The Worst Sunburn Aftermath Ever: Hell’s Itch

I am no stranger to sunburn. I’ve dealt with it my whole life. I know, I know, prevention is key and sunscreen is my friend. Blah blah blah blah. Save your lectures. I’m more than aware of all of these things, and most of the time, I adhere to them. That doesn’t mean mistakes don’t happen or it’s out of my control sometimes. But this post isn’t about the worst sunburn I’ve ever had; it’s about the worst recovery I’ve had…which is currently taking place.

Europe’s Whitest

While I’m not a ginger, I do have [mousey] blonde hair and blue eyes. As far as I know, the entirety of my dad’s side of the family is from the Poland-Czech border region, and my mom’s is a conglomeration of all the whitest European countries: England, Ireland, Sweden, and Norway. I’m dangerously close to not having a soul. With that in mind, you’d think I’d be a little more careful in the sun. Most of the time I am. Most of the time, one application of SPF15 keeps the burn away as long as I’m not in and out of water; in which case, I reapply. When I go climbing, I sometimes carry up to 4 different sunscreen products: SPF lotion, SPF spray, SPF stick (for my tattoos and ears), and SPF chapstick. But you know what? Sometimes I can be vain and just really want to be tan.

A Recent History of Burninating

(I love you so much if you know where that reference comes from.)

I can’t recount every time I’ve recently been burned, but I can remember the really horrible ones. There’s been but three in the past year. Sadly, two within the past four weeks. The first one was a trip down to Cozumel, Mexico. Thinking I was cool with one application of SPF15, I went about my day snorkeling and laying out and taking trips out to the ocean. The cream said it was super duper water resistant so I figured it was ok. I did the same thing back at the lakes in MN and WI and never had a problem. What I forgot was that the ocean has salt in it. Salt is abrasive. Which takes the lotion off much quicker. It’s also super clear water. Which reflects light more easily, as opposed to the brown, algae-filled lakes of the Midwest. The result? This:

Sun Burned in Mexico

But even after that horrendous burn, the aftermath was nothing unusual. 100% Aloe Vera, applied multiple times, a little uncomfortable the first night, and then nothing but a bit of pain and some itching for the day or three after.

That was last May, and now a year later, I find myself in a similar situation. Except that was purely ignorance, and the past two times within the past month were accidentally on purpose.

Four weeks ago while climbing, I decided I wanted to not be pasty white anymore so I took my shirt off. While neither climbing nor belaying, I made sure to face my chest and stomach to the sun since climbers’ backs are usually what get it. Then I climbed a route, then I belayed, then I stood, then I climbed again. I say that now, but as it was happening, I had totally forgot how much time all of those things take. And my back was to the sun the entire time.

Not good.

Once again, the aftermath was typical, just as described above — Aloe, aloe, pain, aloe, itchiness, peeling, done.

Finally, we get to where I am today. After summiting Mt. Elbert on Saturday and forgetting to put sunscreen on my face, which was genius, I went to the pool at my apartment complex on Sunday because once again, I wanted to be tan.

I had  a plan.

I put sunscreen on my already burnt face and brought a handkerchief to cover it as well. Then I thought 22 minutes on my back, 22 minutes on the front, and leave. Except, after I stuck to two-thirds of the plan, I got distracted and started talking to some of the other residents at the pool. I forgot the “leave” part of it. I knew I was over my planned limit, but I’m also decently ok at telling when I’m getting burnt.

Or so I thought. Sun burnt by the pool To be honest, the burn isn’t as bad as the one from Mexico. It might look worse, but trust me, it’s not! Which is why I really don’t understand what’s happening now…

“Hell’s Itch”

Sunburn treatmentsI learned about “hell’s itch” at about 2:30am this morning. But before that, I had no idea what was going on. I knew that I was itching so bad that no amount of 100% Aloe Vera was working, and I had to leave work at 2:30 in the afternoon.

I did a little looking online and saw that people were suggesting Oatmeal bath treatments and this stuff called “Ocean Potion”, supposedly formulated for sunburn. I went to Walmart on my way home and picked up the supplies.

The bath and new lotion seemed to help. The itching never stopped completely, but it was at least tolerable and the time between twinges of itches that needed to be scratched was long enough that it didn’t bother me. At 10:00pm, I put on my third and final application of lotion before going to bed.

Then I woke up at 1:30am. “Woke up” is putting it pleasantly. It felt like a circus of fire ants had hatched under my skin and were looking for any way to get out!

I put on the Aloe with lidocaine, hoping the lidocaine would numb my skin long enough that I could fall back asleep. It just made the itching worse! I wanted nothing more than to scream in frustration.

I put a cold wash cloth on my stomach. Helped, some, until it warmed up again.

Then I went and laid on the floor in front of the open patio door because I could feel the 50 or 60-something degree air coming in at my feet. I thought for sure the coolness would stop the itching.

No.

Again, I just wanted to scream!!

I had once gotten burned so bad, so, so, so incredibly bad back in college that I ended up getting a 103 degree fever. We had to call the hospital. But that was due to the burning, not the itching. “Should I call the hospital,” I thought? What would they do for me? Give me numbing cream? Anti-histamine spray? I didn’t know, but I didn’t feel like the hospital was the right choice.

I realized that earlier in the day when I had done the initial research, I had looked up remedies for dealing with “sunburn” in general, not the itching. This is where I refined my search to “post-sunburn itch” and learned about Hell’s Itch.

These posts are hilarious, and incredibly, accurately describe my situation. Please read them for a good laugh. How to Survive Post Sunburn Itch

After 45 minutes of applying aloe & lotion, ice packs, and chugging water, I would have traded my first and last born to be able to rewind the last 60 hours of my life. The previous Saturday afternoon I had committed the sin of skipping the sunscreen before a day at the beach.

Except, the conclusion of that post was getting some “A&D Ointment”. Well, I had no A&D Ointment, and supposedly the Ocean Potion is fortified with Vitamins A and D. That post did nothing but make me chuckle. Which was well appreciated at that time.

Then I found this post: Sunburn Fire Ant Hell Itch

This itch is unlike ANYTHING ELSE. It makes me want to rip my skin off using rusty razors, to put it lightly.

And

I felt like the only relief would be to knock me out. With that in mind I started contemplating taking strong pain killers and drinking myself to sleep with tequila. I’d been googling all night trying to find a cure and was at my wits end. If there was a cure that required you to rip off your toenails with a rusty chisel and then eat them, I would have done it in a heart beat.

How incredibly accurate!!

The author suggests “boiling hot” showers to fix this problem. She does mention a boiling hot shower seems counterintuitive for treating a sunburn, but at this point, I’m beyond treating the burn and onto treating the severe itching.

At 3am, I begrudgingly go to the bathroom, turn on the shower, and take the second most painful shower of my life. But you know what?

IT WORKED!!

Down in the comments of that post someone also suggested that the itch is due to an allergic reaction and anti-histamine pills would help too.

AWESOME!!

As a chronic allergy sufferer, I have some of those too!

So after my scalding hot shower and popping an allergy pill, I was finally able to lie down in my own skin. The coolness of the night and the exhaustion of the battle came over me. I slipped gently into the night.

Lesson Learned

Assortment of sunscreensDespite being sun burned hundreds of times before, this is the first time I’ve ever experienced this kind of itch. I never ever want to experience this again. Regardless of how sexy I want to look with a great, bronze tan, it will NEVER be worth it again.

I will try my damndest to never leave the house when I know I’m purposely going to be exposed to the sun without my arsenal of sun products.

If I happen to get a tan through the SPF 15 without burning, great! But if I happen to end up staying translucent white all year round, I’m now totally fine with that too.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the fire ants are back and need to go take my third scalding hot shower. Oh, and I still have the “normal” itching of post-sunburned skin to look forward to too.

The joys…





Don’t Miss Your Chance

I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.

Then I took control.

You can too, and it starts right here.

169 responses to “The Worst Sunburn Aftermath Ever: Hell’s Itch

  1. Man, I have been there before. Once in college I got burned like that, the itching was exactly as you describe. I honestly thought I would die. I tried oatmeal, it just ended up getting stuck in the hair on my chest, making things worse. Then ice baths, hot showers, etc. I finally went to the ER. They gave me a antihistamines and tylenol with codeine. I fell asleep and slept for 3 days. When I woke, the itch was gone. But I am afraid of sunburns still.

    1. It has now been about 28 hours since my hell’s itch experience started. Now at an almost nonexistent stage of it, I could not recommend Aloe more. Yes, I have read the countless negative comments towards it, and I agree with them: The over the counter, massively produced aloe products do not help for shit! I tried them, I tried tea bags, olive oil, vinegar…you name it. Just like for everyone else, none work and seemed to make it worse. I even got a shot and antihistamines at the ER, and while these seemed like gods heavenly fingers giving one last scratch to my back and taking the stinging/itching away, the illusion lasted about 10 minutes. Now, awake at 4:29 am (Peruvian time), and with a very comfortable 2% of the original symptoms, satan has almost left my body. The trick is, real, cut straight from the source aloe leaf gel. It takes away the swelling, itching, burning and knife off your hand (yes, I thought about it too) in a matter of hours, and guess what, you can SLEEP! Get your leaves, peel them until it’s only the transparent inner chunks, put them in water for 30 minutes (this is important due to the regular plant containing an acid that will make your burn worse if you don’t follow this step), and then apply. You have to squeeze the wet slimy chunk with your hand before applying to release it’s healing gel, and don’t be afraid of fierce application, it only makes it better. I hope this helps anyone who knows the excruciating agony of the hell’s itch. Forget water boarding or other torturing methods, the itch is where it’s at.

  2. I don’t know how I’m just reading this now….but damn, son. High altitude sun will get you! I climbed Rainier a few years back and got the worst burn of my life on my face– I had worn sunscreen, but forgot a hat for the climb to Camp Muir and the sun reflecting off the glacier just fried me. I was fine until after we summited, but my skin was so burned and blistered that patches of my face started to fall off on the flight home, totally exposing raw skin underneath. Pretty much terrified every small child in the airport 🙂 I looked liked I had flipping leprosy, and it STILL didn’t itch like you described. No bueno, good sir!

    1. Heather,
      To be honest, I’m not sure either. Shouldn’t everyone on the internet be hanging on my every post?? No, I didn’t think so either.

      My goodness, that burn sounds absolutely amazing in the worst kind of way. 3rd degree for sure. I’ve never had it that bad, but when I had the burn that gave me 103 degree fever it was on OVER 50% of my body. That’s a lot of surface area!

      Glad to see that didn’t leave any lasting scars for you. Scary stuff for sure!

  3. My son (9 years old) is going through this right now! His sunburn is about 48 hours old, is on his back and really was not bad at all. We always suncreen him, and he wears a swim shirt. He took the shirt off and got a burn, the burn itself never caused him pain, it was minor. So it makes me think it is an allergy.

    Thank you for your post summarizing all your research, he felt so much better that he is not the only one! He was screaming in agony I even considered going to the ER. His pediatrician suggested staying hydrated and anti itch cream, I tried to explain that this itch is deep, it has nothing to do with dry skin. We tried all of the suggestions from ice packs to aloe, topical pain killers and motrin. The hot shower is his only relief!! He is on his third shower, slathered with A&D ointment and has taken Benedryl. He can’t wait for this to end!

  4. Thanks for the post. I’m currently awake at 3:20 am because of the nonstop itching. The showers only seem to temporarily relieve me of the annoyance, but now I wonder about that allergy you mentioned. I will never swim without sunscreen again; this is a nightmare.

    1. Mike,

      If you suspect the allergy issue, I’d try an over the counter anti-histamine allergy medication. Benadryl comes to mind. This is, of course, if you don’t have any medical issues taking it.

      When I did the showers + allergy meds, I could sleep through the night.

    2. It is currently 4.54 in the morning and I’m lying in a hotel room with my two sisters while they are sleeping, and I am going to bloody kill myself. I don’t want to wake them up by thanking this apparent dream shower but I sure as hell ain’t sleeping. The after sun gel is in my parents room and they’re asleep too, so far all I can do is get some toilet paper with water and put it on my stomach (that’s where the itch is) it was only a day since I was burnt now I feel like I’m gonna die. I hope morning is soon because I’m trapped and can only do stuff when everyone else’s awake!

      1. Wow, having a half an hour hot shower and a soak in the bath really does help, can’t feel a thing! I believe the hot shower makes it so that you lose a lot of heat when you get out causing yourself to cool down and help the itch, hope to get a good nights sleep now :/

        1. Well done.
          And thoughtful of you not to wake the rest of your family.
          I have recently read that very hot water on a face cloth is a traditional remedy for mosquito bites too.
          The power of water!

    3. Same….best thing I know to do is what I’m currently doing. Wrapping up in blankets. Something about the sensation of being touched by the blanket overpowers the neurological itching. Slightly that is haha

  5. I have experienced Hell’s itch a few times. The first couple I just toughed it out. I would punch myself in the face when I would be really raging through it, punching the wall, ripping at my hair. Anything to get my mind off the itching.

    This always comes about 24 hours after a burn, and typically lasts 3 whole days and nights.

    I just got Hell’s itch again over the holiday weekend. I was in a pool from 1 – 6 on Saturday, I had applied sunscreen to everywhere I could reach. This didn’t include the middle of my back though.

    Hell’s itch started Sunday around 5 pm, but it wasn’t that bad so I didn’t think I was going to get the true full force Hell’s itch. Went to work Monday, it was okay, itched every once in a while, then I got home took off my shirt, and that all too familiar agonizing itching came in full force. I had an itching fit that lasted for 20 minutes, but it always seems more like an hour. I was punching the walls and all that, FREAKING OUT. I slept maybe 4 hours that night, just gritting it out.

    I again started researching online on a fix for this at work on Tuesday. And I saw a suggestion that I had dismissed the last few times I’ve gotten hell’s itch. Peppermint Oil ! I was really scared to try this, but I went to Whole Foods and found 100% Peppermint Oil (NOT Extract). I applied it to half of my burn and waited 30 minutes to see if I would an adverse reaction.

    It took 20 minutes probably and the itch went away on the half I had put the Peppermint Oil. I then slathered up the rest of my back. Slept like a baby, the itch returned this morning, but I reapplied and went to work.

    Some tips on the Peppermint oil.

    If you have hard to reach areas, and need a friend to apply it, buy some latex gloves. This stuff can be unpleasant when it’s ingrained into your hands, and your friend will appreciate it.

    If you apply it yourself, wash your hands very thoroughly when you’re finished. I made the mistake of just running some water over my hands, and using just a little bit of soap. I then rubbed my eyes, and man did that sting. Your skin really soaks this stuff up.

    The peppermint oil makes your back feel really cold, but it can feel more like a cool burn. I can’t comment on whether it makes your skin heal slower, or if it increases your chance of infection. It does decrease your chances of putting knives on all your fingers and tearing your skin completely off your body.

    It takes the itch and turn it into a very tolerable pain.

    100% Peppermint Oil. You can buy it at Whole Foods, and I read it’s at GNC, and sometimes your grocery store.

    1. Ryan,

      All good tips. I’d like to say that I’d love to try it out next time, but gah damn, I DO NOT want to ever have to try any of this stuff out again. hahahaha!

      1. It is the worst form of torture I can ever imagine happening to me. It’s funny to read all the examples of people questioning their sanity, I know I’ve definitely questioned mine during this.

        Keeping calm may be the most important thing. Try to not to get yourself totally worked up. Just try and repeat the phrase, Pain is in the mind, the mind can be controlled.

        1. This! I’m hoping to train as a midwife in the next couple of years and am big into natural birth. The only thing that helped me while I waited for my mother to bring home my meds was doing the “birth sway” that women sometimes do in labour, while listening to calming music. It actually worked for about an hour before I went back to tearing my hair out and whimpering.

