How to Survive Post Sunburn Itch

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck on July 26, 2011

in Funny

Tuesday, 1:15AM. I had gone to bed Monday night around 11:30PM, but shortly after dozing off something woke me up. My back, neck and shoulders were under attack. This was the worst itch I had ever felt.

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.

There is only one kind of person that can suffer from this severe post-sunburn itch. A person who:

A. has the type of skin that burns instead of tans, and

B. despite this, is dumb enough to think he doesn’t need suncreen, even though this has happened before.

What I’m referring to is a deep-down itch that can’t be relieved. Most people have not and will never experience this, since they don’t fulfill both criteria of the exclusive club outlined above.

By 2:00AM I had Googled ‘intense sunburn itch’ and found that this affliction seems to be globally referred to as “Hell’s Itch”. Typically setting in around 48-72 hours after the sunburn occurs, this is apparently the stage where the skin is trying to heal itself. Sufferers at this point would gladly forego the healing and keep the sunburn. The pain of the burn feels like no more than a firm handshake compared to the curse-inducing-have-to-bite-a-towel-to-keep-from-ripping-your-skin-off itch.

My search results turned up stories of grown men, including U.S. Marines, describing Hell’s Itch as the worst torture they had ever experienced. Tales of crying, running out into front yards naked, and screaming in agony kept me entertained but weren’t offering any solutions. One article advised a 24 hour repeating cycle of 15 minutes in a hot shower followed by 15 minutes out. Sounds unreasonable but I was willing to try anything.

At long last I found a forum from 2004 in which a Hell’s Itch sufferer had asked for advice and some helpful commenter suggested A&D ointment. They explained that the skin itches as it heals and it needs vitamins A & D to heal quickly. The stricken had commented back confirming that this remedy worked and actually provided instant relief. I was in the car before I finished reading that sentence.

It was 2:15AM as I speedwalked into the 24-hour grocery store. They had no A&D ointment, so I stocked up on every anti-itch and sunburn remedy I could find (It wasn’t until today that I realized that diaper cream is A&D ointment). I gave many of them a test run in the store. None seemed to do the job completely, but there was some relief. On the way out I grabbed a bottle of Vitamin D milk, internally rationalizing: “If my skin needs vitamin D, I’m about to chug as much of it as I can keep down.”

I spent $39.70 on an Aveeno oatmeal bath, Sarna itch lotion, Lanacane Spray, Gold Bond Anti-Itch Cream, an herbal sleep aid, and of course the milk.

None of it worked. The spray would stop the itch momentarily, but I’m convinced it was just the act of spraying a mist on my skin that tickled just enough to pull my attention away from the itch for the moment. As far as long term relief, I might as well have been spraying PAM on myself. At least then I might not have stuck to the couch when I finally laid down to attempt going back to sleep.

By 3:30AM I had 3 Advil liqui-gels, an herbal sleep aid, and about a gallon of Vitamin D milk in me as I laid down on the couch. I didn’t dare risk bedroom re-entry as I knew there would be more wiggling and swearing involved. I had at least 4 layers of ointment/aloe/lotion/spray on me, so as you could guess it felt super awesome to lay my sticky skin down on the couch. The cherry on top was the fact that the dog had been sleeping on the couch, and being a Siberian Husky in August, she is in full fur-shedding mode. A nice tar and feathering to end the evening. I looked like a red glowing furry man-bulb.

To my fellow Hell’s Itch sufferer that took the time to post your problem and remedy online 7 years ago, I thank you. I am going to attempt to find A&D ointment again today. If I can’t find it, I’ll be the guy laying in the oatmeal bath crushing a two-gallon of Vitamin D milk.

*UPDATE: A&D ointment was the only thing that worked. It takes a while, no instant itch relief, but it did work. Apply liberally as soon as you get out of the shower and then try your best to be still. Drink a ton of water and if you can, use a shower filter when showering to help lessen the chemicals in your water. Hope this helps!

Jeff May 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Two words: Peppermint oil. Best $6 I ever spent and it probably saved my life (as I was thinking suicide was the only remedy for “hell itch”)

Howard Decker May 23, 2013 at 10:32 am

NOW ya tell me! Thanks for the heads up though- I will keep it in mind for next time (oh God please don’t let there be a next time)

Paul June 28, 2016 at 11:28 am

I get it too. My dad thought I was over reacting when I had it as a kid. It really does make you go insane. I still manage to get burned about once every two years anyway because I’m an idiot. BUT I have found a way to make it at least slightly better. This might sound gross to some, but don’t apply anything (lotion, aloe, etc) and DO NOT WASH at all (no baths, showers, wash cloths) until the redness subsides or you think you’ve made it through the itch phase. I found that the itching usually started after a shower sometime in the time frame when it would strike, so I just stopped taking them. I still use a shower spray wand (on a hose) for the parts where the sun don’t shine and use a washcloth for the pits but never get water on the burns. Seems to make the itching much less severe.

Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck June 28, 2016 at 11:35 am

Totally agree. The shower may provide temporary relief but ultimately extends the discomfort and is usually the trigger that activates the itch in the first place.

Belinda June 28, 2016 at 11:45 am

I’ve lived in Florida all my life. And the first time I got held it was in 1986 in the middle of the night. I got a horrible sunburn from a tanning bed. Yes I know it’s stupid I live in Florida but went to a tanning salon. Anyway I was dying I lived with my parents at the time and my mom helped me but we couldn’t find anything that worked she finally told me to lie down and she poured Head and Shoulders all over my back and it thick coat. It’s the only thing that helped. No I have not learned my lesson. Pure aloe helps, I’m using that at the moment. Cortisone cream too. I have A and D ointment but have never used it for this. I will though.

beau September 1, 2016 at 1:10 am

Phenergan 25mg can buy over the counter antihistimine works instantly or within 10min bokm ya itch gone mutha farkkker

Olivia March 28, 2017 at 9:06 am

I am experiencing this at the moment, I have this bad sunburn, and it was just getting better, until my mom wanted me to take a shower since all the cream I was using was attracting dirt. I took a shower, and I’m now experiencing the “Hell Itch”. I even used Gold Bond anti itch cream and it is still bad. Hope it will get better tomorrow because I going to Universal.

Peter Feick July 19, 2017 at 6:46 am

YES, SIR YOU ARE EXACTLY CORRECT ABOUT NOT SHOWERING, I HAVE HAD THIS 3 TIMES IN MY LIFE, ONCE I HAD IT SO BAD I WAS 15 years old, in High school and it was so bad I had no relief I was at the point to where I didn’t even care that my Mom was giving baths and I was fully nude, think about that. …15 years old and this itch is so bad it can get you go YEAH MOM COME GIVE ME AN OAT MEAL BATH WHILE I SIT AND SUFFER, MT DAD WAS IN THE BATHROOM ALSO, AND THE BEST PART. …THEY WERE DIVORCED FIR 4 YEARS AT THIS POINT!, but yes don’t itch it don’t touch it maybe you some Bactine real lately or some kind of moisture if you have to real lightly but no matter how hard or how bad the itch is don’t touch that area because once you do it’s going to get worse

Shawn Rice October 12, 2016 at 1:25 pm

I’m red headed and freckles. Very fair skin. I suffered like crazy with this itch. I’ve tried everything and the only thing that completely stops the itching is Phenergan .25 mg. In my state you need a prescription for it. It’s used for nausea as well. WONDERFUL medication. Before discovering this my back was so bad….I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I was drinking Benadryl from the bottle and finally passed out. When I woke up a few hours later the itching was gone. It wasn’t until many years later that this happened again, it was worse so I went to the ER. it was so bad I couldn’t hold still for the nurse to start the IV. As soon as she finished and injected the liquid phenagren it took like 2 minutes and I was fine.

Trish August 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting about the peppermint oil I was seriously considering taking a vegetable peeler to my legs. This is the only thing that has offered me any relief.

Also, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who suffers from this. I hadn’t gotten sunburned in so many years (until this past weekend), that I actually forgot about the post-burn hell itch.

Here’s hoping it never happens to any of us again. Cheers!

Ryan May 28, 2013 at 10:30 am

First, I want to thank the author for this blog post. It probably saved my life. After reading this post along with many others as I sat in my computer chair, writhing in pain, I finally found what I believe is the “cure” for hell’s itch. It must be noted, however, that everyone’s skin is different. Much like cancer, I doubt there is one single thing you can do to fix this horrendously-terrible condition. But, with that said, I think my remedy will both alleviate the itch AND rejuvenate your skin. Here’s what I used:

(2) A&D Ointment tubes. These can be purchased at CVS
(1) Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray. Buy the Hospital strength kind.
(1) 100% Pure Peppermint Oil Extract. I purchased mine at Whole Foods. Just make sure you get a 100% extract.
(1) Aleve Bottle
(1) Tylenol Bottle.

The first thing you have to do is at least take a soft towel and run it under cool/intermediate temperature water. Softly dab the cold towel against the affected area of skin to clean off the oils/sweat. The oil your skin produces is important, but you want the ointment you’re about to put on to easily get into your pours and saturate. After dabbing off, get your A&D ointment and begin liberally applying it to your skin. The entire time you’re applying, the skin should be extremely lubricated. This means – you CAN’T use too much. After applying the A&D ointment, I have some bad news. You WILL begin to itch. It’s going to itch worse than it did before. It’s going to be so incredibly itchy that my eyes watered up and my leg was twitching uncontrollably. It’s a pain you have to suffer, however. I’m not a doctor, but I imagine that because the skin is so dry, any introduction of chemicals/lotion is irritating it which causes the itch to intensify.

After liberally applying the A&D ointment, grab your Dermoplast and begin spraying it on you like it’s the fountain of youth. I know the original poster here said he did not have any success with this, but I’m not sure what type he purchased. Dermoplast is used in hospitals very often with women who just gave birth. As many of you can imagine… there isn’t a whole lot you can “put” up “there” after a woman has given labor and she’s in pain. Doctors use Dermoplast and spray it up where the sun-don’t-shine to alleviate their pain. Spraying this on your skin should alleviate some of the pain you’re feeling.

After applying the A&D ointment and Dermoplast, grab your peppermint extract. Your skin at this point should be extremely lubricated. Shake the peppermint oil onto your hand (a few drops) and begin gently rubbing it into your skin. Don’t worry about using too much, but it is pretty potent. The peppermint will act like little baby angels softly rubbing ice cubes on your body while they whisper “it’s going to be ok.” After applying the peppermint, walk around and let the air semi-dry everything that’s on the surface of your skin. I walked around for about 3 minutes or so. Afterwards, put on a very soft t-shirt (100% cotton etc). The air will only dry out and further irritate the skin. I used my Nike DriFit golf shirts because they’re extremely soft but they still let my skin breathe a little bit. After all of that, take (2) Aleve and (1) Tylenol. Aleve will manage the inflammation and Tylenol will manage the pain. My girlfriend is in pharmacy school and she assured me that the chemistry behind it is safe, but if you don’t feel comfortable taking those meds together, at least take the Aleve. Finally, relax and try to move as little as possible. I suggest signing-up for Netflix if you don’t already have it.

Hope this helps. Good luck everyone!

Ariel August 1, 2015 at 9:27 pm

I got Hells Itch in Ecuador, and using aloe straight from the plant very much improved my itchy sunburn AND my itchy bug bites.

Edward June 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Ryan, thank you so much for your suggestions here. I know it’s 4 years since you posted that, but I had it bad last night to the point that I had to call in sick to work for fear of writhing around the office like a mad man. I spent the day collecting your recommendations (just the A&D from CVS and pure peppermint oil from WF and Tylenol). After a quick medium temp shower and pat dry, I applied the A&D liberally, and then the peppermint after a minute or two, then covered up with a shirt as recommended. I took two Tylenol (I thought I had advil, but turns out I didn’t), and about an hour later now, this is pure bliss. I mean, it’s really just normal with a slightly cool back, but comparatively, it’s bliss. Thank you and thanks to Howie Decker for the original post. You guys got me through this.

Greg June 20, 2017 at 8:19 am

I totally agree with you Edward! Thanks very much Howie and Ryan.

Steph July 11, 2017 at 9:33 am

Thank you SO much. My nearly grown son woke up freaking out after getting a burn doing yard work 2 days ago. I thought he was crazy. Haven’t seen anything like the way he was freaking out. Ran to pharmacy and got first aid spray and sun burn spray before reading this. Started with those and 4 Advil (equal to the regularly prescribed 800 mg motrins) to at least get it under control and luckily, this Mom has essential oils on hand. I think the peppermint oil got him over the hump. I’m convinced the cooling kept him from taking a bridge. This is one time I am grateful for the internet. I’ll be heading back for A & D. Thank you again.

Tim August 1, 2017 at 1:40 am

Thanks to Howard and to Ryan, I think I’ll make it through the night. This afternoon after work I took a quick cold shower and put some aloe gel on in hopes of giving this 2-day-old sunburn the knock-out blow, and I immediately regretted it. After about 45 min of uncontrollable itching and desperate web surfing, I went to the grocery store and bought some apple cider vinegar, put that in a spray bottle and sprayed it on like mad. The vinegar, despite having a gnarly smell, works great as a temporary relief. I think it has something to do with adjusting the pH balance of the skin. But around 1am this morning, I awoke feeling like fire ants were eating me alive. Took Howard’s advice and bought some A+D from Wal-Mart, along with some peppermint oil. The oil certainly is like little ice cubes. So with Howard and Ryan’s advice, along with the occasional apple cider vinegar spray, I think you should be able to make it through the night.

Katie June 10, 2013 at 3:05 am

I used Jergens Ultra Healing lotion and it worked incredibly well. It does not give instant relief but, it does take the edge off the itch to make it bearable. I went 3 days with 0-4 hours of sleep. I understand your pain and hopeI this helps.

Howard Decker June 10, 2013 at 9:55 am

Thanks for the comment! I will keep it in mind, but hopefully I am never in that position again!

Dave January 4, 2016 at 11:35 pm

BROSEPH!!! Good lawd a mercy……this was the LONGEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE (actually a tie w food poisoning)…. So, first time out in the sun for the summer, June of 03….. Poolside, me & a few friends…. All day long. I have strawberry blonde hair & blue eyes. Tan a LITTLE, but not much….& I put sunscreen on my shoulders, neck, legs, face……& forget chest & stomach….. That night, with the sting of the burn starting to set in, but the upcoming agony not known, Stupidly, I accept a friends invitation to crash @ her place (30 miles from the comfort of my apartment). It’s 1:30 AM the night “of”….. I roll over & glance at the red numbers of her bedside alarm clock…. She’s fully out, sleeping like a baby….& I start to feel something on my chest. Thinking her bedding may be just itchy, I remove it. Next, my shirt, next I go into her bathroom, and stare at what is now starting to feel like a thousand bees, stinging and itching my chest and stomach at the same time. Now I’m in full on hells itch mode. I rummage through her underneath sink cabinets, not really sure what I’m looking for. Seeing a bottle of NyQuil, I see pain relief, and have taken 2 swigs by the time I realized it… After 20 minutes I’m in front of her mirror, laying on the floor in her bathroom, trying to be quiet, writhing in complete misery… 2:30, I’m now thinking about driving myself to the hospital, but can’t bare the thought of having to wake her up and let her see the condition I was in, when there’s a knock at the door. Not feeling like it, I climbed up off the floor and at least looked somewhat normal when I said “come in.”…. She opens the door and her jaw drops. I’ve itched so much I actually made my chest bleed…. My fears
Of not looking manly are put to rest, as she goes into nurse mode…. She runs to her kitchen and grabs a couple of prescription painkillers, a wet towel, and a Gatorade. Like you, I’m now loaded up on NyQuil, Advil, and 2 painkillers. And it DID NOTHING lol. The ONLY thing that brought any relief/if that’s what you call it, was filling her tub w cool water and laying in it until it got freezing, get out, refill, hop back in. I did this until the sun came up, around 5:30, and limped to my truck to go home. It wasn’t until late that morning it finally started to ease off, and I went to sleep for the first time that 24 hours. I don’t know if there is anything that stops that. Pain meds, lotion, all was like shooting a BB gun at a freight train…. I’ve often thought I shuda bit the bullet and gone to the ER, and I’d LOVE to know what kind of treatment they give for that to stop it, but it will always be one of the longest nights of my life, period-

James July 14, 2016 at 8:38 am

I got that itch yesterday. It makes you want to take sand paper and scratch it on the itch, but A&D worked for me, my parents could not understand what overcame me. Than my mom searched up after sunburn itch and then she understood. It was Hell’s Itch.
Side effects include rapid twitching, unberable pain sensation after 3 minutes of the itch starting, screaming, wailing, crying, feeling like your going insane, and 48 to 72 hours these effects last if you don’t have some sort of lotion that can stop, this effect for a while.
My dad thought I was being dramatic, but it was a real thing, A&D works great for certain types of skin, I’m only a 12 year old so I don’t know about all the lotions that work, I know peppermint oil works, but make sure it is 100 percent real.
Thanks for reading this comment so you know that if you get this itch you will be able to help ease it.

Sean June 11, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I’m going through this right now :/…as I don’t want to wake up everyone else in the house all I can do is scratch the bottom of my feet. Believe it or not but it takes most of the smaller itches away but you are still left with the big itches, which are a lot smaller by now. Iv gone through it before but I was young and don’t remember how long it went on for. Does anyone know how long it lasts? Seriously contemplating cutting about an inch of skin off my back.

CB June 17, 2013 at 10:37 pm

So, I Have Experienced This Before And I Am Unfortunately Suffering From This Yet Again. The Only Thing That Worked For Me Befire, And Is Starting To Kick In Now, Is Benadryll (Any Kind Of Antihistamine But Benadryll Works The Quickest) To Help Alleviate The Itch, And The Aloe Lotion To Moisturize, BUt From What I Understand This HAppens When You Burn S Badly That You Burn Multiple Layers And It Is ThE Second Layer Trying To Heal Itself. (Apologize For The Format, Phone Is Wonky And I Dare Not Movr)

Guy July 27, 2016 at 8:21 pm

So i have “the solution.”

Long story short, i got this hells iych this summer. Benadryl only blocks 1 of the receptors for this itch. The other can be blocked by taking pepcid ac….yeeeess the antacid medication. Between those 2 and coating noxzema. This works like no other!

Megan June 22, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I’m currently sitting here with a heating pad on my chest. I thought the Hell Itch on my back 4 days ago would have been the end. Oh no! Now my chest is rebelling. My mom things I’m crazy but this is the worst thing ever.
The hearing pad does give some releif. It think its more of the itching horrid pain and the heat mingles together to confuse your brain, but it works.

leslie June 23, 2013 at 1:26 am

Loratadine!!! I had hella itch all night and nothing was working. Took claritin and 45 minutes later, I’m ready for bed… ITCH FREE. good luck. 🙂

Bogdan June 18, 2016 at 9:35 am

Didn’t help 🙁 From

Bogdan June 18, 2016 at 9:36 am


Adam June 23, 2013 at 4:08 am

Thanks to the author for this great post and for all the commenters who chimed in with suggestions. I experience hell’s itch about once every three or four years when I don’t properly apply sunscreen, and boy do I experience it like it’s being delivered from Satan himself stabbing his pitch fork repeatedly underneath my skin. The latest being while I’m currently on my honeymoon in Hawaii trying to enjoy myself with my wife.

Anyway, I’d obviously done the usual remedies and lotions with absolutely no luck. So here’s what I did: A&D ointment, Dermoplast, and peppermint oil. The first two I got at Walgreens – the peppermint oil I found at GNC. It was $4.50 for a bottle and it worked miracles – unbelieveable relief.

Best of luck to all!

Bobby June 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Hi everyone, I am currently on the latter end of ‘hell’s itch.’ While The insanity has started to fade, I still find myself in horrible itching breakouts! What I found that works slightly is booze! Lol just kidding. What helps is Benedryl Cooling spray! Not a remedy, but it helps!

Andrew June 25, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I usally take a pain reliever like ibuprofen and it helps alot

Shawn June 26, 2013 at 8:01 am

This is the worst feeling ever. Does anyone have any idea how long it usually lasts?

Howard Decker June 26, 2013 at 8:55 am

The itch lasted 36-48 hours for me. Then there was a few more days of typical sunburn discomfort (which was nothing compared to the itch)

doug June 27, 2013 at 4:34 am

I told my wife that the pain does not bother me a bit, but the itch is so violently intense, tears well up into my eyes. thank you for putting this blog up. my hells itch is on my back where I cannot reach. makes matters even worse.

Howard Decker June 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

Mine was on my back too. Thanks for reading!

krizmn July 14, 2014 at 6:50 pm

I am at work with a ful dress shirt and tie. Second day at work like this. I can barely type, and refuse to work much with customers. No one here understands. I didn’t sleep last night. I sat up with my head hunched over biting a towel.

I am the only closer and can’t go home. 1 hour from leaving, and I will buy everything you all said.
Wish me luck. I did the devil dance last night after taking a cold shower. I tried to itch myself with a towel….I used lotion. I used an ice cube. I put on boring documentaries and went into a trance.

Calvin April 8, 2015 at 8:37 am

I’m going through this right now reading this im going to get my parents to get this for me later. Reading these comments I’m am terrified for tonight when I’m ready to go to sleep I really hope it works

Regan June 28, 2013 at 1:25 am

I had this a couple years ago. And of course I didn’t learn my lesson so i think I’m on the verge of getting it again. But what helped me was calamine lotion. You know the pink stuff for poison ivy. It doesn’t stop the itch but it makes it bearable plus it stops me from itching because I put ridiculous amount of layers on. But I will definitely try the A and D if I start to get desperate

Howard Decker June 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I’ve had it a couple times too. I’m too stubborn to prevent myself from getting in that situation, and I’m sure I will suffer for it again..

Ernie July 5, 2013 at 6:11 am

I’m itching now too! I foolishly went to the beach without sunscreen on Tuesday. It’s not Friday and the itching has not stopped. I tried lotions a couple of days ago, but I can’t bring myself to touch the area at all now. I’m spraying Benedryl Cool Spray on it and then I pretend that works (not really that well). I am SO ready for this to end!!

Courtney July 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm

allergy medicine workss well, still wondering how long this itchy spell lasts for…… :/ its been 2 days already….. itch starting to fade, but still kind of intense… :/ its far worse at night it seems when you want to sleep …

Howard Decker July 12, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Yes, allergy meds did help a bit but when that itch kicked in (and yes, it was always worse at night) there was nothing that could stop it.

Patrick July 16, 2013 at 10:50 pm

I was in hell today….at least I had it on my stomach….About 5 years ago I had it on my back so bad, hands down worst day of my life pacing around my house like a madman, whipping my back with a tee shirt, and I would have given anything to trade it in for a week of waterboarding torture.

