Shingles is a disease caused by the same varicella virus that causes chickenpox. What’s unique about shingles is that it only affects those who have suffered from chickenpox earlier in life. Singles presents itself as a blistering skin rash, much like chickenpox; however, the rash is much more severe and painful than a chickenpox rash. For some, it can even be debilitating.
If you suspect that you have shingles, you must visit your doctor as soon as possible to proper diagnosis and treatment. He or she will probably prescribe antiviral medications to shorten the duration of the shingles outbreak, reduce symptom severity, and help prevent shingles-related complications.
While the prescription from your doctor works to heal the body, shingles sufferers can use an array of at-home remedies to help reduce the pain, itching, and discomfort of shingles. These remedies are not intended in any way to treat or heal the ailment; they are simply suggested as ways to achieve comfort. If any of these skin care tips appear to worsen shingles, discontinue its use immediately.
At-Home Shingles Skin Care
Bathe regularly. This may seem like a no-brainer, but keeping shingles skin clean is essential to proper healing. Use gentle, mild cleansers that are free of sulfates, soaps, or detergents, and bathe in tepid water as opposed to hot water. You may even find that cooler water provides temporary relief from itching and stinging! Be sure to use washcloths and towels only once, and wash them in hot water before using them again.
Apply a cool compress. Soak a wash cloth or paper towels in comfortably cool water, and press them against affected areas. This is a great shingles skin care tip for days when flare-ups are particularly bad, or in the beginning when the rash is at its worst.
Avoid sunlight. The sun’s UV rays can sometimes be healing to skin afflictions; this is not the case with shingles. Sun exposure during a shingles rash may increase one’s risk of shingles scarring by changing the skin’s pigment during the healing process. Avoiding sunlight exposure during shingles does not guarantee that you will not scar, but it will reduce your risk of scarring.
Avoid scratching. Just like with chickenpox, don’t scratch your shingles rash! Scratching your skin may cause the sores of the rash to open up, putting you at risk of bacterial infection. Instead, use a cool compress to reduce itching, or enjoy a tepid colloidal oatmeal bath to provide relief to the entire body.
Use soothing skin care. Topical lotions and creams won’t heal your shingles on its own, but these skin care products will help provide relief! Using a product like Atopalm’s Intensive Face Moisturizer with Panthenol on the face, or our Moisturizing Body Lotion on the body, will soothe itching, pain, and dryness caused by the rash. If, however, these or any other dry skin creams cause irritation or worsen symptoms, discontinue use immediately.
With these shingles tips and the right prescription from your doctor, you’ll be well on your way to healing before you know it.