  6. I’m going through this now. Obviously, I’ve put some stuff on it, or I would not be in the state of mind to be typing a reply.
    It really is completely unbearable. I’m some one of relatively sturdy composition, and at first I had myself convinced that it was all in my mind, that I just needed to take deep breaths and not scratch, but it was impossible. Here’s what I’ve found to be most helpful:
    1) Peppermint oil/Hot showers/A&D Lotion:
    The A&D lotion really calms down your skin, but after a few uses, I found myself a little itchy and uncomfortable still. However, it was still much much much better than simply doing nothing.
    Also, a HOT HOT HOT shower was helpful. What I did after the A&D cream stopped working perfectly was to take a scalding shower and then lather my back in peppermint oil. Now I smell like Christmas while being itch-free, so plus plus.

    Personally, any type of lidocaine/ solarcaine/ aloe did NOT work. Neither did wet towels.

  7. I have to say i totally agree with you,

    Having previously worked construction, in the summer it ends up just being natural to take my shirt of and get tanned up. To be honest I have gotten a few nasty burns but generally i do not burn very bad. I get the odd one that is sensitive or a bit tender for awhile but nothing crazy.

    So this last weekend I went to the beach with my family and (since ive been working in an office) my arms and legs are tanned but my chest and back are white as a ghost. So i thought ok since i really dont burn and were only going to be here an hour ill just fore go the sun juice.

    But as most things go it turned from 1 hour to 4 hours. I asked a few times “hey does my back look red?” but no body raised an alarm. . . that was until I got home and I was like a lobster on my back.
    But it wasnt bad just general discomfort and tenderness, ive had worse before.

    That was until last night shortly after dinner my shirt started itching. I took it off and it got worse, I applied calamine lotion and that seem to subside it for awhile. So i took a shower and ended up having it cold and this helped.

    But I made the mistake of asking my girlfriend to pat dry my back, as she did it, it was fine so i got her to rub the old calamine off. . . THIS WAS THE WORSE IDEA EVER. within a minute after she finished it felt like there was a melted pin cushion party under my skin coming in bursts and fits and general insanity.
    It got to the point I spent the next four hours in an out of the shower. until finally I attempted what I had read with the hot shower. Although the instant pain was bad it seemed relieving after a few minutes once i was in there for about half an hour i was able to crawl in to bed and fall asleep.

    I had the misfortune of not having any supplies on hand apart from some ibuprofen and calamine lotion.

    So really in summary my girl friend could attest by saying I never whine even when something obviously excuciating has happened. So she new the this must have been horrible. and I can only describe it as an Insane acid induced cowboy gun toting air popping fire ant party under my skin.

    Just at work today, other then the odd twitch or cringe its subsided mostly so now im just getting weird looks from my co workers.

    APPLICATE!! SUNSCREEN!!

  8. New revelation,

    Started getting unbearable at work.
    Read it up some more and was suggested pepperment oil.

    !! works great

  9. I am just getting over a 48 hour dose of Hell’s Itch.

    In a nutshell, I tried: Bepanthem Cream (A and D cream), Lanacane (with Benzocaine), Aloe Vera, hot/cold baths/showers, Benadryl tablets (double dose), Ibuprofen (double dose).

    NONE OF THIS WORKED. AT ALL.

    Last resort was the Peppermint Oil.

    It 100% WORKED!!!

    I was a little skeptical about this at first but, I’m telling you, the relief was absolute bliss! Where the itch is much deeper than any cream can touch, the peppermint oil applied directly to the affected area creates a kind of cooling burn that TOTALLY eradicates the itch for about an hour at a time.

    I applied about one drop to every 3 inch square of skin (approx).

    DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH CREAMS/PILLS, JUST GET PEPPERMINT OIL!

    You can get them from some pharmacies, chemists and health food stores.

    I never ever want to experience that itch again. It made me want to actually die.

    You’ll get through it with Peppermint Oil!

    🙂

  10. I’ve just recently started regaining my sanity.

    2 days ago I was a dumbass and used really really weak sunscreen at the beach and got a pretty decent burn on my back. It hurt (I’ve had worse burns) but it was tolerable and the pain started letting up around last night. And then It started.

    I woke up around 1 in the morning with a mild annoying itch and scratched, huge mistake. Within minutes it felt like someone had dipped a bunch of needles in acid and started jabbing them into my back as fire ants threw a party. By 3 am I was reduced to a shaking, whimpering ball flopping around burritoed up in my blankets hoping the pressure would relieve the itch from hell. I’m on the 3rd book of Game of Thrones and I was seriously considering flaying my back open with barbed wire just to make it stop. If I dropped dead at the time I probably would have been really, really ok with that. I’m no pansy by any means and can honestly say this was the worst experience of my life.

    I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Forget standard torture methods, Hell’s itch would bring any interrogation quickly to an end.

    1. I never experienced anything like this in 37 years, and many bad sunburns. When I called off work at 4:30A.M, I described it as feeling like being attacked by an army of fleas and fire ants…this is horrific

      1. Yep. 1:58am and here I sit on the couch with Peppermint oil all over my body after an emergency run to Walmart in the middle of the night. This SUCKS. Worst experience of my life, by far.

        So far the oil seems to be doing the trick! Glad it’s Peppermint oil and not something like humus, haha. I kinda wonder if something like IcyHot would work as well, or some Vicks? That’s kind of what this feels like.

        I think I, too, will have to call off for work tomorrow. I’m a pilot and can’t imagine sitting for 3.5 hours in the front of the plane in this condition. No chance!

        1. Hell, Nathan, do not attempt to fly a plane while you are suffering HELLS itch. You would just take a nosedive into the ground !

  11. Sometimes I re-read all these comments just for comedic relief and knowing there is a large population of dumbasses in this world. Just like me. Hahaha!

    Thanks for sharing your misery, everyone!

    1. Yeah, it’s quite funny RE-reading them all. it was about three to six months ago I had it, so glad to be rid of it. Never going on holiday with out sun cream ever again! And yeah, at least everyone can be dumbasses together.

      And for all those sufferers out there today- I feel sorry for you. But consider it a right of passage if you will; if you can get through and reach the other side you’ve probably learnt quite a valuable lesson.

      So…
      -hot shower
      -anti-histamine
      -peppermint oil

      Seem to be the top on everyone’s list.

  12. Had it yesterday. Lasted from 9 AM to 1 AM (about 16 hours). The pain gradually decreased as time passed, with occasional unbearable spikes every 2-3 hours. Only hot showers saved me from those.
    Cure (at least I think that’s what stopped it.. might have just been time): anti-histamine pills and 20-minute warm/hot showers. You can get the pills over the counter at your local pharmacy. I think the anti-histamine pills were what really did the trick. It’s pretty logical. If your body is emitting lots of histamines–whatever those are–assuming your sunburn is some allergy, then you need something to get rid of those histamines… Peppermint oil didn’t seem to work for me. Nor did any creams (they only made it worse). I think you need to open up your pores. That’s why hot water helps and creams make you itch more.
    Oh and I drank quite a bit of water. Try it; can’t hurt.

    Most importantly, don’t stress. I was actually semi-laughing at how much I was tossing and turning in bed, knowing this would pass soon.

    Good luck!

    1. being that its 2 a.m. And my son is going nuts with this itch I was wondering if anyone has ever heard of Organic peppermint extract used in place of peppermint oil?

  13. Uggh–The crossroads of light skin and allergies. This was brutal. I got burned two days ago. The ith came on today when I broke a sweat in the garden. Then, it was off to the races. I popped a Benadryl and Calamine lotion. Nothing. Warm shower–not much. I sent my wife to the store with a c-note and said keep the change after you buy one of everything for sunburn itch. She came back with benadryl cream and spray. The spray is great! Two coats brought me into sanity in about 20 minutes. Maybe the pill was kicking in too.

    I’m 35 and a fishing guide. I’ve had burns before, maybe every couple of years, but this was my first reaction. Google is ablaze with remedies. I’ve never lost my composure like that before. Spf clothes everyday now. I’m buying Buffs tomorrow.

  14. Burned my back 3 days ago and im in the itching stage. Man does this suck id rather have the pain from the burn then this it sucks bad. I keep taking hot baths how many days does this itch last?

    1. @Doolittle
      Try hot showers instead of hot baths. You can probably get hotter water as you can step in an out as the pain dictates. And it’s a little less wasteful. For the most part, it seems like it only lasts about a day once you’ve started “treating” it.

  15. We have been sailing in the Caribbean and my 13 yo son got sun burned through his supposedly UV protective rash guard while snorkelling in the sea.

    Next day intolerable itching. I thought he would jump off the boat he was so insane with the itching.
    No pharmacy within a days sailing so we used Benedryl and Advil for relief, since I had these in my First Aid kit. Cool water on a wash cloth also gave some relief.

    The itch was mainly gone in 24 hours.

    Not easy to get a hot shower on a boat !

    I will get some peppermint oil to be prepared of future trips.
    We did have vinegar on the boat for jellyfish sings but never thought to try it.

    It is an allergic reaction and I think causes inflammation of the nerve endings in the skin. Most ceams and lotions on seem to have any impact on it.

  16. My son (22 years old and a strapping 6ft 2″) was driven to the edge of insanity by this hell itch. His sun burn was not actually that severe, but did affect a large surface area which makes me feel it is likely an allergic reaction to the bodys healing response. He said if the cure had been to cut off his own toe and eat it he would have done it instantly. He was storming around the house growling and moaning. It was awful to see him so distressed. He went to the local hospital where the nurse just seemed to think this was regular itching and that he was being a whimp. She told him to go home and apply aloe gel and maybe take an antihistamine.

    I got him some nice sedating chlorphenamine maleate ( benadryl) . It seemed to ease it a bit and make him a bit sedated which was a bonus given the distress he was in. I am in two minds to go educate the local hospital about their assessment of my son. The hot baths did help and he was then able to tolerate the aloe gel.. Two days later and its still there but is slowly fading.

    He will be more careful in future I’m sure

  17. I decided to hit the pool Saturday with no protection thinking I wouldn’t be out that long… Turns out, I was out a few hours and got a light to mild burn on my shoulders. The pain had been minimal and I barely knew it was there.

    Until last night, after dinner around 8pm it kicked in. I’ve had it before but I made the mistake of lightly patting an itch on my back… Within seconds it felt likle fire ants were nibbling their way through my shoulder blades. Not itching was next to impossible as my body seemed to think that I was being bitten by something. I was twitching itching, rubbing, and patting. Worst part is it kicked in while driving home and I had one hand on the wheel and the other hand was all over my back trying to make the madness stop. I immediately made a trip to the pharmacy for some hydrocortisone but it did absolutely nothing. In fact rubbing it on seemed to irritate my skin more than anything (not necessarily the cream but the rubbing itself). I took a hot hot hot shower and that helped alot but than I proceeded to smear aloe all over my upper body which felt great for about twenty seconds… Than the ants came marching back and I was practically dancing. I briefly contemplated ending it all, cutting my skin off, using my girlfriend’s hair straightener to ‘burn through the itch’. At one piont I tried to lay down in the bathtub thinking maybe I could get some sleep in the bathtub.. Bad Idea as I ended up getting frustrated and using a bath sponge to ‘itch the hell out of my back’. BACKFIRE!!! Immediately it got ten times worst and I had to LUNGE forward and turn teh shower on knowing it was my only chance at relief.

    I didn’t particularly care what the temperature of the shower was (If it had been lava spewing from my shower head I wouldn’t have hesitated to end it all and take the bastard (hells itch) with me. I stayed in the shower for about twenty-five minutes (hot as I could stand it) and decided to say screw all the creams and ointments because nothing worked. I slowly worked my way out of the shower and slowly ever so SLOWLY put a shirt on.. climbed back into bed.. and got a few hours sleep before being woken up and forced to repeat the process again

    I am 100% against gun control….. but if you get a mild sunburn and there is even a CHANCE that you might get hells itch… Give your guns to someone else for a few days… Trust me…

  18. Decided to lay in the sun two days ago. Only for about 3hours
    Hells itch has just begun its 3:21am here
    I feel like ripping my F##ing skin off and burning it this is the worst i have no money till thursday and half a bottle of Aloe spray im to scared to try the shower i just want this to get better
    Stupid idea not getting sun cream.
    Help me 🙁

  19. Try the hot shower it seems to have worked everyone else.
    nearly or similar anti histamine.
    And beg, borrow or steal the none for the peppermint oil…….

  20. So basically i went through this about an hour ago. The worst f’ing day of my life. As a pasty white boy, I went to cape cod and forgot to put sun screen on my chest and my whole torso got burned. The pain was so unbearable I was hitting my head against the wall! Thank God for my mom, she gave me cold towels and a few anti-histamine. This by no means cured the itch, but made the pain much easier to handle. I dont think there is any cure for this itch but there are ways of making the pain less intense. Cold compresses helped immensely and the pills took the edge off. I really hope no one has to experience this pain, for its truly torture!!

    Another suggestion, put some Led Zeppelin on, saved my life 😉

  21. I was burnt going on my Boyfriend’s boat and the burn was so painful to look at and just the slightest touch felt like my skin was going to melt off my back, it was so painful! I did everything and nothing seemed to help. My Boyfriend put Aloe vera cooling gel in the fridge and tried to slowly apply it to my back and it was the absolute worse sting I had from a sunburn. At first I didn’t get hell’s itch, but I started taking really hot and cool rinses after each shower, which helped reduce the sunburn and melt away the dead skin. After it healed, I am now feeling the hell’s itch and my back feels like a bunch of ants are biting me all over. The water has chlorine which doesn’t help with the burning. I have been applying anti itch cream, but cannot stand any type of lotion on my skin. Just the feeling of it makes me cringe! So I found applying cool water on my back and patting it dry helps. I also have been having to sit on my hands to avoid itching it…….god help me! 🙁

  22. (UPDATE) So, my hell’s itch became much worse on my back and it became hard to move, sleep or even wear anything pressing up against my back. It was horrible! I took really hot showers, but felt it did very little to stop the painful burning and itching. I finally after over 10 products later including vinegar, I was able to find a way to relieve the pain enough to get me through the day. Gold Bond Maximum Relief surprisingly did it! I used nearly half the tube in 1 day of purchasing it, which is crazy, but it works like nothing I have used.

  23. I had hell’s itch 2 days ago, it was the worst pain I’d experienced in my life, I’ve broken my arm, fractured my collarbone tore my ligaments. I was screaming that loud that my mum almost took me to the hospital, I had 4 hot baths and 7 hot showers in 3 hours and the pain didn’t subside. I tried peppermint oil and it resolved it for 15 minutes, but then the familiar itch came back and I was screaming in pain.

    I eventually took 4 painkillers, depressants and every pill in my cabinet to knock me out, I was over the moon happy to have it only last 15 hours, some people get it for 2-3 days. The hardest thing is your parents or family thinking it’s the normal itch and they thing you’re a hypochondriac and over reacting, my mum only knew when I was literally screaming at the top of my lungs, and she looked up bad sunburn itch and found hell’s itch and found the stories of people, even US Marines wanting to kill themselves because it was that bad, just remember going through it, which got me through it is reminding yourself that the mind controls the pain, thing of detaching your back from your pain and pulling the plug that connected your brain to pain, it definitely works if you do it right and focus and thing about other things.

    I watched the US Army Marine documentary about them and how they detach their mind from pain and they can put up with anything, thousands of volts if need be because they know the pain isn’t their, one person even died from not feeling the pain it’s extraordinary what the mind can do, just remember the mind controls EVERYTHING!

  24. This blog brings back so many memories! I am a Scotsman, and like yourself, I come from a long line of pasty white folks on both sides of the family. Again, like yourself I have burned more times that I care to remember. I also apply an array of sunscreens before I leave the house, even on relatively mild days. However, on this one occasion a made a catastrophic error. I went to the beach with my two perma-tan mates. Seriously, in the height of a Scottish winter these guys stay a rich shade of mahogany without the use of sunbeds. Its so unfair! I had sunscreened up my face, neck, arms and legs but forgot to do my back. We had a great day and everything seemed fine. As I sat at home a few hours later I started to feel a soreness on my back. I looked in the mirror and was taken aback by the horror that had befallen me. My sunburned back was so burnt it wasn’t even red, it was kind of a purpley colour. I applied the usual aftersun products and hoped for the best. I slept fine but knew that I would be in for a world of trouble when I awoke.

