Do You Know Why You Itch A Lot Sometimes? Understand The ‘Itch-Scratch-Itch Cycle’

Know the reason behind itching and why we can’t control it sometimes in this article.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Mar 14, 2020 13:14 IST
Do You Know Why You Itch A Lot Sometimes? Understand The ‘Itch-Scratch-Itch Cycle’

Itching is a common thing is what we believe but do you know the reason behind increased urge to itch? You might have noticed that there are times when we feel like just itching and itching. The urge to itch gets uncontrollable leaving behind scratches and wounds on the skin! Whether it is a mosquito bite or dry skin or any other skin issue, itching can get uncontrollable sometimes. This repeated scratching can harm the skin. Have you wondered why this happens? Let us tell you the science behind itching and the ‘itch-scratch-itch’ cycle.

Why does the skin get itchy?

To prevent your constant urge to scratch the skin of your body, back, you need to find out first the reason behind this itchy feeling. A complex interaction between dry skin and the cells of our nervous system is caused which then triggers itching and inflammation. 

One of the major triggers of skin itching is dry skin which leads to microfractures in the skin. During this time, local inflammation due to cell signaling is caused local inflammation thereby releasing certain chemicals in the skin. This itching leads to swelling, redness. 

The Science of ‘Itch-scratch-itch’ Cycle

Your muscles, joints and organs may get hurt. But your skin is the only part of your body that can feel both pain and itching. Anything outside your body can cause an itch, such as psoriasis, an allergy or insect bite, etc. Although you may like to scratch the itch, in fact, this scratch triggers mild pain in your skin. Nerve cells give your brain some pain, and which distracts it from itching. It can make you feel better at that moment, but 1 in 5 people have revealed that scratching causes itching elsewhere on their body. That is, this cycle of itching and scratching goes on.

itch scratch cycle

Also Read: Itchy Belly During Pregnancy Is Not Good

Different types of itching

Not all itching is the same. Many occur when your body reacts to pollen, nuts and other allergens. Your immune system produces a chemical called histamine. Others encounter a problem with your nervous systems, such as shingles or a stroke. With them, you may feel numbness and tingle with itching. Psoriasis itching may feel like a burning sensation. 


  • skin lesion
  • Infection may increase
  • May leave itch marks behind
  • Can cause stress and distress

Pain caused by scratching releases serotonin

Sometimes pain from scratching causes your body to release the pain-fighting chemical serotonin. It can also cause itching to be felt. This is why the more you scratch the skin, the more you suffer itching and vice-versa. This cycle can be hard to break at times when you are dealing with acute itching.

Also Read: Excessive Itching Around The Breasts Is An Initial Sign Of ‘Nipple Dermatitis’

itching remedy

Home Remedies for itching

  • Hold the affected skin tightly
  • Gently rub or massage the skin to boost blood circulation
  • Pinch the itchy area
  • Wear gloves to prevent itching
  • Take a cold water shower to ease the itchy feeling
  • Apply cooling gel on the affected area
  • Avoid using scented skincare products especially on that part
  • You may apply anti-allergic powder or lotion recommended by a dermatologist.

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