With that said, HERE’S A SOLUTION : 100% PEPPERMINT OIL, $6-$12 whole foods, GNC… took someone’s advice online today, it worked like a charm. I was barely out of the WF register line and I was dousing my stomach with the bottle. I felt relief almost instantly, the stuff seemed to neutralize the itch, although it made me smell very rankly of a candy cane factory worker who fell into a molten peppermint vat. Apparently you should dilute it in water (2:100 water ratio) because it may irritate/burn sensitive skin. Here’s my advice: if you are desperate and frantic (like I was today), lather it on straight from the bottle (undiluted), to get rid of the initial itch, but make sure to wash it off in the shower within 20-30 min . By then, the itch should be at bay, and you can gently reapply a safer, diluted mixture. Otherwise, just dilute from the start, but relief will probably not be as instant.

P.S. Advil (or anything with ibuprofen) is a MUST as well. Being a fever reducer, it actually removes most of the redness from your skin in about an hour, and easily cuts the itchiness in half… lasts about 5 hours. Use in conjunction with the Peppermint oil and you should be alright.

Good luck friend, empathy and blessings.

Brett July 17, 2013 at 3:30 am

I used to love going to the beach. I think I still do…but I haven’t had the balls to go back after my experince with the demon itch. Now it’s winter and I will not go through this again, I can’t as I fear it will push me to suicide. THE worst anything I have ever felt in my life ever, and it doesn’t stop. I too tried the shower thing, feels great while you’re IN the shower, but get out and you’d rather be rolling around on razor blades. I was alone when satan struck me with his affliction, I’m still not sure if I’m glad no-one had to see me act like that or if I’d have perfered some help and sympathy. I do belive though that nobody will ever understand this or take you seriously unless it has happened to them. I tried everything available to me, even shaving gel as I thought the aloe could be of help. It wasn’t and soon my tiled floor was covered in water and shaving cream as I rolled around on the cold tiles trying to find relief, naked, hyserical and in tears – I’m not ashamed to admit. Then I tried scratching myself with a towel. Also a bad idea. Everntually I double dosed on sleeping pills and anti-histhamines. Although I’m sure the dry skin thing holds some truth, I read an opinion which makes a lot of sense to me; that the extreme sensation is caused by skin cells ‘dying’ all at one and releasing all their hysthamine at the same time, thus causing the most sever allergic reaction symptoms you could ever experience. Sounds about right to me. I went othe pharmacy and explained my theory, the old man behind the counter must not have believe me or not heard my story before, he just gave me a forced smile and a tube of burn cream. The next day was not pleasant at all, but semi-bearable. I do belive anti-hithamines and water were my best friends. Summer agin in the next few months, and I am going to stock up on everything available to try and avoid this attrocity. Good luck.

Meag May 30, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Mine started about an hour ago – did the lotions, hot shower, cold cloth…still felt like fire ants were biting me. Popped some Benadryl and have a heating pad on my back and now I’m golden!

Allen X. S July 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Old article but still Great article! I’m suffering from an Itch from hell myself.

brigid.S July 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm

hi, i sympathize for all of you!! i currently have some mild summer burn on my back, and some mild itching, but i have had hells itch! the summer after my senior year of high school, i got second degree sunburn on my back, that means huge blisters developed, and oh man the itch was so bad it made me twitch like i had tourettes! fyi, chlorine and really bad sunburn don’t mix, avoid the pool, but the ocean is fine! good luck to current sufferers!

Christian June 26, 2016 at 10:57 pm

Why tf would you go into a pool with second degree sunburn

Alexander July 5, 2016 at 2:38 am

I would imagine to soak his body in cool water. My tub only goes up to my waste, so with a back burn I was considering a pool to get relief.

Tom July 23, 2013 at 5:48 am

I was burnt badly on my shoulders last Wednesday. At around 4:30 pm on the Friday I was hit with my first dose of Hells itch. My first instinct was to jump into an ice cold shower which soothed the itch very briefly, As soon as I got out of the shower the Itch hit harder than ever and I jumped straight back in.

The itch lasted around an hour before leaving. I tried rubbing on After Sun, A cold bath, Benadryl (Anti-Histamine tablets) but nothing came close to helping. It eventually went away after about an hours squirming and screaming in agony.

I was hit by my second dose of Hells itch about 8pm the same evening. This time I had managed to do some reading on the subject but didn’t have anything to hand. I eventually managed to trade it for a more welcome painful sting after rubbing Mint toothpaste onto the burnt area’s.

The following day I went to the chemist followed by the hospital A&E Unit where the Nurse told me that Sun burns create histamines and to take Pyratine and keep the area heavily moisturized.

The effected area is now pealing and I seem to be fast on the road to recovery. I can honestly say while this was happening it was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced and I’ll never go out without Sun cream on again.

My sympathies to anyone suffering this at the moment. – Good luck and dont make the same mistake twice.

Howard Decker July 23, 2013 at 10:24 am

oh man toothpaste! I haven’t heard that one yet. Glad you are recovered, and thanks for the comment!

Reese July 27, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I’m on my phone at 3AM fighting hell’s itch for the fourth time. The funny thing is I ‘always’ wear sunscreen. The first time was in Santa Cruz, I took my shirt off for a quick dose of sun, and fell asleep… Second time I was a stupid teenager. Third time I purchased and used counterfeit sunscreen in Vietnam…

I’m in the Philippines with no CVS, I can’t continue this post at this time..fml

Reese July 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Thanks for the post it helps. The candy cane employee post made me laugh

Howard Decker July 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Thanks to you for visiting. And I hope your itch stops soon!

Seamus Mulholland August 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I can confirm peppermint oil works for this terrible, terrible affliction. Just make sure to not apply with anything abrasive like a rough cloth and if you buy peppermint oil which needs to be diluted for application to the skin, make sure you dilute it as it will only irritate the skin and make the whole experience worse!! (Speaking from experience)

Babar August 14, 2013 at 1:55 am

Contrary to what most people seem to believe, it is quite easy to overcome the demonic itch. Here’s a quick list of possible solutions:
1 – Death: instant pain relief.
2 – Scalp yourself: unfortunately it usually implies (1).
3 – Booze. After a bottle of grey goose the itch should start to fade away (but your consciousness too)
4 – Peppermint oil. A pretty good alternative to killing yourself. Use it. I know, not everybody has the same skin and it “might” not work with you. But if it does, you will experience something better than sex and bacon combined: the mythical sunburn itch relief.

Howard Decker August 14, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Hah. Yes, I found myself wondering how many layers down I’d have to carve to get at the actual itch.

JT August 14, 2013 at 5:35 pm

The first 2 times I had Hell’s Itch, I did everything wrong. Cold showers, ice packs, smothering the burn with all kinds of lotions, etc…all for minimal momentary relief. The word nightmare isn’t harsh from what we suffer. But last weekend, after a beach excursion resulted in a bad burn, I prepared. I researched every website I could find on the subject, applied what I had learned, and avoided the madness all together.

I went with the hypothesis that we unlucky few may be having an allergic reaction of some sort that causes our bodies to flood our systems with histamines after a burn. Solution: oral antihistamines! (Note: the non-drowsy pills are just as effective as the old school drowsy kind).

I started popping pills, 25 mg at a time every 4 hours at the first hint of an itch on Day 3. A little itch lingered, but it was effective enough to keep me from scratching (another no-no). I kept my shirt off and had a fan blowing on my back when I could that day. Before bed, I took 50 mg just in case (the maximum suggested) and almost slept through the night. An itch here and there woke me, but I could resist scratching and go right back down.

The next morning would have probably been the peak of Hell’s Itch if I hadn’t have prepared. I had to wear a suit for work all day (yikes!), so I popped 50 mg and had the wife douse my back with the Peppermint Oil I picked up at GNC the day before. I might have been okay without the Peppermint Oil (I’ll never know), but I did enjoy the tingly sensation for the next 4 hours and there was almost no itching despite all those layers of clothes (Note: I used about 15-20 drops of undiluted oil to coat my back. I keep seeing people warn that you should dilute it, but I didn’t bother). By late in the afternoon I took another 25 mg when I sensed a little flare up coming on and that was it.

And tonight, I’m confident I’ve kicked Hell’s Itch’s ass permanently. And it only took a $5 box of 12 generic antihistamine pills, and a $7 bottle of Peppermint Oil that I may or may not have needed. Thank you Internet!

Howard Decker August 15, 2013 at 9:58 am

this is fantastic. So you’re telling me humans CAN defeat Hell’s Itch?? This is a huge step for mankind 🙂

Thanks for the awesome comment!

joan hogan June 17, 2016 at 10:00 am

Hi I have been suffering. With this found peppermint oil really good….was out of my mind.

Hunter June 28, 2016 at 10:52 pm

With just a little more work we will be able to solve the lesser of the two illnesses, CANCER!

ratherBeDeadThanItchLikeThis November 1, 2014 at 12:07 am

OMG!! I have been looking for a way to kick this this insane thing off. Nobody beleived me until I was on the floor crying in a fetal position. This is the worst thing I have ever been through. God I hope this works. Thnx!!

Sandy October 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I got a really bad burn on my shoulders the first week of July and I am STILL experiencing the itching and it is October 11th! I have been applying cream day and night and the itching is much better, but still flares up sending me almost insane!!! I am going to the store to get some peppermint oil and take some antihistamines and see if that takes it away! Thanks for the tips!

Howard Decker October 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm

over 3 months! That’s insane. Sorry it has held on that long, hopefully something you’ve read here will help! Thanks for visiting!

D Law June 24, 2014 at 4:21 am

God have mercy on your soul

itched May 28, 2014 at 9:10 am

AHHHH i have it right now my mom wont fucking belive me she says im over reacting and omfg im showing here this she finaly belives me its been fucking (sun burn started 4 days ago) its been 48 hr after the first 48 MAN WHEN IS GONNA STOP

aag June 2, 2014 at 7:35 am

Oh gawd make it stop. I’ve been awake for 72 hours straight due to this hellish itch. I feel like I’m going to die! I wish I would. I can’t take it anymore.

Elijah June 16, 2016 at 10:52 pm

Try getting a damp towl stick it in the freezer for a few minuts and put it on your itch to make it itch less it won’t stop it but it will make it itch less

Eileen Hoare Thread Pickerz June 5, 2014 at 10:29 am

Another tempory relief I have found that works wonders is bicarbonate of soda.
I was literally in tears with my itching and was up for trying anything.

Either mix some bicarbonate with a little water into a paste as apply (careful as once the water evaporates it becomes powder again and goes everywhere, or wet a paper towel with cold water and sprinkle some on then apply paper towel, itch goes away within minutes. Will need to reapply every so often but so good to be itch free

Stelio Kontos June 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm

I am a survivor of ‘Hell’s Itch”. So I think that I am finally past it. I had a horrible sunburn Tuesday just around 72 hours ago. Last night around 11 I tried to put on Moisturizer (Cetaphil). WHATEVER YOU DO… DON’T PUT ANYTHING ON YOUR SKIN OTHER THAN ALOE OR SOLARCANE. I started getting the worst pain I will ever get, which is probably a result from the moisturizer. I took a shower: nothing. I put on globs of Aloe: nothing. I laid down next to a fan: nothing. I went to the E.R. and by the time I saw the doctor the moisturizer had worn off. Come around 5am I woke up with hell’s itch… only this time it was worse. I called around all 24 hours pharmacies I could find. Got all of the medications listed below and was finally able to sleep.

My remedy: Take an antihistamine (Bendaryl will work best). This will help relieve the itching. Next take pain relief. I took acetaminophen for other medical reasons, but an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen would probably work best.
Finally: Solarcane. It’s prescription name is Benzocaine-Triclosan. It is a product that usually is in Floridan pharmacies, due to the fact that no one in Michigan (where I live) gets these bad of sunburns. If you can’t find it, call around to any stores you can find. I went to the hospital and they gave me a script for Solarcane… but I ended up just finding it OTC at a Walgreens.

As a recap: Beladryl + (Acetometaphin OR Ibuprophen) + Solcarcane = ‘Hell’s itch’ relief.

dan June 14, 2014 at 10:57 am

I had hells itch for the first time when i was 15, it started as mild itching on my back due to sun burn so i asked my mum to put moisturising cream on it and it then turned into a severe itching pain which can only be described as agony beyond any thing i ever felt. so all i could do is lay down with a wet cold towel on my back which wasn’t much help. But then i decided to run a bath ( just plain water no bubble bath nonsense ) fairly hot, not boiling. and laid in it for an hour which sorted it completely… Now i’m 18 and just last thursday i sunbathed with no sun cream for about 2 hours, i was fine for about 72 hours like every else said just a little stinging from the burn. Then on Saturday (today) i woke up with the exact same agonising itch i suffered 3 years ago but on my chest. I ended up shouting screaming swearing throwing things around and rubbing ice cubes on my chest for some mild relief ( didn’t work all to well ) I was tempted to try shooting a nail gun into my chest just to get it to reach the itch. then i remembered what i did when i was 15 so i ran a fairly hot bath not to hot and when i got in it my burns were stinging instead of itching for about 5 seconds then Bliss. my itches and stings were gone, i had to stay in there for about 4 hours because the itching was just returning when i got out.

Now i only have minor itches which i am more then happy to deal with, and let me tell you as a man I’m not ashamed to say my eyes started to water from the agony of that itch which can only be described as hells itch. I did try moisturiser, post sun cream, coco butter none of it helped. The heat from the bath seems to be able to scratch the itch for you. So for those of you who are still searching for a cure a hot bath may be the answer. thats all i can tell you guys, Good luck

shakey itcher June 19, 2014 at 3:34 am

Thank you so much for having this post. I have hells itch and will most likely not be sleeping for a while. It has taken 2 hours for me to just read enough to get a bit of an itch break. Hot shower, Benadryl, A&D ointment, and sitting very still worked wonders. Hells itch is the best description. My wife and daughter think I am crazy. They both gave up and went to bed. I will soon head back for another hot shower….

Mad June 19, 2014 at 11:28 pm

The first time I got this, I was 10 and made the mistake of wearing sun screen on the beach. The only thing was is that I had gotten hells itch that night and it only lasted that night.

Now I also got it last year, caught not wearing sun screen. Worst mistake ever. Exactly 24 hours after tge burn, I had the horrible continuous hells itch for 24 hours straight. I made the mistake of putting aloe on my burns. That’s what set it off initially.

Now I again 2 days ago forgot sunscreen and got a very similar burn to the one last year. But this time I’m prepared. I haven’t put an ounce of any gel or creme on it, also dosed up on anti-histimenes and ibeprofen. It has worked so far. It’s cone close to brining me over but you’ve just gotta tough it out and the itching only lasted 10 minutes. I say just don’t do anything to your back. Just take thd medicine the moment you start to feel it.

John July 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm

I agree with you on this battle tactic. I got a pretty bad burn fishing on a boat this Friday and being a past sufferer of Hell’s Itch I knew basically what made it worse. I’ve put nothing on the burns but taken anti-histamines and ibuprofen. So far so good, except for the occasional twinge of evil. But that’s nothing compared to the past. Also it’s kind of gross but I’ve skipped the shower except for immediately after getting home Fridau. I will do nothing that might awaken the fire ants living in my back.

phil May 26, 2015 at 3:31 pm

no cream, anti-histamines and painkillers (alternate ibuprofen and paracetamol) working for me so far

Balthazar June 21, 2014 at 2:24 am

I have it right now it is 2am and it is the worse thing ever I think I am going to die I would rather be hit inthe gut with a baseball bat

Greta June 25, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Speaking as someone who’s gone through childbirth and didn’t get an epidural until it was too late and felt every single contraction and every push…I would GLADLY go through that again rather than experience this HELLISH sunburn itch. It’s the single most miserable thing I’ve ever experienced (twice…because I didn’t learn my lesson)

I first experienced it two years ago when I fell asleep on my stomach by the pool and I thought I was going to lose my mind. Initially it just hurt, which I could deal with. THEN…I remember waking up in the middle of the night feeling thousands of tiny pinpricks across my back. There’s truly no way to accurately describe the HELL that is this sunburn itch. If you’ve experienced it, you know how awful it is. I was writhing in agony all night. Every time I itched my sore, burned back it intensified the itch and made it a thousand times worse. If I DIDN’T scratch it I was twitching from the demonic ITCH that was possessing me. I didn’t have the work the following day and I coated my back in aloe. That felt even worse (WORD OF ADVICE…DON’T USE ANY CREAMS OR GELS…THEY ONLY MAKE IT WORSE). I tried sitting very still on the couch and not moving. It still didn’t help. It was TORTURE. That time, I had to wait it out. After about the fourth day (from the initial burn) it was bearable and I vowed to never let that happen again.

And this past weekend, wouldn’t you know it, the same thing happened. I have a job that requires a fair amount of concentration and I was seriously questioning how I was going to be able to work if “THE ITCH” surfaced. A kind coworker of mine had a Benadryl spray in her desk from when she was eaten alive by mosquitos. IT HELPED. It’s the only product that I’ve found to help the itch. Not a gel or cream…a spray. I know everyone is different, but when I’ve been at the peak of my itching, I would try anything. I would have wrapped myself in Saran wrap if I’d thought it would make a difference. I hope anyone suffering from this finds some relief soon!

Stephanie Diaz July 1, 2014 at 12:28 am

Never…..ever….ever….again!!! The first time I actually go to the beach and I get a sunburn. Which I’m ok with. You know sun burn and beach it’s a love hate relationship you know. But THIS?!? Ha!! Literally two days later and I started getting itchy. And I’m laughing and just annoyed a little. Then seven p.m hits. And this devil incarnate itch started (I swear it’s from hell because every time I screamed god it got worse). I tried everything. I started getting desperate then I went to my dad (I’m 16 by the way) and he was like I’m itchy too but deal with it. I clenched my teeth and nodded after putting cream and other lotions (WARNING: lotions and creams do not help!!!!!) I got back to my room closed the door and cried screamed and felt like I was in the exorcist. Never ever ever again!!!! I tried looking up this itch and the only thing that works for me right now is hot showers and hot blow dryers! I can’t shower in the middle of the night but I sure as hell can use a blow dryer! Best invention ever!!! I have had no sleep but your comments as well as other articles give me something to do…thank you!!

Pete July 1, 2014 at 8:13 am

For instant relief, even though this doesn’t sound right take a hot shower. Also if you have any allergy medication, like a 4 hour antihistamine, take a pill. Between these you will be able to sleep at least. I have suffered this a total of 3 times in my life. I can remember each account with horrifying clarity. When it happens, you don’t want to wait for a pill to kick in. The hot shower helps open the pores and works to defeat the histamine build up. The way it was described to me is that on day 2 after a burn your skin has healed almost completely and the pores are very small. Basically this traps the histamine in and doesn’t allow your body to push anything out. What you are feeling is literally your body trying to rip through your own skin. This works like a dream. Do not use creams or aloe until the itch has completely subsided as it will further clog the pores and increase the pain and itch. Do not take a cold shower, even though it feels good at first, it will constrict the pores and cause more pain as soon as you’re out.
Hot shower and antihistamine. Go ahead and try other stuff if you want, but this works and works well.

Anorak May 22, 2016 at 1:20 am

YES, However, I took a hot bath, it alleviated the whole itch for a while. Then after, when it started again (I didn’t take an antihistamine yet,) it was a little less, but it was still itch-mageddon so i took another, now it’s returned but only as a bearable, ignoreable small itch. I’m used to it, due to reasons i’ll not get into right now, but the fact is, I can tolerate it. I’ll soon take NyQuil, and hope for the best. I’ll bookmark this in case of a later affliction.

Andriy Zazulya July 2, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Just got it last night. Since 1am was up and was ready to do anything to cool my body down. I couldn’t control myself and tried everything. Milk, Sour cream, Aloe Vera. After 5 minutes of standing in hot shower i got to Google and found Bloog where girl described exactly the same thing that i was going through. People commented that i need to use Peppermint oil… At 2.30am i was in a car on the way to Major; Than next one, and one more. Finely when i found one i mixed it with coconut oil with ratio 1(spoon of peppermint oil) to 4(spoons of coconut oil). People 5 minutes after I applied it on my back, it was gone… I was able to lie on my back… Now i am at work, still feel a bit of pain, but it’s nothing compared to yesterday’s tortures that i went through.

Bridgette July 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm

I am currently suffering from this as well. On friday I applied 70 spf to my skin everywhere but the middle of my back where I couldn’t reach. I have extraordinarily fair skin, and do not venture outside much unless it is raining, heavy forecast, snowing, or late evening/night. I was in the pool with friends for 4 hours. That evening I felt horribly sick and had a very intense panic attack. Day 2 and 3 was painful from the burn. I was continuously applying ‘after sun’ lotion…Which does not help AT ALL. Day 4 I was finally home and could apply real aloe. Nearly as soon as my aunt applied it to my back, I was running around in circles screaming “WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO??!” with tears streaming down my face, which of course freaked her out (she’s a nurse, btw), and she screamed back “I DON’T KNOW I DON’T KNOW!” I flew up the stairs, ripped all of my clothing off as fast as I humanly could, and jumped in the shower. Later I tried calamine spray and ice packs…And the ripping off the clothing occurred again for immediate hot shower relief. I did that on 4 separate occasions last night. The only thing that helped me sleep through the night, was swaddling myself in a heated blanket as tightly as I could. Today my back is just as unbearably itchy and so I’ve mostly tried to keep myself wrapped up and sleep as much as I can. I will definitely be going to the store for benadryl, peppermint oil and A&D. Thanks for all the tips!

Mh July 8, 2014 at 1:57 am

I’ve currently got the hells itch, and I don’t fulfill your first criteria. I tan and I’ve never had a real sunburn. The “burn” currently causing this hells itch is only very slightly red and really doesn’t hurt at all. But the itching. Oh, the itching. I’ve had shingles and this is worse. I’ve had multiple surgeries, and this is worse. I would rather smash all of my toes with a meat cleaver than go through this again. I swear I would do it. If you told me ripping out my toenail would fix this itch, I would do it.

JT 2 July 13, 2014 at 8:41 am

I woke up with this awful itch, and in the past few hours, I’ve learned a lot. ALWAYS use sunblock. As for remedies, a very hot shower stopped the itch for a little while. Don’t scratch the itch, it only gets worse. I took an ibuprofen and an allergy pill, and next is a benadryl. Later, some peppermint oil. Anything to relieve this unbearable itch-pain

Tom July 17, 2014 at 6:32 pm

I’m a UK sufferer, and it drove me almost insane, but somewhere on the wonderful internet I found a cure… hydrocortisone cream 1%. I thought I was out of luck, what with shops closed etc, but then I stumbled across some cream from a previous and non related skin itch problem, which thinking about it was rather lame compared to Hell’s Itch. Slathered it over the itch and within minutes it had subsided. Miracle. That’s hydrocortisone cream people, or anything containing Hydrocortisone BP 1% w/w

Jeff-o-matic July 24, 2014 at 9:00 pm

I am apparently as lucky as all Hell. I laid out on a New Hampshire beach for 2 hours on a partly cloudy day about 52 hours ago – this after 6 years of working 12-hour overnight work-shifts and basically living like a Morlock – and I burned… and of course it didn’t look like much of a burn at the time, but I had been burned before with no overly-ill effects, so…

…And immediately after a shower about 90 minutes ago, it felt as if about 50 digger wasps were enacting a “scorched-flesh policy” on my chest. I was at my parents’ place in the mountains, 45 minutes from a town with a real drugstore… and there was nothing in the house resembling a moisturizer.

