Do not scratch – the dermatologist recommends alternatives

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Out: Judith Braun


The first reflex when itching is to scratch the itchy part of the body. However, according to the dermatologist, you should not give in to this urge and prefer to solve it differently.

If it itches on the body, then in most cases the sufferer is suffering from either dry winter skin or the consequences of a mosquito bite. In most cases, the causes can be quickly eliminated. Conversely, patients who struggle with chronic itching – also known as pruritus – suffer an extremely high level of distress and the urge to scratch is great. However, the disabled should not give in to this. Instead, one dermatologist recommends other methods to ease the discomfort.

Don’t Scratch If You’re Itchy: Four Methods That Help Instead

If you suffer from chronic itching, you should pinch instead of scratch. © Sorapop Udomsri/IMAGO

Depending on which part of the body itches, itching can have different causes. For example, if there is itching on the feet and hands, then it is probably cholestatic itching, which is the result of a disease of the liver or gall bladder. However, other diseases, such as skin diseases, internal diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease or iron deficiency, can also be responsible for itching on the body. Depending on the cause, different treatments and therapies are used.

However, if you suddenly feel itchy, you will first feel the urge to scratch that part of your body. according to dr lékařský However, for Silke Heroldová, the head doctor of the specialized clinic for dermatology at Friedensburg Castle, it is not a good idea to give in to scratching. Compared with Central German Broadcasting (MDR) says, “Scratching injures the skin, releases germs, and sends a new inflammatory signal over and over again.” Instead, he recommends the following first aid measures:

  • Plucking instead of scraping
  • Roll the hedgehog ball over the skin
  • Cool parts of the body with wet cold compresses
  • Creaming with natural products such as almond oil, coconut oil or cocoa butter (apply to still damp skin immediately after washing)
  • Instead of coarse wool and silk, it is better to wear cotton clothes that are not so tight
  • Distract yourself with relaxation techniques, autogenic training or meditation

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Itching: why it often occurs at night

A typical sign of itching is that it often occurs at night. However, this can cost the sufferer quality of life. Cortisol levels are responsible for nocturnal itching. Cortisol is an endogenous anti-inflammatory agent that is produced in the adrenal glands. It stops itching. At night, the body’s cortisol level naturally drops to its lowest level. According to Herold, the adrenal glands produce the most cortisol between five and nine in the morning. “Therefore, you will rest more during the day,” says the specialist.

This article contains only general information on the relevant health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. In no case does it replace a doctor’s visit. Unfortunately, our editors are not authorized to answer individual questions regarding clinical images.

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