What will help relieve itchy skin in elderly mother?

7 answers | Last updated: Nov 11, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What will help relieve itchy skin in elderly mother? My mother (age 84) has terribly itchy skin, over many parts of her body (legs, back, waist, etc.), during all seasons. We share dry skin, so I'm sure that's part of it, and she uses lotion, but nothing seems to help. What can we do to get her some relief?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Itchy skin is a tough problem, and one that I am familiar with myself.  Here are my suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of showers/ baths that she is taking.  She probably only needs a full shower/ bath twice a week.  The only parts that need daily cleansing are the privates, buttocks, and armpits.
  • When cleansing, use a gentle baby wash ONLY.  No soap!
  • After the shower/ bath, apply a good lotion to the entire body.  I would recommend Eucerin (for itchy skin), Lubriderm, or Aveeno (with oatmeal).

If you try my above suggestions, and they do not help, she should probably see a dermatologist for more individual suggestions.

Community Answers

Mfetz answered...

My mother had the same thing, but hers was so bad that we went to the hospital, and unfortunately it turned out to be her kidneys, and she passed away.  please check that out so that it if it is her problem you can get help sooner.

Kymed answered...

Also, in between at home care visits from our at home care nurse, I would use adult wipes to freshen my step father up between bathing schedules. I found that the moist wipes were very handy and they are thick + disposable. They did not dry out his skin because they do not contain alcohol! You can save trips to the store + money if you buy them in bulk! The ones I ordered were from twin med direct...here is the link for those wipes: http://www.twinmeddirect.com/wipes-premoistened-soft-packs.htmla

Rsboivin answered...

The type of soap you use can make a big difference. Try Castile or olive oil soap, it is very gentle. Also any lotion that contains olive oil or lanolin will help.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Ask your doctor about it. Some uncontrollable itching can be related to thyroid problems, or bone marrow problems (polycythemia). Most itching isn't this serious, but a check-up is in order.

Fello sufferer answered...

i have had dry skin all my life most soap dries skin as most people have excess oil Try a soap called Basis Soap available any drug store . I have recently found that bees wax soap is great but it os more expensive and i have to go to the craft fair

Tamtamtop22 answered...

My dad has his skin ilcthing really bad on his back he is 79 close to 80 can u help him