In a fit of desperation, I grabbed a half-gallon jug of extra-virgin olive oil, soaked down a section of paper towel, and rubbed a thin coating on to my mortified flesh. It quickly felt a little bit better… and within about an hour, the itching was essentially gone.

I cannot guarantee this method of relief for anyone else – several laws of reality don’t seem to appy to me (I cannot drink coffee, for instance, because it quite effectively knocks me out)… but it did work for me.

As of writing this last sentence, nearly 3 hours have passed since the application of the olive oil, and the Hell’s Itch I experienced is a gladly-fading memory.

Ducatista July 27, 2014 at 1:09 am

I’ve never been as close to suicide as I was that night 19 years ago. Truly torturous. I haven’t had it since, but it has mentally scarred me for life. Enough that I sometimes randomly seek out forums and articles on the topic. Nothing makes me laugh like some of these stories because I can relate, and nobody else believes me or can possibly begin to understand.

Barbara Cieslinski July 28, 2014 at 3:02 pm

I have been reading all the different posts on here but have to ask..anything for hand itch? I was burned 2 days ago. Last night and today at random times my fingers start itching or burning. I can ride it out so far but its truly annoying,

lobster man August 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm

I got burnt TWO WEEKS AGO. My back is no longer red but I get 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night. Going to try a&d. Benadryl helps a small amount. Lobster man out

jessicarae9 August 18, 2014 at 10:58 pm

I just experienced this!!! I ran around not knowing what to do with myself. Getting mad at my boyfriend simply because I couldn’t describe what I was going through and I was running around the house yelling “oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!!!!” Finally I didn’t know what else to do so I jumped in the shower and stood with my back to the hot water. For about 30 minutes. It worked. As I lay here just a few… Little prick like feelings are left. Sigh… I’ll grab the bc I can’t take that ever again.

Rick August 27, 2014 at 4:34 am

Thanks for the post – My hells itch struck at 2AM – so I worked with what I had: benadryl, ibuprofen, and a percocet. The percocet kicked in after 20 min. The itch is now sufficiently masked so i am going to bed instead of setting myself on fire. PS – the sun burn was the result of spray-on sunscreen (spf 50) and wind. my back looks like a starlite mint. Use care with the spray stuff.

Dylan Butler September 2, 2014 at 11:52 pm

This is the first time i have ever even heard of this “Hell’s Itch” and it is by far the worst thing i have ever felt. I once landed on a red ant mound and was bitten several thousand times and that doesnt even come close the pain i am feeling at this moment

Maddox September 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm

My boyfriend got Hells Itch last night and it was his first time having it happen. What can I do to help him?

tdizzle September 10, 2014 at 1:24 am

Ok so I never in my life thought I would experience this because I am indian and although I have pretty light skin, I still have somewhat of a natural tan. I usually wear sunscreen whenever I go to the beach but this one time I stupidly didn’t and impulsively decided I wanted a ‘glowy tan’ like Adriana Lima and laid out on the beach after swimming with a friend for about 45 minutes. I figured, hey, the worst that could happen is I just get a little too tan. By the time we were driving home the salt water and sun had done their number on my back which had started to feel painful but I still denied any possibility of a problem.

About an hour later my back burned like crazy and I took a shower and that gave me some relief (because I use a coconut oil based soap, as I realized later) but there was still discomfort by the time I went to bed, but not to the point where I couldn’t fall asleep.

At 4:06am in the morning I awoke to the most horrific itching sensation I have ever had the displeasure to experience. It felt like prickly insects were violently squirming around under my skin on my back. It was like a demon was gnawing on my flesh and shooting me with needles full of AIDS. I thought I had been bitten by a black widow spider in the night. I was in full on panic mode and jumped out of bed and ran in circles slapping my back until I realized this had something to do with the ‘mild’ sunburn I had. I had no idea what to do but I reached for the jar of coconut oil that I keep by my bed and slathered that shit on like no tomorrow and literally minutes later the pain of the itch was about 80% gone. Not completely, but enough for me to fall back asleep. I reapplied the coconut oil every few hours to prevent it from coming back, and my skin peeled and healed really quickly after that.

Coconut oil saved my life.

Jason Forstner September 30, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Hot shower… As hot as you can stand for 8-12 minutes.
Do not use soap… just hot water. ..
Mix equal parts water and distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle with a fine mist (the ones for misting house plants)…
After the shower… mist the mixture over the Affected area… it smells a bit… but only momentarily…
Lay in a cool room with light clothing or preferably no clothing at all… With a fan blowing on you…
Video games or movies to help distract you…
Repeat this process for as long as you need to…
If you must go out… A & D ointment works well… As does any diaper rash cream… but I prefer to use “Cortizone•10 for Eczema”… The brand name stuff.. not the generic….

I hope this helps… I know your pain… and this always seems to work for me
God speed…

Ben Kinsella October 9, 2014 at 3:36 am

First off I would like to say that I have broken my hip, sprained a section of my knee, flipped my pelvis, popped out four ribs and went through severe catlidge damage at the age of 14 in a hockey game. Yes it all happened at once. I did not cry nor did I know about the broken hip due to my high pain tolerance. I have also ripped all the muscle and gum from my mouth in a biking accident which had me drinking milkshakes in a bed for two weeks without being able to speak. I did not shed a tear in that instance either. Now with that egotistical rant out of the way, I would like to state that yes It did have a point.

I was in Florida for a week with my aunt and I decided to go into the water and out again without reapplying. I am an albino Irish boy whom owes pigment to whoever distributes skin pigment. I am as white as they come. Anyways two days after I experienced this burn I began the most horrific and excruciating ordeal of my few years on this planet. It brought me to me knees and had me in tears. Showers helped for a while but when burning my skin in a scolding shower no longer worked I was screwed. This lasted for about 2 days and on the third It was acting up again. Previous to the third day I had literally tried everything and gone through every website and nothing was working. I swear If I had one more benedryl I would have Od’ed. I read that applying peppermint oil would work almost instantly but unfortunately I did not have the luxury of finding it.

What I did find on the third day was a benedryl spray that I would swear by to this day. It saved me. It was instant relief. Be warned that it does burn quite a bit when applying to the skin but the burn is almost immediately followed by a cool and soothing nothing. That nothing is what will keep you from running into traffic or filleting your self. This benedryl spray that I will link to,, saved my life. Please try it when going through this and tell me if it helped you. Those who have gone through the hell itch can attest to the itch occasionally coming up in spikes the next few days after the bombshell itch. This spray effectively dissipates the itch. Please give it a go. It helped me.

Katherine November 7, 2014 at 5:19 am

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

My family has experienced this for three generations and when we finally found this soulution 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

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 after 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), but it’s worth writing about any real relief
as this is such a crazy thing to experience with no relief.

Nick January 29, 2015 at 8:45 am

Hi all,

I’ve had this a few times and can agree that it is the worst pain I’ve ever been in. It started when I was 15. It happens, without fail, any time I get mildly sun kissed on my back or chest. But now I’ve learned that regular HOT SHOWERS from the time you get burned to 4-5 days afterwards prevents it from coming on. I also drink a LOT of water during this time which I can only hope keeps my skin from drying out. It seems to have stopped it from coming on. I read about people having success with peppermint oil and I am just about to order some online to keep in my wash bag for a time hot showers do not prevent it from coming on. But seriously, HOT SHOWERS do work. I have tried the ice cold baths and they work for about 2 minutes and then it’s back as bad or worse. Then once I put the hot tap on the shower by accident and it worked! And not only did it work for the moment but it was a fairly long-term (hours) fix. After maybe 4-5 hot showers a day, you can have a normal routine and just let your skin heal on its own.

Good luck all!



Although i was sitting here wincing at all the stories of pain people have suffered, it’s releaving to hear it’s not just me and my Dad who get this.

Michael February 22, 2015 at 9:00 am

How long did Hells Itch last for you guys?

Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck February 22, 2015 at 8:10 pm

never more than 36-48 hours.

Ariel March 10, 2015 at 8:26 am

So, I’m sitting here at work and though I want to RIP THE SKIN OFF OF MY BACK/STOMACH/FACE, I find so much comfort in knowing other people understand my pain. I remember the first time Hell’s Itch plagued my life. I was a freshman in high school and neglected to apply *enough* sun screen. I am VERY fair skinned and have to re-apply every 45 minutes. I laid on my parents bed and bit a towel for a solid 30 minutes…crying while my mom told me to just “hang in there and don’t scratch.” There is no “hanging in there” when it comes to Hell’s Itch. I honestly have no idea how I managed to survive…because I don’t think I took any pills or anything. Anyways, well this past weekend I decided to lay out in my back yard. No sunscreen. I wasn’t even out there an hour. If only I could go back in time and whack myself in the face. The itching isn’t as intense as it was all those years ago…but it’s bad. I haven’t slept the last two nights. I’ll start to doze off but my body will convulse with a deep, satanic itch, leaving me wide awake and completely miserable. Ibuprofen doesn’t really help. Benadryl doesn’t help either. I haven’t showered since Sunday afternoon (it’s now tuesday) because I am terrified of making things worse. My face was itching so badly this morning…I tired putting cocoa butter on. No. Just no no no. Quickly washed it off and applied coconut oil. The coconut oil is helping. But my back is just still itching. We have some peppermint oil at home…I think I’ll try it out tonight. Honestly, the itch shouldn’t last for much longer. This will be going on 48 hours…I had a super intense twitch yesterday in class and was so embarrassed. My professor asked me if I was alright. Lady…you just have no idea. I’m staying super hydrated and praying that the itching wont last for much longer. To anyone who reads this: I understand your pain and you are not crazy. I hope you find relief soon. Stay strong. Stay hydrated. WEAR SUNSCREEN.

Andrew March 30, 2015 at 9:22 am

About 4 months ago on a Friday, I got a bad sunburn which I’ve had many times in my life. I applied aloe over the weekend and had typical discomfort. AND THEN IT STARTED!

My back started itching at work and without thinking I scratched it a little bit until I realized this made it worse. I asked a girl I work with for some lotion as I thought that the material of my work polo was irritating the skin on my back. Within minutes I started twerkin and had no clue wtf was happening. The pain was unbearable. Somehow I kept my composure enough to tell my boss I was leaving this instant. I didn’t consider asking for permission.

Driving home I avoided a few head on collisions as I could barely keep my hands on the wheel, but in hindsight I probably should have just driven off the bridge. I got home, ripped my shirt off and went online looking for cures. That’s when I learned of Hell’s Itch.

So here are my recommendations to get you through the worst 48-72 hours of your life if you find yourself in a similar position.

Go to the store and buy the following-

Anti-hystamines, pain relievers, peppermint oil, Vicks vapor rub, bengay, a bottle of liquor (Fireball worked for me), and a pack of gum.

Immediately pop a couple doses of the pills and down with a shot or two. This is no time for reading directions or abiding laws. Call off work for current and following day. Go home and take a hot shower. Very gently dry afflicted area with a soft towel. Apply peppermint oil. If peppermint oil does not provide instant relief, as in my case, increase speed of alcohol consumption.

Then apply numbing topical cream liberally. Yes, this makes it worse before it gets better. Then liberally apply Vicks vapor rub to begin cool and soothing. Put a soft shirt on try to get it to ‘glue’ to your affected area to avoid irritation. Chew gum harder as the pain spikes and avoid scratching. Pressing a knife tip against itching areas helps confuse your nerves by creating a different, less painful problem. Turn on the tv and understand there is no cure. Within a half hour things should be manageable to the point where minutes can pass without thoughts of suicide.

Hope this helps, always wear sunscreen and understand that nobody will understand what you are going through.

Austin April 3, 2015 at 12:16 am

Literally just found out about this new form of torture sent by Satan himself. After leaving for spring break I found myself on the beach trying to tan my white self without sunscreen. Childish I know, I was left with a very severe sun burn. like most everyone else I was confronted my a searing pain on my chest and a slight tickle about 2 days after this burn. It started about noon, and it was just annoying. Then I found out these demons were just teasing me for a few minutes and decided to up there game. My first idea was to itch the crap out of my chest and apply aloe. NEVER APPLY ALOE. IT MAKES IT SO MUCH WORSE. It this point I was screaming and running into walls and freaking out. I was also trying to makes coffee at the time (totally reasonable) and I remember dropping my cup and running to the bathroom for a cold wash rag. this helped for five seconds. From then on I was going inbetween the cold washrag and rubbing myself. I had thoughts of skinning myself at that point anything to make it go away. About half an hour later it went away and I was left on the cold floor panting and sweating. Later that day, my step dad had the same itch happen to him , but he was smart enough to check online for solutions seeing that scorching showers work. It does use this method it helps TREMENDOUSLY. Always use sunscreen, and even if throwing yourself off your roof sounds better than this itch your wrong. A rusty razor against the burn is what really sounds amazin.

JoshuaHamilton April 6, 2015 at 8:33 pm

BENADRYL AND PEPPERMINT OIL!!!!! This page may have literally saved my wife and sons from burying me way too soon. I have had plenty of sunburns, afew real bad ones, but never experienced ANYTHING like this. I was born with a birth defect that caused me to have chronic pancreatitis and the pain was unbearable. Only heavy doses of morphine or demerol would take it away. I would prefer to have that pain than this itch.

yudi April 8, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Ben gay works really well. It burns like hell for 5 minutes then the itch stops. the five minutes of burning is totally worth getting rid of the most painful itch a person can experience.

Lesley April 15, 2015 at 10:40 pm

i have read these comments over & over again… my heart went out to you all as i am currently suffering with this awful itch (if only it was just an itch) i am in week 3 now & i was suicidal, i tried all of your suggestions & then had to give in & go to the doctors. there was no one available but a nurse who gave me steroids – didn’t touch it. then an emergency doctor, after going to the surgery saying i am going mad with this itch from hell, can’t sleep, can function at work, i really was going mad. i was given 30 180mg fexofenadine antihistamine tablets. after day 2 the pain subsided but the itch continued. it was annoying & i was making my skin bleed in small places but the pain went… phew I was feeling a little better but still not getting much sleep. to anyone who has this (& mine is still going on – 3 weeks now) GET HELP if all the above things do not work. i dislike & avoid all tablets where possible but i would have taken ANYTHING to get rid of this. GOOD LUCK to anyone reading this with this awful complaint. i wish i could give you a time scale as this is what i was hoping for but everyone is different i guess… my heart goes out to you all….

Trisha April 16, 2015 at 12:16 am

BENADRYL!!! If you are experiencing “hells itch” a couple days after getting sunburned, try taking benadryl! Yesterday, (Two days after getting a bad sunburn) I came home from work and took off my long sleeve shirt. After I took off my shirt, I noticed how extremely itchy I was all of a sudden and decided to apply some burn relief gel with aloe/lidocaine in it. BIG MISTAKE. As soon as the gel dried, what was a previous intense itch turned into african fire ants gnawing their way out of my skin.I began scratching, patting, and using towels to rub my burned shoulders/arms/neck with an intense ferocity, which only made it worse. Then I thought, well maybe my skin is just really dry, let me put some lubriderm lotion on it. Once again, the fire ants got pissed off and I proceeded to act like a crackhead by jumping around, rolling around, screaming obscenities, running back and forth searching frantically in my medicine cabinet for something, anything that might help. I tried a licocaine patch thinking it would numb the sensation. Nope, just activated the pain. Then I blasted my lidocained shoulder with ice cold water, and felt instant relief. I was like thank goodness, I’m going to take a cold shower. Soon as I removed my shoulder from the water, Satan said “watch this,” and the “itch” came back even more intense and I resumed the crackhead charade: screaming, crying, jumping/rolling around, violently scratching/patting myself. Then I got on the computer & googled painful itch two days after sunburn and read a comment a Savior posted of how they gave their son who was inflicted with the same symtpoms some benadryl. I hauled ass to cvs and almost ran over a man walking through the parking lot. I know the people at the store thought I was tweaked out of my mind with the scratching/patting/moving around of my shoulders paired with the power walking and distraught demeanor. Soon as I bought the benadryl I flew out the doors and ripped open the package and took some benadryl right in front of the store. I drove home, with the ant pile on my shoulders, and continued the jumping around/cursing. About 15 minutes later I noticed the benadryl taking effect and felt a little better. About 30 min later I was still itchy, but the fire ants had disappeared!!!! Words cannot explain the level of relief and gratefulness. Every now and then I felt a”bite” but the sensation didn’t last long and wasn’t shit compared to what I felt earlier. I never experienced “Hell’s Itch” before until this episode, after reading more reviews I will also purchase pure peppermint oil just in case, but I know for certain benadryl worked a miracle for me. Hope my experience helps another poor soul who is going through this.

Jacqulyn April 28, 2015 at 5:10 am

Well, I’ve never gotten this sunburn itch like this before, but I did have mono last August and boy was that exactly what this is, but all over your body for weeks. Yeah, you itch and it makes it worse. Nothing helped, I just kept taking sleeping pills to knock me out til my itch woke me back up so naturally I have every ointment under the sun now from that experience, but like that time they aren’t helping with my now sunburn itch and I feel like I have mono again. Kill me pls.

Dave May 5, 2015 at 11:20 am

Reading some of the comments here was great since most kept their sense of humor intact in a situation that’s far from funny.
I’m 57 and have had more sunburns then I can count but have never experienced what I have now. Compared to most, I consider myself lucky since it was my bald head that got burned so I’m able to take both hands and violently rub my head for some temporary relief from the itch. I actually had no idea what was happening but figured it had to do with the burn so googled it.
It so happens I’m on morphine for a back problem so I’ve not experienced any pain with this but I definitely feel for those that do and wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I’ve never been a hat person but I’m about to be, and will keep handy some of the relief remedies in case I’m foolish enough to get burned again. Thank for reads and the info

charlie May 5, 2015 at 9:44 pm

I’ve tried everything you can think of. Two things that did bring some relief, the first is Nozema facial cream coated on, it take’s about 15 mins and the itch lessen’s, The BEST thing is plain old Vinegar in a spray bottle worked the best..It amazing, is a very painful experience especially if you start sweating.

Doug May 13, 2015 at 12:03 am

Here we go AGAIN! I experienced this absolutely ungodly hell a few times but, this, yeah this is the absolute worst I have ever felt! I stared this fun filled demonic type experience with a fun filled day on the lake Sunday. It is now Tuesday and if I could go back in time, I would have stayed my butt at home and not enjoyed myself. This time it hit at home and thank God my wife was here to keep me from plucking my eyes out with a blazing hot pick and shoving one of my hunting arrows through my ear. I went from my chest itching a little to the coldest shower I crave ever been in to clawing my skin off and finally in the fetal position in the bathroom floor convulsing while my wife attempted to apply Benidrill cream. That didn’t help at all. Finally she found some burn spray and went to town spraying me. At first I came un freaking glued from the burning! After a few minutes I am finally have some releaf. I look like a lathered up burnt pig sitting here on my couch but, I’m finally able to to feel better. Two Tylenol and a 2 liter bottle of water I may be able to get some sleep. If anyone wants a comparison of the agony here is what I think about it.

I have had a kidney stone and 3 really bad motorcycle wrecks. I would rather pass a huge kidney stone while recovering from a broken collar bone with road rash than go through this BS again. Good luck everyone!

Doug May 13, 2015 at 7:11 pm

Well, it’s day two of this hell. I finally fell asleep around 4:00am this morning and was back up at 6:00 to go to work. Nothing happened at work accept a little itch here and there. So when I got home i decided it would be a fantastically genius idea to finish up my wife’s flower beds. Yup, that’s right, let’s sweat a little. WOW! This decision was just as dumb as what got me in this place. I was fine with a little tiny itch here and there while I was working. When I cooled down, HOLLY MOTHER OF SATAN! The ants million fire ants from hell went to town attacking my soul! Luckily this time I knew how to combat it. It still took time and this time seemed like an eternity before the witches brew kicked in. None the less it was about a 30 minute ordeal before the demonic battle was over. When all the smoke and Fire had cleared there were pockets of sweat under my skin. so my demon killing serum was after a warm shower. Not scale sing hot and not freezing cold. Once clean it was a coating down with Benadril extra strength itch relief (clear bottle green top). Be prepared because this will start out in a 4 alarm fire stage and blow your mind but, it has to be done! Once the Benadril was applied I used spray on burn treatment. Plain old aerosol discharged burn spray with aloe. Give that miracle working concoction a try and be in a happy place for a while. I personally haven’t had it come back once treated for the evening but, it seems to always hit in the evenings. This is probably much better than loosing your mind at work and getting sent to the insane asilem. Man wouldn’t that suck to be stuck in a straight jacket wile pure hell came over your skin. Anyways, it will be early to bed fore tonight. For any of you reading this looking for relief, God bless your soul and may he give you back your religion after this is all over with.

Renee August 28, 2018 at 7:16 pm

You are hilarious! But oh so accurate in your description!

Mike May 20, 2015 at 8:23 am

Worst pain I have ever experienced. Worse than a surgery I had in high school where a metal bar had to be inserted into my chest for 2 years. Scalding hot showers, a hair dryer to get the hot air on your burn (used it at work) and A+D Cream helped a lot. Did not try peppermint oil as the HOT showers provided immediate relief. Whole experience was and is horrific as I am in the latter stages of this HELL.

Mike May 20, 2015 at 8:25 am

To add… it was so bad last night that I had to get out of my car around 1 am and roll around on a patch of grass by the grocery store. This has to be worse than child birth (I wouldn’t know for sure as I have a Penis and not a Vagina)

Jolene May 21, 2015 at 10:55 am

I got a severe sunburn almost two weeks ago, peeled at the end of last week, and still have some peeling now. My right shoulder (I was at a ball tournament) got the worst burn. It has been itching now for 2 days uncontrollably!! I make my own lotion with shea butter, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and peppermint oil. I have been using that to the point that my skin looks almost wet, but nothing has helped. I haven’t tried the A&D or the extremely hot shower. Most of the comments on here come from people that have experienced the itch within 3-4 days after the burn. Has anyone gone through it a week and a half after? I am going crazy!!

Les May 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm

I went through this “itch” (if only that’s what it was – red hot biting ants under the skin more like it) I had it 6 weeks (4 days after sunburn), it eased after 4 weeks but in week 6 now & it’s eased to feel like nettle stings. Try eurax cream or doublebase jel. I was taking piriton like it was going out of fashion which helped it. Nothing stopped it as it was relentless night & day. I would not wish this in a worst enemy. Jolene it appears it starts when you peel & reach a certain point of peeling. There’s no hard & fast rule as to how many days before it starts. It’s virtually gone now & I am feeling human again. I no longer want to jump off a cliff to get relief. I can only hope you & all those that follow these posts do not have it longer than a few days. It’s evil!!!!!
Good luck to you all

Jolene May 22, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Thank you!! I was beginning to fear that the itch wasn’t from the burn since mine hit so far after the burn. I have brief moments of relief, but torture most of the time! I am almost willing to cut my arm off to get it to stop!!!

