Why Do Scabs Itch

Why do scabs itch? Is there any way to stop the itching? While a scab signifies an important part of the healing process, it certainly isn't comfortable.

Itching 101
Scabs itch for several reasons. First of all, scabs contain histamines, which naturally irritates the skin surrounding the scab, causing it to itch. Doctors theorize that this may be the body's natural way to help the body rid itself of the scab when the scab has served its purpose and is no longer needed - it itches, you scratch it and the scab falls off. Unfortunately, scabs usually itch long before they are ready to fall off, leading to other theories as to why scabs itch.

When your skin is compromised, there are specific tiny nerves in the upper layers of skin that are sensitive to touch. These nerves can send itching sensations to the brain, causing the brain to think the skin is being tickled. When your skin is severed, these nerves are also severed. As these nerves heal along with the rest of your skin, the nerves may send signals to the brain that are misinterpreted by the brain as an itch, causing you to feel itchy even though there is no reason to scratch that healing spot.

A final theory behind this question is that the scab, while healing, begins to pull away from the new skin, and this pulling causes the scab to itch.

How to Cope
You can alleviate the itch of a scab by doing one of several things. You can apply an anti-itch ointment or a triple anti-biotic ointment that contains a topical analgesic. This will stop the itching and aid the scab in healing. You can also massage a drop or two of vitamin E oil into the scab. The gentle massage will relieve the itching while the Vitamin E oil will soften the scab, relieving the pulling away sensation of the itchy scab.

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