Itching is a weird thing when you think about it. Why the heck do we itch? Is there any benefit or is it just another annoyance we all get to experience? Let’s find out…
To start, here’s the official definition of itching by Samuel Haffenreffer: “An itch is an unpleasant sensation that provokes the desire to scratch*.”
Itches seem harmless enough unless you have the urge to scratch so bad that you literally scratch through to your brain! Seriously. This happened to a woman in Massachusetts!
Now for the technical reason of what causes us to itch: Nerve endings on our skin, called pruriceptors, are what give us the feeling of itchiness. Pruriceptors have to be triggered by a physical object (like a feather), something hot or cold, or a chemical reaction. These nerve-ending are super sensitive too: They can pick up an itchy sensation more than 3 inches away!
So what’s the right way to alleviate an itch?
Come on now, we all know that you’re not suppressed to scratch an itch (even if it is irresistible to do so). Scratching can irritate the skin and make things worse.
This is what you want to do: gently rub the itchy spot instead of scratching. This will provide relief without irritating it any further. You can also try grinding up uncooked oatmeal and putting it into your bath or rubbing coconut oil on the itchy area.
Did you reach up and scratch yourself while reading this article? Apparently, seeing images of someone scratch or even talking about itching can transmit the urge to scratch.
Hit reply and let me know if you scratched yourself, I’m curious to know if that’s actually true!
*(cue German accent)
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