Having an itch can be incredibly annoying but it actually serves an important function, protecting us from damage to our skin. However, scientists have long struggled to explain what actually causes the sensation – in particular why some types of touch cause an itch whereas others do not.
Now a new study in mice has shed light on what actually happens in the body when we want to scratch an itch. The research, published in Science, could lead to treatments for many thousands of people suffering from chronic itch, a disorder causing an intense desire to scratch.
Chronic itching is a serious and dangerous disorder. Dr. Atul Gawande wrote an article in the New Yorker called “The Itch”, which focused on the case of a women who developed an itch in her scalp that was so unrelenting and severe that she scratched her way through her skull and into her brain. She was admitted into a hospital that specialized in this disorder, where she met a person whose throat itch was so severe that he killed himself one night by tearing his throat out (normally, his arms were restrained).
Direct sunlight on lime juice causes severe burning and blistering of the skin, which may require an ER visit. I won’t post gross pics but feel free to Google! If you are applying lime juice to your skin, it should only be done if they are inside for the day.