Scientists: Why scratching itchy skin is healthy

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Why does it feel so good to scratch one’s skin? Giving a good scratch to an itch is probably the most satisfying sensation one can feel.

Scratching is very normal, according to dermatologist Dr. Gil Yosipovitch, at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, N.C, who claims,

“Almost all two- and four-legged animals scratch and itch – supposedly, even fish scratch themselves.”

“It’s so important to understand there is an interaction between the skin and the brain.”

According to Dr. Yosipovitch, who is behind a study that was published in Journal of Investigative Dermatology, there is a nerve-based conversation between the skin and the brain, which is far more complex than most people realize. He showed that scratching brings relief and relaxation.

But in some cases, to much scratching that feels good, but in fact are bad for you, could be a disease like eczema, because the brain doesn’t really have the ability to separate between healthy and unhealthy scratching when the skin are sending signals to the brain.

Yosipovitch found that scratching activated areas of the brain associated with memory and pleasure, while at the same time it suppressed areas associated with the sensation of pain and emotions.

Dr. Yosipovitch sees many patients with chronic itch from conditions like eczema, who scratch themselves until they bleed, because it feels good for them at the moment.