Grandson and grandpa holding hands

Why is my face itchy?

Facial reactions, red blotches, itchiness or rashes can be caused by a variety of reasons. These can include chronic conditions such as eczema, acne or rosacea, allergic reactions to something you may have ingested or touched, or even just a sensitivity to a particular substance like washing powder or synthetic or rough fabrics. They can also be due to environmental factors such as too much sun, changes in temperature or moisture, or air conditioning. Even stress can cause affect your skin – click here to learn more about stress and eczema.

Person with sensitive skin on their forehead

Sensitive skin, in general, is becoming a more common and reported problem for adults with many studies over the past decade defining what this means. [8] Luckily however, many products have emerged which are specially formulated for sensitive skin.

You may want to visit a healthcare professional to help you determine why your face is itchy and to help you develop a treatment. Listed below are some factors that may contribute to your itchy or irritated skin, and steps you can take that may help give you some relief.

Allergies

Many substances you ingest cause an allergic reaction – the most common food-induced allergies come from milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish [9]. Other allergies can include reactions to dust or pollen, often referred to as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. If you think you’re suffering from an allergic reaction, it may be worth visiting your healthcare professional, however antihistamine treatments, available in most pharmacies, can help with itching. [10]

Other environmental factors

Woman applying sunscreen to her face

As the face is constantly exposed to the elements, it make senses that it can be particularly prone to itchiness and irritation. Environmental factors that can set off a reaction include extreme temperatures or over-exposure to the sun, causing a rash known as ‘prickly heat’ or miliaria rubra, or sun burn.[11] Always use sun screen with an SPF 30 or above, and avoid the sun during the hottest times of the day

Reactions to cosmetics

Reactions to cosmetics has been increasing, with skin, hair, nail and eye cosmetics all to blame. These reactions can range from irritations to a full allergic reaction, with the face being the most common area affected. If you have sensitive skin, test new products before you use them, and if you suspect you’re having a reaction to a particular product, you may want to discontinue use. [12]

How to help relieve itchiness and irritation

Similar to treating eczema or other skin conditions that lead to itchiness and irritation, there are a number of steps you can take to help find relief beyond the specific recommendations above: [13]

  • Avoid scratching the itchy area if at all possible, as it can aggravate the skin and lead to inflammation and even infection
  • Applying cool, wet compresses can help, and if the skin is dry, apply a moisturiser while the skin is still moist
  • Use mild soaps and cleaners, steering clear of anything heavily scented. This includes washing powder.
  • Putting cucumber on your face can help moisturise your skin and can also be cooling and refreshing [14]
  • Always wash with warm water, never hot water

Click here to learn more about a product to relieve itch and redness.