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What's getting under your skin

27th February 2013

When our skin develops a rash or an irritation it can become incredibly itchy.

As our biggest organ the skin works as a shield protecting all our vital internal parts, therefore making it particularly susceptible to allergies, infections and itching. But what's actually going on underneath the skin to develop this itch?

Itching starts off as a reaction from external stimuli, such as dust, clothing fibres or hair. Similar to tickling, itching is a sort of defence mechanism built in to alert your body of any potential harm. When the stimuli comes into contact with your skin you are likely to be unaware until it begins to rub back and forth scratching your skin. Once this happens the receptors in the skin's outer layer become irritated and send a signal through the fibres into the skin, through to the spinal cord and up into the brain.

As soon as we feel an itch our first inclination is to have a good scratch and the reason for this is simply we want to remove the irritation sitting on the skin. Even if you don't successfully remove the irritation the scratching will cause you pain and divert your attention away from the itching. However, this isn't an advisable solution if the itching continues for a prolonged period as it can lead to red sore and inflamed skin.

So if you're struggling with a rash or a bout of itchy skin then instead of scratching away simply pop into one of friendly sk:n clinics.

0121 641 6000