Is It Normal for My Scar to Itch?
A wound can be inflicted in an instant. But the recovery process is never quite so quick. There are many reasons you may have a scar, ranging from an accident to a skin disease to recent surgery. Beyond that, there are a variety of different kinds of scars, each with a slightly different road to full recovery. But one fairly widespread symptom of a recent scar that may affect you, regardless of how you acquired your scar or what type it may be, is itching. This is most common for burn victims or others suffering from keloid scars. However, itching is known to be an issue for many other forms of scarring as well.
A study in Texas several years back revealed that as many as 87 percent of burn victims experience itchiness. Of those, 96 percent have three or more itching attacks per day. Conversely, more than half of these attacks last more than thirty minutes. So if you are suffering from such attacks, know that you are not alone and that the itchiness will slowly deteriorate over time.
So why does your scar itch in the first place? There are several possible reasons. For starters, itching is a normal part of the healing process, so if a newer scar itches, it may very well stop as it heals further. Itching in an older scar can mean that there was damage to the nerve endings. Also, itching can simply be due to dry skin. Scars need to be moisturized for optimal healing and being diligent with this step can also improve itching dramatically.
So Is It Okay for Me to Scratch My Itchy Scar?
The answer to this question is highly dependent on the nature of your scar and how you acquired it. If it is a recent wound, just like with any scab, scratching can cause the wound to reopen, which lengthens the time of recovery and increases the chances of permanent scarring. Scratching is risky because you end up scraping away the new tissue, setting back the healing process. Furthermore, if the wound is reopened, there is also the possibility of infection. In short, while scratching your itch may result in immediate alleviation of an annoyance, the potential ramifications far outweigh that relief.
When it comes to post-wound itching problems, you may be suffering from an acute itch, which lasts up to six months after the initial injury, or a chronic itch, which could last much longer. Since scratching has the potential to slow the healing process and a full recovery, the most effective solution is to resist the temptation and wait it out.
Some over-the-counter alternatives that may alleviate some of the discomfort include placing a damp towel or an ice pack on the scar or applying antihistamines.
Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!
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