    I actually felt ok when I got up. It was a bit sore as most sunburn is but nothing I couldn’t handle. However that afternoon my girlfriend took me to the park for a picnic and that is when my hell began. I got this sudden and horrendous itch which just would not go away. I tried to sit it out but I ended up having to leave, thinking that a cold shower would relieve my pain. How wrong I was! After my screams, my girlfriend phoned her dad to bring up some aftersun product which she said had some sort of cooling agent and pain relief all in one. I thought that it might do the trick. However it only seemed to worsen the pain. I finally found relief in the form of a cold bath. I found that if I gently rocked back and forth on my back, that the cold wave relieved the itch. After an hour or so I thought I was over the hill and that I was ok to go about my day as normal. I was ok the rest of the day, and even managed to fall asleep. However I awoke at 2am to the worst pain I have ever encountered. It felt as though something was in my skin, desperately clawing to escape. I was screaming in agony, but felt absolutely helpless. I just wanted to tear the skin from my back and be rid of it. I genuinely considered trying to knock myself unconscious, as I felt it was the only was to escape the pain and misery. I quickly ran a cold bath and tried my technique from earlier. After 10 minutes or so, the pain began to ease. Every time I stopped gently rocking, the pain would return immediately. I ended up staying in the bath for 3 and a half hours. This pattern continued the next night as well. After a few days, the itch subsided and it became regular sunburn again. Every so ofter, I would get a slight hint of an itch, but if I left it alone nothing would come of it.

    It was without a doubt the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. It took me to places in my head that I hope I never have to return to. I became totally paranoid about the sun for weeks after I had recovered. I bathed myself in sunscreen before I even dared to leave the house, and under no circumstance would I go topless. Looking back now I realize how foolish I was, and how lucky I was that it was only my back that was affected. Every time I now find myself in the sun now for a prolonged period of time, I am very careful to keep reapplying that sunscreen. However I still live in fear that I will one day let my guard slip and find myself thrust back into the lions den!

  25. I’ve suffered from this three times in my life, once as a kid which I don’t remember being that bad but still pretty annoying. Another in my early 20s and another when I was 30. The latter being the worst by far. What I discovered was the extreme itch is caused by damaged and regrowing nerve endings . I also learned the cure to the itch when it was at its most intense, which was to get and stay very very drunk. With that the itch went away completely.

  26. I’m about 2 hours into the insanity now. I believe reading these posts has helped me regain my metal stability. I was a Marine and cop. My wife thought I was losing it and started laughing as I ripped off my clothes and jumped in the shower while growling in desperation. I had no idea what to do except to scratch and laugh at myself wondering, “What in the hell is wrong with me?” Now I know. This is the most excruciating and frustrating thing I’ve dealt with; I’d rather be pepper sprayed over and over. Went snorkeling about 2.5 days ago and didn’t re-apply sunscreen on my back. Won’t do that again! The only thing I could come up with was to use an ice pack. It calmed me down enough to start researching the topic. It seems as if drinking water and taking Benadryl has helped take some of the severity. I’ll be lucky to sleep tonight and might jump into a hot shower as many have suggested. Thank you all.

  27. I have a similar skin tone (maybe not quite as white) and I’ve had “Hell’s Itch” twice in my life. It always seems to come 2 days or so after a really bad burn on the back or chest area. It’s absolutely the worst feeling I have ever experienced…I wanted to die. I am meticulous about applying sunscreen now and never want to experience this again!

  28. Well all I have to say is that at least you guys are at ho e and can deal with this this is so infuriating, this really is hell just got back from Mexico where even thou I was wearing half a bottle of factor 50 I still got burnt on my back. This wouldn’t be to much of a problem of I could shower or use peppermint out but it’s 2am and Im stuck in LAX airport and have a 9 hour layover I really do think I may rip off my skin so I can go to sleep, also my girlfriend is just looking at me like I’m crazy as I franticly scratched my back and ye only made it worse…

  29. I am on week 2 of this I don’t recall getting sunburnt as I had a hat on but it feels like sunburn dry skin I look like the red planet my eyes are swollen like golf balls no doctor had helped I am ready to rip my face off but it has gotten that bad when I go out in the long grass I feel itching now as if my skin is now extra sensitive to absolutely everything … phenergan hasn’t worked … no amount of any creams is working … I put ice in a washer on my face and it seemed to be my only temporary relief can anyone else say they have had it for that period of time … I’m wondering if I have gotten a contact allergy on top of a sunburn 🙁 please any advice appreciated greatly

    1. I unfortunately experienced Hell’s Itch about 8 years ago after a bad sunburn on my back. For the first time ever I truly felt this was what it was like to lose my mind. Having been burned before and not having experienced anything like this I wasn’t sure what was happening. I first tried aloe vera but it just got worse. Then I tried lotion but by this time I was crazy in itching hell and losing my mind. Then I thought, this is like a total histamine overload, maybe some Benadryl can help. Great idea but no Bendryl in the house. So off goes my hubby to a 24 hour pharmacy to help his insane wife. He comes back with topical and liquid Benadryl. I slathered on topical Benadryl and took a double dose of the liquid and eventually passed out.

      Next day I called the M.D. and he prescribed Silvadene cream. I’m not sure if it helped but it didn’t seem to hurt. I take every precaution I can now to avoid any type of sun burn. Being human though I sometimes forget.

      WORDS OF WARNING>>Once this has happened to you it seems more likely to happen again. I have just had another episode which was thankfully only on my upper back/neck area that wasn’t protected while outside trimming roses. Once I realized my foolishness I immediately used the Silvadene cream but it still evolved to Hell’s Itch within 48 hours. After extensive reading I’m going to try treating every burn with Vinegar spray first and keep some peppermint oil and Benadryl handy. Oh and I also invested in some SPF shirts and whenever I am in the sun for extended periods i.e. at the beach, snorkeling, etc. I wear them and they work great. Maybe I should wear them for gardening? I think I’ll give that a try.

  30. Ahh, yes. The heat from a hot shower releases
    the histamine in your body
    and will give temporary relief.
    This also works for poison ivy.

  31. I was outside at the beach and I got sunburn nothing unusual just redskin well the next day about 9pm I went and took a shower well when I laid down and started itching I was like well I can tough it out WRONG about nine thirty I was still awake and itching even worse I started to think something was up because I had not itched it so I jumped out of bed and took my shirt off well that made it even worse so I get in bed telling my self that I was a little girl and just to ignore it well I was at what I thought was the worst itching I had ever felt (which I later discovered was WRONG) so I get on the inter net and it brings me to this web site and I start looking for solutions well I figured out what set me off was when I got out of the shower I put some aloe Vera (VERY BAD IDEA) well I was pretty rough by now so I got out of bed and went and took a shower not to hot not to cold well when I got out and dried off the itching really started to set in it brought me to my knees and i am no sissy when it comes to pain( me and my friends shoot high powered airsoft guns at each other for fun) well after I manage to get up off the floor I put on some clothes but I was definitely not putting on a shirt well I walk in the living room and show my friends mom what was happening so she gave me one Benadryl and I went and tried to lay down agin well it was not working and I was already 11pm so I lay in bed till the pain becomes almost unbearable then I got up and took another shower this time I took one as hot as I could stand well when I got out I felt quite a bit better and I was hoping it was over (I later found out that it was just the beginning) well I go back into the living room and sit down every one else is asleep and about 5 minuets of sitting there staring at nothing I started itching even worse so I get up and start walking around the couch trying to take my mind off the pain well it helped a little( not enough to amount to anything) well it was itching so bad I fell to the floor agin wishing I could do some thing to ease the pain well I kept reading this web site too and so seen some things that could hep but everyone else was a sleep so I kept walking circles around the couch falling to my knees about every five minuets well I look at the clock after a while and see that it is 1am then I start thinking well I only have a few more hours until someone else wakes up then they can get me some medicine so I keep on walking I felt like I was loosing my mind some times when I would get a two second break between the worst itches ever I would start dreaming then I would twitch from the extreme pain well I kept walking took a few more hot showers had a few thoughts of suicide and a few about scratching the itch but I kept walking well about 3am I was ready to fall over and die from exhaustion and pain but I heard my friends grandpa coming down the steps so I set down on the couch with a glass of water and started drinking it so he didn’t think I was crazier then he’ll for walking I circles driving my self crazy he asked me what I was doing up so early and I told him I hadn’t been to sleep yet then I explained HELLS ITCH to him and he said he couldn’t do anything for me till the local pharmacy opened up so we sat there and watched tv while I was twitching like crazy trying to stop my self from ripping off my skin well he fell asleep and I got up and walked about a thousand more circles( NOT JOKING 1000) then looked at the clock and it was 4am I was so excited only 3 hours till the pharmacy opened and I would be feeling better so I set down and put my forehead on the couch and set that way for an hour then I fell asleep all of a sudden I felt pain jolt through my body and I was awake so I looked at the clock and only 10 minuets had passed and I stood up and started walking trying not to kill myself or wake anyone else up then it hit about 6am an I was really happy but still in the worst pain ever so I walked about another hour then everyone started waking up my friends mom gave me two more Benadryl and that eased of the pain a little but I still felt like I was in hell with fire ants biting me over and over then my friends grand pa went to the store and when he came back he said that the pharmacy was still close but he had some Benadryl cream so I put that on and it helped but the pain was still there well I set down on the couch I was so tired and wore out but I couldn’t sleep cause of the reoccurring twitches with extremely pain full itches well about 9am my friends mom left to go get some medicine well I suffered through it and dosed off here and there for about a minuet or so well when she got back she had some more Benadryl and so ocean potion( THE BEST STUFF I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY WHOLE LIFE THANK GOD FOR OCEAN POTION) well I put it on and the itching was almost instantly bearable and I took two more Benadryl and I felt a thousand times better but the itching was still present well I reapplied ocean potion every 30 minuets and took 2 Benadryl every 4 hours and I toughed it out till about 9 pm I went And took a shower and the itching was gone so I got out and waited till about 11 pm and the itching still had not come back so I took 2 more Benadryl and went to bed well I didn’t wake up till 11 am and when I did the itch was still gone so today I went outside( with sunscreen on an play on the beach swam in the water and it is now 12 am and it is still gone so thanks for the ocean potion reference and I pray to god that no one else has to suffer through hells itch because it is the worst thing I have ever had and I almost died from Rocky Mountain spotted graver last summer so yea this really F#@KING SUCKS and if you do get it use ocean potion and Benadryl and don’t kill your self It ends.

  32. Last Wednesday, I was outside working on removing old poly from our drip system…. without a shirt on. I had taken it off, because I was too hot inside. Figured, “I’ll only be outside a little while.”, when that little voice told me, “you’re outside without your shirt…not a good idea.” Yeah, when do we EVER listen to that voice? Gah!

    Well, needless to say, I knew I had burned myself pretty bad, because my shoulders were really hot to the touch. Figured a few days of uncomfort, probably some peeling, but I’ll live. Little did I realize what await…

    On Friday (yesterday), I started getting the back itchies here and there. Not horrible, but very unfun. When we got home, it started in earnest. Oh, the insufferable nightmare! I instinctively knew what caused it, but that does little to help alleviate the torture. You know those tiny little ants (sugar ants or similar) that, when they get on you, they sting, but the sting is only mildly annoying? You smear their body across your arm and go on your way. No big deal, right?

    Well, imagine an entire HILL of them on your back, stinging and biting at once! And you’re afraid to scratch your back, for fear you’ll physically damage your skin (I knew it was tender and red and didn’t want to flay myself with my finger nails). I was twitching, grunting, and eeking like a monkey! All while working on dinner! Talk about difficult! I was going nuts! Stark raving bonkers!

    When my wife finally found out what I was enduring (“Hell’s Itch”), that helped a little (mentally), but only hot showers have brought any lasting relief. I go from a hot shower, to filling the tub with hot water and soaking for awhile (falling asleep in the tub). Took Benadryl, too.

    Every time the ants would get to partying on my back again, I rip off my clothes as fast as possible and hop into the shower. I didn’t care how much money the water bill was, relief was all that mattered. As well, if a wrinkled prune I must be, to make peace with my back, so be it. I will shower and soak all day long if that’s what it takes. Even if soaking that long could KILL me, I wouldn’t care. I’d rather die without the itches than to have to live one more minute with them.

    As a born-again Christian, the term “Hell’s Itch” holds particular value to me. Even if the ONLY suffering I would have to endure in hell, for all eternity, was this type of itch… it would be too much. I’d repent and get saved right now, if I knew this torment was waiting for me… to have to endure this for a couple days is bad enough… but for eternity? Oh, how I’d be begging God to simply blot me out of existence! This torture is pure madness!

    An itch you can’t scratch, because as soon as you “get it”, it pops right back! Or maybe the itch is not where you think it is and you have to scratch a different area, to get the itch you feel somewhere else! ARRRRRGH! Thankfully, it’s not bothering me much, since my last shower around noon, but when even a small streak of ants goes partying on my back, for just a moment, I start eeking like a monkey again.

    May the madness be at it’s end… please… PLEASE let it be over soon!

    Oh, and by the way… I will never, ever… NEVER EVER… E V E R… (and did I mention EVER?) go outside without wearing a shirt! EVER E V E R….. E V E R ! ! ! And did I mention… EVER?

  33. This is, the best thread ever on “Hells itch”- I never knew it was called that despite suffering through hells itch MULTIPLE times in my life severely, yet somehow NEVER LEARNING MY LESSON? Vain and wanting a tan comes before my sanity I guess.

    I have endured this so many times that after trying everything I gave up on ALL lotions/potions. I found the only way to tolerate Hells itch is to DRINK ALCOHOL and go swimming. I know this sounds dangerous- but honestly, drowning would be a blessing during this whole experience, as we all know.

    The drinking takes your mind/pain/itchiness away, or at least you forget about it a little…..

    And swimming, or just being under water completely eliminates any feeling of itchiness and soothes you. If you can get to a pool, or even have a tub you can sit in to move around, being under water really helps…..as does taking showers. But being completely immersed in water and actually swimming relieves the itch big time.

    I have seriously considered suicide during Hells Itch the first couples times I have had it, but honestly, as someone posted above, MIND OVER MATTER, I would keep myself busy instead of sitting around thinking about how aweful the situation is and going crazy, go out for a bike ride with some music, the air hitting the area will soothe it. Even running outside made it better, not that you can run forever, but you can do things that will occupy your mind and lessen the focus on the misery. After doing some kind of exercise or sport for an hour- get back on the booze and add some peppermint oil or GOLD BOND MEDICATION LOTION works best!! Knock yourself out with some benedryl and get a FAN to cool you at night!

    Sitting around thinking about how you can relieve it is the WORST thing you can do. You have to make yourself busy, and ignore the thoughts of itchiness, tell yourself its all in your head and DONT SCRATCH IT. It only makes it worse.

    Hope this helps, and cheers to all the hilarious/insane posts about us cupcakes getting schooled by the sun.

  34. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, I just went to trough the most insane sensation ever( in my case thats it), I’m pretty sure i was not the only one to try everything, like cold shower :-), aloe with lidocaine, etc, etc. i mean i even tried a milk bath, yeah i took a gallon of milk from the fridge and took a bath :), the only thing that work with me was the hot shower! Not warm but really hot shower. I have a very dry skin and i hate liquid soap, the only moisturizing soap i could use is Dove, but i don’t really like it because i like the feeling of really clean skin, which is why i think i went through this situation, so from now on i will use Dove for men, never ever ever go to the beach without sun block and drink plenty of water! Lesson learned. PS: after talking to my mom she told me about plantain leave, apply warm plantain leave to skin, also is that its not available use a glass of sand and sugar.

