The skin is your largest organ, and because it's so exposed, it comes in contact with a lot of potential irritants. Itching, known as pruritus, is a built-in defense mechanism against those irritants.
The natural response to an itch is to remove the irritant. So the scratching begins, which interrupts the itching sensation because it tells your brain the irritant is gone. While this may give some initial, immediate relief, scratching ends up irritating the nerve endings in that spot even more - and can open up the skin, exposing it to more irritants. And more itching.
There are some things you can do to help reduce itching and soothe irritated skin:
- Avoid scratching. Cover the area with bandages or dressings if you can't stop scratching. If needed, trim your fingernails and wear gloves to bed.
- Apply cool, wet compresses.
- Apply a topical anti-itch cream or lotion to the affected area.
- Moisturize your skin with a high-quality cream at least twice a day.
-- Family Features