Why when we scratch our skin itches more

Did you know that the skin is the longest and most extensive organ in our body? Among its most important functions is to protect against any type of external attack as certain skin cells work with the immune system to prevent bacteria and viruses from entering the body, helping us to maintain hydration (70% of the skin) is water), it is useful to regulate our body temperature since when we get warm it releases sweat through the sweat glands, and also absorbs the vitamin D coming from the sun transforming it in such a way that our body can use it.

Have you stopped to start how many times do we scratch our skin every day? The truth is that we do it almost without noticing it, and we tend to do it several times a day. In common terms we can say that we scratch our skin many times a day. And when we scratched we felt a huge relief, because when we scratch the skin the itching is relieved immediately.

But although it relieves us for a few seconds then the itching returns, and it does so with much more intensity, so that we tend to scratch again, and thus begins a circle in which we can not stop.

Why does the skin itch?

The skin can bite us for many reasons. The rubbing of hair or clothes, dust ... This type of stimuli come into contact with the different receptors that we find in the dermis, which as you surely know will be the outermost layer of our skin.

These receptors are responsible for sending a message to our brain through the spinal cord, which eventually reach the cerebral cortex tend to generate an uncomfortable sensation of itching.

Then comes what is known as pruritus, which consists of a small itching that can appear before the contact of a certain stimulus, or even because we are nervous, anxious or distressed. It can also be a symptom of an allergic reaction, turning this time into a much more serious itch.

And what happens then when we scratch?

The serotonin It is a neurotransmitter that helps the time that messages are constantly transmitted between the nerves of our body. It consists of a chemical produced by our own organism, standing out as responsible for keeping our mood in balance, so that a deficit of serotonin leads to depressive states.

Apparently, as scientists from the University School of Medicine of St. Louis (in the United States) have discovered, Serotonin is the main 'culprit' of the itching coming back again once we've scratched our skin. That is, it tends to increase the sensation of itching because scratching causes a slight pain that helps the brain neurologically distracted for a moment. Hence scratching will relieve the itching sensation by creating a small pain in the skin, increasing the release of serotonin. As a result, then the itching sensation increases.

Why Do We Itch? (May 2023)