My Scar Won’t Stop Itching, Is This Normal?

My Scar Won’t Stop Itching, Is This Normal?

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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  1. The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
  2. I was hit in the head like 15-20 years ago and had to get eight staples on my front left lobe and it has been itching hurting and feels as if it is bleeding but theres nothing coming out i get pains behind my eyes and eardrum and sensitive to light it hurts real bad sometimes like i have been hit all over what is going on..

  3. semeki v burris says:

    My daughter had surgery 5month ago her appendix erougt and her scar is itching still what can I put on it. And try to get it to go away.

    • Hi Semeki, itching means the scar is healing and is very common. An anti-itch cream, like hydrocortisone should help. Ice is a quick remedy as well. Additionally, be sure that the scar is moisturized daily, as it becoming dry will make it itch, as well.

  4. I had a c section almost 11 years ago when I had twins. My scar still burns and itches at times. What can I do?

    • Hi Aimee, c-section scars can itch/burn for a variety of reasons – dry and needs hydration (scars need to be moisturized frequently), weight gain (this will pull at the scar tissue), damaged nerve endings, etc.

  5. I fell off a couch and and hit my head when I was 4 or 5, and I didn’t get stitches. I am 19 now. And I have a scar on the back of my head that hasn’t been checked out and it keeps itching. Do you have any recommendations on what I could do?

    • Hi Ciara, the itching is normal due to the location despite it being an older scar. Itching can result from hair growth around the scar, it can be from a dry scalp (scars need moisture), etc.

  6. Marcia Oates says:

    I had Gall bladder surgery over 3 years ago. I still experience itching around the scars. What can I do to relieve the itch?

    • Hi Marcia, scar tissue itching is completely normal. Scars don’t have a way to sweat and will get very dry unless you moisturize them daily. So our advice is moisturize, use hydrocortisone to help decrease the itchiness or apply ice for about 10 minutes.

  7. maria sandra alcindor says:

    my arm were hurt, and the doctor told me my scar are heal.
    but my arm womb still stays red,itchy and burning sensation.
    is that normal.
    been to doctor again they told me its getting heal.

  8. I have scars on both my elbows which i got about 2 years ago and fully healed but are now brown in color have acne like bumps and are highly itchy and irritating what might this be

  9. I burnt my leg about 7 months ago…the wound healed well though was just discoloured. Itches really bad so I scratched and reopened …now it’s raised and red/purple…what can I do…using something called bactroban it’s an anti inflammatory

    • Hi Avnee, if it is now a raised scar, then it is a hypertrophic scar. If you use the search box on this blog, you will find a few articles relating to how to treat this time of scar, and the length of time it takes to heal.

  10. Mercedws says:

    Hello, hot water burnt my face, shoulder and tórax. They produce me itchy. How to control that? Thanks. Mineral oil does hydrate scabs and itchy can be under control? Thank you.

  11. Hello, my son had surgery in a very sensitive area and its almost healed but itchy. I know its common for scars to itch, but what can I use? Regular anti-itch creams makes it burn or doesn’t work. I’ve tried cortisone, diaper rash cream, ice and nothing is soothing the itching. Is there anything you can recommend?

  12. Faith Nai Nai says:

    I cut my leg with the mirror and i went to the hospital. They sew it for my me and now it’s three months and itch badly. Outside is healed but inside is not. I don’t know what to do!!

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