Itching is caused by several different types of nerves that reach the surface of our skin. Scientists are still not positive about how itching works exactly, but in their studies they have uncovered a lot of information about itching. Itching is usually the result of dermatitis. Dermatitis is an irritation of the skin, usually caused by a reaction from an outside chemical force. That chemical force can be anything to which the skin is sensitive, such as cleaning agents, pollen, or any number of natural or man-made chemicals. Here are just a few of the things that commonly make people itch:
• Bugs – mosquitoes, mites, and lice among others.
• Plants – poison ivy, poison oak
• Disease – herpes, staph infections, psoriasis
• Jewelry – copper, tin, steel, and bronze irritate many.
• Soaps and detergents
When one of these irritants comes into contact with the skin, it causes an allergic reaction. As part of our allergy response, the body releases chemicals called histamines. When histamines come into contact with the nerves that cause itching, they fire, triggering our itch sensation. Newly discovered “itch fibers” have also been found in the skin that trigger itching along with the histamine-activated nerves.
Some scientists claim the itching sensation is our body’s way of letting us know something on our skin may cause us danger, and to take care of it. Scratching often eliminates what is causing the itch. A entire study at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center was done on itching. Their discovery – scratching relieves itching. Those who conducted the study admit that their results may not be accurate because the study subjects weren’t actually itching. They were only subjected to scratching. People with allergies often take anti-histamines. Anti-histamines block histamines from contacting the nerves, so the effects of the body’s allergic response are minimized.
Posted 1946 day ago