    1. Sorry its not sand is soil, so basically mix soil,brown sugar and water and apply to burn area.

  35. Dumbass right over here! I used to be able to burn and receive no itch what so ever until 2 years ago when I experienced this “hells itch”. Glad to know there is a name for it. Two years later (now) I received another lovely burn because I just can’t seem to learn my lesson and I FINALLY decided to do some research at 6am bc I was in so much discomfort. I literally research for about an hour to figure out which option to go with! These forums are great and funny lol to read. Anyway, I had to go to work so I have not been able to try out the hot shower yet, but I did go to the store and I bought: Vaseline (some say this should not be used, but I’m desperate), Aveeno soothing oatmeal cream, and Cortizone 10. Mixed this all together and slabbed it on and wow what a relief in SECONDS! I am in heaven at the moment. I have no itch as of now so well see how long it last. I also popped an allergy pill which I heard helps also. Seriously thought I was going crazy with this problem and I am so glad to see I am not the only one! I will have to try the peppermint oil the next time I decide to be a dumbass.

  36. I wish this would work for me. I have been the frequent user of massively hot showers after a sunburn my entire life. This has always been my cure. I’m itching like nothing I have ever felt, and this is most definitely not my worst sunburn ever. I hear peppermint oil works and I’m gonna try anti-histamines. By the way, in case you wanna know. The reason people experience this “Hell Itch” is because some people excrete a hormone that also causes hives. Case solved………….. Itching not.

  37. So 4 hours ago I was struck with this Hell’s Itch not knowing it was “Hell’s Itch”……. WOW! I have never been reduced to tears,shaking,screeching,freaking,losing my marbles as such as with this……. I only now have gotten online because I have been able to keep a straight thought for more than 2 seconds…….. I thought I was really losing it for a minute…… now I’m relieved to know it isn’t me and there might be more cures than just 3 hour showers.

  38. In case you can’t get to a hot shower, or you’ve drained your hot water heater (like me, right now) and are waiting for the moment you can jump back in, this semi-remedy is working. I’m laying backside-down on a heating pad and have one of those ricebags for headaches that you heat in the microwave on my chest. Not as good as scalding yourself in the shower, but it definitely helps! I wish I had more than one heating pad…my rice bag loses heat after about 4 minutes and then I have to heat it for 90 seconds again.

  39. I had a second degree sunburn from last saturday fortunately it is starting to peel now. However day three of my sunburn I got in the shower and after drying off my chest started to itch, didn’t think much of it till it didn’t stop!!! Never even heard of a sunburn itch till it started. Didn’t want to wake my mom because it was about 1am. The only thing that allowed me to make it till morning was 2 ice packs which numbed the itching enough and softly slapping y chest because I was unable to feel the itch while slapping myself. Nearly 7 hour of this before my mom finally woke up got to the doctors office and they gave me a steroid shot to help heal the burn faster, vicaden for the pain/itching also to help me sleep because it was hard to do so, and an itching peel also some cream which burn victims use. He said if this ever happened again take 2 benadryl or Tylenol… even Advil….not Motrin or Aleve he said. Mild form s of pain killer that will help a lot until you can consult a doctor. I actually contemplated some bad things while dealing with this. Sorry to all who are reading this now and in the future. Many of us have been there and are fine now so just hang in there!!!

  40. I have the itch.

    I stumbled across this page looking for a remedy. Believe it or not, reading down all the comments and chuckling has itself eased the itch!

    I’m a pasty, white, Belfast boy and have experienced Hell’s Itch three times (all on my back) including this one. Embarrassingly, this one was caused by a sunbed on Saturday afternoon. I have been applying aloe since the burn formed on Saturday night, which soothed the burn, but didn’t prevent the itch from coming about an hour ago. It’s absolutely horrible. Creams, lotions and water make it even worse. I have double dropped some anti-histamines but time will tell if they work.

    Had a laugh reading down all these comments and thought I would share my plight 🙂

  41. I just got home from the worst drive home ever. Landed at JFK from Cancun, picked up a rental and while sitting in NY traffic, the itch got me. If it wasn’t because my ten month old was in the back seat and my wife was scratching me non-stop I would have driven the car into the Hudson. As soon as I got home (bags are still in car. I did grab baby though) I tried aloe, showers, vinegar… Wife is at GNC right now trying to find peppermint oil. So far, the only thing that seems to be working is reading all the hilarious entries on this site. Maybe the Zyrtec helped a bit. Or a combination of all. Who knows! Hang there though. I too want to blow my head off bit this will be over soon! I hope.

  42. I am currently experience Hell’s Itch and OMG I find myself praying that once the sticky lidocaine my wife sprayed on my back finally glues my shirt to my back that I can wrip it off and the itchy skin will go with it. This is INSANE… I literally would rather chew off my own arm that go through this. Who new it had a name. The lidocaine seems to make the itch barible but I dont know how long that will last. Headed to take benadryl now and I must get peppermint oil tomorrow before work. Its good to know that Im not alone. My wife thanks I am being a big baby.

  43. Currently in the middle of the ‘Hells Itch’. Appropriate name, by the way. I’ve actually had it once before and told myself I would never go to the beach without sunscreen again… well stupid me forgot how terrible the itch is. I hung out by the pool two days last week and though i got a base tan. I went to the beach 2 days ago and didn’t bother to apply sun screen. I got a pretty bad burn on my back, but certainly not the worst ever. Well, this morning I woke up and immediately knew I was going to have a BAD day. I tried aloe with licodine, advil, benadryl, anti-itch spray, a shower, and lots of water. The aloe feels good while it’s being applied, but as soon as my gf stopped rubbing it in, I would have itching fits for a good 20 minutes. During this time, my gf would gently rub my back which REALLY helped more than anything. Well she left for the day and I decided to jump in the shower… BAD IDEA! As soon as I got out and started drying myself off, this itching started again. All alone and in a panic, I used the anti-itch spray, popped 50mg of Benadryl, and took 600mg of Advil. It took about 20 minutes, but the itching has become bearable.

  44. Unfortunately, I am as pasty white as it gets. My mother and father are both irish so therfore I have white white skin. Oddly enough, I am ALLERGIC to sunscreen. That’s right. When I apply sunscreen, I break out into a red itchy rash and my skin swells. So I try to limit my time spent in the sun. But this past Sunday I was at the lake. I was maybe in the sun for 30 minutes, and later that evening, I was red. I thought it wasn’t bad because it didn’t even hurt. I have had water blisters and the severe hells itch before but it’s been a long time. Sadly enough, it has been 48 hours after the burn set in, and I am miserable. I woke up at 6am with the first spell of hells itch. I drove an hour to my moms house in hope she had something for my relief. I have tried everything so far, except for a hot shower. Some people say that hot showers make it worse, some say it’s basically heaven. But I am a big baby, and I’m scared to take a hot shower, in fear it will get worse. I took some benadryl and the itch has been gone for about an hour now. Besides trying the hot shower, I’m at wits end on anything else to try. I now have a purplish/pinkish sunburn with water blisters on my face, shoulders, and back of my neck. Any ideas will be gladly appreciated before I end up pulling my hair out.

  45. Second bout with “hell’s itch”. First when I was about 13. Got burnt really bad in a pool in Newport News VA. First time I just suffered through it. I had a cool damp towel set up on my leather couch like a seat cover and kept my back pressed against it. It hurts so bad that I tense up as tight as I can to keep from screaming. This time at 35 years of age I am dealing with a new bout of the damned itch. After 4 hours at the lake, no sunscreen. it was almost 48 hours to the minute when my itch started. My burn is really not that bad, not the worst I have had for sure. The hot showers help if i am having one of the bad attacks, but it doesnt seem to matter how long I am in there. If I dry my back off (even gentle patting) the fire comes back immediately and very aggressive. I have not tried the peppermint oil but will be looking for it tonight. Benedryl also will be on my list. Any kind of topical cream sets me on fire! Aloe, Vitamin A & D, dermoplast..you name it I dont want it on my skin! I am considered a tough guy. I’m 6’4″ 260 pounds and these pains make me feel like Im losing my mind! Even when the itch goes away, I can still feel it under there….waiting to come and turn me into a lil’ girl again.

  46. Try Hells Itch for 30 years! Yes, 30 years. The sunburn? I was 20 something and drove from Phoenix to San Diego with the window down. Worst sunburn EVER on my left shoulder & arm. The sunburn was so bad, that I had the tan mark of the little tank top I was wearing, for about 15 years on m y shoulder. Seriously!

    So if you are out there in internet land and thinking you are invincible, think again. If it’s the sunburn from hell, hell itch can last for the rest of your life. Here I am 30 years later, on the internet again looking to see if there is anything out there I have not tried, because today it’s driving me NUTS!

    If you do get Hell Itch, avoid the sun in that area for the rest of your life. Because it’s possible (as in my case) just the shortest exposure to the sun (as little as 15 minutes) and you may have weeks of hell itch to content with.

  47. Well I also thought I was the only one who went through this. Never knew it had a name thank god for Google I’m in the healing peeling stage of a two day sunburn because of my own foolishness. Got yells itch when I was younger and literally thought I was gonna have a nervous breakdown which would have been possible if I wasn’t so infatuated with scratching my back. I got a little bit of relief from eucerin anti itch lotion but by far the best thing I’ve done is try not to scratch at it as hard as it is scratching seems to make things 100% worse. Thanks for all the suggestions I’m glad I’m not just crazy Haha.

  48. After reading all these great stories, I feel obligated to contribute.
    I’ve been suffering this blasted “hells itch” since about 7 am this morning. It all started 3 days ago when I sat outside with some cheap store brand spf30. I wasn’t severely roasted, but the burn covered most of the front half of my body. Now through my upper chest and shoulders I feel the ants ravaging my insides. I’ve tried everything today, and here’s my results

    hot showers – wonderful WHILE you’re in it…bandaid fix.

    aloe / moisterizers – further irritation

    peppermint oil – irritates the burn but soothes the itch well enough

    alcohol – easiest solution, the drunker the better

    I advise to keep pressure on it which helps forget the itching. I have a blanket and my arms wrapped around my burned chest…it sort of helps.

    hang in there hells itchers, life is going to suck for at least a day

  49. It’s the real deal. It needs its own Wikipedia page.

    Really though. This is a wonderful blog post, but at the time of this writing, it’s the only “source” on the Internet of any substance. Where you have multiple people corroborating the experience. So I’ll just add to that discourse:

    – Obviously it’s related to the sunburn, but it seems like a totally separate thing. Like…my shoulders are blistering, and of course that hurts, but it’s not even 5% as bad as itch on my back and chest. Think about that: a 2nd degree burn is 20 times easier to deal with than this itch. This needs to be plainly listed at the top of sunscreens as the worst possible side effect of sunburns.

    – People who’ve had sunburns are like, “oh I know how it is, I’ve had the blisters and I couldn’t sleep on my back!” Sorry, it’s not the same. It comes from within, and it’s fast, and everywhere. When the itch hit me at this party, I was reduced to running to the bathroom, taking off my shirt, and writhing around on the cold marble floor in pain. All the constant heavy breathing left me close to hyperventilating. My lips were quivering. My legs fell asleep. And all that wiggling around did almost nothing to help.

    Hell’s Itch. There can be no more perfect name which, again, needs to be publicly, medically addressed. Because as great as this site is, no one is still convincing me of where it comes from. Someone said, “I learned” it’s from the nerve endings, which I’d believe. Others say it’s “dry skin.” But who knows?

    This is my 3rd bout of my life, spread across 6 years. Gets worse every time, but I’m so happy to finally see others say the exact same words I’ve used:

    – This is worse than torture and could be effective enough to make anyone talk
    – It does actually make you suicidal. Now I know why people with ‘cluster headaches’ actually go through with it.
    – I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemies.
    – If any of y’all are chemist / dermatologists, make a product that combats specifically this issue, and nothing else (like mosquito bites), and you’ll get rich.

    So let’s spread the truth. What works. What doesn’t. More of this. I can also say from experience that the litocaine spray had no effect. Maybe it helped a LITTLE, but not enough to justify the purchase.

    Here’s to a speedy recovery. God knows I need it. Sleep well and spread the word. #StopTheItch

  50. Omg this Hell’s Itch is a bitch. I never knew it had a name until now. As a neurotic sunscreen applier who was caller Casper in high school, I always treated the sun like it was out to get me. Spf 60 every few hours was my best friend. Until Wednesday afternoon when I had the brilliant idea to “tan” by my pool for a couple hours. Worst mistake of my entire life. I immediately developed a very severe burn on my chest and stomach. It’s Sunday night and I’m still dealing with the terrible pains of the burn itself and its accompanying blisters. As if that wasn’t enough to make me miserable, I started developing Hell’s itch about 7 hours ago. I. Want. To. Die. It’s everything you guys are describing. Unless you’re experiencing it, it’s hard to imagine how awful an itch could be. “It’s just a tickle, an itch. Just scratch it and get over it.” WRONG. It’s enough to drive someone batshit crazy. I can’t even tell where the itch is coming from to be able to scratch it. And if I even try to scratch it, the pain from the burn and blisters become exponentially worse. My chest is on FIRE. What’s worse is that being a large chested woman is a downfall in this case for three reasons: 1. Can’t wear a bra from the pain. 2. The weight of them pull on your skin, making it worse. 3. When they touch, the pain/itch flares up even more. Unfortunately, I don’t have benadryl in the house nor do I have peppermint oil so I have to wait until the morning to make these purchases. Also, because my burn is so severe, I’m terrified to try a hot shower. I feel that that would intensify my blister action even more. Instead, I’ve been using aloe and popping Advil with limited relief. It is now 2:33 am and I’m trying to get some sleep, but I doubt that’s going to happen. Hang in there everyone.

  51. Ok folks, from my most recent experience. I have not tried the peppermint oil because I could not find it. Now, on to what did work. BENADRYL! The hot Showers worked great while I was in there and if I did not touch my back in ANY way once out of the shower but the benadryl is what pulled me through. I was burnt last tuesday and my itch started thursday while at work. And after hot showers thursday night to get through and ONlY sleeping on my stomach, i got some benadryl friday afternoon . I took the benadryl immediately and through the evening My itch stayed away. I took a hot shower before bed and I slept fine….ON MY BACK even! Saturday morning…got up..got the kids ready and went back to the lake. Sprayed some spf 80 on my back and shoulders…for a second..the itch returned but it went away quickly and I was in the water from noon til’ 4:30. Reapplying every 80 min or so. I am peeling from the original burn and did not recieve a new burn and the hell’s itch is going the way of a snowball in hell. So in my experience I would reccommend NOT touching or applying ANYTHING to your skin. It only made mine worse. The least you can touch it or mess with it the better. It only took four total benadryl pills to alleviate me of this nightmare. This leads me to believe that the body must treat a very larg area burn as an allergic reaction. My burn did cover a large area of my shoulders and back. Is surface area the catalyst? What is the common link? Does anyone have hells itch and not have a large burn?

  52. our family has gone boating for the past 13 years and 2 hours at the local pool has cause more pain and distress than any other sunburn my son has encountered. I had read on a home remedy site about soaking towels in tea and using those as cold compresses. I got home from work and started the treatment. did this for about 45 minutes. he also used benadryl anti-itch spray. took 4 motrin and 2 hours later he isn’t in any more pain. I am on my way to the store for benadryl pills since he has final exams tomorrow at school. he typically doesn’t use aloe gel so don’t know if this played a role in the severe itch or not.

  53. I don’t know if it’s possible to be in more excruciating pain then what Hells Itch dolls out. I’m just coming through the absolute worst 20 hours of my life. I would have sacrificed my manhood for relief. I don’t understand what was happening but the pain can’t get much worse. If you think I’m overreacting you haven’t experienced it. Itching isn’t the right word for this. When the thought of being flogged sounds like it might help relieve the pain you know it’s bad.