Michael May 22, 2015 at 10:10 pm

Oh man, count me in as one of the dumbasses who has gone through this before yet here I am again. I’m honeymooning in Hawaii, but wishing I could just fast forward a few days to bypass this hell. Last night was awful. Stayed up until 6AM and raided the first aid isle at the local grocery store the minute they opened. Spent about 50 bucks and nothing worked.

I managed to nap about 2 hours starting from 8:30AM once my Tylenol PM x4 kicked in. Woke up laying in a disgusting oily sheet from all the junk I had piled on my back. Weird little gelatinous looking balls of chemicals stuck all over my bed sheet and back.

Today the itch was about a 6/10 with last night being easily an 11. I really hope this trend keeps up and I don’t itch tomorrow…

I went out and bought a Quicksilver rash guard shirt, which from now on will never leave my body if I ever decide to step out into the sun for an extended period of time again.

Not even a blow job or sex can curb this shit. Decided to jump in the pool too, which did nothing, so add that one to the list as well.

Josh May 27, 2015 at 8:37 pm

Dear lord, thank you so much for this article! 30 minutes ago I was writhing around my bathroom floor clawing the skin off my back, and now I’m good! Calamine lotion definitely did the trick, and instantly too! I am honestly so amazed that an itch could ever be so bad. Unfortunately to my family who hasn’t experienced this devilish curse (yet), I now seem like a crazy person frantically running through the house naked, thrashing around violently, while begging to be mercy-killed. God bless any of you poor souls who have to live with what feels like poison ivy on meth all over your body!

Dying July 8, 2016 at 2:47 am

Poison ivy on meth… I’ll have to use that one if you don’t mind.

Mark June 6, 2015 at 11:39 am

Reading all these posts helped with this torturous pain that has overcome me.

Two days ago I once again, like every year, got a sunburn on my back because I didn’t use sunscreen. At least once a year on the first really warm day I decided to do outdoor activities without a shirt on to get a jump start on my tanning.

Once again I paid the price and got burned, only this time out of the blue while sitting at the computer about 4 hours ago I was struck my an instant itch attack that I have never felt in my life. I panicked and ran into the bathroom and took a freezing shower, which felt good for that time I was in the shower.

When I got out of the shower I lost it, I was panicking trying to scratch myself but my skin hurt so bad that it didn’t help. The pain of touching my skin was revealing and actually felt better than the actual itch.

I had my mother rub cream on my back which did nothing at all. She found this all pretty hilarious at first. I then took two ibuprofen and it helped stop most of the itching. Two hours later it started again when I had another “Hell’s Itch” attack.

I can only describe it as a million itches at once, running up and down your back (where my burn is) in waves and no matter what you itch it won’t stop.

Anyway, two hours later the second wave, I lost it again and all I could think of was to lay on my stomach and and put an ice pack which only helped for the the moment. I took another ibuprofen, so that is 600 mgs all together. I have occasional short itch waves and twitch like I’m doing my best Micheal J. Fox impersonation.

My mother didn’t find it as funny when I found this blog and she saw I wasn’t being a giant p*ssy.

When the third wave comes I will try the peppermint oil.

I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

I will never go into the sun without sunscreen ever again. Regardless of the person next to be, even if it’s a hairy fat man, I will politely ask him to put sunscreen on my back.

No more of this, “I don’t need sunscreen” talk anymore. I never want to feel this again. I don’t even care about being tan and brown, I’d rather be pasty and anti itchy.

I’m a pretty tough dude, extreme sports, etc. but this is the worst thing I have ever felt and I have had some pretty gnarly injuries in my life.

I feel your pain and I wish you all speedy relief!

PleasestoptheITCH June 9, 2015 at 6:25 am

I am a teenager about to finish school and enjoy my summer, however 2 days ago I was revising in the garden without a top on. (the thing I would come to regret the most I ever have in my life). Later that day it was clear to me that I had been sunburnt all over my back and my shoulders including the top of my arms. The pain of the sunburn was hard to deal with but is nothing compared to what was about to come. 2 days after the sun exposure on my back I woke up like it was any other day. Got up and went in the shower. however in the shower I started to feel little itches on my back. I thought that this was just due to the shower on the sunburn so I did not worry. however 5 minutes after getting out the shower I started to receive sharp itching pains on my back. normally I am good with dealing with itches and can avoid them despite the irritation. But not this time, the pain was so bad I could not leave it. I started jumping up and down in my room in pain and then ran around the house shouting and screaming in horrible pain. It got to the point where it was so painful that I started crying and not afraid to admit it. I couldn’t avoid the itch as it was unbearable but every time I touched the burn I would shout in pain. My father even had to come home from work so that he could rub after sun on my back as I could not reach it. This made no difference to the pain and undertook another hour or so of extreme pain. The pain then started to fade a little but still was on my back like sharp daggers. I now took to the internet to try and find a remedy and came across a pack of ice cold peas which just made the pain worse. The worst thing is that I have an exam today and I really don’t know how I am going to do it with this severe pain continuing on my back. I am scared for tonight when I try and get some sleep. I just want it to go. I feel like the only way out is death ahah.

Hell's itch on a plane jason June 14, 2015 at 11:30 am

12 hour flight with hell’s itch and looking like a crackhead getting ready to take over the plane…

I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on here. It helped me pass the time while I was in this agonizing torture called hell’s itch. Let me start by saying that I’m a tough guy from California and have been in the sun my whole life but have only experienced this twice now. Once when I was 12 years old and now that I’m 32. I have some pretty high pain tolerance, I’m tattooed from ears down. I’ve endured hundreds of hours getting tattooed in the most painful locations including my throat, stomach, ribs, elbows, and even a small tattoo on my face. I’ve even gone through the laser treatment to remove tattoos which is worse than getting them. But let me tell everyone who reads this, that is all a day in the park compared to what hell’s itch has put me through.

My family and I visited the Turks and Caicos islands in the carribean over the last week and I wore sunscreen generously reapplying it every couple hours for almost the whole trip. But for some reason exactly 48 hours before my flight I decided to be a tough guy and put it off for a good part of the morning while the kids and I snorkeled the outer reef of providenciales. My wife and kids all put their sunscreen on before we took this boat ride out to the reef but I got sidetracked with everything else and I put it off. It looked like an overcast morning so I didn’t think much of it. Boy was I wrong! After snorkeling for about an hour and a half, I noticed the sun had come out to play so I went ok the boat and applied sunscreen as I usually would reapply by now. I went on with my day thinking I was a little pink but I would be ok.

By the time we got back to our villa with our full family group of 12, everyone noticed my back was bright red as a tomatoe. I took a cold shower for about 30 min and went to bed but my condition immediately took a turn for the worst. Within 30 min of laying down I got a fever and spent a horrible night. Not sure if some kind of suk poisoning or what but my skin was unbearable the touch. By next day I kept doing the normal aloe Vera treatment and praying that I would never re-live that itch from 20 years ago. I seriously have never forgotten the pain. The hard part about this whole thing is that no one understands it and they make stupid comments like “stop being dramatic” or “just don’t think about it”. If only it were that fucking easy! But they claim they know what an after burn itch is when in fact they have no fucking clue and all it does is piss you off even more.

On my way to the airport to return home on my 12 hour flight with a 2 hr layover in New York I noticed the itch beginning but I already know better than to scratch it. I immediately make a mad dash to the local pharmacy to buy some solarcaine, a&d, anti itch cream, lotions of all types, Advil, ibuprofen, aleve, whatever would make me feel better. Of course I’m out of the country so I end up spending close to $100 on this cocktail of medicine that makes me look like I’m losing my mind already. I proceeded to the airport twitching and frantic the whole way during checkout and going through customs. Now picture this, as I’m going through tsa I’m sweating unbarebly because of the heat, humidity, and of course I’m fighting this feeling that makes me want to slice a layer off my back. As I approach the tsa officer my shirt is now covered in sweat and I’m struggling to keep a straight face as he asks me if everything is ok. I tell him I have a bad sunburn and I have several medications traveling with me. Of course I have no doctors note so they all pretty much get taken away. All I got that was relieving was a spray from the solarcaine before we got in line which only lasts about 15-20 min. At this point they proceed to ask me more questions and search through all of our bags and even questioning our baby formula and pedialite for our 9 month old. By the time my 2 older boys that are 10 and 12 years old are concerned as to what’s wrong with me and baby crying, my wife is telling me to stop being dramatic and over reacting to a little itch. HAHAHAHA (evil laugh) she has no idea what is really going on.

After getting through tsa with no medications begins the best part of all, sitting still in an airplane while enduring the worst torture you can imagine. I look like the fat sweaty guy on the plane that’s either got schizophrenia or is trying to bring back dance moves from the 80’s. I decided to point all 3 fans above my head toward my back and I lifted my collar as to let cold air in. This kept me calm for the first hour along with some twitching and biting my fist. But the remaining 2 hours I visited the restroom 6 times to try to calm down it only making matters worse. I really tried not to make eye contact with the other passengers or flight crew. All I cared about is maintaining my composure and getting to New York so I could look for some relief outside of that flying tube. Eventually we landed and I was able to get past the first leg of our flight and past the first wave of the itch. It was temporarily calm while we awaited our second flight.

A couple hours later it was time to board and here comes the second wave of itchy/painful nightmare. Thank God we flew first class in jetblue mint lay flat seats because I laid that baby down on my flight from New York to LA and twitched uncontrollably for 5 and a half hours. There was a couple by U.S. That repeatedly looked at me in concern as if I was shaving crack withdrawals which I imagine would be easier to cope with. As I laid their twitching I came across this post and several others with different recommendations and the only thing on the plane that helped a little was hot towels from the flight crew. When they passed them out I asked for extras and put them on my back. This at least curbed the itching for half hour or so down to 20% of its full capacity.

Finally we land in lax and I have almost an hour drive home twitching the whole way while my family is not talking to my by now. It’s already 11pm at night and I’m exhausted of fighting these persistent attacks that feel like bugs biting through your skin. I got straight home and took a scolding hot bath beyond my normal comfort level and a lot of Benadryl and got 5 hours of sleep. I woke up frantic again and did the same thing and I seem to be controlling it for now. 20 minute scolding hot bath every 4-5 hours will definitely keep it under control. I’m now on my way out to the store for some of the peppermint oil so wish me luck. Anyone who has suffered this knows the extremes you would go for to make it stop. My 12 year old asked what kind of medicine I should try and I told him “son, if I was told to jump off our roof and suffer 2 broken legs to make it stop, I wouldn’t even reply because id already be making my way to the roof.” Haha. I think this is when my family started taking the whole thing a little more serious.

For anyone going through this, hope this at least helped you pass the time as I passed mine reading everyone else’s horrific experiences. And good luck getting over it. Just remember, it will pass.

Sally 'dying a slow death' L July 26, 2015 at 10:56 pm

I can’t even imagine having hell’s itch on a plane. I salute you! It’s 5am and I’ve been suffering a few hours already. This is my second time with this agonizing itchiness. A long day is ahead of me 🙁

Hannah July 27, 2015 at 5:04 am

oh no!! just remember, it won’t last forever. that’s what got me through it 🙂

I hope you feel itch free soon, Sally!

Klay Belnap June 14, 2015 at 11:35 am

Working construction, this summer has been quite itchy for me on my nwck and forearms. I have the worst farmer’s tanof most of my buddies. When I went to a water park with my family I made a huge mistake of thinking that I could go with only putting sunblock on my neck and forearms as to even out my silly looking tan. Two days later, I am feeling hell’s itch for the second or third time in my life. Aloe Vera does not help! In fact, it makes it worse. I feel like I want to take a shovel to the face to knock me out. I can’t lay down or sit on the couch or the pain intensifies. The only things that I have in my house (medication wise) are for muscle pain and headaches. I Did find something that mutes it a bit. If you don’t already smoke, dip, or vape, I obviously don’t suggest starting now. However, if you do, it may help a bit. I use an e cigarette, and the buzz is really the only thing keeping me sane right now. I went and Did some research, and found that nicotine does have some pain relieving qualities to it. If you dip, I suggest throwing in a hogger. Peace!

Ricardo June 15, 2015 at 3:44 pm

Let me start it like this: I thought I was going to faint or die… I’m not kidding.

I went to the beach and didn’t use sunscreen… 48 hours later my skin started to itch so bad that I had to take one shower after the other…
It helped when I was taking the shower… As soon as the skin started to dry the itching became unbearable.

Then I started to scream, cry, jump and bite a towel… I had tears in my eyes… And asked myself: “what have I done to deserve this?”

I run to the computer and googled something like: “sunburn itchy skin relief”… … And one of the first things I found was “apple cider vinegar”… And I had a bottle of if in the house… In the beginning I used a wet towel to apply it on my skin… It wasn’t working… I was getting desperate and I started to pour it on me. It felt like it wasn’t working… But after a few minutes I felt much better.

It’s a horrible experience. I hope nobody goes through this…

And the whole bedroom smelled like vinegar in the end…
If you’re going to pour vinegar on your skin do it in a tub…

Daniel Walker June 20, 2015 at 3:41 pm

This is by far the most painful experience in my life, I have looked up many different things to help this itch so I am here to put a end to search…

I heard a lot of people telling me that I Probley had regular sunburn itch, but I couldn’t believe that it could be this painful, so if you want to know if you have this try to sit or stand still and if u can’t cause it stings so bad then you know you have hells itch and if you can then stop reading cause you don’t have it.

Things I have tried, but ended up failing FOR ME.
1) Aloe and Vera Aloe
2)Mint bath
3) A&D ointment
4) Lotion
5) Wal-Dril
6) Ibuprofen
And the list goes on….

The Things that did work FOR ME

1) Hot Showers (I Know it seem bad but you’ll thank me for it after wards)
2) Doctor Prescribed Silver Sulfadiazine Cream
Sadly that is all

Lastly this Itch has been so painful so understand that if someone is going through this that you should give them some space this can be very irritating and annoying, you can keep looking for suggestions on this, but mainly you must suffer through it also I never got a exact time to how ever long this lasts but for a 1st degree burn as I had it had lasted close to 2 days then went back down to regular sunburn itch. Finally doctors barely know anything about this some don’t even know about it sense it happens to 5 to 10 percent of people who get sunburn. Thanks for reading and DON’T ITCH.

Jenni June 26, 2015 at 10:45 am

I just had the itch from hell yesterday. All day i sat their trying not to rip my skin off or kill anyone. I put so many creams on i was so sticky. I finally took a zyrtec and neosporin excema and anti itch cream ive used for my kids in the past and within 20 minutes it was gone.

Mason July 13, 2015 at 4:59 am

I got sun burnt on Saturday, and I got Hell’s Itch Sunday night-Monday morning. I’ve never gotten it before, and it is easily in the top 3 of the worst pains I’ve ever had. The heat, and itch is so intense, I got maybe half an hour of sleep? I was itching so bad, I got up countless times, and I finally ended up researching here, to figure out what the hell was happening. I now have maybe half a bottle of calamine lotion on my back (it’s all I could find), I took a 400g Ibuprofen, and then set up a fan directly on my back. There’s no chance of sleep, but for now it’s not as bad- I’m not itching anymore, and the heat is gone. Still mildly itchy, but nothing compared to early. I’d suggest reading through here, and finding whatever you have that was mentioned. I’m going to just continue what I’m doing and hope it ends. So far it’s only been 6hours, and I’m sure this lil’ slice of my own personal hell is going to last longer. I just kinda want to die tbh.

stpnlll July 23, 2015 at 2:22 pm

After a day at my local Conservative Party of Canada nudist colony, where I was perhaps too enraptured by the curves of some of the finer ladies (keen heterosexualist that I am), I developed a rather embarrassing Liberal red burn. “Chalk it up to experience”, I thought, and proceeded to get drunk and spend the next 18 hours trolling at The National Post, as is my wont.

It was exactly 48 hours after the peak of my solar ablutions when H*ll’s Itch struck me. A more irksome pain could not be imagined: to end it, I would gladly have cast a vote for Justin Trudeau himself, or even accepted a rational argument about the failings of The Right Honourable Stephen Harper (PBUH).

Thankfully, such base humiliations were not required, as I concocted a response of my own:
– a hot shower, to stop the immediate itching
– a hypoallergenic moisturizer
– two extra-strength Ibuprofens
– one table of Loratadine
– finally, and I suspect most importantly, a good coating of the affected areas with Voltaren cream

Within a few minutes the itching had subsided to tolerable levels; within 20 minutes, it had vanished, to be replaced by a general euphoria that I had not felt since the May 2011 Canadian federal election victory of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Good luck with your itching.

Hannah July 24, 2015 at 9:44 pm

I got a sunburn about two days ago. This afternoon is when hell’s itch released full fury on my shoulders. I was ALLERGIC the the aloe I put on myself so it made it worse! it felt like acid was being poured onto me and that I was set on fire. worst pain ever. I was screaming and crying and having convulsions with violent twitching.
I took a Benadryl and hoped into a cold shower while crying and shaking. it was absolutely the worst. I slathered myself in desitin and tried to sleep. it’s good that the Benadryl made me drowsy. that was the only thing that relieved it for some time. I’m still a bit itchy but it’s bearable. I wish everyone the best !

GM August 15, 2015 at 10:26 pm

I went through this last night on my back and shoulders and I never want to experience it again. I took an Aleve followed immediately by 2 Benadryl followed immediately by two coats of Calamine lotion with itch reliever. About 5-10 minutes after applying the Calamine lotion, my suffering was all but over. So, for those suffering, Caladryl calamine lotion with itch reliever saved me. It went from ‘hell’s itch’ to a soothing cool burning sensation and 20 minutes later I was asleep for the night. Aloe vera actually made my itch worse and so did Cetaphil lotion, which put me back in the cold shower to rinse it off at which point my brilliant wife was inspired to try Calamine lotion (Godsend).

Katherine August 16, 2015 at 8:22 pm

This will take your pain away immediately !!!! It’s an old Native American remedy and it works !!!! GO GET SOME PEPPERMINT OIL !!!!

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.

Cal September 8, 2015 at 10:18 pm

I suffered for too long until I tried one of the best things for this terrible itch: I soaked in a tub of water with 3/4 box of baking soda about 3 times a day. You must air dry and resist the itch to allow the baking soda to remain on your body. When dry, spray a mixture that contains peppermint oil onto burned areas. The peppermint oil is the thing that saved my life from this life-consuming itch. I got over it in only a few days with these remedies which is pretty good considering how other people still feel it after weeks of treatment. The itch will subside if you use these remedies!

Andrew September 20, 2015 at 12:05 am

I would seriously sell my soul to the devil if he would stop “hells-itch”. It literally drives you mad.

Meagan September 27, 2015 at 1:33 pm

I got a bad sunburn 2 days ago, and the itch is really starting to set it.

I swear by a bread and milk poultice. My first experience with it was about a year ago when I was dealing with insane itching on the arch of my foot after a bee sting. Soak some bread in hot milk (or microwave a slice of bread that was dipped in milk…not only did it instantly sooth my itch, but it went away completely.
I’m doing the same for my itchy sunburn. Works beautifully and you probably have those 2 things on hand.

Dave November 24, 2015 at 12:29 pm

It’s a histamine reaction which is an internal (under the skin) reaction. This is why lotions and creams have a limited effect. Anti-histamines work 100%. Get antihistamines that are used for hives. My usual Telfast antihistamine tablets are 60mg of fexofenadine hydrochloride. Hive-strength is 180mg. 10 minutes after taking it the itch is almost gone. Two to three days of high dose and you’ll be through it with no trouble.

Laurel Griffey February 18, 2016 at 12:57 am

I’m definitely experiencing this itch right now and it is 3 am. I went to a tanning bed and laid in there for a minute longer than I normally do. I thought my burns weren’t so bad until I started to itch around dinner time. Then I knew I was done for. I put on aloe and that didn’t work, I used A&D and that didn’t work either. Finally, I went upstairs to tell my mom about the pain I’m in, SHE SHINED A LIGHT IN MY EYES BECAUSE SHE THOUGHT I WAS ON DRUGS. Then I showed her my burns and she made me go get some white vinegar. It burned like a bitch when she put it on and that pain was worse than the itch by far. But then she patted it into my skin and I felt so much relief, 20 minutes later I’m still itchy but it’s way more tolerable and now I can maybe sleep. God speed for anyone going through this, it’s rough.

Charles J Oh March 2, 2016 at 10:43 am

Excuse my English~

This is how I survived first 12 hours from the beginning of Hell’s itch.

Just return from Guam…and I’m 100% sure this might be what HELL would be like.
I would also sell my soul to devil if I could get out of this excruciating non-stop itching. It’s like someone spread the Tabasco on the raw surface.

For me only way that save you immediately from the hell’s itch was applying ice-pack(bag) on the affected area.(no more than 3 minutes on the same spot, frequent change of ice bag position is recommanded)
Of course, antihistamin per oral should be maintained.(Go see doctor!!!! Depending on the conservative treatment at home, hoping this symptom will go away in time…It won’t work!
cuz you will definitely go crazy within 24 hours.)

Remember ‘ICE’ will save you!! immediately!!

Sheila March 31, 2016 at 6:20 am

I am amazed at this article as being a lifelong sun worshipper I got my first case of this “Hell’s Itch” this week at the ripe old age of 49! I use to be an Olympic level swimmer, I played pro beach volleyball and yet, I just went out for a day in the sun without sunscreen this week and got what seemed the same level sunburn that I usually get first time out…. OH NO…. not even close.

I started itching about 2 days after my day in the sun and was like “What is this?” The itch grew and grew (mostly on my chest and some on my shoulders and back). My 10-yr old daughter looked at me like I was crazy as she watched me beat the crap out of my chest to try and make the pain go away because I didn’t want to scratch as that was beginning to tear up my skin horribly.

It has now been 6 days since my day in the sun and I am still itching. I just now finally looked up this condition online and found this article. I couldn’t believe that after 6 days I was still itching so I finally decided to look up some info on it. Amazing that this is such a widespread and I guess somewhat NOT well known affliction. Who knew?!

Hopefully this never happens again but if it does at least I now know what to try. And what is so funny is that I did almost everything here that everyone mentioned, I did hot showers to take the burn out, I took loads of Nyquil and ZQuil, Tylenol, Aloe and Intense Dry Skin Lotion. No relief!

Thank all for sharing. God speed in your recovery.

james thorne April 8, 2016 at 3:03 am

Here’s my solution, sorted me out in 2 hours, including running to the pharmacist.
Took 1 antihistamine, smeared EURAX cream all over the burn then sat in front of a fan heater which seemed to sooth my skin.
Stopped itching within 30mins and I slept the whole night through.
Hope it works for you too!

