A trip to the beach can be both invigorating and relaxing, giving you an opportunity to swim or run on the beach or just enjoy the view. Unfortunately, sometimes you return from the beach with more than just a tan and stray sand. You might come home with itchy skin, which can be the result of several different issues.
Sharks and jellyfish are not the only dangerous things lurking in the water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a condition called swimmer's itch can be the result of an allergic reaction to parasites in and around the water. Snails can release these microscopic parasites, which then burrow under your skin. Intense itching followed by redness, burning and small pimples are a common sign of swimmer's itch.
Overexposure to the sun can also cause itching, according to KidsHealth. You can itch if you get a sunburn. In addition, sweating in the sun combined with loose sand, tanning lotions and small bugs can cause slight irritation and itchy skin.
In some cases, a mild irritation to the sand can cause dermatitis or severe itching. The U.S. National Library of Medicine suggests that dry skin can lead to itching with swimmers and even those who just dip their legs in water. Swimmer's xerosis results from breakdown of the protective layer of skin, which leads to moisture loss.
If you notice that your skin is irritated, red and itching, and getting worse -- or you cannot get relief from simple over-the-counter anti-itch creams or anti-inflammatory medicines -- seek medical help. It is important to record the exact location of your beach visit in cases of possible parasite infection. For sun exposure and swimmer's xerosis, moisturizing treatments and avoiding hot showers help the skin heal.
Any area of the skin that itches, bleeds and has a discharge could be a sign of a serious skin issue or infection such as cellulitis. If welts or large bumps occur along with the itching, this could be a sign of a severe allergic reaction to a parasite, animal bite or foreign body.