    I got thoroughly toasted on my back and stomach 2 and a half days ago. It was red but I thought with a little aloe I should be fine. Last night the itching began. It started with a light itch on my sternum. I scratched it and opened up Pandora’s box of pain and suffering. I tried everything aloe, cream, solar cane with only more itching. I felt like I was loosing my mind. My only thoughts between now and then have been how to relieve this pain. Peppermint oil did seem to help along with benedryl and ibuprofen.

    You have nothing left when dealing with this. I’m just glad I’m not in jail at this point. If I had seen me last night driving from pharmacy to pharmacy without a shirt screaming into the air I would have pulled me over and assumed a drug addict. I have been dealing with this all while on the road building a barn and sleeping in someone’s basement. I can’t wait for today to be over! I am living in a nightmare.

  54. I wouldn’t not wish this on my worst enemies! Got sunburnt 48 hours ago. All day it’s been a little itchy than when I got home I made the biggest mistake of my life. I put aloe on my back and shoulders and then hell opened up and I was sucked in! The most intense itching I’ve ever experienced! If the itching would have stop long enough for me to open I window and jump I would have! I couldn’t concentrate on anything, I tried to read a article on this deadly itch but I stay still long enough to! Oatmeal bath made it worse! Only thing that helped a+d ointment! The itching calmed down and I’m no longer suicidal!!!

  55. I got hells itch 4 years ago after going on my uncles boat and not wearing ANY sunscreen. I got fried, and the worst day of my life followed. Itch was all over my body. Legs, back, chest. It hurt to scratch and the itch was unbearable. The first time around spraying white vinegar helped. But yesterday, my plea for vinegar did not help. So I took a cold oatmeal bath. Seemed to work and my itching has been bearable since last night and into this morning. Will be buying Benadryl and peppermint oil just in case. All I am doing is kind of twitching my back and shaking the itch. Word to the wise: don’t shower if you can help it. The cool shower and drying off is what made my back light up and kickstart my itch. Just don’t do it for as long as you can. Sink was your hair. Just no cool showers unless you’re doing it to stay in there not to wash up. NEVER WILL I LEAVE TO GO OUTSIDE WITHOUT SUNSCREEN AGAIN. EVER. TRUST ME. BEING PASTY WHITE IS MUCH BETTER THAN THIS HELL.

    Also funny story: 4 years ago when I got the itch, I was doing anything to relieve it. DO NOT LAY ON YOUR BACK AND PUSH YOURSELF ACROSS THE CARPET. And thats all I’m going to say about that.

    Remedy that has worked:

    4 years ago: Spraying white vinegar on back.

    Today: Cold oatmeal bath

    Remedies that seem to work from this post:

    Benadryl

    Peppermint Oil

    (I won’t recommend it but) Hot shower.

    1. Too late for that warning my carpet won’t recover but you made me laugh which made me forget this feeling for about .00008 seconds so thank you

  56. Got a bad back sunburn on a Saturday. On Monday and Tuesday the pain started setting in and through a consistent dose of pain medicine, IB-Profin, and anti – flamatory I got through those two days. Wednesday I had no problems and I thought I was through it.

    WRONG!!!! On Thursday I started to itch, nothing unbearable, but at times could be become uncomfortable. My wife insisted on keeping my back “hydrated” with lotion. Although, it didn’t reduce itch.

    Then at 8AM on Friday I was awoken to the most uncomfortable itching I could ever imagine. I could not sit still and constantly had to move. I do not know why I had to move, but it did not help my back. It kept getting worse and worse. Lathered my back with lotion, it did not help. Put solarcane on back. WORSE MISTAKE EVER. I did not think the itch could get any worse and I was dead wrong. The aloe only amplified the itch and introduced pain. I believe my mom thought I was going nuts because I could not stop moving and make strange noises. I even sat in the car so I could scream.

    I called my doctor and they said there was nothing they could do.

    Last resort I googled for remedies and discovered this site. I hurried to the shower. At first it didn’t work. but then it slowly started to itch less. The itch was replaced by pain, but I could handle the pain. I then scoured my town for Peppermint Oil and the fifth location finally had some. During the next twelve hours I smelled like a candy cane and took six hot showers. I drained my hot water tank twice. I took 12 Benedryl tablets. I did not care if their was a side effect to the Benedryl, it could not be any worse than what I was going through.

    16 later hours the itch has subdued now my back is dry as a 80 year woman who tans daily. I am afraid to put anything on it that could moisturize my skin for fear of hell returning. I have the occasional itch that I try to ignore, but between my shoulder blades my skin feels really tight. I cant sleep and I am tired of leaning forward when I sit because of the the fear for my back to touch the couch or chair I am sitting in. I can only pace around the house so many times.

  57. THANK you guys! My fourteen-year old came downstairs screaming and writhing in pain yesterday. We both got sunburned our first day on vacation in Florida, so I assumed his cries about the itch making him want to kill himself were related to his burn (two days before). The only difference between he and I was that I put on pure coconut oil after the burn, and he used an aloe gel with lidocaine. I didn’t get the itch. I don’t know if or how that is related, but his panic scared me to death! Between his screams, I found you guys, ran to the closest store, bought Benadryl and Tylenol, and got him into a HOT shower. The hot shower helped, but he was back to hyperventilating again when I came back with the goods! I double-dosed the Benadryl. 30 minutes later, he was relaxed enough to have a conversation and play video games! He was even relieved enough to sleep through the night. Thank you so much for your input! Without you all, I would have had to find the nearest ER! I sincerely appreciate you publicizing this freakishly wicked occurrence.

  58. WHY DID I DO THIS AGAIN!!!!

    So about 5 years ago I was in Cabo San Lucas Mexico enjoying some beach time with family and friends. I got a bit of a sunburn that hurt a little but was nothing in comparison to burns I had previously encountered. The next day I applied more sunscreen and it was SPF 50.(I didnt want to get more burnt.) Later that night at about 1:00am I awake to without a doubt the single most terrible thing I had ever experienced. As a pretty tough 15 year old I had never really been reduced to tears through shear pain. I CRIED LIKE THE MOUTH OF A RIVER. The itching was so intense and severe that I went and woke my mom. The first thing I said to her as I cried at the bedside was “Fix this itching or I am getting a knife and carving out my flesh” I wasnt joking. At that point cutting into my back and removing an inch of my skin seemed so much more pleasant. I put on a very thick layer of Aloe and tried to sleep but I just couldnt. I then took a cold bath and applied Aloe one more time. The relief was enough for me to get some sleep. In the morning I awoke with the same damn “Hell’s Itch” and began writhing and crying yet again. I looked in the mirror only to find that my entire back was a series of scabs. About half a Centimeter in diameter each. And I was feeling sick, nauseated, fevered, and weak. One of the friends we had brought along was a nurse informed me I had sun poisoning(who knew the sun is venomous) and she made this remedy with Apple Juice Eggs and Aloe and rubbed it all over my back. The stuff hardened and provided relief for my back. I was comfortable for a brief time until out of nowhere it just started back up. For a total of 4 Days I got about 3 hours sleep and cried for about 72 hours. Without a doubt the worst experience of my life. 2 days ago I went to a waterpark with my girlfriend and didnt use enough sunscreen. It begins again…

  59. So heat rash is the name I’ve called this but “Hell’s Itch” is so much more appropriate! First time I got it was in the Mayan Riviera- a place us Canadians should approach with caution given our skin spends most of it’s time in such northern lattitudes as to be almost transluscent white. I slathered everything on I had and nothing worked, not even copious margheritas. My chest and neck looked like ground beef- raised, blotchy, red patches. I learned that applying sunscreen (which I did) covers the pores up and sweat can’t escape. Once blocked, it blisters under the skin and causes the itch. Scratching won’t relieve it, it’s an allergic response to the sun. Powder helps, medicated Gold Bond, and the Benadryl spray also temporarily relieves it. DON’T put lotion or salve or balm or anything that could further clog the pores up!!! Cooling the skin- icing it actually- helps and over time, the blisters subside. I’m now prone to episodes on that same area, living through one right now, sitting at my desk trying not to die from the irritation…

  60. Second night of not sleeping due to the itch. Leaving for the airport at 4 am. Starting to hallucinate that inanimate objects are moving. Hot water turned off due to burst pipe. Out of alcohol. If ever there was a sign from the Universe that one should end it all..this would be it.

  61. “Hell hath no fury like a sunburn scorching”. I had never in my life experienced the extreme discomfort caused by Hell’s Itch. I awoke at 2:30 AM last night to an itch on my back caused from sunburn at the beach two days prior. I started to itch but realized that it was not helping and the itching was becoming even more unbearable. I didn’t know what to do, and realizing that this was no ordinary itch I googled sunburn itch and stumbled across this page. The first thing I tried was applying liberal amounts of aloe vera gel to my back. It did not help. I then saw that someone posted that vinegar helps and I desperately poured it down my back but it did nothing to help. Next I took 2 benadryls and skeptically decided to try the hot shower recommended by others. Let me tell you the hot water on my back did wonders. I let the scalding hot water burn my back for a half hour as this was the only relief I could find for the itch. I know it sounds counter intuitive but it really seemed to work. I also think the half hour long shower allowed the benadryl to take affect. I really think this was an allergic reaction of sorts. I am a 29 year old and have been sunburned plenty of times in my life but never experienced the rather of hell’s itch until last night when I thought at one point I might have to go to the emergency room.

  62. Went to the beach 2 days ago and like many have said after 48 hours the devil releases hells itch on you. While I was looking to get the redness away read aloe vera could help. So send my gf yo get some and put it all over my back. Nothing. After 30m smeared it all over for the second time and then it started. An unbearable itch. I was jumping like there is no tomorrow, screaming into a pillow, punching walls cause I just couldnt take it anymore. I have bite-marks on my fingers and I just realized I did this to myself. Ofcourse in the mean time my gf is freaking out cause usually im such a badass and this itch has turned me into this bitch.

    For the following couple hours I have looked everywhere online and sent my girl over and over to the pharmacy to get things that could help. The moment I read cold shower without reading further I immediately got in and sat there while I was waiting for her. They do help. But the moment you come out and try to dry or not it gets so bad. Wouldnt recommend it. I never scratched cause I know it would get worse and u definitely dont want that!! Ofcourse like many you look for a way to end it and thoughts of hurting yourself to forget do pass by even suicide!! After I tried ice-cubes while waiting for peppermint oil and anti-histamine pills. They did work for me I have used them about 1h ago and now I wont say the itch is totally gone but it is so much more bearable. I still can lie down still but I feel like heaven right now.

    Hells itch? Never again.

  63. Thank you so much everyone for first blogging this and then putting in your solutions. My 19 yr old son woke me up at 1:30 in the morning in agony. This was nothing I had ever seen or experienced with any of my sons. I searched Sunburn-itch and thank goodness this came up. Of course we had done everything wrong first – Aloe, cool shower, after both with him declaring it was worse. After going through everyone’s information above – Hot shower, anit-hystamine and hydrocortizone got him through the night. I have never felt so helpless as a mother in my life! Stocked up the next day on a tub of A&D, SPF 50 everything (Spray, roll on) more benadryl, more hydrocortizone cream. I work at a hospital and the ped’s docs I told hadn’t heard about this! They did ask if my son had a fever with the symptoms. They said they would recommend if there is a fever, seek medical help. Otherwise treat the itch as described above. So everyone – Thank you for teaching me something new and making me a better mom! THANK YOU!

  64. Hi all –

    The best solution I have found, which I have yet to see mentioned, is a steam room. Grant it, one can be difficult to find at 2am. But the last 2 times I have been struck with Satan’s itch I have purchased a day pass at a local sports club and spent hours in and out of the steam room. The relief is immediate and glorious! And the best part is that it does not come with the initial intense uncomfort of other solutions. I cannot recommend this solution highly enough. Be sure to stay hydrated in the process.

  65. TROGDOOORRRRRR. Seriously though, this shit sucks and I feel like a peasant with this shit on my back.

  66. First I have to thank everyone that has contributed on here….some of the laughs have really taken my mind off of the little stinging pitchforks that the bastard fire ants have been poking into my mid & lower back for the past few hours. I just got back from Europe and had dutifully lathered up in obscenely high SPF everywhere except my lower back ( I had no intentions of laying out on my stomach…I fell asleep in the sun in Las Vegas about 20 years ago and still recall the HELL that ensued — so my back hasn’t seen the sun much in quite awhile). In a complete lapse of the tiniest shred of common sense…I stood at the edge of the ocean watching people frolic in the ocean — sounds fun & relaxing right? WRONG. I only stood there for about 20 minutes…..never remembering that I hadn’t applied anything to my mid-lower back…you know, the spots where the damn spray doesn’t get to so easily?! Unbeknownst to me…Satan was indeed laughing in delight and by the time I got back to the hotel and looked in the mirror (yes, there was a gasp…followed by some choice words) that I saw that 75% of my back was the color of a cooked lobster. So that was just about 48 hours ago, which seems to be the general time frame for Hell’s Itch to set in. I just went to pharmacy and they didn’t have peppermint oil…but they did have tea tree oil — let’s just say that was a waste of $10. I’ve already popped 2 benadryl & did spray a little lindocaine….the uprisings are sporadic now…but the temptation to just scratch, no, just “touch” the spot that itches is practically overwhelming. I’m tempted to try the hot shower that some of you joyfully recommend yet I’m fearful that I will be reduced to a 3 year old whimpering girl when it’s over — so I’m putting that on hold for now. A strong drink is sounding better and better – oh I’m probably not fooling you….SEVERAL strong drinks are sounding better & better.
    Misery loves company…….so hang in there!

  67. Ive had the dreaded itch for 4 hours so far and oh dear god i wanted to kill myself also. The mrs rubbed aloe leaf gel from the actual plant into my back. It didnt help, next vinegar, that didnt help. Next online tip i found was hot shower. BINGO! 15 minute shower gives me 15 minutes of itch free freedom, had 3 showers so far but just read that i need a hot hot hot shower. Will give that a try in a sec. Mrs has gone to try and get peppermint oil but we are on holiday in france! Terrible timing, i hope she can get it. Ive also told her to grab so deep heat to see if that helps, worth a try if the hot showers work. Been out the shower for about half hour now and starting to get the odd twinge, hopefully a super hot shower will give me a few hours peace!

    Good luck everyone, i can honestly say hells itch after sunburn is the worst thing i have ever had wrong with me!!!

  68. I decided to lay in pool on Tuesday, get a little sun before we leave for Mexico in a week
    BIG MISTAKE, I looked like I belonged in one of those tanks in the lobby of Red Lobster, did the vinegar baths and the pain was tolerable, until last night when HELLS ITCH set in. If lighting ones self on fire and running through broken glass were a cure I would gladly have done it to stop this itch, I was up half the night going from hot shower to contemplating suicide, luckily I stumbled across this site and read about the peppermint oil, so I hopped in my car and headed to GNC, it’s been nearly an hour since I all but bathed in the stuff and I am feeling 99% better, never again will I venture out without slathering on copious amounts of sunscreen I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy or even my mother in law!!!!!!

  69. My son had this last week, 48 hours after a minor sunburn. It came on suddenly, without any warning while he was working out at the gym and it was the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen someone endure. Thanks to the author of this blog and all who posted remedies and moral support…. The cure for my son was a prescription antihistamine called hydroxyzine. Once he took a dose, the itch was drastically reduced and he could sleep. Before that he tried Benadryl, baths and showers (hot and cold), Sarna, hydrocortisone creams, calamine lotion, but nothing stopped the itch except being submerged in water and even that didn’t last long. This histamine response is pure hell — wouldn’t wish it on anyone. If you’re dealing with it now, hang in and try to get some hydroxyzine.

  70. Hydrocortisone cream helped me. My wife rubbed it in about 30 min ago and the itch seemed to stop. Before that i was pulling my hair out.

  71. Peppermint oil and Gold Bond lotion with aloe are what helped me kick this awful experience. Accompany that with a VERY hot shower, and it’ll be relieved over night. (Yes, over night). Lotion on for 15 minutes, hot shower for 10 minutes.

