Hey, I know how you feel. Honestly, I’ve had hell’s itch one other time in my life. And that was as a kid. I vaguely remember how it felt too.
Last Thursday I went swimming. Took my shirt off because I had some sunblock. So I used sunblock once, dried off about an hour later, re applied. I was there for about 5 hours total. So of course, I got carried away, lost track of time, and forgot to keep re applying.
Came home, noticed my face was burned, no big deal. Started messing around, shirt slipped up a little, and the girlfriend said “uh, babe,lift your shirt again” so I did. My stomach was burned. (First time in my life by the way) She told me to turn around and show her my back. Yep. Burned. ALL over. Man I was regretting life right about then. Because I knew withing 48-72 hours, I’d be in for it.
48 hours rolled by, and “IT” started. I started counting my blessings and repeatedly yelling at myself for being such an idiot. This time around, I did some research on this damn thing. So I never applied ANYTHING to my back when this itch started. Still haven’t. (I’m peeling now, thank God) When the hell’s itch kicked in at about 2 pm, I was in such discomfort it wasn’t even funny. I couldn’t do ANYTHING. Nothing could begin to keep my mind off the itch. I knew not to scratch it so I was using the sides of my index fingers to rub the spot. If you’ve ever had this shit, it is damn near IMPOSSIBLE to not scratch it. You HAVE to do something to it. People who think it’s just an “itch” need to reconsider. This isn’t just an itch. This will make you cry and honestly make you go completely insane. It is the worst experience I’ve ever had in my life. Luckily for me the intense part of it only lasted about 15-20 hours. Then it started subsiding. Still itched like crazy, but definitely NOT the intense pain/sharp shooting itch type.
But all in all, I found a solution myself. Showers did not work for me, they just set me on fire (not literally) . Benadryl didnt help me at all either. BUT peppermint oil (NOT diluted) helped. But here’s the best way I was able to cope with this shit. Put a decently loose shirt on. And repeatedly move your shoulders up and down. It will “scratch” your back without pissing off your nerve endings that cause that intense itch. It’s worth a try. And it’s literally the easiest to do. But the hardest to do, is to NOT scratch it. It’s literally impossible.
My conclusion is simply this. Wear sunblock if you absolutely have to go without a shirt. If you get hell’s itch, it’s probably because you’re burning too easily or not meant to tan that well. Who cares how tan you are. It’s better to be pale as hell, than to ever have hell’s itch. From now on, I’m keeping my shirt on outside. Forget the sunblock. I won’t expose myself anymore. Lesson learned