Thomas April 20, 2016 at 12:16 am

Now is my third time having the itch. And with my experience take 2 Benadryl and put on a 100% cotton shirt and just find a comfortable position like on a couch or in a bed and stay still. I figured out that the less you do to aggravate the burn the less it will come back and bite you. The Bendryl will help you go to sleep because it makes you drowsy and it kind of helps with the itch. The soft shirt keeps the burn insulated if that makes any sense. That is what has helped me. I would try this as an option if you don’t have any A&D cream because I have not tried that. My tactic is not an instant heal and mostly works because you sleep through it.

Justin April 21, 2016 at 10:58 am

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.

Hayley Wells April 24, 2016 at 10:48 pm

Burt’s bees baby bee multi purpose ointment**! Take 2 Benadryl, take a 10 minute hot shower* (not too hot!) then apply the burt’s bees stuff liberally. You will be very slimy and sticky. Put your clothes on, get in bed. You should feel immediate relief after applying the ointment but the itching will still be mildly present. DO. NOT. SCRATCH. Find something to distract you until you fall asleep. I did this on day 2 after trying literally every suggestion above with no success. Also, do not just start putting a bunch of different things on your skin in manic desperation. It will irritate your itch even more. The itch sucks but I made it out alive and you will too. Try to stay calm and remind yourself that it’s only temporary!!!
*during my shower I used Jason Tea Tree body wash to get all of the crap off that I applied before. This brand is very gentle and I suggest using it or a similar product.
**when you open the burts bees stuff it will feel like it has little beads in it. I thought I had accidentally grabbed an exfoliant but it’s just the coconut oil/ coco butter separating from the mixture. Just emulsify it between your hands and apply!

What's Sleep? April 25, 2016 at 9:34 pm

I am also suffering from this condition as I type this. I am going to say, that while I am holding it together right now from the outside, it is taking the will of a thousand men to prevent me from slitting my own throat. I sincerely want the warm embrace of death to take me away from this terrible agony. I honestly do feel this is what hell is like, or at least the itchy part of it. I put lotion on, and have taken an anti-histamine. I don’t even give a crap what happens, if I don’t get sleep I am not going to work tomorrow, period.

I hate my life, and the sun.

Jude songer April 26, 2016 at 9:21 am

I’m am in the middle of a second bout with hells itch. You may call me a veteran with this because I’m whiter than the kkk and decided it would be a good idea to mow with my shirt off. Not only that but I also ran for 40 minutes with no shirt. I was begging God for mercy to not make me go through it again but at around 12:00 that night he had no mercy to give. It would feel better to take a rusty nail and drive it into your foot than to deal with this. All you can do is just suffer through it and hopefully get better by the next day. This morning I woke up and thought I was going to claw my skin off. I tied everything from dermaplast spray to oatmeal bath. Nothing worked so I was a mess running from oatmeal bath to cold shower and at one point completely naked sobbing on my floor. All manhood is lost when you have to deal with this. My advise is too lay down in a soft shirt and try not to move. Hopefully I won’t get this a this time.

Sam Vilain April 29, 2016 at 10:10 am

I have now had this three times in my life, once on my honeymoon where I was driven 50 miles to a hospital. Even though I’d applied sunscreen multiple times on the day, I got burnt anyway. Then sure enough a couple of days later I got the itch.

If you are in agony, get to the E.R., or a doctor, and say you have an acute dermatitis caused by an overly aggressive histamine response to healing sunburn. If they understand, they should give you a single shot of a glucocorticoid such as Dexamethasone or Prednisone, which should resolve the itching in a few seconds if given in the thigh/buttocks (Intra-Muscularly/IM). After that, an oral antihistamine such as Chlorpheniramine (Piriton or Wal-finate in Walgreens) should be effective – take it on the clock until your skin finishes peeling and feels OK again.

If you can’t get to the doctor, but can get a hold of some oral antihistamines, take the maximum dose on the label and try to be patient.

Most importantly, once you know you are a Hell’s Itch sufferer, you should always keep a stock of and travel with oral antihistamines, and if you get a serious sunburn again you should make sure you check your stocks ASAP, because you could really need them in a couple of days. If you take the oral antihistamine when the itching is just starting, you shouldn’t need to go to the doctor/hospital. It still itches but it should be manageable.

And finally – if you’re planning on spending a day in the sun, COVER UP! Even if just with a T-Shirt. Remember that no sunscreen is water resistant for very long, the resistance is much shorter in salt water, and you are supposed to wait something like 30 minutes after you apply before going into the water. If you can’t follow the directions on the label of then sunscreen, then you need to cover up once you have been in the sun more than about 20 minutes (or the whole time).

Blair June 24, 2016 at 4:45 pm


Tressa May 3, 2016 at 9:24 am

I cannot even express how thankful I am for having found this article last evening when I was experiencing my latest round of the unbelievable itch. I was the victim of a sunburn after applying sunscreen from an expired bottle of SPF 30 on the weekend… I began hysterically crying as soon as I realized I was burnt because I knew the inevitable itch may hit me once again.

I have experienced the itch three times now: once while on vacation in Florida, once post-vacation in Mexico, and now once at my home in Eastern Canada. I had been hoping that only sunny vacation destinations would burn me enough to bring the itch, but now I am aware that the sun is capable of burning me equally as badly in late April in Canada!

I will leave my own batch of tips that I have discovered after much trial and error during my times of suffering.

My first tip is to be proactive as soon as you realize you are burnt. Get your skin cooled down using apple cider vinegar (which has antiseptic-like properties) and cold water. I diluted the ACV in water (equal parts of each), and put the mixture in a small spray bottle (refrigerate the bottle to keep it cool when not in use). I sprayed the mixture on my burn numerous times on the day of the burn and the day after. I have heard that pouring apple cider vinegar on a cool, damp cloth and continually patting the skin with it works as well. Whatever you do, help the heat get released from the burn! The sooner you can do this, the sooner the pain of the sunburn will fade.

Next, apply burn gel with lidocaine (keep this bottle in the fridge so that it will be cool when applied to the skin as well). The gel feels so good on the burn and helps it to fade more quickly. I find the gel with lidocaine works much more effectively than the regular aloe vera gel.

Next, apply coconut oil ALL over your burn before going to bed. Coconut oil works as an excellent moisturizer, and is natural so I have not found it to irritate my skin at all. It will take almost all night to fully absorb into your skin, so make sure to sleep in old pajamas or on old sheets because it will rub off onto whatever is around you during the night.

Next, shower on day 1 or early on day 2 at the very latest!!! Nothing has made my itch come on stronger than water has. I typically go three-four days without showering during these times (I know it’s gross). Sure, your friends and coworkers may not want to be around you for a few days, but I would say that is a fair trade versus suffering from the itch.

Now, that was all before the commencement of the itch. I do believe it is possible to prevent it to some degree, so being proactive is important!!

For the times when the itch breaks through even the most prepared of individuals (me, this time around), I have some different tips.

1. Peppermint Oil!!! It is seriously the most amazing thing in the world. I was hesitant to try it because I had pretty much given up on anything working, but it works wonders! I am not joking. Go buy a bottle right away. I was able to get it at my local grocery store in the Natural Foods section, but it is sold at Health Food stores as well. I did not dilute the oil in water (as stated in my previous comment, water makes the itch unbearable for me). I have read that this does damage in the long run, but frankly, I could not think about that at the time. I used a generous amount and rubbed it all over the burn. BE PATIENT. It takes about 10 minutes to start working its magic, but it will work! Put a soft, cotton shirt on, and let it soak into the skin. Reapply as needed.

2. Take Ibuprofen consistently for a few days. I started on Day 1 because my burn was hurting so badly, and am still taking it on Day 4. I am not a pharmacist, so I cannot speak for the harm this could be doing my body. But again, it has to be better than the itch! Just follow the directions on the bottle, and you should be fine.

3. Take Benadryl at the onset of the itch. I recommend the drowsy kind (most Benadryl types are drowsy no matter what I think) because I personally believe in sleeping through as much of this time period as possible. If you cannot use it during the day, at least take it at night to help you get some rest.

4. Leave it alone!!! I don’t care what you have to do, but do not touch your skin. Put gloves on, clutch a blanket, handcuff your hands together for all I care – just do NOT touch the irritated skin. The faster it can heal, the faster you will be itch-free.

Lastly, I recommend showing family and friends websites like this that explain how truly awful the itch is. My dad was trying to crack jokes with me last night, not realizing what I was going through. I found it helped when I proved to him I’m not the only crazy person out there 😉

Good luck to all my fellow sufferers! You can survive this. Next time, sunscreen!!!

Craig May 3, 2016 at 9:12 pm

A&D cream applied in a moderate coat with a soft gel ice pack is working currently. Its still itchy but not as bad. I have had this several times in my life. I feel like I need to go into my work (work in an ER) and get some lidocaine cream. I am sure it would help a bit.

Gaby May 8, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Thank you so much for writing this post!!
This “Hells itch” happened to me two days ago.. I was in Puerto Rico on vacations with my parents, and went to the beach. I made a HUGE mistake of not applying sunblock as it was a cloudy day with a bit of sun and I thought it was not going to be a problem… boy I was wrong!!!! I got sunburned and my back was all red and burned… The first night, I applied aloe vera and went to sleep on my back… I woke up the next day itching a little bit in the morning. I took a shower, and after I got out it it started itching more…. I ran to my mom to help and she applied aloe vera and OMG it was horrible!! I started crying and screaming if the pain… my parents thought I was being dramatic and told me to take a shower again to wash off the aloe vera… I went to the shower and I started crying and crying as the itch got more intense. It was there, that my parents knew something was wrong. My mom knocked on my door worried saying she was getting ready to take to me to the ER. I got out screaming in pain grabbed my phone and googled “severe itch and subnburn” while my mom took a clean cotton shirt and placed it on my back tapping it with her hands (this helped a lot) my dad gave me Tylenol and ran to the nearest pharmacy to buy A&D ointment… This really helped me! thanks Howie Decker for sharing your experience and thank you all for commenting with advise and solutions.
This is my 3rd day, and I feel so much better and was able to sleep!!

Zoe May 12, 2016 at 3:26 am

I to am a victim of this merciless hell! It’s happened to me twice, I got kayaking a lot and on Sunday it was a nice day but actually quite cold and windy so I forgot to apply sunblock. Stupid I know, I’d do anything to go back and lather myself in sunblock! I’m quite pale and have the type of skin that doesn’t tan.
Anyway, 48 hours after this I was in a pure, unreasonable state. It’s literally struck out if no where, I was running around the house like a mad woman, my mother who I think what’s to disown me after this week was dum struck. I went in cold shower, DONT DO THIS, it was bliss but as soon as you get out it starts again! I tried Vaseline intensive care cream (which I had be using post itch) but I just couldn’t think jump back in shower (cold again.. Stupid) and then I was at my worst when I got out I was jumping around naked, crying, couldn’t stay still, my mother put germolene on my back and I took two ibuprofen, not the best thing to do but I the most important and incredibly hard thing to do is to calm down and chill out.
I went onto my bed and lay down on my front (my itch was on my back, shoulders and arms), try to concentrate on your breathing and distract yourself, that’s when I googled and found this sight with happily distracted me as I read through all these comments. By the time this had struck the health store(Holland and Barrett’s) was closed, so I had to endure a night of hell without peppermint oil, however I decided to try HOT SHOWERS practically as hot as you can stand on a mid pressure and stay under the water for about 20mins maybe longer it really helps!! Apparently it opens your pores and helps to heal quicker. Also if you feel the itch coming back as you dry, use the hairdryer on certain itchy areas, I found being really warm calms the itch.
Next day went bought peppermint oil (worse and most dangerous car journey of my life), antihistamines, ibuprofen tables. Drug up and mix the oil with abit of water (try and make it equal, also I used warm water) and got my mother to dab it all over my back and arms. It’s a weird feeling, it’s like 5-10mins of weird hell, but it STOPS THE ITCH! you kinda feel a cold, burning sensation but it’s better than the itch!
I’m now another 48 hours after the itch started and it’s much better! Still a few twinge moments but nothing compare to day one of Hell’s itch! My best advice is have hot showers, use the hairdryer, painkillers and antihistamines, peppermint oil and SLEEP. Just try and sleep it off. I’m hoping the itch will be completely gone by tomorrow I’ll let you know! And if some tells me one more time I should have worn sunblock, I will actually rip they’re heads off with my bare hands, haha!
Good luck fellow suffers, I know your pain!

Helena May 21, 2016 at 4:55 pm

Thank The Lord for the people that wrote on this blog with suggestions on getting rid of this dreadful itch!
I’d never even heard of this,but I am home from my holibags and was in st Martin and did not have the appropriate lotion on my pale skin! (Being a pure White Scottish woman)I Burnt around the back of my neck,when my hair was tied up, but thought that I was ok ,as I had used aloe Vera straight away and this helped greatly with the burn at the time! I have been home over a week and I’m out working and I feel like the back of my neck is driving me crazy with this itch! I Piled on the aloe Vera again but this did not work ….luckily. I did have the peppermint oil and applied this liberally ,and after about fifteen mins it has completely calmed down ….thankyou so much for this info …will need to keep hold òf this info …….hopefully this will never happen again! 🙂

Kyle May 23, 2016 at 12:21 pm

I want to start by saying the initial read when I found this blog helped me ease my mind and gave me some mental relief because I thought I was going crazy when my itch started last night after my girlfriend and I got off our flight from Orlando. We had traveled to Siesta Key Beach and we DID apply sunscreen. Apparently not enough. What ensude after the sun burn set in is something that I will never ever forget. I, along with many others can handle a bad sun burn but this Hells Itch is unbelievable pain. So much pain that instead of wanting to cry it makes you want to laugh because it doesn’t seem real! Anyhow I’m 1 day in and it’s a world of suck and powering through shooting sharp mosquito type sting/bites. I have tried all ointments and other remedies that everyone has posted. Nothing helps really except the warm bath. Let’s hope it doesn’t last much longer otherwise I’ll end up in the coo coo’s nest.

Zach May 24, 2016 at 11:32 am

My second go round with this horrible experience. The first time was a result of malaria medicine that makes you eat more succeptabul to sunlight and 30 minutes of the Afghan sun in July on my super pale back. All I could do then was take about 6 sleeping pills and sleep on cold water bottles why praying I didn’t lose my mind. This time i had a little more resources to deal with it. I kicked it off by continuing to rub lotion on my skin. Idk why this happens but it did. I was trying to avoid peeling oh well now. But I found something called itch x in the cabinet which burned like fire when I applied it but after about a 30 seconds i was actually able to concentrate enough to do research on how to end my suffering. I decided peppermint oil was what I had to have. But the lady at the pharmacy said she too had fought the Devils itch and and preparation h cream worked wonders for her. I Bought both but after I took 3 benadryl and slept for hours it’s not bothering me. So I don’t know how it works

Noah Hunt June 1, 2016 at 4:16 am

.unfortunetaly there’s nowhere for me to get and A&D ointment right now but I found this extremely funny because I’m a US Marine deployed tight now and I’m just about in tears because of “hells itch” it’s absolutely terrible.

Julie S June 12, 2016 at 7:58 am

Hope you made it ok!!! The Marine comments really helped my son who is 12, because he was crying so hard and felt self conscious! To know this is nearly too much for a grown man really explained to all of us how bad this is! Thanks for your service and best wishes to be well and safe!!

Andy June 22, 2016 at 7:42 pm

After falling asleep by the pool on Monday it is now Wednesday night, hells itch is the best description for it. Aloe vera gel out of the fridge only gave minor relief but tea tree oil and a cotton tee shirt knocked out the agony almost completely. I think I can sleep now.

Jaysmyn June 3, 2016 at 12:16 am

This is my first time having “hells itch” . Not only is this urge to always be scratching my back insane but the thought that I haven’t gotten this before and that (if I even survive this) I could get it again.
I’ve read through multiple comments and I’m going to try peppermint and cold towels hopefully this helps !!

Anna June 3, 2016 at 1:44 am

– just wanted to post a thank you note! 🙂 It’s 3 a.m. now, and my 16 year old son has FINALLY been able to get some sleep. After finding the suggestions on this post, fortunately we had some peppermint essential oil, and applied that after he showered to clean off the layers of anti-itch creams and Aloe Vera gel. Also gave him ibuprofen and Loratadine.

TJ June 6, 2016 at 11:41 am

So I came down with this hells itch early one morning and after about an hour of rolling around on the bed and twitching like fish out of water and tears coming out of my eyes. A like warm shower helped alot I spent about two hours in the shower which helped amazingly once I dried off my wife put this monistat instant itch relief cream on me then lathered my back in cortisone 10 after a few minutes out felt alot better with the occasional twinge.

Bashir June 6, 2016 at 12:54 pm

I am currently going through this for the first time 2 days after the beach. i had put a little bit of sunscreen but i guess it was not enough. my back is going crazy and i applied lotion liberally still no relief. my question is though, how long is this healing process supposed to last? and my chest is pretty burnt to but not itchy will it get itchy later on after the back is done?

Ann June 7, 2016 at 3:36 pm

I got a sunburn two days ago. I’ve had worse. I’m blonde and have blue eyes. I’ve had worse sunburns. I have never experienced what I have gone through since 4am this morning (14 hours ago). I would gladly go through labor again rather than this. My back and shoulders got burned (again not really that bad) and my chest is a little red but not as bad as my back and shoulders, yet it is my chest that is freaking itchy unlike anything I have ever experienced. It makes no sense. There is no rationalizing this condition. Hell’s itch…yeah the name fits. I cannot deal with this. I have tried aloe fresh off the plant (like half of the poor dang plant), non-drowsy claritin, aspirin, drinking water, drinking milk, hydrocortizone cream, witch haz, hot showers, cool showers, hot wet towel drapes, cold wet towel drapes, rolling cold water bottles over it, and then a margarita. I took a regular benedryl about 30 minutes ago and a fresh coat of hydrocortisone cream and I am able to sit and type this. So I would say that to survive this keep teying until you find what works for you. I have a benedryl in me and just sitting here blotting witch Hazel on my goopy hydrocortisone covered skin. I’m miserable. Its driving me crazy. How long does this last? From what I’ve read I have another 10-12 hours of this misery. This sucks.

Mac June 7, 2016 at 10:01 pm

I currently have Hells Itch and it is god awful I feel like ripping my skin off and branding myself with a molten hot cross.

Jason June 7, 2016 at 11:30 pm

This is affliction is terrible. I was at work today when it started. It came out of know where I thought I was having some inane allergic reaction, it as so bad I thought I needed to go to the emergency room for some kind of shot. I started scratching and realized it made it worse. I then ran to my truck to look for lotion or anything I could rub on my chest. Unbelievably I came a cross a travel size bottle of gold bond. I have absolutely no idea where it came from? I felt like I was in hunger games and a sponsor sent me the life saving ointment. I doused my self in it till none was left. I looked like a war boy from mad max. Relief relief relief…I survived the remainder of the day, smelling like a senior citizens locker room; I gladly would have rubbed shit on myself if I was assured it would heal the hell. When I got home it started again. I immediately took a antihistamine, hot shower, and a Lebron powder grab of gold bond all over my suffering body. Thank you gold bond I will be bringing you everywhere until my final days

Rob June 8, 2016 at 10:41 pm

I went to the ER for this, they gave me steroids and sent me home…for 24 hours I thought i was dying – I tried everything from pouring a gallon of vinegar on my back to a tube of vagasil – Bad news none of that works. Good news Benedryl takes the itch away in 30 minutes.

Cloee June 11, 2016 at 12:34 pm

I just experienced hells itch for the first time. It hurt like a bitch… I couldn’t stop screaming and swearing and my whole family thought I was mental. I began frantically searching the web for remedies while itching my arms with a rag and I found an article said to “take the hottest shower you can stand”. So, I had my arms under the hot water, in and out for a couple minutes and afterwards I felt so at peace and I went into my bed and I haven’t moved since. I understand how everyone feels.. I got the burning sensation on my arms. The crazy thing is.. Hells itch set in 2 days after a very painful sunburn on my arms. I lathered that shit up with aloe gel! (Aloe gel works like complete shit.. Don’t even think that’s gonna help! It only makes it worse). Take my advice and remember to wear sunblock next time. I learned my lesson and I will use a whole bottle on my pale skin and pray this never happens again. Because it sucked!!

Julie S June 12, 2016 at 7:47 am

Thanks SO much for this post and all the comments! My 12-yr-old son was sunburned pretty bad on Thursday and on Saturday night he was crying hard and in searing pain! It wasn’t even on the very worst places of his sunburn, so we were really confused (and worried he was having an anxiety attack [which is not a problem of his]). We just couldn’t make sense of it. We were using apple cider vinegar mixed with a drop or two of peppermint oil and lavender oil and slathering on coconut oil. He was skipping applications though (he took a shower Saturday morning and refused anything on it). I felt that was a bad idea, but couldn’t convince him. Anyway, Saturday night it was awful. He took two Advil, we had all our arsenal going and there was no relief. It helped a little if I rubbed the areas semi-firmly while there was a ton of coconut oil on there. Barely any relief and lots of hard crying! Yikes!!! At 9:55pm I read the above post and was out the door racing to Rite Aid which closed at 10:00. I didn’t run any red lights but I did everything else because normally it would take 10 minutes and I WAS NOT going to miss the A&D!! I made it jumping through half closed doors, and thank God they had it. Boy it delivered!! Thank God. It took about 10-15 minutes for him to totally stabilize, but it was immediately a little helpful. Also, after getting that on (and him stabilizing) I read in the comments about people using a lot of peppermint oil. We had been using a few drops in a apple cider vinegar spray. Feeling bold (and still desperate for it to not get bad again) we applied about 5 drops to one upper arm- it was magic! We waited a minute to see if anything bad happened, but it was ok and he said it was working!! So we put about 15-20 drops all over his upper torso. He had a ton of A&D on under so it was really well lubricated (normally I think that much peppermint would burn!). Within minutes he could walk around and then he went to bed. We were all prepared to be up all night with this, and as I write at 8:00am the next morning he is sound asleep still. Not one peep all night! Thank you posters! I will never be without A&D or peppermint oil again. I’m going to use it proactively I think if one of the kids (or adults) gets sunburned. And, for the record, I tried to put sunscreen on my son before his school end of year swim party and he said he’d do it when he got there. And he did not put any on! So he could relate very much with your two requirements of who gets this!! I hope it’s a life lesson he won’t forget! 😉 best wishes to all of you suffering! It shall pass- but it really is Hell’s Itch! Hang in there.

Lisa June 13, 2016 at 6:30 pm

Hell hath no fury like sunburned, itchy skin. I went thru Hell’s Itch in 2013 and lucky me…looks like it’s that time again. Hot showers were the only remedy for me back then. So…wish me luck as I go add some heat to my itchy, burning, raw skin.

