Dry itchy skin

Hi to you all hopefully quick question but not guaranteed lol! Why does your skin get so dry & itchy when it swells & what's best to use? My feet actually burn also legs, they feel heavy & look awful. I also wake in morning to having myself scratched to bits while sleeping. I still haven't received a 1St appointment, thanks

16 Replies

  • How I feel for you, and I do remember when I used to be Skincare Editor for an American magazine talking to group of dermatologists in Britain and they all told me that dermatology treatment in Britain lagged behind Europe. I was lucky, and was able to go over to France to get skin treated at La Roche Posay, and now use their products - the Lipikar range has been developed for us. Or the Australian range, developed for cancer patients - Flexitol - can be obtained on prescription for free and they make a good Skin Balm. And if you can bear it, wearing gloves to bed can help prevent scratching. Keep on moisturising every day, and twice a day when things flare up if on a 'new' drug. Good luck, and I write for aftercancers.com on skincare with more info.

  • I tried Flexitol but couldn't use as it is a urea based treatment which works for a lot of folk but definitely not me, so check on a tiny test area first x

  • Thank-you for your reply I'm either swollen & sore or swollen & itchy. I've tried wearing gloves at night would u believe it I wake up ahhh lol x

  • There is also basic stuff like E45, Dipro Base, Double Base, Aqueous Cream. I know a few people who have existing skin conditions, exacerbated by lymphoedema, using a cream called Epaderm- it can also be used as a wash.

  • Thank-you Lynora been using E45 gonna try get an appointment x

  • If I were you Lynne, I would push my doctor for an urgent appointment because if your swelling is Lymphoedema then your scratching and the fact that your skin is dry could lead to cellulitis and you do not want that as it can be life threatening once infection sets in under the skin surface.

    If you have very dry skin it is not advisable to use soap at all when washing but Hydromol as a substitute soap. If your skin has a rash you may also need a topical steroid cream or ointment to use to attempt to clear it up. The latter however is only available upon prescription.

    With lympodema it is paramount that your skin is moisturised well every day so that the skin does not crack open in the folds created by the swelling, here hydromol can serve a double purpose as it can not only be used as a soap substitute but also as a moisturiser.

    Hope this helps.

  • Forgot to mention it but if you need something thicker than Hydromol, Epaderm can be used as a soap substitute and as a moisturiser. But ask your doctor or practice nurse for a demonstration on how to apply Epaderm because if you get it wrong you can actually make your skin worse this is due to it being very thick.

    Sadly Hydromol and Epaderm do not actually smell very nice, a light or heavy lard like smell depending on which one you get.

    A few people actually prefer creams like dipro-base or Aqueous but I could never get away with those and I prefer Hydromol and if my Eczema flairs up 1/4 Betnovate ointment or 1% depending on how severe it gets.

    Oilatum for the bath can also be a good thing.

    What is important here is the need to avoid infection and if your skin is dry and itchy than you could be at risk.

    Good luck.

  • Sounds like your having a hard time x

  • Thank-you deadfootmo lol love the name. I never heard about moisturising until joined this group :-S you'd think my socks were causing the swelling as all cracked around the fold. I've been using hydrocortisone cream & taking anti-allergy tablets.

  • The swelling could be lymphodeama and you need to be referred to the lymphoedema Nurse for further treatment.

    The skin can get very dry and itchy due to Eczema or Psoriasis or the swelling is making your skin dry.

    In both cases I use Eperderm Ointment on my feet, legs, hands, arms and chest and forehead.

    Epaderm ointment is really good for dry skin conditions it feels like lard so you only need a little as it could be very greasy on your skin leave it to soak in before washing.

    I use it as I have very sensitive skin which swells due to Lymphoedema in both ankles and legs.

    Putting the ointment on morning and night as a moisturer is great as my skin gets extremely dry and cracks which puts me at high risk of getting cellulitus which I have had several times.

    I find my clothes stick to the ointment on my skin so I keep my dressing gown on until it has been washed off then my skin is silky smooth.

    At night I keep the ointment sinking into my legs for several hours to make my legs smooth.


    If you put the ointment on the bottom of your feet and heels be very careful in the bath or shower as the surface will be very slippery and you can fall and hurt yourself very easily so this is best avoided.

    When I put Eparderm on my dry cracked heels I cover my feet with socks or slippers.

    If your skin is not too bad or you do not have enough time in the morning to put Epaderm on your skin put it on the night before and let it sink into your skin overnight.

    If you prefer you can add Epaderm directly to your bath water then it puts an oily film to the water but it makes the bath water very slippery and dangerous so the best way is using it as stated above.

    Epaderm Ointment comes in a 500g Tub which is one months supply if used every day.

    In the summer I use it on my legs and arms several times a day as the heat helps it to soak into the skin quicker.

  • Thanks I asked the pharmacist today & showed her told me doctor asap, hopefully get appointment on Monday x

  • Thank you so much for your comments I will try get the ointments & see my doctor. It's strange as only itchy in the bits that swell up, same with bad skin. The rest off my skin is fine. I haven't even been able to shave my legs as they cut off me from scratching, full off scabs. Honestly I really appreciate you all replying finding this site & you people has opened my eyes & answered alot off questions. I'm going to ring doctor see if he can push appointment as it's ridiculous considering they told me hadn't a long waiting list 🤔💜 xxx

  • Please don't shave! The incidence of cellulitis post-shaving is well known and should be avoided.

  • Can I use an epliator? Lynora it would be my luck to end up somewhere & someone see my hairy legs 🤔 lol!

  • The specialist nurse in my Lymphodemia clinic told me that I could use an electric or battery operated lady shaver but not disposables.

  • Hi DeadfootMo. How are you doing? I did a bit of reading re lymphodema and it has been noticed that quite a few people who get it in their legs have very little hair on their limbs. I am one of them. The nurses asked me what I used to get rid of hair. Considering I had no skin on my legs for months because of varicose eczema and my calves looked like two joints of meat on a butcher's slab, I think it was a bit of a silly question. However. I can see the worry about infection but didn't need to shave my legs anyway. Because of allergies the nurses were marvelous and found BALEUM cream which I can tolerate. Still keeping my legs as cool as possible - no duvet on them at night - and I sleep with a cotton covered pillow between my calves so that I am not putting pressure on my legs or scratching them with my toenails. The original stockings I had stretched and the pain started to come back (dreadful crawling sensation in my legs and felt like water running down the inside) so I changed to brand new ones and that solved the problem. Hope this bit of info helps.

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