topical use: Chill a cup of tea in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Soak a cloth in the tea, wring out the excess moisture and use it as a cold compress on your itchy feet. Do this 3 or 4 times a day for fast recovery.
- For consumption: Add 1 tablespoon of dried chamomile to a cup of hot water. Cover and let it steep for 5 minutes. Strain it. Drink this tea 2 or 3 times a day until the itching subsides.
Plain, organic yogurt contains active bacterial colonies and probiotics that will help fight any kind of infection on the feet that can cause itchiness.
It also helps fight dry skin, another major cause of itchy feet.
- For topical use: Apply cool plain yogurt directly on your feet and let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse it off with cool water. Thoroughly pat your feet dry to remove any moisture. Repeat this process twice a day for the next few weeks.
- For consumption: Include 1 to 2 cups of plain yogurt with live and active cultures in your daily diet.
10. Indian Lilac
Indian lilac, also known as neem, is a good remedy if you suffer from itchy feet due to a yeast infection. Its antiseptic properties help fight the infection and reduce itching and other discomforts.
For topical use:
- Boil a handful of neem leaves in 4 cups of water. Strain and allow it to cool. Use this solution to wash your feet, 2 or 3 times a daily.
- Alternatively, add 5 or 6 drops of neem oil to a large bowl of lukewarm water. Soak your itchy feet in it for 20 to 30 minutes daily.
- Drink a cup of neem tea daily for a few weeks, or take neem capsules after consulting your doctor. To prepare the tea steep 5 neem leaves or ¼ teaspoon of neem leaf powder in 1 cup of hot water for 5 to 7 minutes. Optionally, you can add a little lemon and honey or fruit flavors to improve the taste.
- Before going to bed, massage your feet with a mixture of glycerin and rose water to help keep the skin moisturized and soft.
- You can also apply calamine lotion on your itchy feet, a few times a day.
- Choose socks made of 100 percent cotton. Avoid socks made of wool or polyester and other synthetic materials, as they can cause the skin to itch.
- Sleep with a humidifier in your room to help prevent skin dryness, which can make itchiness worse.
- Drink lots of water to keep your skin hydrated. It also helps remove toxins from the body through urine.
- Avoid alcohol and drinks high in caffeine, as they are dehydrating in nature and can make itching worse.
- Itchiness can be caused by even a mild allergic reaction to something you’re wearing or a product you’re using. Try to identify the triggers and avoid them.
- You can take over-the-counter antihistamines to relieve itchiness caused by allergic reactions.
- For athlete’s foot, you can try some over-the-counter antifungal medication.
- After rinsing your feet, always dry them really well, especially in between your toes.
- Eat a diet rich in vitamin A, B and E. A deficiency of these vitamins can lead to dry skin.
- Old fashioned sodium bicarbonate baths for the treatment of psoriasis in the era of futuristic biologics: An old ally to be rescued. Taylor & Francis. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09546630410024862.
- Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skin. Journal of Drugs and Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25607907. Published January 2015.
- Preliminary study of effectiveness of aloe vera in scabies treatment. Physiotherapy Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19274696. Published October 2009.