Lobstered up June 13, 2016 at 7:43 pm

I’ve had the hells itch a few times in my life. 2 times when I was younger 10 and 13 and I’m 21 now. Still haven’t learned my lesson. I was dealing with the demon itch lastnight on my stomach. I can relate to everyone who has rolled around on the cold tile floor crying and screaming. I know all of pain. Unfortunately I had no medicine lastnight other than a bottle of benedryll that I immediately drank half of. It was so bad I had to ask my brother for two Percocet’s from his wisdom teeth surgery just to try and fall asleep. I immediately started tripping balls. The hallucinations were crazy, but the itch was still happening. The pain was so bad I couldn’t pass out after 2 Percocet’s, ibprofen( super strong; also came from my brother), 1 Xanax and a full bottle of bendryll. I DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING ANY OF THIS. The hells itch didn’t have me thinking clearly at all and I was desperate for any relief. I started chugging water and rubbing myself in cortisone. If only I had this experience on camera. I was covered in hair and dirt from rolling around on the ground listening to fat bottom girl. I finally passed out and woke up a lot better but had a hangover from hell. I will be stocking up on peppermint oil today just for future purposes.

Unfortunate soul June 13, 2016 at 8:33 pm

I just had this attack me today. Left work early as soon as I realised it was getting worse.

I tried to take a cold shower, which temporarily helped, but even then it eventually just got far worse.

I was rolling non-stop on my bed crying and screaming. I tried to call family members. As it was the middle of the day, no one answered.

I had no medication, not even moisturisers or creams, sitting around my apartment. I had no way of treating myself, and I couldn’t leave my apartment (both because I was naked and incapable of basic function)

I was in such horrible pain that I called 911.

The operator was a complete and utter dick. I thought I was dying. Dickhead said “sunburn isn’t an emergency”. Not a single human being who experienced this would agree.

After half an hour it finally subdued to the point where I could get dressed and get to the emergency room. They prescribed me Ibuprofen and some kind of antimicrobial paste (for blisters). I bought aloe vera gel later on. Also bought melatonin because I knew I might have trouble sleeping tonight.

About to go to bed. Just took more Ibuprofen a little melatonin. Will probably just call off work tomorrow… itch might not be nearly as bad, but I probably still won’t be apt to focus until Wednesday.

IF YOU ARE READING THIS BECAUSE YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ATTACK, DO NOT HESITATE TO GET EMERGENCY MEDICAL HELP. Not life threatening, but no one has to suffer this extreme feeling. I would gladly call 911 again if this ever happened to me again.

Alexis20155 June 15, 2016 at 12:25 am

I mixed green tea and verbena lotion with volteran gel and the itch was instantly gone. the next day it was still itchy but not nearly as bad.

Elijah June 16, 2016 at 11:01 pm

Anyone know where to find a time machine so I could go back to the time when this itch n e very happened

Sarah Lynn June 19, 2016 at 4:28 pm

I got a bad sunburn 2 days ago. An I took a shower earlier. An immediately after after I got out I couldn’t stop itching. I’m a red head an always gotten sunburnt growing up and NEVER had this itching before….. tried aloe, cold shower, hot shower. That all works while your in the shower. The aloe made the itching worse. Then I put lotion on and so far it’s working. I little itch every so often but way better than an hour an a half ago when I was literally crying cuz it was so bad.

Chris June 20, 2016 at 9:06 am

I have read that taking Hydroxyzine ( a prescription anti-histamine) can prevent Hell’s itch from happening. The itch is due to a MASSIVE histamine release by the body. By taking Hydroxyzine before hand it prevents the release. Benedryl isn’t powerful enough and taking it after the histamine release is worthless.

Anyone have any experience with this? I’m heading to Arizona for a week started taking it today……..will also bring along with the peppermint oil.

DerpyDoo June 20, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Awful horrible situation, going thru this at the moment myself after a day at the beach. I know better too having had Hell’s Itch when I was younger. I was terrified. It felt like my back was covered with angry fire ants, there was no relief. Not quite as bad this time but it’s there. I’m trying Amerigel deep wound dressing which is my go-to cream for any cut or skin abrasion. This stuff is so serious that you can use it alone after certain surgeries without having to do a sitz bath! Check it out. I’ll report back after today to see how well it worked.

Ethan June 21, 2016 at 11:22 am

I just woke up to this incredibly bad pain this morning. I went to the beach on Sunday, and just like the majority of people who have suffered, its been approximatly 48 hours since the initial burn. I can fully agree with everyone it is the worst pain ive ever felt and ive torn muscles in my shoulder and blown out my back. ive found that aloe, although good for helping the burn, has not helped my pain at all from the itch. I went to my local shoppers (canadian) and they recommended this polysporin anti-itch ointment. i put it on, and initially, like for a half hour, nothing. I have now been sitting in my bed for an hour though, without moving, propped on some blankets and pillows, and i have no had a single bad itch, only small ones i can ignore. I am not looking forward to tonight, as my girl friend is coming over, but hopefully she can help apply the ointment more regularly. I will also be trying the hot shower method at the next wave of attacks.

carry on my brothers and sisters of itchy hellness. May we live long and prosper (immediatly after our bodies stop F#$&ing us over)

Aaron June 21, 2016 at 11:41 am

After going to urgent care and getting two shots that the doctor promised would last at least a day the terrible itch started to come back right when I was going to bed that night. I did everything I could not to scratch but it forced me not to sleep. Finally I gave in and scratched at 6:00 in the morning and it just made it worse and worse. So while my mom went to the store I found this article and decided to take as hot of a shower as I possibly could. It helped for as long as my mom was at the store but it came back right when she got home. After Benadryl and A and D cream it’s been very tolerable throughout the day. If no one has the ability to go to a store I would suggest the hot shower. This may help more but I couldn’t bear the pain so I only took a warm shower but it still helped.

Steve June 22, 2016 at 12:32 am

Hey guys, I know a lot of you are undergoing one of the worst pains ever. It is due to your Phagocytes or white blood cell fighting off the damaged skin, and in response you are having an allergic reaction. I saw different remedies for “hells itch”, I thiught about commuting suicide cause it was awful, but my mother gave me 100% peppermint, coconut oil and lavender oil remedy. I first applied that to my skin and it made it a bit more itchy, only for a little bit cause my skin was dried out and it was absorbing it. Most definitely anyone reading this, TAKE Benadryl and an anti inflammatory like Advil. Let it dry then apply with a soft towel or spray bottle with diluted apple cider vinegar as that will help a lot because what it does is it hydrates your skin and help balance its ph levels. For a while that helped but then I went nuts, actually this sounds ridiculous but I did further research and found if you rub a lot of yogurt or rich in fat sour cream, your body absorbs the fats and nutrients and really makes it feels amazing, stand in front of a fan to dry and it will become thick and dry. Make sure to rinse off with cool room temp water and when you dry off, do not agitate your skin, dab your skin with a towel. After you are dry you can redo the oil and vinegar process in any order, but you must take Benadryl and Advil to really help. Also your body is a temple, water is key and it hydrates you. I also drank milk cause it’s high in vitamin D which is what your skin needs. You can also take vitamin C mix with water to help. Out of all these solution I felt almost no itch after taking all this over like a 4-6 hour tile period and just taking deep breaths, you will not sleep, you will endure pain if you don’t act right away, itching will make a “hells itch” into making you actually really not be hesitant to killing yourself (sorry to sound so dark). I hear everyone else is using A and D cream which I gotta try. Hope you guys get better, wish you all the best of luck!

Lisa June 22, 2016 at 3:49 am

WOW!!! Thank god for this page!!!! I can’t believe how accurate all the descriptions are. Unless you have had this, you will not truly understand what torture this really is!!! My son who is 14 went to the beach, and came home totally burnt, the 2nd day the blisters came, the 3rd day blisters even bigger and then the itch started, the entire day was on the front of his chest then last night it was his chest and back. I can’t believe what they would consider as a trade off to stop the pain and itch. Everyone here are exactly spot on with the descriptions. Every post I have read, I find myself with my jaw open saying omg!!! EXACTLY!!!! I felt so helpless trying to help…….I got everything everyone else has gotten here, peppermint oil, A & D, aloe vera, solarcaine, lidocaine,, benzocaine, dermoplast, motrin 800, benedryl….ice water, cold water, hot water, dry cloths, cold cloths, sheets, you name it we got it…….i took him to the dr….I got a Rx for Silverdene which is a cream for 2nd and 3rd degree burns for the blisters to help heal and help not get infected as well. Im considering calling dr today to ask for a 5 day Prednisone Pack……I can’t believe how bad, painful, and awful this is!!!! After loading up w/ cream, oil, lotion he would then say no i have to get it off and take shower and i applied wet cool facecloths on his back and just pat around facecloth to help soothe…i did that for him for 2+ hours and finally benedryl kicked in and he fell asleep. From my observation, the peppermint oil worked well, I did apply undiluted and also i had in a spray bottle diluted….That seemed to work the best. Im sorry for all of you who have gone thru this unbearable “Hells Itch” ~

Helpless mom June 2, 2017 at 9:44 am

Omg!! This was my daughter suffering all night long- as I tried to smear her with every substance I could think of!! I thought she was losing her mind and being dramatic until I ran across this post!!! It’s terrible!! She finally fell asleep, naked and slippery wet with hydrocortisone and peppermint oil around 7am. I feel so bad!!

Zach June 22, 2016 at 8:48 am

Dude, I took 4 benedryll, 3 Naproxins, a tylonol, and 3 shots of rum before I found this. I literally woke up at 3 this morning and then it began. Holy sh*t. Some things that helped me: After yu either get some relief, or like me just got buzzed so you wouldn’t feel it as much (which I guess is the same thing, really) wear a tight shirt, stay away from fans, and get your house freezing. Like cold as fuck. I’ll eat the electric bill, fuck it. Anyway, itch is almost gone. Like the dude said, DON’T MOVE. At all. i went to go smoke. Haha, nope. Itch was back. Dont do shit all day. If you got kids, make them clean the house, you ain’t moving. Also, for you married folk, don’t do what I did and tell your spouse you’re about to divorce them if they keep laughing at you running around in torment. They might not have experienced this shit, and think you’re over-reacting. Just afterwards, smack their ass really, REALLY hard. They wont be laughing anymore.

Okay, got super off topic. Point is, shit works, so does booze and tight shirts and running the AC to sub-zero temperatures. Do it all together.

anthony June 23, 2016 at 9:28 pm

the hell’s itch is maybe the worst torture in my life. i used all kind of gel. But for me, the cure was to turn on a fan and point it on the burning spot. or take a ride and open the window and u wont feel any itching.

Ryan June 24, 2016 at 10:14 pm

I have Hell’s Itch for the first time in many years, being Irish and Norwegian I’m very fair skinned, I went to the beach for about 6 hours 2 days ago, one day ago my skin started bubbling and now this horrible itch. So far I’ve taken 3 Benadryl but no luck, it hasn’t even made me drowsy yet. I’m hoping I can find peppermint oil tomorrow at the store to help me or I literally might go insane. My girlfriend and family don’t seem to understand the pain and annoyance of this itch.

Deep Fried Brown Beauty June 25, 2016 at 3:02 am

Man, I disagree.
Disclaimer: This is my third sunburn–the first and worst at age 27 and the second one milder in my 30s. Turns out those medicine labels are correct about avoiding sunlight. Yes, I enjoy naturally brown skin and it only took once to feel pain like death to create a habitual paranoia. I reapply with an hour with white beaches or when closer to the equator. And my porcelain-skinned hubby learned this time to throw away the sunscreen every 12 months–don’t use old sunscreen. I only utilize new sunscreen (aka paranoia). Oh, the rash guard clothing with SPF built in? Seriously, my porcelain friends, I beg thee to obtain this garment which is akin to the Hobbit’s mithril shirt. You will obtain great praises for restoring beach joy!

But I got cocky and waited too long to reapply more to my back…Because yes, I enjoy lovely brown skin. But when you are Asian Indian, no one tells you about sunburns and you are to ashamed to ask. And yes, I’m really bad with math too.

I digress. I’ve lost all sense of time now because of the sleeplessness…
My story…
I started to itch alittle that first night but I knew I was burned so alleve and lidocaine aloe were already in my system. Later in the trip I went walking on the beach near sunset and then went to a shaded pool. So while driving to our post vaca detour (okay, with very little undergarments because elastic is Satan’s first line of attack on sunburns), the real incursion from hell began.

I felt small bites. My hubby stopped and confirmed a poisonous spider had not entered the car. Still clueless, I wrapped up in his linen beach shirt because I was terrified of the sun through the tinted car windows and any stray bugs.

My leg twitched. I shook the car and woke the kid. So we stopped at a visitor center and barely clothed while hiding my face, I went in. I noticed in the mirror deep red scratch marks on my back. However, my hubby confirmed again that small sea creatures had not climbed out of the rank smelling seashell bucket.

I then begged friends to play words with friends with me although they were at work and I was still on vacation. I played with strangers to distract myself. I then thought I’d be more productive and read the owner’s manual for the car.

So after Honda-Siri tried to kill us, my husband again confirmed mosquitoes did not enter the car at the last potty-break. 12 hours later, after arguing with GG (google maps voice direction), we arrived at the next hotel.

It was 2 am and I couldn’t sleep. The next day, my hubby joyfully conferenced and we went sightseeing. And while in a line, the bug bitting started again. This time, my 5 year-old found a bug perched on my back. I’m convinced now I’m going to die from bee stings and teach them to use Siri to call daddy in case I pass out at the top of the St.Louis arch…but the itch stopped. Phew.

So we enter the small egg tram and I’ve texted my last will and testament to my hubby, who developed immunity to my whimpering by now.
And then we get to the top…632 feet in the air and small flying ants are now attacking me…
I faintly recall speaking in unkind tones to my kid and a few of other people’s kids…I may have forfeited mother of year when threaten my kid that someone would kidnap them if they continued to drag while dramatically claiming to be too tired to walk. I frantically navigated us back to the hotel…day 3? 4 of this itch?

I look forward to a better day tomorrow and apologizing to my clan.

Note: I use a creme with ingredients used on burn victims (tepeztecohuite, thank u Amazon). I use it on my face and as I’ve gotten older, with surgery scars. Heals everything to be honest. And yeah, I get compliments on my gorgeous skin. I used that, alleve, my kids allergy meds, and this lidocaine aloe gel sunburn goo that is the equivalent of peppermint and a topical creme. Works great until it wears off and it’s 3 am…

I too grew foolish my delicate skinned friends.
I do not fault you.
I offer you all my prayers and hope.
Take allergy anything everyday, get an SPF shirt and get new sunscreen for application every hour. My hubby’s feet are the only thing that burned! But he doesn’t itch…
I laughed out loud tonight and woke the others…again…
Thank you. This was so helpful and cathartic…

Maggi June 27, 2016 at 10:02 am

Hi people, I am currently going through hell’s itch and what seems to help is benedryl, aleve, and ice pack and vitamin e oil. It is so hard to even breath with this going on in my skin. I hate myself for not putting on sunscreen

Will June 27, 2016 at 6:27 pm

1st time i was 5 or 6. all i remember is rolling around on the ground at preschool SCREAMING! had it a few times since then, threw off my clothes in the nurse’s station @ busch gardens after the log ride thing got me wet & set it off… even had to leave work one time… scratching the whole way home… during a frantic phone call, my dermatologist told me to get sarna lotion. made it worse!!
over the years, ive learned this… very few people know just how horrible this feels! BUT… i have found relief…
NO lotions!! (my dad reacted badly to solarcane, so i avoid that one)
NO aloe!!
do NOT get wet!!
try to not shower (even though it offers brief relief)
Benadrl! Benadryl! Benadryl! antihistamine tablets… these WORK. give it 30-45 mins to kick in
I just tried the peppermint oil tonight… seems to work, but i can’t reach my back.
Beer. Lots of beer. NOTE: do NOT use beer therapy along with Benadryl therapy… i learned that one the hard way. 😛
hope my little .02 worth helps someone… believe me… i KNOW what you’re going thru!

Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck June 27, 2016 at 6:30 pm

Yes, the pharmacist suggested Sarna to me as well. Did NOT work and smells AWFUL.

Jacob Barris June 27, 2016 at 10:51 pm

Sounds weird i know but try masturbation it is a temp. fix so try to make it last as long as possible your brain will ignore the itching if you experience severe pain or pleasure

Shawn Howze June 28, 2016 at 1:02 am

So this is a very new and horrible experience for me. About 12 hours ago i experienced the worst itch/pain of my life. I am 26 and have had plenty of sunburns before and never had the “hells itch”. Benadryl tablets working great so far. Still small itching randomly but anything is better than what i was going through. I will try peppermint oil if it comes back but I can tell you that these comments help so much knowing im not alone in this. Why have i never hear of this or seen it on tv, the news or anything? Screw the devil ill where suncreen. Im not a religous person but after dancing with the devil for about 2 hours i feel i got a taste of hell and even though i feel that i am a decent person i will be making extra efforts to ensure that if hell is real im not going. If you are reading this. Be strong, you will make it and feel much stronger walking away knowing you can handle anything.

Shawn Howze June 28, 2016 at 1:16 am

I was so bad that i took two cold showers not knowing that makes it worse and then ran around like i was on pcp naked freaking out, scarring my fiance and begging her to help me even though i knew she had no clue what to do. Then she gave me benadryl. Took a while but it worked. Good luck

Nancy June 28, 2016 at 10:43 am

People who only burn are not the only people who suffer from this. I come from a Mediterranean background and rarely burn. This weekend I went to the beach and didn’t put sunblock on my back and burned. Yesterday at 4 pm while at work I started to itch and the more I scratched the worse it got. I was screaming, crying, hysterically laughing, twitching, shaking…. I thought I was going to go insane. I stripped down put cold towels on my back and it only made it worse. I went to CVS and spent 30 bucks on every anti itch cream and spray I could find and it also made it worse. The only thing I could think of was a shower. First I tried a cold shower and found no relief then I turned it as hot as I could stand it finally finding some relief. While standing in the shower my boyfriend gave me a benadryl which seemed to help too. Never in my life have I experienced anything like this. I thought I was going to be committed. After my shower I went on line and found Hell’s itch and someone described it to a tee. They talked about applying heat. So that’s what I have been doing I. E; hot showers and a blow dryer at work. The itch isn’t completely gone but it is tolerable. I think after the tournament I went through yesterday I will be Blessed to tolerate anything.

Belinda June 28, 2016 at 11:43 am

I’ve lived in Florida all my life. And the first time I got held it was in 1986 in the middle of the night. I got a horrible sunburn from a tanning bed. Yes I know it’s stupid I live in Florida but went to a tanning salon. Anyway I was dying I lived with my parents at the time and my mom helped me but we couldn’t find anything that worked she finally told me to lie down and she poured Head and Shoulders all over my back and it thick coat. It’s the only thing that helped. No I have not learned my lesson. Pure aloe helps, I’m using that at the moment. Cortisone cream too. I have A and D ointment but have never used it for this. I will though.

William June 28, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Truly unbearable. Never felt anything like that

Vince June 28, 2016 at 6:15 pm

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 quick 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!

Michael June 28, 2016 at 7:42 pm

Ok, I’ve had sunburns in the past, but nothing quite like this. I was swimming on Sunday afternoon without shirt and sunscreen. The sunburn was on my forehead, top of my head, shoulders, upper chest and 1/3 way down arms.

On Tuesday afternoon (today) I began itching like I’ve never quite experienced. In the car, I started applying handfuls of Aloe Vera to my arms, shoulders, and back. I had to constantly keep rubbing the area due to the stinging itch.

It was like little painful volcanoes of pain that shoots to the surface of the skin and then ends with an unbelievable itch. One volcanoes could probably be managed, but with them happening all over it will drive you nuts.

Upon arriving home I was getting any relief, so I thought I’d better remove the gel that had built up by taking a shower. The shower relieved it somewhat as long as I kept it running on my back and shoulders. I was thinking of a bible verse in the shower referring to weeping and nashing of teeth in torment.

After drying off, I was still itching and I was thinking that maybe I had burned myself, although I remembered having worst sunburns when I was younger, but never the itch.

I recalled I had a small tub of McNess Krestol Salve. It’s a minor burn and cuts salve. My great grandparents used McNess products when they were living and my mom had us use McNess Pain Oil when we were kids. I had mail ordered the oil and salve a number of years ago. I had only used it on minor burns.

So in my agony the salve came to mind. I applied it thick all over and within minutes the itching had subsided. I could still feel tingles for a few mnutes where they were occurring, but now after 5 hours I’m comfortable. I searched the Internet and found this site and the name Hells Itch. My wife went out and purchased some antihistamine and A&D in case I need a backup. I also took 400mg of Aleve a few minutes ago.

I can’t imagine facing this without some sort of drug or salve. It would be a form of Hell. It will be interesting to see how tonight goes.

Michael June 28, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Hey guys!

Wow I couldn’t believe this when I saw it there’s actually a name for this unbelievably hellish thing! “Hell’s itch”
Ok so I went to a friend’s pool for a senior party this past Sunday (we just graduated high school a few weeks ago), and I made THE DUMBEST decision ever not to put on suntan lotion. I got burned…
The burn didn’t feel like anything serious on Monday, and I usually keep my shirt off in the house anyway so it wasn’t bad, and I had orientation to college today (Tuesday), and putting on a shirt wasn’t too bad, but it was kinda tight.
When I got home from orientation, I immediately took my shirt off, and THATS when the itching started. It was like this never ending hell that I wanted to tear my skin off and just punch everything everywhere. AS I’M TYPING it’s itching. The first thing I realized was that I needed to put on Aloe. I literally smothered my entire back and shoulders with it non-stop for 5 minutes. That caused even WORSE itching but I forced myself using every possible inch of willpower I had to just NOT TOUCH IT and just toughen through it.
10 minutes later it was just a bit batter, with every minute or so it would come on strong and I fought back from itching. It might sound dumb but just clenching ur teeth or getting a punching bag will help with willpower.
Another thing that works is literally turning ur head to the right or left and blowing cool air on the area for a second or two can help relive itching for a few seconds. However, on ur back ur gonna have to suffer.
U guys are not alone, I have spent a few hours wanting to poor acid down my throat. This IS the most torturous thing you will ever experience. Another thing that comes close to this is childbirth… nah I’d rather give birth.
Yes ur family and friends will say ur overreacting. Yes u will hate ur existence. But remember this is only temporary and give it a few days of hell, 6 bottles of Aloe, and eventually u will find peace. Just typing this makes me feel better.
Also take Benadryl, it WILL help with itching, and will give u SOME sleep at night. However I don’t c myself going to part 2 of orientation tomorrow lol.

Mom July 1, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Thanks to all the posters. This information helped me when I did not understand at first what my son was experiencing.
When I realized the pain he was experiencing, we went to the dermatologist, who prescribed a cool oatmeal bath, hydroxizine and a steroid cream and NO more aloe or lidocaine with the blue dye.
In my opinion, it was the hydroxizine that gave relief, as well as put him to sleep.

