Why Do We Itch?


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I always have the darn-est itch on my back that sometimes bothers me so much I can't concentrate on anything. So I wonder why is it that we get itchy?

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With our body being covered with 20 square inches of skin, it is the sheltering blanket that covers our body. With this in mind, our skin is exposed to constant bacteria and irritation. Other than the exception of extreme and very irritable itching being caused my infections, bug bites,dry skin, and allergies, there are different factors to why we itch. According to Dailymail.co.uk, "Itching is a sensation, an interpretation of something going on in the skin. Nerves in the skin send signals to the brain in reaction to physical or chemical stimuli." The scientific word for itching, pruritus, and as mentioned earlier is caused by an external factor such as dust, bacteria, bugs, hair, etc. that tickles or produces the skin to irritably or delicately react to this external factor. Your body is enabled with a defense mechanism that signals the body when there is a disruption or touch from something else no matter how large or minute it is. You are left with a lingering feeling when your body signals that something has landed/irritated your skin, causing an itch and a desire for you to get rid of that tingling.

What signals the rubbing, touch, or irritation on the skin are the receptors in the dermis of the skin, according to Discovery Health. "The receptors that realize this sensation on your skin send a message signaling this sensation through fibers into your skin to your spinal cord and then up to the cerebral cortex in your brain."  At the same time this sensation that your skin feels; the receptors on your skin also send signals to the pain interpretation part of the brain which may conclude that itching causes a very light pain.

The reason why itching relieves the itching sensation because it sends signals to your body that you've acknowledged this sensation on your skin and have gotten rid of it. Usually the receptors on the area of itchy sensation doesn't have many nerve ending hence why an itch goes away after scratching it.


Lastly, in a few cases, itching can be psychological, nervous,tension, or worry triggered.

MSNBC.MSN.COM has suggested some tips of what to avoid and do avoid very irritable itching by providing the information below:


Behind the itch
Itch is an unfortunate symptom of many conditions. Reactions from exposure to plants, animals and metals flare up the creepy crawlies. Weather plays a part too, along with bacteria, disease and parasites. Stress can also aggravate itching.

According to the American Medical Association, soaps are often overused. "Often, extremely mild cleansing lotions or water alone is sufficient to keep most of the skin adequately clean," the group states.




Here are some more tips to keep your skin almost itch-free.



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