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Why Does a Healing Wound Itch? 5 Things You Can Do About it

By HERWriter
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What Makes a Healing Wound Itch? 5 Things You Can Do About it B-D-S/PhotoSpin

In the third stage of healing, the proliferation stage, a wound heals and closes by laying down cells that flow downward towards the base of the wound. Here they unite with other cells that will create the framework to help close the wound.

As those cells contract and pull the wound closed, the mechanical pull on the skin stimulates the sensation of itchiness.

“Therefore, a wound that's closing up will feel itchy for mechanical and chemical reasons which are precisely the reasons why those nerve cells get stimulated in the first place.”

What to do about an itchy wound

Clearly you don’t want to disturb a healing wound or it has to rebuild any areas that have been disrupted again, prolonging wound healing.

1) Make sure the surrounding skin is not overly dry by using a moisturizer to rehydrate it.

2) Gently wash with soap and warm water and pat dry to remove any old cells that have sloughed off and contributed to your itching.

3) Use a cool or cold compress with a clean towel wrapped around a gel pack or bag of frozen peas. Do not leave on longer than 20 minutes at a time.

4) Avoid irritation of clothes or shoes rubbing against the area.

5) Over-the-counter itch medication such as Benadryl or cortisone can sometimes help. Follow up with your doctor if the itch persists or worsens, and/or increased signs of redness and swelling return. It is possible that an infection is brewing and will need medical attention.


4 Stages of Healing. Curad.com. Retrieved September 27, 2014.

Why do healing wounds itch? The Naked Scientists University of Cambridge. Sun, 13th Mar 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2014.

Why Do Wounds Itch When They Are Healing? Lovetoknow Skincare. Retrieved September 27, 2014.

How Do I Treat an Itchy Incision? Wisegeek.com. Retrieved September 27, 2014.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

does not make sense. I believe,being somewhat a scientist, that every thing our body does or has is there for a reason. ex. eyebrows...? channel sweat and debris away from the eyes and some folks have impressive ones and some are down right attractive. i agree that wounds should avoid irritation so what purpose the itch? well...without the itch u would hardly notice the wound. if said wound got infected you may not notice it. I cannot see my big butt and may not notice early signs of infection i.e. redness 1st then swelling and, next, pain. Pain we notice but by then we could be septic i.e. fever, chills, rigors (being the big brother of chills) and myalgias. and then, depending our state of health, any of the following-hospital, icu and/or morgue. what does not make sense is to say that itching is just a casual byproduct of wound healing-i believe the purpose itching serves is vigilance
I'm just sayin'.
dennis dalphond

August 7, 2016 - 1:39pm
EmpowHER Guest

thanks for the good information

October 27, 2014 - 5:45am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.