Scratching An Itch: A Health Issue
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Scratching An Itch: A Health Issue

Skin health is most important to maintain with some importance on prevention of infection as well. These facts explain kinds of itches and how to resolve them with simple and smart treatment for more improved skin condition.

Skin health can be compromised with something as simple as an itch.  Because Scratching that itch is not the only option these facts might determine what is done when an itch surfaces in your life.

Kinds of itches

1.  Temporary itch

The temporary itch is one that is caused by some item creating an uncomfortable area on the skin requiring a finger or hand to apply scratching to alleviate the annoyance. Some temporary itch surfaces are not even seen such as the back of the neck, the elbow,the bottom of the foot and some in between those. Once they are scratched does not mean they are assuaged, eliminated or even somewhat satisfied.

2.  Reoccurring itch

When the itch reoccurs, proper attention might be to take a mirror and look at the area that cannot be seen without that device. By looking, one can possibly see the root cause of the itch and eliminate it. The back of the neck might be irritated by a label that can be cut out, the elbow might show pressure area becoming a sore from leaning on it too much. Less pressure or some form of cushion can be implemented to prevent it from getting worse and even allow it to heal. When the sole of the foot is inspected with a mirror, dryness or some other condition could be discovered and a remedy applied.

Effects of Scratching an itch

1. Scratching an itch can create irritation to the already affected area. Continual giving in to scratching an area removes some of the epidermis or top layer of the skin that is protecting the layers under it.

2. Scratching can eventually break the stratum, the piled layers of cells. Redness occurs at first contact of scratching, followed by a break in the cells, some bleeding occurs and there is an open wound resulting. 

3.  As bacteria from the hands and scratching the spot continues, those germs are introduced into the open wound or broken skin with an open invitation for infection.

Treatment for an itch

1.  Find out the source of the itch. Begin by washing area with warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly, blot dry with a soft clean cloth or towel and look why this spot is itching.

2.  If you cannot find the source at first, apply a cool compress to the area if it is swollen from scratching. When the swelling diminishes, re-examine to determine the cause or root of the itch.

3.  Apply warm compress if a cool compress is not comforting. Either of these applications will provide comfort, relieve the itch and could uncover the source. Steps can then be taken to resolve that itch now and in the future too.

With these health applications an infection will be averted, an itch soothed and improved skin health acquired.


Roberta Baxter Head nurse at skin condition clinic for 2 years.

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Comments (12)

Thank you for sharing this good article. Very interesting.

Many years ago while operating in the jungles of a foreign land, I picked up a nasty skin infection that left my skin hypersensitive and prone to rashes that would break out for no apparent cause. There was an is no cure this condition and the only things that alleviated the itching was Hydrocortizone creams and very hot water. For some reason the rashes mostly occurred on my extremities so it was very easy to immense the affected body parts in the hot water. For some reason the scalding hot water drew out the itching sensation to the point where it wouldn't return for four or five hours, sometimes longer. Over the years, my skin has l;ost its hypersensitivity, but I still get an occasional unexplainable rash and the scalding hot water still does the trick.

Great article. I feel itches all over me while reading. :-)

Interesting, goes right to a common problem.

If I get nervous or mad I use to always get an itchy scalp! Otherwise my itches are normal, except for when I encounter stinging nettles!

Great information! Voted up!

Good article, Roberta, thank you for the time you spent on this..voted

It is so difficult not to scratch an itch. I have ongoing scalp issues which could be eased if only I could refrain from itching it. Sometimes I just think I will give a little itch and then stop, but once I start....

Great share. Thanks

Great informative article. Voted up