  72. I’m typing this on my phone right now. I just recently got this sunburn that turned out to be this so called Hells Itch. Replying to a random website I know nothing about is something I would never do, like never but considering how bad this itch is, I just have to. My burn is about 48 hours old and I just began feeling the itch while watching the new transformers. Began with my shoulders, then continued to my whole back area. I’m sitting in front of a fan whilst typing this at 1:25 am because I’m trying to keep my mind off of how bad this itch is. It’s somewhat bearable now but I’m fairly sure if I move the itching will become unbearable once again. No one, and I mean NO ONE should have to go through this hell, this is my foorst time experiencing it and I’ve damn near almost gone insane. I’m currently unsure on what to do at the moment, I’ve seen so many ways to fix it but I have yet to get around to trying the oils or ointments or oatmeal or whatever. I’ll update this post later I’m gonna go suffer a bit more and see what happens.

    1. not much really helps except the shower. had mine several days and felt like I wanted to rip off my skin with a razor!

  73. So a family trip to the lake resulted in a horrible sunburn thanks to no re applying the sun block as indicated. 1st day just pain no big deal although I looked like a lobster. 2nd day a bit itchy no biggie right…wrong…the 3rd day I was at work and all of a sudden this itch started…cold lotion, noxema, prescription medication, and aloe vera gel…no effect. The itch got so bad I got dizzy and nauseous, which led to me running out. Ran home. Stripped as soon as I walked in the door. Hubby looks at me surprised to see the workaholic home early. I didn’t say a word and ran to the shower because it was the only thing I wanted. my desperation already at peak. Hot shower? didn’t work! Cold shower? yes numb the hell going on in my back! did I mention I hate cold water? no? I do! but it was so bad I was ready to rip my skin off and hang it somewhere. Stayed in the shower under the cold water until I got prune like and hubby had washed all the chemicals that didn’t work off. They actually seem to make it worst. Laying sprawled in bed naked seemed crazy but I didn’t care it stopped! I let myself air dry and out ALOT of Calamine on, which did not make it disappear but took the edge off. Lesson learned. Went to the lakes yesterday…used most of my sunblock reapplying every hour, but I don’t care because I am not burn. I’d rather stay pale than go through that misery again! best advice? hide and use sun block lots and lots of sun block.

  74. I had this once before and it is exactly what everyone has described. I am an idiot and I have burned myself again. I am so fearful of getting the itch. It is day 3 right now and I’m beginning to feel my nerve endings firing. I want to prevent this from happening before it starts. Going to GNC to get peppermint oil asap. Dear sunburn god please help me.

  75. I need to periodically read this thread whenever I get the great idea that I should be tan even though I have fair irish skin. Every summer this happens. I feel like i am doomed for skin cancer at this point. How could we all be so dumb? So vain.

  76. Ha i love these stories! So similar to mine! On sunday I was swimming in a clear pond, didn’t even notice my burn till that night.( looked like a lobster) then i went on a camping trip with a buddy and on day 2 my i felt a little itching nothing to bad, so before i went to sleep i had my buddy rub some Benadryl on my back. Right then all hell broke loose! I was itching like mad, running around almost crying and rubbing my back against a tree, so i yelled at my buddy to drive me to the nearest gas station to find something, on “medicine” wall i looked for the key words “burning”, “itching” ,”relief” so i bought this cream as fast as i could and got out, i bought preparation H! So i sat there in the woods while my buddy rubbed rectal cream on my back. -didn’t even help

  77. Alcohol!!! 190 proof everclear is doing the trick. I woke up in the pitch black knocking crap over thinking I was as miserable as going through another deployment in an Iraqi summer. Lotions make me want to act like a bear and rub my body against stucco until it falls off! I am really drunk and laughing at all these posts though. A couple more swigs and ill be sleeping like a baby.

    You are not crazy! Just don’t do anything crazy. Time heals all.

  78. Day at the pool on the 4th got me. It’s not even a bad burn, but boy does it itch!! I’m on antibiotics and I read that they can make you sensitive to the sun. This is the first sunburn that has ever itched like this and I’ve had plenty of pretty bad sunburns (you’d think I’d learn) so I’m blaming the antibiotics. Last night it started itching and I thought I was having a bad reaction to the meds I’m on and freaked out thinking my throat would start swelling shut any moment. Took me a whole day to realize it’s the burning itch from hell. Now, I’m armed with pure peppermint which seems to give brief relief. Next I’m going to try the hot shower that seems to help everyone, take some Benadryl, and whatever sleep meds I can find and HOPEFULLY i’ll be able to sleep more than an hour tonight.

    I’m glad to find out it’s not just me that wants to kill myself for relief.

    1. I feel like it should add that if this happens to you quit taking the antibiotic. Once I quit hells itch went away within 48 hours. After 24 hours is was SO MUCH better.

  79. Glad to see I am not the only one that has went through this. There is a lot us Hells Itch customers! Haha.
    I have had Hells itch twice.
    My first experience i went to the doctor and they thought I was losing it. They gave me a bunch of creams which did nothing. Anything I put on my back made it worse. Actually anything touching my back only heightened the itch. It felt like 400 million Mosquitos and fire Ants were having their way with my back.
    The twitchs I would experience as I resisted scratching turned into tremors in my body. I would literally shake.
    I was forced to lay on my arms so I could control myself from itching my back. I think I paced the house 1000 times. Eventually I decided to go for a run… I ran the fastest 10km of my life. 41 minutes. Haha.
    That was the only positive in this experience. Hells itch has struck me twice and it has made me question my sanity both times!

    ***Ok, here is my question for everyone here.
    How come this is not a diagnosed allergy or reaction? Doctors think we are crazy and wimps.
    Is there a way to begin the process so it is recognized by doctors and taught? There is enough of us that have the exact same story and situation.

    Lastly, I find that this only happens the first time my body sees sun for the year. Summer time. If I burn after my back has gradually seen sun for a couple days and was starting to tab.. I’m good. But if I’m solid white and burn… Hells itch! Anyone find the same result? If so, I have now done tanning salons before every trip so my skin has been exposed a bit. That may help all of you with prevention. And of course… Sunscreen!

    All the best out there. Enjoy the HOT showers and peppermint oil. 🙂

    G

  80. I am 19, and have had my fair share of sunburns in my life. Anyways, two days ago I got a sunburn from the beach, I had been sunbathing for about 3 hours and I guess I was not liberal enough with my sunscreen. I got a nice sunburn on my back and arms, nothing horrible, just a nice pinkish red one. Last night, before going to bed, the sunburn was itching mildly, and this morning, approx. 48 hours after my exposure to the sun, I applied aloe vera to my burn in hopes of calming the itchiness. Suddenly my back ignited with pain, and I was convulsing and screaming, running all over the house, stamping my feet in pain, like a chicken with its head cut off. After shouting to my mom to get on her computer to search for remedies, I was commanded to get in a hot shower, which I did so hesitantly. The shower provided me with an immediate, but short lived relief to the pain, and the two Benadryl helped as well. since then, i have taken some peppermint oil, about 8 drops directly on my back, which provided a soothing, gold bond type coolness. As noted above, it seems like this will occur if you get burnt upon your first or early exposure to the sun in the summer. four key take aways from my experience so far (still ongoing): DONT GET BURNT EARLY IN TO SUMMER, IF YOU GET HELLS ITCH: TAKE MANY HOT SHOWERS, TWO BENADRYL, AND APPLY PEPPERMINT OIL TO SKIN.

  81. Trapped in tub right now. Hottest water possible. Fan on my face. Hot hot water always works. Not warm. Hot hot. Never posted to social media. I had bad burns as a child, but this reaction started late teens. Now years later I always get it. First tumble was on a house boat in middle of nowhere. Up and down the shore in insanity freaking everyone out and afraid for my life. Seeing as I’m doing nothing else. Going to take stab at what’s going on.

    Patterns: 48hr onset. Hot, not warm, relieves it while in it. Water, in shower, tub, or pool keeps it at bay while in it. Pruritis, uticaria, known to be histamine triggered. Many testimonials of high dosages oh antihistamines causing relief. Treatments causing significant sensation (peppermint oil, Vicks) causing relief. Reports of reaction not occurring initially in life, but then always after first reaction; similar to people who are deathly allergic to things like bee stings (these people almost always have a moderate reaction first, which triggers the doctor to prescribe an epi pen because she knows the next time will be more severe). Agitation (putting on lotion, taking of shirt, scratching) causes itching.

    Guesses: this is an allergic reaction. After radiation, the allergic response takes 48hrs to manifest. Similar to a funny nose from a cold takes same time frame to manifest and is known to be a reaction to histamine which is an anti inflammatory response to cellular destruction caused by the virus. So, anti histamines at a high dose should help. Take both topical and oral.

    After being sensitized by histamine, the nerve receptors in question (again guessing) appear to become “sensitive” to triggers. Google says specialized nerve fibers called c-fibers are responsible for itch triggering: mechanical and non mechanical. I’m guessing taking a protective shirt off, moving around, sweating, scratching, dry skin pulling apart upon movement, are all mechanical triggers that set this off. I’m guessing being in water acts as a barrier against triggers and is why it helps. Not sure why hot heat, vicks, or peppermint oil help but based on another unrelated research topic, there was evidence that nerve sensation can only produce so much sensation and one sensation can offer power and take up all the “bandwidth”. My best guess is that there is some kind of drowning out going on.

    Takeaways: hot hot water, high dose antihistamine, anti inflammatory drugs (nsaids, ibuprofen aspirin naproxen), maybe liquor (it’s a cns depressent), opioids (vicoden, oxycodon), tranquilizers (if lucky enough to have then), . if you can’t stand it, go to er and demand these drugs. If they threaten you with sedation or a tazer, I’m not joking, keep freaking out until they do it.

  82. I am currently experiencing Hell’s itch right now and let me reiterate to you all, it is truly an excruciating experience. Thankfully, reading these posts has diverted my attention and eased the pain a bit. Once I recover from this sunburn, never again shall I forget to apply, apply and reapply the strongest sunscreen known to man when I go to the beach.

  83. Just found an article on nationalpost.com (Hopper) dated ten days ago.

    Highlights:
    Dr. Martin Steinhoff, one of the world’s leading sunburn researchers, has encountered many patients in the throes of a Hell Itch.

    He estimates the Hell Itch strikes 5% to 10% of sunburn sufferers, who may or may not be genetically predisposed to it. And although it may feel like an allergic reaction, he said it cannot be treated by antihistamines.

    Online, the community of Hell Itch sufferers has agreed on only one surefire treatment: A constant regimen of boiling hot showers until the itch subsides.

    The shower works, explained Dr. Steinhoff, because it activates the skin’s pain nerves, shutting down the itch. In more severe cases of chronic itch, the same logic has even prompted sufferers to take lighters to their skin.

    When he encounters the Hell Itch, Dr. Steinhoff prescribes an “aggressive” treatment of both high-potency steroid creams and doses of prednisolone, a drug banned by most world athletic federations.

  84. I am arguably the dumbest person alive. I would like to believe I am one of the first that experienced hells itch. It was 2000 and I was in Atlantic city. I was 16 years old. I was freaking out. Let’s just say that’s partially the reason why my ex broke up with me.

    Every single year I’m dumb enough to make the same mistake and not use sunscreen. Yes. You heard me. Every year.

    So here I am, 29 years old and it’s 2014. It’s Tuesday morning, 2:15 am in New York and I’m wide awake. My mother kept nagging at me to paint the fence in front of the house. (We own a home together). So this past Saturday to shut her up, I did. I painted the first half with my shirt on. By the end of the hour, my shirt was drenched in sweat. So I did the most logical thing any moron would do and I took my shirt off. I had it off for 45 minutes. After finishing, I took a shower. Realizing I was moderately burnt, I did the most logical thing any nimrod would do. NOTHING! Saturday passed and just burning. Sunday came and went, just burning. Monday morning at 5 am I wake up from this shi*! I own a business so there is no such thing as calling in sick. For some of you this might sound horrible. The fact that I had to work all day and talk on the phone and meet people face to face while twitching like I have Tourette’s, but business actually helped to take my mind off of the itch. So I drugged myself last night with One Xanax (0.25, I know not a heavy dose) and 2 extra strength Tylenol. So I laid down and only slept for about two hours. Woke up at 1:30 am from the itch and found this post.

    Im doing my regular moves. I mainly use the “tuck and roll”, where I curl up into a ball and constantly roll myself through the apartment. I’ve done the “gypsy” as well, placing my back against the wall swinging my shoulders back and forth while moving my hips. Of course none of this helps and it makes me look like the biggest panzi in front of my fiancé.

    The truth of the matter is that this is roughly he 20th time I’ve dealt with it. Believe it or not, you start to get used to it. I have never tried anything but aloe Vera. Of course that shi* doesn’t work! Time heals all wounds, and itch! I know I’m in my second day and should start to feel slightly better than yesterday. The third day (tomorrow) is when it will progressively subside. To all of you out there, I feel your pain. Try all of the remedies they are mentioning. The hot shower only works for me while I’m in it, but I feel worse when I get out.

    Notice the same patterns people talk about. They mention NEVER to scratch it. Yes irritating it with any kind of pressure will make it worse. Next thing, peppermint oil or anything that can send a deep burn half an inch into your skin will cause pain and therefore replace the itch with pain.

    I’m a veteran of hells itch, and it’s nice to see they now have a name for it. For the future, I will try peppermint oil. That’s about it. I don’t want to go nuts and put a million different lotions and creams on my skin.

    One quick funny story about a past hells itch- summer of 2005 my buddy and I went to seaside NJ for the day. Being well aware of the bitch itch, I asked my friend to put sunscreen on me. We happened to be in the company of some beautiful ladies and he refused. What a dick. So I stayed the whole day in the sun with only the parts covered where my own hands can reach. So one part of my back got badly burned. Two days later I awoke in the middle of the night to the itch. So I grabbed my phone, called my friend Steve and cursed him out repeatedly over the phone. I had to call about 5 times in a row till he finally picked up. All he did was apologize and I kept saying “you didn’t want to look like a panzi in front of the girls yet you never even hit on one, you went home with your di** in your hand and I’m suffering because of your stupidity”! True agonizing story. Anyway, I’ll be suffering for the next day or so. To all, good luck and if you have any questions feel free to reply.

    Chris Frusci

  85. For the record, I took 6 60mg caps of Allegra (anti histamine) and have had no noticeable relief. I’m on hour 22 since onset of reaction. Pretty much sleeping in the tub, refreshing with hot water. Definitely keeps it at bay. But I’m stuck in the tub. Emailed team at work saying I won’t be in. Reply, “aloe works great for sunburns”. …yup, thanks

  86. I know it sucks. I went to work with it and it’s horrible. Do everything you can to take your mind off of it. I know it’s nearly impossible but every second you’re not thinking of the itch, it’s almost like you don’t have it.

  87. Finally subsided. 29 hours of essentially living in the tub, always reheating the water, food next to the tub, laptop on the toilet watching south park, fan on a box blowing on me to keep from overheating, and phone plugged in so i can respond to work emails and surf internet. The itch pretty much doesn’t exist as long as I’m in the water. But was MADDENING when i tried to brave it out of the water. This is the only best treatment plan I know of. I don’t see how it’s realistic to survive a drive and wait to a doctor, then a pharmacy (if they even prescribe something that helps). Parents, if your kids get this, throw them in the tub with hot water (because they’ll be hysterical and in torture), get them something to rest their head on, fan, tv, food, and probably benadryl solely to help them sleep (in the tub; it’s a sleep aid).

  88. Oh, and to be clear, for 10-15 seconds, when your burnt skin first hits the water, a spasm and scream will probably belt out, because, oh man – it really really hurts. But in 10-15 seconds the pain and itch immediately disappear. A few prickles of itch for following 120 seconds. So for your kids, be prepared for their reaction so you keep them in the water.