Alea July 3, 2016 at 6:43 am

I just have gotten over it. Mine seemed to only last 24 hours (thank god!) My mom told me that I have a low pain tolerance but we all know it is the most maddening feeling. I found that two Advil and spraying apple cider vinegar works beautifully. I did that in the morning when the itch was still there. I managed to get about 5 hours of sleep laying on ice packs. Thanks to the author for this great article I’m glad it’s not only me!

Tyler July 4, 2016 at 9:57 am

I have this unbearable itch right now… I can’t help but jump and run across the room like I’m crazy or something.. I need something bad and fast… I’ve read all the comment

carrie totterdale July 6, 2016 at 8:56 am

I have been a sufferer of what I call “crazy itch” since I was a kid my brothers as well. Last year I was burnt bad fishing in over cast weather with a tank top on. I knew I had but 48 hours to find something to help me with this intense horrific experience. I tried EVERYTHING over the years. the only thing that helps remotely is standing in the cold shower for hours on end. Well I want all you sufferers out there to know that I did find a cure for Hells crazy itch! It is PEPPERMINT OIL. yes I know it sounds stupid but it works I promise. It is pricey. I paid 15 bucks for 1 oz but even if it was a hundred I would have paid it. a little goes a long way. apply a thin layer over the affected area and the itch calms down for about 2 or 3 hours before it wears off and you need another application. I thought about mixing some with Noxema to make it go further but was afraid to try it and it not work and then it would be wasted. You can find the oil at natural boutiques and such. So get a bottle and keep it on hand cause there is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night with that crazy itch. I am glad to know that there are other people out there who have experienced this and that I am not a big baby. I reported off work a couple times through the years with this problem and everyone made fun of me saying ” my back is itchy i cant work” I was like ” you guys have NO IDEA what it is like” Have a great summer all and get some peppermint oil!

jos July 7, 2016 at 1:07 pm

It feels like its under the skin, not on the skin. Its so strange. It’s not a real itch, more of a prickle or slight stabbing/pain. For me, if I press my hand against the affected part it provides some relief. But I believe mine is not as bad as some posted here.

Being Irish I’ve been burnt a lot over the years, but this is my first time experiencing this. I’m going to try pills and peppermint oils tonight.

Dying July 8, 2016 at 12:45 am

Going throug it right now. 3:42 am, can’t stop squirming. It didn’t really start till about 2 am. Wet towel, hair dryer, and some noxema. Man I wish there was a 24 hour pharmacy around here. Just gotta cry and wiggle till 10… I will definitely try the peppermint and Benadryl. I hate this so much.

Pain July 8, 2016 at 2:07 pm

How many times did you guys get the itch?

Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck July 8, 2016 at 6:40 pm

I’ve had it three times

Jane July 9, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Had it and went to the urgent care. Got a shot of steroids and a shot of Benadryl. It took about 30 minutes after that to calm down worst experience of my life!

Crying, Dying, no time for buying July 9, 2016 at 9:48 pm

So I got hells itch for the first time tonight, and was a mess. Still am, but I’m glad I’m not the only one with an unsateable itch. I’m traveling and so I already haven’t slept in months, add the itch to it and I’m a crying mess. I’m currently staying with an aunt but I’m afraid of waking her or her kids up at such a late hour just to ask for diaper cream. Does anyone have any tips for not killing yourself or ripping your skin off while you wait for above mentioned relief?

Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck July 9, 2016 at 9:52 pm

If you don’t have A&D (diaper cream) or peppermint oil, take a bunch of ibuprofen or something to help you sleep. If her kids are in diapers just look where they change them. There should be some cream there. Triple Paste works well too, it’s in a white plastic can-shaped container.

Alex July 12, 2016 at 11:13 pm

Blow dryer. Instant relief! Apply heat where it itches, repeat until it goes away. 100% proof.

Derek July 12, 2016 at 2:20 pm

I’ve had it a few times now. The worst one once as I was younger I was in the shower tearing my skin to shreds when my dad yelled through the door HOT WATER. I thought hot water on a burn? But was willing to try literally anything. So I cranked it to hot, I thought for a moment my skin would melt off but the pain was nothing compared to the itch. After about 20 seconds with the scalding hot water running over my sunburn it was gone. The itch was completely gone. I’ve done it a couple times in my life and works every time.

Kelsey July 12, 2016 at 10:46 pm

So 48 hours later the hell itch unleashed on my fiancé. It’s not even her worst sunburn that she’s ever got either. As we’re laying in bed about to go to sleep, she keeps asking me to rub her back because she itches so much. Then as I’m about to go to sleep she pops up crying because the itch is so bad. She hops in the shower and after reading I tell her to take a really hot shower. I run to Walmart and get peppermint oil, and when I get back I put that on her. Nope, she’s still itching like crazy. I gave her two Tylonel and after reading more she took another hot shower and I turned the ceiling fan off and the other fan we have going in our bedroom, and I told her to air dry where it itches the most. She took a Benadryl and so far she’s okay. After putting the peppermint oil on her and she just started itching more, she was completely done with it. I did put a towel in the freezer to see if that would help but since she’s fine right now I’m just doing away with that at the moment.

Alex July 12, 2016 at 11:08 pm

The blow dryer will end it!!!! Use a blow dryer, apply heat to the itch , you’re going to have to stop and repeat for a while but it will give her instant relief. Use the the heat as a substitution for scaryching. Its the best!!!!

Alex July 12, 2016 at 11:02 pm

GUYS!!!!!! I FOUND THE REMEDY!!!! I’ve gone through this insane itch time and time again. I’m also an idiot that stands out in the sun knowing the dangers, but I’m a beach/pool junkie. I tried all of these below and above. None of them worked. It aas either a temporary relief or just phsycological. Showers did help in one ocasion….a few years later i tried taking a shower again and it made it even worse, I serious contemplated suicide. It is the worse type of pain there is, I rather break an arm or leg or have a pencil go thru my eye and lose it. Of course all of this is what goes thru your mind while having this killer itch from hell. After trying peppermint spray, aloe vera, lotion , A+D cream, cold showers and hot, being in front of a fan, patting with a towel, ice packs, olive oil, vinegar and salt, repeated showers and benadryl, advil bla bla bla NOTHING WORKED! But just like you guys, i read and read and i tried everything but one thing. I read that heat is the solution. Standing for one minute in the sun WIll take the itch away INSTANTLY!!! No waiting , not minutes, its instant. BUT, that not might not be the best idea since you are hurting your already burned body. So i thought of……. A BLOW DRYER !!!! It has heat, and there is high and low. Use a blow dryer, apply heat to where it itches, stop, wait til it itches again , apply heat again and repeat til its all gone. I’m sure its not going to stop it permanently at the first application of heat, but it will give you relief there and NOW. It feels like scratching without the side-effect of making the itch multiply. Again, the relief is INSTANT. It takes about 24 hours to get better, whatever you DO NOT SCRATCH!!! Apply heat from the blow dryer. I’m happy to give you this remedy, it took me 17 years to figure it out. I’m extremely sunburned now, and the downside is that i work tomorrow, I just started to itch andi know the level of the burn tells me this might be the worse itch ive ever had, and im taking a blow dryer with me to work. Just in case! Let me know it worked out for you guys!

Ashlynn July 13, 2016 at 7:32 pm

I’m at grand haven right now which is a beach and its 10:28 and my face got burned bad even though I put sunblock on and I usually don’t burn, now I’m laying down and I was trying to spray spray aloe in y hand and then put it on my face and it burned like hell and I almost cried, now it still burns but not to bad and it’s sagar ting to itch a lil bit. Do u think this is Hells itch

Hannah July 14, 2016 at 8:54 am

that doesn’t sound like hells itch to me. just a bad sunburn

Hannah July 14, 2016 at 8:53 am

My advice for the itch is to take 2 Benedryl, put some (diluted) peppermint oil on, and let the Benedryl make you fall asleep. I got the itch last summer and it was the worst physical pain my 14 year old self had ever gone through. not only was it painful, but it was frustrating because my mom didn’t believe me so I had to take it upon myself to find some relief. I fell asleep and when I woke up, the itch was very mild so I just took another Benedryl. I hope nobody else has to experience the itch, because it is truly awful. Sunscreen, everybody!

SFox July 18, 2016 at 10:02 am

Not sure how I’ve missed this for the past 3 weeks. We’ve been going to the beach for years and I’ve had slight burns but NOTHING that ever compared to this one. I got my shoulders and lips burned so badly mu lips blistered and got infected. I used triple antibiotic on them and they healed nicely with the ointment pulling all the infection out. My shoulders….well they are STILL itching and raw feeling. Thank you so much for posting this. I will definitely be trying A&D as soon as I get off work.

Jessie July 19, 2016 at 2:44 pm

As a person who is as white as they can get without being albino and who hates wearing sunscreen, I frequently get sunburns. I recently had one that blister and peeled and when it peeled my skin was itchy like never before and looked and felt drier than the Sahara. These symptoms exactly mimicked the eczema outbreaks I had as a child. I bought aveeno eczema moisturizing cream and found it help. For the first few minutes there was intense burning and itching however both have subsided and the itchiness is gone. No word on the dryness yet but if it’s worked on my eczema dry skin, it should work here.

Kyle July 19, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Holy shit I had no idea… I’ve had sunburns before but never the itch. My go-to for a sunburn is vitamin E oil, put it on the burn with maybe some unscented cold cream to help it soak in. Really speeds healing and almost never peel. My recent one was healing normally until hell decided to take me out on a date and go all the way. Never thought my skin could itch like that. The 3-way A&D, Mediplast, and peppermint oil as suggested above took it down to a reasonable level. That and a leftover percocet. Just wow…

Kodi July 29, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Holy cow. Today was one of the worst days of my life. I had no idea that this itch could even happen. I’ve gotten sunburn plenty of times through out my young life but I’ve never had this itch ever until today. It pretty much started after I cleaned up our pool and set the filter back up. About a day after I decided to go swimming with my niece, of course I was and idiot and didn’t put on sunscreen and stayed out for I’m pretty sure we’ll over 5 hours. Obviously go sunburn, didn’t have aloe so I just laid on my side when I went to bed and made sure not to scrunch up my back. A few days later I decided to get in the pool again to play with my niece while I was watching her, I wore a shirt so the sun wouldn’t be to intense on it. Around the time my grandma got home I took off my shirt because the clouds were coming over the sun and started covering it. Next thing I know my back started itching uncontroloubly and it’s so intense I need to get out of the pool and have my grandma scratch my back. She wouldn’t be hard on it so I had my niece just go to town rubbing a towel as hard as she could on it, the burn you get from irritating the skin is nothing compared to the itch so it felt so relieving to get this itch at least temporarily off. Next thing I know she tells my niece to stop and I’m standing there writhing and twitching in agony trying to get it off my mind. A short while later I sit down and try and look it up, (that’s where I found this post) and tried to desperately convince my grandma to give me diaper cream, like the post said. Needless to say instant relief, I get a small flair of an itch now and again but nothing to unbearable. She still is thinking I was over reacting and I just told her to look it up and read on it and she’d understand. Sunscreen on me from now on, nuh uh not willing to go through today again.

Travelnurse1 July 29, 2016 at 9:08 pm

My husband just had a bout of this. I thought of applying a hemorrhoid cream with lidocaine to the area and it worked surprisingly well.

Danny July 30, 2016 at 3:37 am

I’m glad that ‘m not the only one suffering from this and I feel more validated by driving to Wal-Mart at 3:45 in the morning to get some Eucerin and Vaseline moisturizers to try and alleviate the itch. Definitely felt like the world was ending and that I was going to go insane. The itch is subsiding a little bit and I’m hoping that it will fade as this is now day 4 of the sunburn. I understand your pain bro. Thanks for posting!

Jack Newman July 30, 2016 at 1:46 pm

I am suffering from it right now and I unfortunately can’t buy any of the recommended stuff and everything so I have literally cried and cried and screamed. My brother makes fun of me and thinks I’m overreacting and I’ve read so many stories of this to him and he still won’t believe it. I have no choice but to lie in bed praying for this to end as I cry and should probably think of suicide(I’m kidding but this is serious) and my grandparents are in town and I want to cry and cry more and my family literally has no idea what’s going on and thinks I’m dying and I would explain it to them but I’m to busy crying and screaming

Bk August 1, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Omg I just had my first experience with this itch and I was ready to sell my two children for some relief!! Ridiculous!! Luckily we had A&D cream so I smeared that one as soon as I read this! It’s helping!

Connor August 4, 2016 at 3:12 am

Hey guys , this is one of many sites I’ve visited to read about this killer itch . Again like most of you this happened to me before when I was a kid . It seems to only happen on my back . Went sunbathing by the pool the other day and didn’t put a high enough factor of sun cream on my back . 2 days later I got the itch from hell . I think different remedies work for different people and skin type . For me if I put any alo vera or burn relief gel on my back THE ITCH becomes UNBEARABLE , to stop the itch I had to hop into a hot shower for about 15 minutes , this works wonders for me and as I am writing this I only can feel a small controllable itch . Ive also popped a couple of benadryl , however not sure if this is working yet .

Yeah so a hot shower tackles this hell itch and makes it become bearable . Just can’t wait when I feel no itch at all !! Key is to remain patient .

Jacob August 7, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Advil and Tylenol helped me its was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.

Alex August 8, 2016 at 12:17 am

I don’t even know why I bothered giving you guys the answer To what stops the itching. Benadryl, peppermint spray, oils and aloe nor tylenol nor advil, not milk or honey or who knows what you may have tried works. Not one of those things work!
By the time you try something like the mentioned above, its pretty much in the last stage, so you’ll end up giving the credit to what you last tried. The itch is the reaction to nerve damage and it has nothing to do with your skin or ointments. Nerves react to temperature amongst other things, like wounds. What is the answer? HEAT, the itching will decrease more and more as you apply heat. In the old days, it was recomended that you stood out in the sun till the itch went decreased. That’s actually insane, considering you’re burned and your skin needs to repair itself, in the process causing the itch. USE A BLOW DRYER, APPLY HEAT WHERE IT HURTS IN A FANNING MOTION. REAPPLY EVERYTIME IT ITCHES, THE ITCH WILL DECREASE BY HALF AND THEN ALL GONE BY THE HOUR. So… Keep trying all the benadryl pills and peppermint sprays you want. By the second day you should be fine, although some cases last up to 8 days. Ibuprofene along with heat therapy will be the best and guaranteed way to get you back to enjoying your vacation. I LIVED BY THE BEACH MY ENTIRE LIFE, you might want to take a listen to what I’m telling you. Take care guys!!!!

Christian LaSalle August 13, 2016 at 5:15 am

Just my 2 cents. Had hell’s itch a few yrs. Ago and benadryl and hot showers took care of it. Four days ago, stupidly, spent way too long in the ocean w/out a swim shirt or enough sunblock. First two days of usual sunburn pain and pink skin. Treated with aloe and Solarcaine, no problem right ? Wrong. 48 hrs. Later, hop out of the shower, full blown hell’s on my back. Got right back into scalding hot shower and popped two benadryl. Had to take three more super hot baths before meds kicked in so I could sleep. These last two days I still have a minor itch. Time and heat are the only things that really work. For the love of God, People- Use tons of SPF 50, hats, glasses, and beach cover-up. Never again do I want this agony.

Ecstatic August 15, 2016 at 8:23 pm

I’ve had this 2 times before and I thought I was just being over-sensitive, and that it couldn’t possibly be as bad as it seemed. But honestly during the ordeal, suicide became a friendly helping hand from the devil himself, extending into the fiery cauldron of painful itchiness and offering a welcome respite from the torturous ordeal. It was a phenomenon I wouldn’t describe as just “aggressive itchiness,” but rather “homicidal, psychopathic itchiness.”

Anyway, the first time was when I forgot to use sunblock at the beach in NY and was there all day, resulting in the worst sunburn of my life, etc. etc. 3 days went by, just mild sunburn pain, and then WHAM! I started getting itchy while watching Netflix, trying to fall asleep. It began to escalate, but I thought I could maintain my cool as I have an EXTREMELY high pain tolerance (ankylosing spondylitis sufferer).

The sensation overwhelmed my brain, like water filling up a dam and beginning to pour over the retaining lip – the townsfolk screaming below as a crack begins to snake its way up to the top of the cement. By about 6 hours in, the itchiness turned on me and I started losing my mind, in the literal sense – I ran around the house and clawed at my torso like a crazed animal.

No medications or cremes helped – they just made it hot and slimy and painful. During a cold shower I began to express myself in the same form of frantic itching that someone here mentioned earlier as the “devil’s dance”. I thought I was losing my mind. After none of that worked I drove home (from my parents house to my house) and filled up the bathtub in scalding hot water as a last ditch attempt at freedom. By some miracle of God, it worked and I was exorcised of my demons. But every hour or so I would need a scalding hot bath – It would hurt for the first few seconds but then it felt amazing. Soon after, about 4 days after initial burn, my symptoms subsided.

The second time, about 2 years later, I used a good sunscreen on my shoulders and neck, and a crappy sunscreen everywhere else. Big mistake. Afterwards, I remember the feeling of pure terror as I realized Satan himself was on his way up the steps with me in mind. Sure enough, 3 days later, it hit me suddenly at work. But then I discovered this haven of survivors – a sacred book of knowledge scribbled with notes from travelers long past, and left on the side of the path for the next unfortunate soul to feverishly thumb through.

Peppermint oil. Good Lord in heaven it works like a magic elixir of ice and snow.

I am sitting here, directly after applying the Peppermint Essential Oil directly on my skin (contrary to the warning of the label), in complete bliss writing this for you. Do it, and save yourself from certain and inevitable suicide.

SwaggyP1771 August 18, 2016 at 6:38 pm

This article was a riot… I am on vacation this week and got the most severe burn I have ever received on Tuesday… It is a Thursday night and I am now experiencing “Hell’s itch” and it is truly the worst experience I have ever endured. I felt like I was slipping into insanity as the demonic itch overtook my body. This article was the perfect thing to cope as it helps to laugh at your own pain. In addition to the above remedies, lying completely still is the ultimate cure in my opinion. Every time I move it feels like 1000 wasps are coming out of my chest and stomach. I have yet to try anything except a basic anti-itch relief spray that worked after a few minutes and applications. But most importantly, lie still!!

Jack brass August 26, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Garnier intense hand repair cream.instantly better.comes in red pot

Laura August 25, 2016 at 8:22 pm

I am experiencing this right now because yesterday I stupidly went to the beach and swam in the ocean for an hour without sunscreen. I’ve gotten a few bad sunburns before but for some reason they have never hurt or itched. Now my whole back is red like a tomato and feels like it is on fire. It started almost 24 hours ago when I woke up in the middle of the night with the most intense itch I’ve ever felt. I was not able to go back to sleep and all I wanted was to rip all my skin off, I don’t know if I’ll actually get any sleep tonight as I don’t have any of this medication stuff in my house (and I’m not old enough to drive) but it was funny to read this article and hear people that understand my struggles.

Jack brass August 26, 2016 at 5:11 pm

To all of you sufferering from intense itching the cure which is instant relief!! Is Garnier intense hand cream (made for sensitive skin thats ripped apart)instantly soothes the itching and if it can repair my hands after cement and sandstones ripped them to shreds it’s bloody useful stuff.tryed all other things til i remembered my hand cream Garnier thankyou.

Erik F August 29, 2016 at 6:57 pm

I got sunburnt two days ago, being at the beach all day and neglecting to wear sunscreen. The day after, I felt general soreness and my skin was red/hot to the touch. However, approx 48 hours after being exposed, I tried a cold shower and lidocaine/aloe/coconut oil/ you name it. This is when the itch started. Thank god for these comments, after a hot shower (no soap, no lotion or aloe afterwards), two aleve, two Tylenol, and two non Drowsy 10mg anti-histamines, the itching is tolerable. Ill be driving to the doctors first thing tomorrow morning in hopes of getting an anti-histamine IV. And will never neglect to wear sunscreen again.

VegaSpydr August 31, 2016 at 12:28 am

So I got a sunburn, not even a bad one 2 days ago.

It is not 3:15am, and about 2 hours ago I was hit with this wonderful feeling as I can only describe as 1,000,000 wasps stung 1,000,000 bullet ants that were bullying some fire ants and it was excruciating.

So, I decided to search google, and this was the number one article about this horrible thing I now have a name for. At first I thought it was from the aloe I bought had lidocaine in it. But I was wrong….. so…. so wrong.

I took a cold bath, a cold shower, used ice packs. It was super fun. then I came across this wonderful blessing of an article.

I took a 15 minute shower in some of the hottest water I have ever showered in… EVER. The rest of my body matched the sunburn section. but the pain and the itching was gone… for about 10 minutes. Then I took another shower when it came back, another 15 minutes of pain for 20 minutes of relief. I searched another page and it says to take benadryl as well, well I didnt have that, but I have childrens claritin… so I took a double dose of it, and got back in the shower.

I got out that time and remembered that I had also bought my kids benadryl spray for bug bites and sun burns, etc. So I sprayed it all over my shoulders, chest and what I could reach of my back and it was instantly relieved. Now the claritin is kicking in and I have almost no itching what so ever at the moment.

And time for bed! Thanks again for this article, it really did help! 🙂

Leener September 11, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Peppermint oil saved me!!!!
Thank you to everybody for their ideas.

Jean September 30, 2016 at 12:15 am

After holiday in spain july this year I have been suffering with itch in both arms and back . Had numerous blood tests seen four doctors in my surgery. I have finally been referred to a dermatologist next week and a gastroenterologist end of oct this has been a nightmare. Each doctor asked if i drink alot as it could be a problem with my liver tgat could be causing rhe itch. I am the friend who has one or two achocohol drinks and the rest is soft drinks. After reading these posts which have described the same problem which i had suffered for the last three months, i have even tried staying inthis last week avoiding any sunlight yep sounds silly but i have tried everything. My daughter has been fabulous told her about this site. So is waiting for shops and pharmacies to open to purchase peppermint oil for me. Fingers crossed it will work. Many thanks to everyone writing anout their experiences.

Dan September 30, 2016 at 3:33 am

To those who think the pain doesn’t exist READ THIS. So I just had my 2nd case of “hells itch” after a moderate sunburn. 47hrs after the burn the itch started. Went to chemist for some itch spray who sent me to the doctor as it looked like I was having an allergic reaction. Doctor prescribed panedine forte aneseptic cream and burn cream. Had the panedine forte and headed for home for a shower. 40 minutes later I was screaming with the worst pain of my life and was still screaming 90 minutes later when I was admitted to hospital. The doctors there did a quick blood test to make sure I wasn’t a drug crazed lunatic then began the painkillers! I was been given 10mg of endone (oxy cotine) every hour, 10mg of tramadol every 2hrs, massive doses of liquid fernangan (antihistamine) and some pretty hefty steroids (not sure what type). After 4hrs of this they started with 10mg hits of iv morphine along with the pills every hour. After each dose I would get 40minutes of peace then start screaming again. After 12 hrs of this they thought it was all over and sent me to observation. 3hrs later I woke up!!!!! This time the pain was worse and I began ripping the bed apart as I physically started biting chunks from my convulsing legs to direct the pain elsewhere. The docs then hooked me up to the life support stuff and started to up the Iv morphine until my heart was going to stop (27mg for the curious). At this point they bought out the adrenaline and said they could put me out and bring me back or I could scream it out. SCARY!!!! I chose scream it out and 2days later they let me out with no idea what the cause was.

