A wound may feel itchy, but this is a natural part of wound healing.

When you experience a wound on your body, whether it’s from injury, surgery or another cause, the body immediately begins the wound healing process. During recovery, it’s important to be attentive of how your wound looks, smells and feels to keep an eye out for infection or other complications. One thing that often alarms people is itching. However, in most cases, some itching at the affected area is normal. It has yet to be agreed upon by the medical community precisely what causes this irritation, but these are the two common explanations:

Histamine

Many believe the body naturally releases histamine in response to a physical trauma and the introduction of potentially harmful bacteria into the system. As a natural itch-inducer, this histamine causes the affected area to become irritated through an allergic reaction. This substance is essential for wound healing, as it triggers cellular movement that helps develop new tissue and close the wound.

Nerve cells

According to The Naked Scientists, a BBC program run by researchers and physicians at Cambridge University, histamine may the culprit behind the itch. This theory says that here are nerve fibers in the skin specifically for making the body feel the sensation of its. During the proliferation stage, when the cells are flowing to the base of the wound and pulling the skin tighter inward, these nerve cells become stimulated.

“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,” The Naked Scientists explained.

While itching is a normal part of wound healing, scratching the affected area should be avoided. Additionally, if the itching is accompanied by soreness, redness or discharge, you may want to see a clinician.