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Is there a safer way to scratch?

Mar 22, 2023 | All, eczema

A safer way to scratch that eczema itch? We think so, heres how

We all know how good it feels when your skin is itchy and after resisting for a while you give in and start madly scratching that itch. And although you are doing more damage in the moment of scratching you feel sooo good. Well, it turns out there is actually a scientific reason for this. A study published in the *investigative journal of dermatology took CT scans of patients as they were scratching and noted that the brain was flooded with cerebral blood flow at the time of scratching. Basically, parts of the brain that lit up are those related to the reward centres. So, you scratch that itch and the brain says thank you by sending out a brief flood of the feel goods.

But we know the damage scratching does to our skin. Especially in the middle of an eczema flare up. So, is there such a thing as “safe scratching?” and if so, how do we do that?

First you need to understand what is driving that itch. And mostly that is heat. Heat in the rash caused by the inflammation of the cells. The second most common factor is dry skin.

LETS TAKE A LOOK AT HEAT

The best way to calm an angry itch is with a cool bath infused with a water soluble oil. Soak for 10 minutes but no longer than 15 min. Then move straight from a cool bath into wet wrapping. The cool wraps or garments take the heat out, greatly reducing the urge to itch. If you are still feeling that crazy urge to scratch try applying a gel cool pack over the top of your wet wraps. Or try very softly dragging fingers (not tips) over the itchy area. Another great way to gently scratch is using our Silicone Soft Scratch tool.  And finally, don’t under estimate the power of distraction. Do something that keeps your mind and hands busy like reading, doing a puzzle, or holding someone else’s hands.

NEXT ITCH PROVOKING FACTOR IS DRY SKIN

I know what you’re thinking, dry skin, just slap on some moisturiser and your good to go right? No actually, this will cause a flare up. When you moisture dry skin without prepping your skin cells to accept all that expensive moisturiser or steroid cream. You create a rush of inflammation bringing its best friend heat and your right back at the step above. So dry skin needs some prep work like an angry hot red eczema flare does. Take a cool bath or shower. Gently slough any dead skin cells that are happy to come away (Don’t force it). Soak for no longer than 10 minutes. After the bath or shower pat dry and moisturise immediately. Wet wraps can also be beneficial for dry skin. Keeping the skin cool allowing the moisturiser or steroids to do their thing. Once again, we need to try to avoid any scratching that will damage the skin. A safer way? Try our Face roller. Gently roll over the affected area for some cool relief.

So, there you have it. Scratching can be done gently and safely without creating further damage to the skin. And sending you into a itch. scratch cycle that can be hard to break.

 

* Study Refrence:
Journal reference: Hideki Mochizuki, Alexandru D P Papoiu, Leigh A Nattkemper, Andrew C Lin, Robert A Kraft, Robert C Coghill, Gil Yosipovitch. Scratching Induces Overactivity in Motor-Related Regions and Reward System in Chronic Itch Patients. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/jid.2015.223

 

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