So I have been doing research! I am not a doctor but this works!

Don’t use opiate painkillers. These will block your pain nerves which is not the same nerves as the itch ones. Pain nerves override itch nerves so the last thing you want is to amplify the itch nerves. They can also easily induce a syndrome which actually amplifies the pain/itch which is quite often misdiagnosed as tolerance (so they give you more).
Instead have aspirin Advil etc or paracetamol if ibuprofen types are not available.
Do have hot showers but only when the itch starts. This prioritises the pain which your brain can deal with whereas the itch will send you bat crazy. Ice packs can have the same trick but don’t provide the same relief.
DONT use creams. They will draw in the toxins giving you an allergic type reaction which is actually the itch you are feeling.
Peppermint oil may be effective or Vicks vapour rub. These CAN dilute the toxins.
Once the itch subsides start hitting it with your moisturisers etc but not until it is absolutely gone or you will make it worse.
Keep remembering you are not crazy and this happens to lots of people.

Chris M. November 18, 2016 at 10:46 pm

Honest Company Face and Body lotion is doing the trick for me right now. In currently in Hawaii suffering in a bad way from this Hells Itch. I have had the lotion on for about 10-15min and I feel 75% better.

Ian Christie December 13, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Good lord I thought I was overreacting to hells itch. I have broken both arms at the same time, Been cut to the bone with a knife, suffered having boiling water spilled on me, and lost finger tips. This is by far the worst torture I have ever been through. I would gladly go through all of that at once to relieve the itch that I can only describe as having fire ants slowly borrowing into your flesh and setting your organs on fire. I’m suffering from it now but am finding relief in big bags of ice on me. As ice numbs nerves it’s helping a lot. It’s actually the first time I have stopped shaking and screaming in a few hours. Also the pain from the cold ice is sweet pleasure compared with the itch.

BJ January 5, 2017 at 3:43 pm

OMG, I totally defeated Hell’s itch!

Fourth time it’s happened in my life and I took a cold shower this morning and it killed me. Deep, excruciatingly painful itching, was so ready to peel my skin off layer by layer.

Anyway, I took 2 500mg acetaminophen, a 10mg loratadine and an 800mg Brufen (slow release ibuprofen) and I’m feeling sweet! So wish I had tried this the last few times.

Good luck frens.

Damir January 15, 2017 at 4:40 am

All i can say thank good for this forum. Last time i had devils itch attack i actually had to showed to doc in emergency as he was trying to put sunburn cream on me. Omg. I suffered itch 3 times in past 12 years and vowed NEVER AGAIN!!!!
I bought surfing shirt and never ever on the beach without it.
As for some info forst time when i got i ended up in emergency as my wife thought that I’m gonna rip my skin. They actually gave me a shot of something (andrenalin shot?) Into my leg. 3 seconds later itch totaly gone. Same thing happened few years later another onjection shot in the bum…immidiately gone. Still don’t know what was it. But worked miracle. Last time it took 2 hours of iv serum for relief.
God help you if you ever have to go through this hell.
Im prepared now. Meds, pepermint oil and A & D in house. And surfing shirt.

Hayden Lang January 25, 2017 at 7:06 am

Hey im expeiriencing hells itch right now and ive got to say one of the worst experiences of my life being im only 17 and live in a little town i dont have a 24 hour pharmacy and since ive been in hell for the past 2 hours starting at 12 30 all i can do sit under the boiling hot shower cause thats the only relief i can get but i dont want to wake my parents due to there reaction being get your ass to bed your over reacting
I believe i have had this before but i was very young and i remember what my mother did for me
She poured straight vinegar and hot water in a bathtub then got me to bath in it then rubbed cut tomatoes on the affected area it does help alot but as for now all i can do for the next 6 hours is be in complete agony and pain

Sean February 14, 2017 at 5:36 am

I had hells itch because I’m very pale and always burn like a vampire and I found I got relief from using a wet face cloth on my back after rubbing in a moisturiser. I then sat infront of a fan which helped ease the itch. I later ate chocolate which somehow made the pain bearable.
The itch is hell

Scott March 20, 2017 at 11:29 pm

I’m going through it now but not as severe as the first time I got it. The first time I begged my Dad to knock me out to escape it all. Havent reached those levels yet.

Avoiding lotions is helping, I’m trapping in the heat makes things a lot worse.

Wish me luck

Scott March 20, 2017 at 11:29 pm

I’m going through it now but not as severe as the first time I got it. The first time I begged my Dad to knock me out to escape it all. Havent reached those levels yet.

Avoiding lotions is helping, I’m sure trapping in the heat makes things a lot worse.

Wish me luck

Beth April 5, 2017 at 6:09 am

Thank you all for this. I’m a redhead that has gone through this too many times to be considered intelligent to any degree. That said, I think I’m a perfect candidate for Silence of the Lambs style execution. I would HAPPILY give up my skin right now. I’ve been using Hydracortisone cream which has helped a bit temporarily but I’m going to head to CVS for A&D lotion right now.

Drea April 6, 2017 at 6:38 am

Im a fair skinned blue eyed woman who burns before tanning
I too have this “hells itch”. I am using coconut oil to help replenish the oils in my skin and it too contains vitamin A. It definitely soothes and calms the itch, I’ll apply several times a day. I think nothing makes it completely go away except time to heal

Jose April 11, 2017 at 4:14 am

Hi I’m currently going through the itch based madness that you gentlemen are referring to. I would also like to recommend the peppermint oil it’s not a 100% cure to the ailment but it does bring it down to like 20% of what it originally was . Also thank all of you for your help with this issue

Randy May 1, 2017 at 9:51 am

From Michael’s comments… you can purchase the McNess Krestol product from

Mr. Peppermint May 4, 2017 at 8:26 pm

If you are one of the poor souls currently experiencing Hell’s Itch, begging for mercy while curled into a ball in your tub, do yourself a favor and seek PEPPERMINT OIL as soon as humanly possible.

Chances are, life is screwing you over by putting you through this torture at 3am while all stores are closed….. So hang in there, put the water as HOT as you can and shower until your nearest Whole Foods or other natural store opens in the morning.

Take it from me… I tried every remedy suggested. Peppermint Oil is GOD sent. Dilute it in a little bit of water, apply to the area and enjoy your much needed rest.

May the force be with you.

Michael May 6, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Just dealt with a mind numbing case of Hell’s fuckin itch
I will say it was a nightmare. 30 minutes ago I would have ripped off my head to stop the pain. I was despatately trying anything and everything toget it to stop. Nothing was working. I remembered having suffered from a huge burn and succesfully using Yellow Mustard. Like o said I was desperate. It WORKED instantly. I am laughing right now about this post only because of YELLOW MUSTARD. Try it!!!’

caleb May 14, 2017 at 11:54 pm

i sat in a cold shower for 30 minutes and lathered cortisone 10 all over my back. by far the worst thing ever

caleb May 14, 2017 at 11:56 pm

the cortisone helped almost instantly but i don’t know how long it will last seeing that this was 10 minutes ago

HOLISTIC REMEDY May 19, 2017 at 7:37 pm

Peppermint oil and pure coconut oil. Add about 10 drops of peppermint to a 2-3 ounce container of coconut oil. IT WORKS and smells good. Make several containers, keep them in the car your purse, office,… I never leave home without it. you won’t either

HOLISTIC REMEDY May 19, 2017 at 7:42 pm

SOLUTION…Peppermint oil and pure coconut oil. Add about 10 drops of peppermint to a 2-3 ounce container of coconut oil. IT WORKS and smells good. Make several containers, keep them in the car your purse, office,… I never leave home without it. you won’t either. I never went to the doctor although I was a visit away. I kept reading and reading, took the pills, lotions, no cigar. Aloe Vera plant, nothing. The moment I tried this… BEST SLEEP EVAH!

WhiteTWolf May 23, 2017 at 10:03 pm

I thought it was just me with this CRAZY itch. I had just laid down to go to sleep and BOOM ITCH CITY!!!! I was burnt the day before Mother’s Day spent that whole night in pain used some aloe vera and lidocaine gel and the IB 800 I had left from my dental work and sat almost directly in front of the floor fan. Sleep was NOT an option that night. The next 2-3 nights I sat in the recliner in a way that kept my upper arms and back of my neck from touching anything and slept intermittently. The itch JUST came in about 45 min ago all the peeling finished yesterday. Took a CCCOLD shower thinking it would help. Only a few seconds of relief. Got the Eurcerin lotion it helped a little except in this ONE spot. Took IB about 10 min ago hoping the ant inflammatory agent of it will help. Tomorrow I may try to find try the A & D.

Michael May 28, 2017 at 9:10 pm

It’s 5.07am I’m suffering hells itch for the second time in my life and I’m literally feel like I’m dying waiting for holland and barret to open at 9.

I’ve taken lots of anti histamines and ibuprofen but to no avail.

I can’t try the heat approach as I don’t wish to wake my partner.

I’m from the UK death seems a welcome friend lol.

Michael May 29, 2017 at 6:11 am

Little update I used the peppermint oil from holland and barret just splashed it on pure as the itch by this stage was that to torture.

For reference I use the time I dislocated my leg from hip joint and bottom half of leg from knew torn muscle to boot.

I’d have rather injured that than the dreaded itch.

Needless to say after the feeling of severe burning and fire the peppermint gave me for a good ten minutes but the itching has stopped for now.

Not to proud to admit I applied this in a disabled bathroom with the help of my partner.


Maria June 12, 2017 at 1:42 am

It’s currently 4:41 am and I’m itching awfully, having spent nearly two days at the beach with no protection on my back. I’m half Italian so my skin is an olive color that tans lightly during the summer. Despite this, I have freckles and burn just as easily if I’m not careful enough to apply spf every 80 minutes. Usually when this happens I stretch out and turn on the TV to take my mind off of the painful itching. Lotion and drinking water seems to help, but really it just takes a few sleepless nights and time. I experienced this “hell’s itch” after spending time on the Mediterranean coast last summer and gelato also helped lift my spirits and take my mind off the itch 🙂 Thanks for this article, I found it very helpful

Racharl June 15, 2017 at 1:20 am

I feel like y’all are my family now. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve cringed, and I’ve cried after trying the benadryl, A&D, and peppermint oil on my 12-year-old in the middle of the night. And it all worked. He has finally passed out. Thank you all so much for every single suggestion. I am so grateful, especially for the sleep I’m about to get, and that he’s sleeping.

ashley June 19, 2017 at 10:26 am

i definitely understand what all of you are going through, i had it so bad that i was screaming and crying in pain and acting crazy i couldn’t sit still for a second and i litteraly felt like i’d rather die than have the itching pain on my stomach , my parents thought i was acting crazy but they didn’t understand. i got it after going on a run and my new layer of skin would feel tiny dots of itching everywhere. after dealing with so much pain taking baths layering on products i just covered myself in aloe put a towel over it and rubbed my stomach and it was a lot easier to relax. i’m still very itchy the next day but it definitely isn’t as severe as yesterday. just kinda scared to go outside again because the sweat is what set my skin off. it’s nice that i’m not the only one.

William flatt June 22, 2017 at 7:21 pm

For god sake . Its 3.18am. Why does it always happen during the night. Iv tried allergy tablets . Creams on my back . Just trying sudocream its a babys nappy rash cream . I really can not cope. 3 hours sleep in 2 days and its looks like its going to get worse!!! Ohhh lord take me now

Rbcamaro23 June 25, 2017 at 12:57 pm

The only thing ive found to help besides a hot shower is keeping my body temperature elevated. If i go outside in the shade and get hot then it goes away. It has something to do with your body temperature returning to normal that activates it. Thats why after a hot shower it comes back. Im 8 hours in to it and this is the onlyvremedy that helps. No lotions or creams helped at all. They actually seemed to make it worse snd id run to the shower over and over. Stay hot and drink water.

Nate June 25, 2017 at 9:51 pm

I’ve had Hells Itch 3 times in the last 15 years and never knew what it was. I tried every cream and lotion I could find the first time and nothing helped. My mom suggested a bath won white vinegar and it stopped the itch each time. I screwed up today and got fried and am anxious about a recurrence.

Russell July 2, 2017 at 6:26 pm

I have hells itch rn worst feeling ever I went to work and took my shirt in 90 degree weather no shade or anything for about 5 hours I’m only 15 and I got to the point of getting pissed of took my phone threw it i was so irritated and it shattered wich I shouldn’t have thrown it i used benadryl and it helps but do not shower it’s the worst thing I could’ve done

john July 3, 2017 at 10:42 pm

this is awful,,,, I can’t sleep,, the worse pain ever,,, I am at 48 hours with this,, I hope it stops soon,,, and I am glad I am not alone,,, thanks for all the post,,, I have taken inbupropren, doesn’t seem to help and its to late to go get Benadryl, Pulling my hair out!!!!

Dude July 4, 2017 at 2:59 am

I’m going on about three to four weeks with this itch. I’m ready to take a rasp and shear off every inch of skin on my forearms and shoulders. I’m trying the a&d peppermint oil benadryl treatment tonight before I turn I to the Heath Ledger version of the Joker.

donna July 8, 2017 at 8:14 pm

CeraVe itch relief moisturizing cream… it really works. Relief within 2 minutes!

Laura July 9, 2017 at 8:58 pm

I have the pleasure of getting this wonderful itch anytime I get a slight sunburn. If I get to a certain shade of red I know to expect the itch from hell appearing in about 2 days. Right away I start chugging lots of water to rehydrate my skin. For the first day you can apply aloe and shower. But DO NOT apply lotion or shower on days 2 and 3. Day 2 start popping benedryl or in the states diphenhydramine. 25-50mg. It’s an antihistamine. It’s the only thing that works for me. At first you feel the horrible tingle slowly vanish and then for a few hours you’re almost completely itch free until the medication wears off. This is my best possible solution. By putting on lotion it blocks your popes and doesn’t allow the skin to release toxins and they build and cause the itch to be much worse if it wasn’t possible. Benedryl. Try it.

Alec Janowski July 17, 2017 at 3:23 pm

I had never heard of this “itch” before today. It is the most painful thing I have ever felt in my life. It feels more like your skin is melting than itching. I don’t know if I am past it yet, so I do not have any for sure solutions. I do, however, have a list of absolute do nots. 1: Do not shower after you get burnt. It seems disgusting, but trust me it triggers the itch and is not worth it. You have been warned. 2: Do not apply any creams or ointments. They actually make it worse. Others have obviously stated that the peppermint works, but I have not yet tried it. 3: Don’t bother going to the ER. I went to my local ER and the doctors there had no clue what was happening. They thought I was just some baby that couldn’t take a little sunburn. I don’t think any doctors know about this itch in a technical sense. Save your time and money by buying the solutions suggested above. This is awful. Good luck.

SS July 24, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Reading through this page in a small secret window on my office desktop has been the only thing getting me through this 10-hour work day suffering the effects of Hell’s Itch. I was not sunburned that badly, but on an area (my back) that probably hasn’t seen the sun in years, and perhaps that is the reason for the intense itch reaction. I had a similar situation about 20 years ago after exposing my mid-section on a day at the beach — also an area that never saw the sun.

Three more hours to go until I can hit the drug store for some Benadryl. Good luck people.

Don't Shower July 25, 2017 at 2:44 pm

DO NOT SHOWER! It’s been 48 hours since I got an overdose of sun, stepped into the shower this morning before work and after words felt like I was being attacked by bees. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but the attack started after the shower. Now I’m sitting here at work, reading blogs like this trying to block out the itch…it’s driving me crazy! If you itch it, it makes it 10x worse. It is a true test of willpower, I promise you this. If you don’t aggravate it, the itching will subside to a point where it’s bearable. I plan to stop at the drug store on the way home for some Benadryl, A&D, and peppermint oil. Logically, these sound like the proper remedy, but I can only hope!!!

Martin July 30, 2017 at 3:21 am

HERE YOU GUYS GO- you are welcome

Organic Aloe + 100% Pure Peppermint EO + 100% Pure Lavender EO + 100% Pure Lemon EO

The combination of those 3 Essential Oils (EO) act as an antihistamine together. The Aloe Vera is to help sooth.

Benadryl + Pepcid (Night Time)
Claritin (Loratidine) + Pepcid (Day Time)

Jorge September 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

I need to share my solution. I’ve been tru hell and back with this “issue”. DO NOT shower. Try not to sweat. Stay calm in a/c (your car i.e.). And the solution for me is: lightly whip one o two egg whites (NOT the yolks). Apply it in the itching zones trying to cover very well the sunburned areas. Let it to dry in a cool fresh environment. Open a beer o an iced tea and relax for the first 5 minutes and then enjoy the healing. It took me more than 30 years to discover it, after trying expensive moisturizing creams, oily stuffs, honey, mud, starch, vinegar, even toothpaste, Jesus knows… In this pretty moment I’m near my Hell’s Itch attack, but not so nervous. If it doesnt work for you, try xylocaine/lidocaine in spray (the same used in dental services). Hope you to heal soon. Stay in the shade and always use sunscreen 30+

If you want to tip me, bitcoins accepted!! Hahahahahaha:


Thank you in advance.

Alexander Cardozo September 10, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Its nerve damage. Some of the ‘solutions’ here are insanely idiotic. Creams, and food.. . C’mon Apply heat to stimulate the nerves. How? Use a blow hair dryer where it itches. Itch will be gone in seconds. If you have “hells Itch” heat is the only proven remedy.This is all, yes.. it is science. Again, apply heat using a blow hair dryer where it itches. You will thank your lucky stars you read this.

Shannon January 4, 2018 at 6:09 am

One would hope you have actually suffered from this, But it sounds like you haven’t and you are just pulling rabbits from your arse.

I have suffered this and the only thing that actually worked was fenergan 25mg x3

Or you could stand out in the lounge room for say 24 hrs blowing yourself, Like this retard above thought was brilliant…..

Doris January 28, 2018 at 2:46 am

Omg I thought I was going insane. I had to look after my 16 month old with hells itch this morning, I couldn’t even look after myself. I was jumping around fucking losing my mind. I thought I was going insane. It’s like someone replaced my back with fire ants I honestly genuinely thought I was going crazy. Two almost 50 degree Celsius showers and like 6 litres of water later, and I’m alright. It still tickles, but it’s NOWHERE NEAR hells itch. Fuck me I was convinced I was dying. Thank god for this forum!!!!!!! I feel so sorry for the next poor soul who experiences this literal torture. I’m never going in the sun again. I moved to Australia less than a week ago for a warmer climate, fuck that shit take me back to my cold ass country. This. Is. Hell. So sorry to everyone who experienced it for more than a few hours omg.

Kika February 17, 2018 at 2:46 am

I was fine one minute and the next I was floored. Thought maybe Id been been on my sunburn by some demonic insect. I am in Vanuatu. Nothing is open. So Im doing the warm shower deal which provides about 45min of relief. It’s nearly 10pm, this started at 7pm. Only 10 hours until I can search Port Villa for Peppermint oil and A&E cream. I have no antihistamines on me.

Happy Im not alone in this.

Kika February 17, 2018 at 2:48 am

*Been bitten

Kika February 17, 2018 at 2:49 am

*A&D cream.
Frigg I cant even spell now. Lol

Logan March 30, 2018 at 11:20 pm

I’m dealing with that hell right now. Showering feels great till you get out! I literally dumped half a bottle of mouthwash on my chest as I cussed God for everything in the book. That’s how bad it was. For the record the mouth wash did nothing. Alovera does nothing, lotion does nothing. The only thing i have rhat seems to help is a lot of heavy clothing. I tried anti-itch cream and it did nothing. I took about 12 ibuprofen and brobably ruined the lining of my stomach for the rest of my life. This shit makes me want toput a gun in my mouth. Lesson to be learned, if your going to go fishing for a while sunny day, wear God damn sunscreen.

Neshamaney July 2, 2018 at 8:41 pm

So I had the infernal itch setting in, day 2 after a fun float trip in the ozarks, 5 hours of sun and no sunblock. Not smart, this has happened at least once before, and I remember crying and screaming out in bewildered frustration. This time I took Claritin and Pepcid together, it seems that the combination of h1 histamine receptor antagonist and h2 histamine receptor antagonist potentiate (synergize) the itch relief property of the typical antihistamine. Definitely recommend this, the itching has subsided by 90-95%, and now I feel comfortable enough to sleep.

Seb Webber July 2, 2018 at 11:46 pm

I am dead. I think I’ve died.

Seb Webber July 3, 2018 at 12:15 am

Ok peppermint oil and Benadryl works. No other creams or sprays. It’ll double the pain don’t mess with cooling gels or any of that nonsense.

You need straight up witch doctor voodoo Whole Foods natural remedy shit.

I am 33. No joke – I got circumized at 30.

This is worse. Devil Itch wins.

Rachel July 6, 2018 at 2:00 pm

Just pay on your belly and lay still. Use also very gelly and sleep with either a sheet of nothing at all! I’m 14 and I’m in Spain so you can imagine how hot I feel but I don’t feel any itch at all!!! 100% works! (I have very pale sensitive skin too)

Derrick August 29, 2018 at 1:08 am

Going through Hells itch now stupid me decided to go to a pool party and drink for 6 hours in the Las Vegas sun with no sunscreen two days ago. I have had 1200 mgs of ibuprofen today and I am currently laying on belly after a hot shower feeling only slight stabs rather than the agony that had me rolling on my back in my bed so much that my dog joined in on it. Had it once as a kid before where I ended up at the ER getting a shot of phinigen (spelling) that knocked me out for a good 18 hours. About to pour a glass of whisky and pray for a good nights sleep.

Kelli June 2, 2019 at 2:37 pm

Dear Lord!!! Just got my 1st episode of Hell’s itch in my 48 years of life! NEVER want this experience again, EVER! So very thankful for this forum. Thankfully the intense, lose your mind itching just happened in both upper arms. I burned pretty significantly after falling asleep in my pool 3 days ago to my upper back, arms and face. The itching made me jump around, cry, flail and slap my arms. Boyfriend ran to CVS for itch relief crean which pharmacist gave hydrocortisone for. I immediately jumped in cool shower to get off the layers of lidocaine and aloe I have been using for pain and jumped on the internet. Took Pepcid AC, Ibuprofen and used Peppermint oil…. I’m surviving now THANKFULLY.

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