Itching: What causes it and how to relieve it?

Going about your business, reading a book or listening to your favorite music when suddenly an overwhelming urge to scratch takes hold of you.

We all know about this itchy discomfort.

But why is it itchy?


Why are we itching?


Each of us feels dozens of itches every day.

But their reasons are very diverse as there are different triggers:

– allergic reactions

– dry skin

– some diseases

And then there is also a mysterious itch that cannot be explained.


What are the causes of itching


The very first cause of intense itching is without a doubt the insect bite.

When a mosquito attacks you, it inoculates you with an anticoagulant substance to liquefy the blood he wants to steal from you.

And the allergy triggered by this substance quickly causes the release of histamine which dilates our capillaries.

Blood flow increases to speed up the body’s immune response.

The sting is swelling.

The same goes for pollen allergy which irritates and inflames the eyes.

Histamine also activates the nerves near the sting, we start scratching frantically.

mosquito itch


An unexplained itch


The sensation of itch has no scientific explanation.

Since most of the studies in this area have come from experiments in mice, the mechanism of the itch remains puzzling.

However, researchers believe that the signals are transmitted by secondary nerves related to pain.

These nerves produce a molecule that sends a signal to the brain through the spinal cord so that the itchy sensation becomes noticeable.

The scratching at the end of this order destroys the feeling.

The relief therefore comes from a diversion mechanism of this same sensation.


Scratch under threat


With the evolution of man, his skin has become more sensitive to touch to allow him to defend himself against external aggressions.

So much so that today it is proven that scratching is a response to a potential danger attacking the skin like a sting, a bite, a poisonous plant.


Diseases that trigger itching


For some, the extreme itching is due to an underlying disease.

Certainly the worst is illusory parasitosis, a psychological illness which makes the person believe that they are invaded by moths or other insect swarming on and under the skin causing them to constantly scratch.

Likewise, phantom itch haunts people who have lost limbs.
Their injury having deeply affected the nervous system, the signals are scrambled and imagine irritating sensations in an absent limb.

Researchers are also looking at genes affected by itching so they can find treatments to stop the sensations that are too extreme.


The reasons why the skin may itch


Apart from mosquito bites, there are many factors that can trigger itching.

Here are the main ones:

 

  • dry skin

Dehydrated skin is probably the most common cause of itching.
It has no rash but is rough.
Dry skin is more common in winter and in excessively dry environments.*

 

  • atopic dermatitis

This is a form of eczema which results in irritated and dry skin.

 

  • allergic contact dermatitis

This is an irritating rash that occurs on contact with an allergen.
It can be caused by chemicals, jewelry, clothing, perfume…

 

  • psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes red, itchy patches on the skin.

 

  • drugs

Certain medications may cause itching as a side effect or may cause an allergic reaction.

 

  • kidney or liver disease

The kidneys and liver work to cleanse toxins from the body.
When their function is damaged, they can create a build-up of substances that can trigger severe itching.

 

  • diabetes

Diabetes causes dry skin leading to itchy infections.

 

  • chickenpox or shingles

These two conditions are caused by the same herpes virus and trigger a painful and itchy rash.

 

  • multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a nervous disorder and triggers unpleasant sensations like stinging, burning and itching.


How to relieve itching?


Whether you suffer from hives, an itchy rash or an allergy, know that there is a natural antihistamine that is as effective as the chemicals and free from side effects.

 

  • Quercetin

Quercetin is found in capers, radishes, dill, cilantro, fennel, red onion and kale.

However, if you suffer from itching, it is best to opt for a quercetin supplement.

In case of extreme pruritus, it is advisable to take it in high dosage, around 1000mg 4 times a day (4000mg / day ).

The most active ingredients in quercetin are polyphenols which hold antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


How to remove itching?


  • Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen, a protein necessary for healing of the skin.
It also has antioxidant properties which protect the epidermis from damage caused by free radicals.

If you have severe itching, test vitamin C topically.

Get a vitamin C powder and dilute it in water at the rate of 1 gram per 10cc of liquid.

Apply this solution to the skin.

If you experience tingling, dilute the solution further.
If you don’t feel any effect, add vitamin C while keeping in mind that too much vitamin C can also irritate the skin.

 

  • Vitamin A

Vitamin A has the particularity of nourishing the skin and cleaning it up while helping in cell production and renewal.

The recommended dosage is 2000IU per day, being careful not to exceed this dosage to avoid any side effects.

To avoid any inconvenience, you can also favor foods containing vitamin A such as egg yolk, liver and fish oil, butter, carrots, red peppers, spinach, apricots, watermelon.

 

  • Vitamin E

Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that protect the epidermis from damage caused by free radicals.

It also has anti-inflammatory properties which affect itching.

The recommended dosage is 12mg per day.

So it is better to use a vitamin E liquid supplement to favor topical application.


Essential oils for itching


Certain essential oils can help you relieve severe itching.

 

  • Peppermint essential oil

Peppermint oil is a local analgesic with anti-inflammatory properties.

Its “cold effect” makes this oil a pain reliever par excellence that will allow you to put the irritated area to sleep.

Consider diluting this essential oil in a vegetable oil because it is aggressive for the skin if used pure.

 

  • Spike lavender essential oil 

Spike lavender oil is the remedy for insect bites.

It is a skin pain reliever that also has anti-inflammatory properties that calm irritation while helping in healing.

It can be used pure on limited surfaces. Beyond that, it is preferable to dilute it in a vegetable oil.

 

  • Roman chamomile essential oil 

The relaxing effect of the Roman chamomile oil can help with stinging itches while benefiting from its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

An essential oil to be used in moderation because it presents a risk for people with epilepsy.

The best solution is to mix 2ml of Spike Lavender and 1ml of Roman Chamomile with 100 grams of talc to apply to the skin 3 to 4 times per day.


In summary


Scratching frantically is not trivial.

If an itch is not the result of an insect bite or nettles, it is most likely related to the taking an irritant medication or an underlying disease.

There are solutions to calm this stinging sensation by using targeted vitamins that will fill in the possible deficiencies at the origin of this disease.


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