  89. Yea I took a hot shower before and it felt good. 40 hours after the first sign of the itch and it’s dying down. I will be taking Benadryl to put me to sleep. Tomorrow morning I should just feel a few prickly itches here and there. I’m glad you got through it brother.

  90. I waited 21 years to vista Hawaii and now I am here…with Hell’s Itch! I thought I was going stark raving mad and I was jumping up and down the shower saying, “This has got to get better…this has got to get better…” over and over again. It’s awful…it’s WORSE than awful. So…hot showers and an anti-histamine are the only things saving me right now. WHAT A NIGHTMARE….:(

  91. I have had personal experience with this twice. the first time i was 16 years old and snorkeling for hours with NO sunscreen, severe burn, 48 hours later i was literally home alone crying in a freezing shower with no internet to guide me to relief, i wound up sitting still in a recliner and going literally insane. Now i am a 25 year old med student and had my back fried a the local pool and 48 hours later BAM, same thing, histamines were the first thing to pop in my head so i took an irresponsibly large amount of benadryl which made me sane enough after thirty mins of walking back and forth squeezing a shirt and moaning while my wife downplayed the whole thing saying “how can it itch “that” bad” i stumbled across this article in my doped up itchy state and immediately got in the hottest i could stand shower. i was up till four a.m. taking showers and fighting off the benadryl until exhaustion completely took me over. Benadryl combined with a scalding hot shower is the best cure ive come upon.

  92. I’ve read several inquiries online from people desperately seeking relief as they experience an unusual deep nerve penetrating itch after a sunburn.

    My family has experienced this for three generations and when we finally found this solution we try to let others know.

    For intense-deep-i’m going crazy-sunburn itch ….get PEPPERMINT OIL. Be careful not to buy peppermint extract. You can find PEPPERMINT OIL in health food stores and natural foods stores. There are some pharmacists who know about this and carry it as well…not many though.

    Rub the oil directly on the affected area until all of the surface is covered. If you can’t reach…for back burns, have someone else apply thoroughly.

    The hands of whoever applies it will feel the cooling affect of the oil even after they wash their hands. It feels fine, not painful in anyway. AVOID any contact with eyes, mouth or nose however as they will be irritated by the oil.

    This is the ONLY thing that works nearly instantly and permanently with this deep nerve sunburn itch that some people experience. One application is all that is necessary as Peppermint oil is pretty potent. Please try this. I know the insanity you are feeling if you are going through this right now.

    Again I’m talking about unusually intense deep nerve itching, not regular peeling skin itch that most people experience post sunburn. This deeper, intense almost pinching itch begins usually one or two days following a burn and those who experience it feel as though they are going crazy as it’s intensity is nearly unbearable.

    Things to avoid that only make this itch worse…don’t apply any lotion or other oils. This includes pure aloe vera which seems to just dry it more. Standing under a cool shower spray can help as long as you are in it while you wait for someone to buy the PEPPERMINT OIL. Anyone who has gone through this knows that any relief brought by the spray of water goes away as soon as you get out of the shower and start to dry the itch returns.

    PEPPERMINT OIL WILL remove the itch.

    Just writing about this always makes me remember the insane feeling of experiencing this and makes me hopeful others will find this in time to find relief.

    Once you’ve used it IT WILL WORK. You’ll want to keep the oil on hand and avoid at all costs exposing yourself to the sun again like that in the future. We know two things about it…if you’ve experienced it once you are vulnerable to it happening again, and, it seems to be a genetic thing. About half of my family members have experienced it once, two of them twice. We don’t risk it anymore. It is sure nice to know what to do about it though.

    I research this quite a lot to see if others have found this solution. I did see a few posts that have indicated that gold balm medicated powder has worked for some relief too. I haven’t tried that (and don’t intend to EVER be in the position to need to again), but it’s worth writing about any real relief as this is such a crazy thing to experience with no relief.

  93. Having had a 48h pure madness hell’s itch 4 years ago, I like to think I’m really careful with sunbathing. Last month, honeymoontrip to Sri-Lanka: I do one hour surf after applying sunprotection on my back. Despite that, I feel a mild sunburn at the end of the day that I treat with hydration cream. Two days later, I start to feel mild itching. It reminds me my first hell’s itch episode 4 years ago hope it’s not happening again.
    Once back at the guesthouse, the intensity of the itching increases and I ask my wife to apply some hydration cream on my back…BIG MISTAKE!
    A minute later I feel the million fireants running under my skin. I use a small tube of corticoid cream but it brings no improvement. I’m like a mad cow, running in circles in the hotelroom shouting loud and blaming my mother for my existence. I take paracetamol, and ibuprofen and my very supportive wife spend the next one and half hour applying ice on my back until the bed is completely flooded. It keeps me quiet enough until the icecubes are all melted and the fireants back.
    I know from my first experience that a painful hot shower is a temporary relief, but no luck, no hot water in the bathroom and no way I can find anti-histaminics, corticoids tablets, or peppermint oil in this part of the world.
    By chance, my wife had two tablets of clonazepam in her bag. It’s a really potent benzodiazepine that should make me sleep like a baby. I take one pill: nothing. After 30 minutes, I go litteraly crazy, I keep moving constantly, I make push-ups in the bathroom , I want to rip my skin off my back . I take a second tablet of clonazepam but I’m still living in a nightmare. Knowing that alcohol potentialize the effect of benzodiazepine, I think of something really stupid: to knock myself out with a large beer!
    I only fear that they will refuse to serve me a beer because of my agitated behaviour. My best chance to get it is to explain that I’m a doctor (true story), and that I have a severe itching that won’t go away without alcohol.
    I get my beer and drink it at the reception. I’m so miserable that the receptionist offers a local traditional treatment: he brings coconut husk fiber and put it on fire in the lobby, he ask me to put my feet above the smoke and adds some of my wife’s hair to be burned with the coconut. I get that treatment for about one hour before he starts to rub my toes with lime… This was completely unreal!!!
    At 2AM the effect of drugs and alcohol is reaching it’s peak, I’m completely stone and the itching is gone. I go to bed and sleep 8 hours straight. When I wake up, I feel perfectly fine with no itch!

    I realized later how fast hell’s itch made me loose my mind and led me to irrational thinking and dangerous behaviour. Alcohol is contraindicated with benzodiazepine and should never be used in such circumstances as it may cause respiratory depression. My wife told me later that she didn’t sleep at all that night. She had to watch over me and had to hit me many times when I stopped breathing, she even feared for my life…

  94. Am in the middle of a bout of Hell’s Itch as I type this. All I can say is that if Jesus wept into a bottle and sold it it would be under the name peppermint oil. The stuff is unreal at itch prevention.

  95. 2 words of advice for Hell’s itch

    1.) Do not get your sunburn wet after the first 24 hours of getting it as this will bring on the itch!
    2.) Use a heating pad on your sunburn to get rid of the itch. It’s wierd I know but it is the only thing that works. Not antihistamines nor pain relievers or lotions, oils or solar Caine spray.
    I repeat….USE a heating pad!

  96. It’s SO BAD. I have some of the exact same lotion that you have and I have it on currently but it’s still so frustrating! I love that I’m not the only one who has contemplated cutting off the offending area of skin! It is unbearable on occasion! I just want it to stop!

  97. Going through this right now on the day 2.5 of a fairly severe burn. Was drinking and fishing with friends on a lake in just my shorts for about 2 hours. Bad idea, to say the least, since I’m white as hell as we just got out of the cold season here so I haven’t exactly been out in the sun for the past several months. My entire back and my pectorals are itching like crazy and I couldn’t even scratch at them even if it would help since my sunburn’s still just as much there as it was two days ago, just less painful. I just want to sleep, but it’s obvious that isn’t happening. Solarcaine was great on the burn, but it’s less than useless on the itch. It’s 4:15AM right now and I’m going to have to stick it out for another 2 hours until I can get some benedryl.

    My advice, if you’re still burnt (that excludes any hot showers as that would just make the burn worse) and don’t have any anti-histamines on hand is not just not touch it at all and don’t move in such a way that stretches your skin. Just avoid irritating it at all costs. My itch sort of exploded when I decided to say screw it and try to lay down on my burnt back.

    1. Great news!

      After reading around, I finally gave in to some of the people who said that putting on a shirt helped. This seemed like the last good idea to me, especially since my sunburn is still ripe. Well, shame on me for questioning thing because the moment I put a shirt on the itch was gone within seconds. I fell right asleep around 6AM, finally.

  98. 05:51, still awake acting like baloo from the jungle book, living in England its usual for me when go biking to take everything the weather here goes through in a day so norm have mary poppins carpet bag strapped to my back, never thought about it stopping the sun(sun-england, who knew)
    friend suggested having a bath filled with milk, asked him how i was gonna fill a bath with milk without inviting cleopatra over for a romantic evening or trading my magic beans for a cow and telling it to go to work
    just had a shower hot enough to steam the most stubborn of vegetables, working well with painkillers+aloe+antihistamines
    best suggestion i had from a ginger mate was “smirnoff, lots and lots of smirnoff!”

    on the bright side, my fronts still bleach white so i could always get a job spinning round outside a barbers shop 😉

  99. OK. I’m soooo glad I found this site!! Nobody could believe my sunburn would cause such a HELLISH experience!! This Hell’s Itch is REAL and very, very debilitating. I have a question: I bought some peppermint oil and some Benadryl (both oral and spray-on). I am alone in the mornings, so after my shower, what should my regimen be? Shower, then spray Benadryl, then apply peppermint oil as much as I can? Since nobody can apply it on my back (where it itches the most), is there a better method? Please help. 🙁

    1. I would try putting the oil in a spray bottle and drenching your back in spray. If it gets too messy just push your back up against a hanging towel to get the drips, but ever so lightly so most of the oil stays on your skin. You could probably even use a plastic bag and use it to spread the oil on your back for those hard to reach places (by holding the ends in each hand, one over the shoulder and the other under like you would use a hand towel or long loofah to wash your back while showering). It won’t soak up the oil and you can easily toss the bag afterward. Hope this helps. Feel better soon.

      1. Mel, thank you! I will try the spray bottle. This morning, I applied my first peppermint oil treatment. It took about 10 minutes, after which my body cooled and tingled, which felt great. It sustained until about four hours later, when the itch came back. Sprayed with Benadryl and I’m doing OK … for now. Question: How long will this EFFING thing last!?!?

  100. Thank you for giving me something to laugh about instead of screaming in agony from “Hell’s itch”. I never would’ve thought about a hot shower. Sounds counterintuitive, but it helped! Benadryl and Motrin also helped me sleep.

  101. Hot scalding shower of torture is my savior!!! I was gonna die from the itch, then cursed obscenities through the shower of death, but then I was released into solitude. Thank u for this article.

  102. I THINK my itch from hell is almost over. (I pray it is!). Now that my entire back is sloughing off skin, is it OK to start putting lotion on, or is that still a bad idea?

  103. My son begged me to call an ambulance this past Monday as he was wracked with waves of debilitating pain that stung like sharp glass as he described it. He was inconsolable and nothing helped: benadryl, cold towels, aloe, lidocaine, etc. They had to strap him down in the ambulance he was writhing so badly. The ER doc gave him Valium which calmed him down, but lead to a misdiagnosis of “severe back muscle spasms, ” because the valium helps muscles spasm in addition to anxiety. I think the hell’s itch was coincidentally succeeding because it had been many hours of suffering. What we need is a doctor who has suffered to spearhead some awareness and apply for a scientific study to come to data based solutions for diagnosis and recovery. The advice is helpful and just knowing others can agree to its existence is helpful, but not medically based. Could hot showers, peppermint oil, etc. cause damage to the skin?? Someone out there with a medical degree, please help us!!

  104. This has been me in a nutshell since 7pm, it’s now 2am…visiting an uncle who lives a ways out and currently has no hot water due to renos, doing everything possible to not wake him until a decent time. My buddy got this last year and after trying the atypical sunburn solutions (to a now unsurprising lack of success) and raving for a few hours decided to uh…man it out if you will.

    So over comes his gf and she panics seeing him in this state we have/ I am experiencing. He then proceeds to tell her his master plan, backed up by a whole liter of 40 proof gin he’s been swigging. He wants her to tie him face down to his bed frame so he can’t scratch the itch. This went as well as one imagined. 3 hours of cursing, crying and complaining neighbours and cops later we got his old man to show up and sucker punch him. Slept for about 4 hours then had him take the antihistamines when he woke up, seemed to help immensely.
    Now I find myself in similar straights ecrept the local pharm isn’t open till 9 cause it’s a weekend.

  105. You know how I got here… Got that itch.. But I had to say.. [Burninating the countryside! Burninating the PEASANTS!!! TROGDOOOOOOR!!!]

    1. That’s because there is no cure. You can only manage the symptoms….which is exactly what I noted while rambling. Reading comprehension is hard. I get it.

  106. Lifelong Floridian here with blonde hair & blue eyes thus fair skin. Suffered many sunburns throughout my life. Had the worst sunburn of my life 15 days ago after going scalloping in the Gulf for a few hours without applying sunblock. At first my skin was super red & the sunburn hurt like hell. I applied Jergens with Aloe religiously for several days. Developed small blisters then peeled worse than I have ever seen anyone peel in my life. I literally could not sleep because I felt like I was sleeping on wax paper with the sound/feel of my skin. My entire back peeled & the layer underneath was bright red as well. All of the peeling went away after a little over a week & I thought I was in the clear. However, that’s when this Hells Itch set in. Its the most horrible experience I have ever had (& that’s including childbirth – at least with that there is an end in sight). I have not slept a full nights sleep in over a week. The first night I dozed off for maybe about 30mins total before having to go to work. At work it was hard to focus because I was constantly itching. I don’t even want to begin to mention the items that I have used in the past week to scratch my back in places I couldn’t reach! I’ve been taking Aleve religiously, as well as, Benadryl. I have kept doing the Jergens with Aloe until about 2 days ago because it was pointless at that point. It wasn’t helping anything & I wasn’t peeling anymore so why bother. Nothing has helped. Therefore, I upped my dose of Benadryl with the only hope being that Id just knock myself out every night & hopefully get some sleep. It would work for a few hours & then I would wake up to the itch so I would take more hoping to knock myself out again. Lets just say last week at work really sucked. I couldn’t take the week off because I had taken the previous week off for vacation. Talk about being miserable! I resorted to reading the forums in my sleepless nights & I was seeing all of the things people were trying. I tried the hot shower thing. It works temporarily & by temporarily I mean I started itching again while I was drying off from the shower. I even tried prescription itch cream that I had from my Dermatologist from a rash I had about 6 months ago. That didn’t even work. Tried A & D ointment & that didn’t work. It also made a mess & made it impossible to try to fall asleep because I felt like I had a huge oil slick on my back thus compounding my issues – then I had itching plus the gross feeling from the ointment. Last night my drug induced coma (brought on by the Benadryl & Aleve) stopped working an hour after I took it & fell asleep. I don’t know if my body is working up a tolerance to it after 4 nights & days of taking it or what. So today I decided to go to the store & buy some more supplies to try. At this point Id pay any amount of money & basically try anything to get this itch to go away. 7 days straight with no end in sight!!!!!! I keep reading people’s posts where they had it for a day or 2 days at most & I’m over here a full week into this hell. So I bought Gold Bond anti itch lotion and Solarcaine cool aloe aerosol spray. I bought both at Winn Dixie in FL so I’m sure you can find them at your local grocery store or pharmacy. When I got home I decided to try the Solarcaine spray first. IT WORKED!!!!! THE SOLARCAINE COOL ALOE SPRAY WORKED ALMOST INSTANTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its been almost 2 hours now & I still don’t feel any itchiness. Please note, after this working for me, I went back to re-read the forums to see if anyone else had posted about it before. I did read where some people mentioned the Solarcaine did not work for them but then again I also ready several people write about how the A & D ointment worked for them (which it didn’t for me) so I decided to write this in the hopes of possibly helping some other miserable/itchy soul.

