Hello, I’m Dr. Neal Schultz and welcome to DermTV.
One of the most annoying sensations that we experience is itching. What do most people do when they itch? They scratch because the scratching stops the itching and makes it feel better. But they don’t realize that scratching actually causes more itching and makes it worse. So one of my favorite tips for helping people deal with and stop their itching is to put on a lotion that contains menthol. It makes you feel better, and let me explain why because I think the way it works is really neat.
Itching is a form of pain, it starts in the skin, goes through your nerves, through the body, and up to the brain. Your brain reads “itch” and you don’t like that. Menthol, when it’s put on the skin, stimulates a different nerve that creates a message of cooling to the brain and it sends the message to cool in the brain faster than the nerves send the message to itch. So the cooling gets there before the itching and your brain can’t read both. So if your brain cannot experience both, it only reads what gets their first, which is the cooling. Itching is an irritaton and so is cooling, but we call this a counter-irritant because we prefer the sensation of cooling to the sensation of itching. So the next time you itch, instead of scratching, apply a lotion with menthol, such as Sarna lotion which is available without a prescription in your local pharmacy, and you’ll stop itching without causing any harm.
Please join me again at DermTV.com. If you have a question, please send it to me by visiting DermTV.com/question. I’m Dr. Neal Schultz and thank you for watching today.