  107. Pepperment oil actually does work. I’ve had just the worst sunburn itches for years. I’ve found warm baths help, but peppermint oil numbs your back and feels amazing. I wish I would have found this years ago. Also the way you described this itch, is bang on. No real way to describe the agony.

  108. I’ve read several inquiries online from people desperately seeking relief as they experience an unusual deep nerve penetrating itch after a sunburn.

    My family has experienced this for three generations and when we finally found this solution we try to let others know.

    For intense-deep-i’m going crazy-sunburn itch ….get PEPPERMINT OIL. Be careful not to buy peppermint extract. You can find PEPPERMINT OIL in health food stores and natural foods stores. There are some pharmacists who know about this and carry it as well…not many though.

    Rub the oil directly on the affected area until all of the surface is covered. If you can’t reach…for back burns, have someone else apply thoroughly.

    The hands of whoever applies it will feel the cooling affect of the oil even after they wash their hands. It feels fine, not painful in anyway. AVOID any contact with eyes, mouth or nose however as they will be irritated by the oil.

    This is the ONLY thing that works nearly instantly and permanently with this deep nerve sunburn itch that some people experience. One application is all that is necessary as Peppermint oil is pretty potent. Please try this. I know the insanity you are feeling if you are going through this right now.

    Again I’m talking about unusually intense deep nerve itching, not regular peeling skin itch that most people experience post sunburn. This deeper, intense almost pinching itch begins usually one or two days following a burn and those who experience it feel as though they are going crazy as it’s intensity is nearly unbearable.

    Things to avoid that only make this itch worse…don’t apply any lotion or other oils. This includes pure aloe vera which seems to just dry it more. Standing under a cool shower spray can help as long as you are in it while you wait for someone to buy the PEPPERMINT OIL. Anyone who has gone through this knows that any relief brought by the spray of water goes away as soon as you get out of the shower and start to dry the itch returns.

    PEPPERMINT OIL WILL remove the itch.

    Just writing about this always makes me remember the insane feeling of experiencing this and makes me hopeful others will find this in time to find relief.

    Once you’ve used it IT WILL WORK. You’ll want to keep the oil on hand and avoid at all costs exposing yourself to the sun again like that in the future. We know two things about it…if you’ve experienced it once you are vulnerable to it happening again, and, it seems to be a genetic thing. About half of my family members have experienced it once, two of them twice. We don’t risk it anymore. It is sure nice to know what to do about it though.

    I research this quite a lot to see if others have found this solution. I did see a few posts that have indicated that gold balm medicated powder has worked for some relief too. I haven’t tried that (and don’t intend to EVER be in the position to need to again), but it’s worth writing about any real relief as this is such a crazy thing to experience with no relief.

  109. I just experienced the shit out of this. I found out that Vinegar actually relives this so much. Had my wife rub this all over my back for about 10 minutes until the itchiness finally wore off. Before that I was in berserk mode wailing and screaming and loosing my mind.

  110. It’s 2:49, this itch is driving me up the wall, can’t take a shower, cause’ i don’t wanna wake up my mom, what can I do?

  111. So aloe vera gel actually brought on the itch for me. Was laying in bed feeling like someone was poking me with a trident. Cured with a hot shower for now.. Can understand how everyone feels!

  112. I had this itch last night and I am not 20 hours later with 5% of the itch I had last night.

    What to do: Peppermint oil – any oil from the peppermint family will give relief to this torment.

    First, cool the afflicted area down with a hand towel soaked in ice water (you can have a cold shower, but I don’t feel this is as relieving). Have someone press the towel down firmly on your back/chest/legs. Once the area is cool it should be slightly less itchy (still not tolerable), but now is the time to put on peppermint oil.

    The oil will take about 5-10minutes to take effect – it should have that deep heat/sports rubs feeling where you skin feels both cold and hot. It may even hurt a little bit because you need to really put a lot of peppermint oil on. However, that pain is a welcomed feeling compared to the suicide itch. After the relief has come, you will want to put on a loose-fitting t-shirt. The open air on your back/chest will dry out your skin quicker and the itch will return sooner. Also, don’t shower the next day. To be safe, wait about 24-36 hours after the initial itch before showering again… however, if you are really paranoid then wait a full 2 days – keeping on the loose-fitting tshirt the whole time unless you need to put more peppermint oil on.

    Lastly, try not to move much once the peppermint oil has starting working and you’ve put a loose shirt on. Stretching the skin, moving a lot, sweating and rubbing of your clothes will all start to irritate the skin and the itch will return sooner.

    TL;DR Peppermint oil is your friend. Put a lot on your affected area and enjoy the cool/hot burn pain that cancels out the itch.

    p.s. for added benefit, take 2 paracetamol and an anti-histamine, and if you are doing this before bed you can also take a sleep-aid like Valerian tea, or specifically buy a night-time drowsy anti-histamine, so that you can hopefully sleep through the night. I’ve heard of people using a plastic wrap (glad wrap, saran wrap, cling wrap) over their lotions/oils. I, personally, have not tried this, but I heard it provides a lot of relief and allows the lotions and oils to work for longer before drying out.

  113. I’ve experienced it twice before, once when I was 10 and once when I was 13. It had to be the worst 2 days of my life both time. I was in school when I felt the itch- as though someone with a razor was peeling my back off slowly. I felt like such an idiot rolling around and crying in school, and it was even worse when I was 13 and my bunk mates in camp were all laughing at me, not knowing how much pain I was in. I would never wish it on my worst enemy.

  114. I developed this itch about 2 days after going skiing recently (beautiful, warm, sunny day) up at 6000 ft and getting burnt on my face below my ski goggles in around 6 hours of skiing with no suntan lotion. All I can say is that I am thankful that I was otherwise fully clothed and so my affected surface area is relatively small! I pity those who get this itch all over!

    I first tried Coconut oil, and it did provide some relief, but only for maybe 30-60 minutes. After a while the constant pin pricks came back with a vengeance. I tried a warm shower and that helped enough to get a few hours sleep. I made it through the next day with a mix of coconut oil and showers. Very hard to focus on anything for long. The constant pain made me irritable too, although I did get some sympathy from members at my church with such a red burn 🙂 When asked if it hurts — the answer is YES!

    I then went to a pharmacy and they recommended Polysporin with 1% Hydrocortisone for the itch. It did help somewhat, but it burned for 5-10 minutes after being applied, and lasted for just an hour or two. However, the label does not recommend extensive use of it, and I prefer to avoid medications if possible.

    Hot showers really helped me though. A 10 minute shower gives me relief for a few hours, which is enough to get some sleep, or some work done! Originally I was hesitant to try that because it is known to dry skin out (and I originally thought the problem was due to that, which it isn’t). It has been close to 2 days since the itch started now, and hopefully it will be over soon (most posts here say 1-3 days).

    Cool showers didn’t help me for long, but hot showers provides excellent relief after around 5-10 minutes of a dull pain, which is no problem compared to the “hell’s itch”. There is something about the unpredictability of the pain that makes it “hellish”. Each prick is not so bad, but they keep coming, and coming, and coming… Torture indeed.

    1. Sorry you are suffering and I am sure it will calm down in the next 24 hours. But you should never ski without using a very high factor or total sun block. Did your skin blister at all ? Will probably have a different itch soon as your burned skin starts to peel !

  115. I’m on the third day of no sleep with this hellish beast. It started with a minor burn. 2 days later I had an uncomfortable itch and knew it was from the burn. So I got out the aloe and had my girlfriend apply it. Seconds later I was running for the shower from a feeling of pain never felt. Hell’s itch is such a suiting name. When I got out of the shower for the first time I was hit with wave after wave of unbelievable pain. I put on more aloe which was not smart. Shooting pain that would hyper elevate my heart and breath rate. During this hell my body was shaking with anticipation before each painful tremor. I was shaking and close to tears. I was in the military, have been stabbed, broke my nose, but this was the worst physical and mental torture I have ever endured. No one will no this pain untill they experience it. The worst part is people think it’s normal. There is no question this did psychological damage to me. I’m on day 3 and the pain is manageable. I will never go out without sunscreen again. The only thing that worked for me is smoking weed, boiling hot showers and benadryl. Be prepared for days upon days of hell if you get this. PS I have given up trying to explain this to my girlfriend as she can’t possibly understand the pain and is causing a divide between us, this truly was sent by satin. May God have mercy on anyone cursed with this.

  116. When I came across this post, I was on all fours, naked on my dining table trying desperately to get as much of the cool air as I possible could from our ceiling fan, whilst rotating freezing cold facecloths onto my back. I was in more pain that I have ever been in, ever. Was doing all the same things everyone else here tried.. aloe vera, cold shoes, baths with tea bags in them, cool air, meditation, EVERYTHING! And then… I read this post. Immediately was in a boiling hot shower and OH, the relief! Had multiple hot showers since, peppermint oil and Benadryl. It’s finally subsiding but OMG, I will never get burnt again. Hell is the only way to describe this. Thank you for this post, it saved me.

  117. EVERYONE, THERE IS AN OINTMENT THAT WILL WORK! IT IS NOXZEMA! I HAVE EXPERIENCED THIS BURNING ITCH TWICE IN THE LAST YEAR AND BOTH TIMES NOXZEMA ALMOST INSTANTLY STARTED TO RELIEVE THE ITCH! IT WON’T GET RID OF IT RIGHT AWAY, BUT MY GOODNESS IT MAKES IT BEARABLE. GO BUY NOXZEMA!!!!!!!!

    NOXZEMA!!!!!!!!!!

  118. If you don’t have any creams around the house and are home alone don’t be afraid to call 911. Don’t let them give you any crap. Just because it’s not life threatening doesn’t mean you have to put up with pure torture.

    People call 911 for kidney stones all the time. Those aren’t life threatening either, and are about the same order of magnitude of “unpleasantness” (to put it lightly)

  119. So I was at the pool this past Sunday (90º half sunny half overcast) for a good 4 hours. Came home I was fine, took a shower and slept like a baby. Got up went to work and was fine all day and all night just a typical sunburn for me. Tuesday it was a little itchy so I took a decent pain killer in the a.m. and was good all day, came home from work, ate some dinner, played with the kids for a bit and put them to bed around 8:15pm. The wife went out that night with her mom and aunt to have a few drinks so I plopped on the couch and was relaxing for a good hour scrolling through Facebook and playing a few games on my phone. I started to get hot so I took my shirt off to cool off a little. (I’m still ok at this point though)

    The phone got boring pretty quick so I thought that I would be productive and do the dishes and clean the kitchen. So it’s about 9:45 now and I thought what the hell I’ll clean up the family room which had kids toys everywhere. Well that lasted about 3 minutes before I felt the worst itching on my back in my entire life. I started to freak out!! I was running around the house cursing & whimpering trying to get the itch to go away for about 10 minutes I guess. I had no idea what the hell was going on but I sure thought God hated me for some reason, (was it because we dented her dad’s folding table he let us borrow a few weeks back and never told him about it? who knows!!).

    So the first thing that came to my mind was put some Aloe Vera Gel on it, I did and that did absolutely nothing! Now I’m really freaking out so I’m still pacing around the house like a mad man, it feels like lava is in my blood stream and tiny devils biting my back all over all while trying to google wtf is wrong (took me about 5mins to type “help itching sunburn” btw). I see a list that says things like: Cold shower, vinegar, aloe gel, naproxen, milk, tea, water and some other stuff. So I throw my phone down, chug some milk, strip down and take a quick cold shower. Yes it felt about 10% better while showering but when I got out It was right back!

    Next thing on the list I tried was vinegar, I hate the smell of vinegar (In my top 2 worst smells next to shit). I pour a half bottle on to a towel and let it sit on my back but this did nothing for me either and now I’m stuck with that awful smell on me after I already took a shower. It just feels like it’s getting worse at this point. So I call my mom because mom knows best right? She tells me to wet a towel in cold water and just lay on it and to try and calm down. I take her advice and do so but this only helped for a few minutes and I was starting to run out of options and second guess my sanity. I look and find some Naproxen that prescribed to my wife (800mg) so I pop that bad boy, chug two bottles of water, sit on my daughters stool next to a fan, put my box fan on high and now I have a dry towel draped on my back like a superhero cape only wearing boxers and I’m slowly rocking back and forth with the towel gently itching my back. I have absolutely no idea why but just start singing “Old McDonald Had A Farm” over and over to get my mind off the itching. I do this for about an hour and I’m starting to calm down now. Maybe the naproxen helped but I was finally able to lay down in bed at 12:30am and the itchy was bearable so I tried to get some sleep. I didn’t fall asleep until 5:45 this morning because I kept waking up tossing and turning. I’m a side sleeper but if I was on my side at all, That terrible feeling would start to form so I had to try and fall asleep on my back which never works for me.

    I was able to sleep for 3 hours or so, got up ate some breakfast and took another naproxen. So far today it’s just been mild itchiness so maybe a good dose of naproxen twice a day is another solution but if it goes back to Satan spitting fire on my back I’m definitely giving the peppermint oil a try. Did I learn my lesson of use sunscreen often and “reapply” every half hour or so? HELL YES!!

  120. HELLS ITCH RIGHT NOW!!! It’s nearly 1 am and this is insane, I feel like the only way to make it stop would be to peel my skin off.

  121. There is no better term for this phenomenon than “Hell’s Itch.” If you’re experiencing the same thing I did, you have little ability to focus on reading, so here is my advice:

    1. Peppermint oil. This was a lifesaver. It opened my pores and brought soothing relief for long enough that I could get a few hours of sleep.

    2. Warm showers. I did not try the “boiling hot” method, but warm showers held the feeling at bay for as long as they lasted and for about ten minutes afterwards.

    3. Extra strength Tylenol. Hard to isolate how much this helped because I used the peppermoint oil soon immediately afterwards.

    Many thanks to all who have posted their advice. My itch was so bad I could hardly type “severe sunburn from” into Google and was very thankful when Google autocompleted with the word “sunburn.” I had to have my wife read the articles because I could not concentrate enough to do so. Your advice saved me. Thanks!

  122. Nothing to add, except that this is the most unpleasant and horrific sensation I have ever experienced, and I’ve broken several limbs. The hot showers and antihistamines seem to help. I’m in my thirties and have had several worse burns, I’m not sure what about this one specifically gave me Hell’s Itch. It hit me when I was in an art gallery and I had to run out to my car and take off my shirt. It was good to know I wasn’t alone.

  123. This is fascinating to me, because as a little kid I had extremely bad eczema all over my arms and legs and hot water was the only thing that would end the torture. I won’t go too much into graphic detail, but there were times where I would use a sharp hairbrush and just brush my skin till it bled because all I wanted was to fall asleep.

    Once I was old enough to draw my own baths, I accidentally discovered this hot water method and it was a godsend! I would gradually turn up the heat bit by bit and just feel a relief that brought tears to my eyes. After that, I’d put on some cream (cetaphil works well and is very gentle) some super soft breathable pjs, and pass the fuck out. Hot water dries out your skin and might make it itch again, so if you can, try a soothing lotion after you have that shower!

  124. Awwww fuck me this is nearly unbearable , I can’t fucking do it anymore , hot showers helped a little I think I don’t know anymore , I have no idea what to do I’ve lost my mind entirely , I would do anything to stop this , if you’re experiencing hells itch right now just know I know your suffering , I’ve never experienced something like this in my entire life help me

  125. Try stay calm. Think of something else to do to take your mind off it. Sing songs, listen to music, go for a walk.
    Try the Hot shower.
    Then keep cool
    Benadryl or another antihistamine.
    Peppermint OIL
    Aloe Vera Gel from the plant.

    So sorry it’s the worst thing ever.

  126. I was just suffering from this pain and i can safely say i will never be getting burnt on my watch again…

    After reading this i finally worked up the corage to try the hot shower technique and to my surprise instant relief for about 45 min !! Very much worth it!

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