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Why does our skin itch when a mosquito bites us?

Summer is here, and with it, hours outdoors, swimming in the sea or the pool, days in the sun, endless plans, and mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes are the unwanted visitors of the summer. Have you ever wondered why our skin itches when a mosquito bites us? How does our body react?

The answer to these questions is related to the immune system, histamine release, and the skin’s neurosensitive system – read on to learn more!

Why do mosquito bites itch?

Mosquitoes bite primarily to feed on blood. Only females bite animals and humans because they require the nutrients found in blood, especially protein, to complete the reproduction process.

When a mosquito bites us and sucks blood, it also injects saliva into the skin. Saliva contains proteins whose presence and the pH changes they produce activate the skin’s neurosensory system. This system is part of the peripheral nervous system, a complex network of nerves that allows sensations such as touch and pressure to be perceived. The receptors of the neurosensory system are distributed throughout our skin. When mosquitoes bite us, these receptors are the first to be activated, sending electrical signals to the brain, which responds with the sensation of itching to alert us quickly. 

A few minutes later, the immune system is activated. It detects foreign substances as well as signals from the neurosensory system. It triggers an immune response and activates mast cells. These immune system cells release histamine and other chemicals as part of an inflammatory response. Histamine increases the permeability of blood vessels, allowing more immune cells to reach the site of the bite to fight the invasion, causing the typical inflammation and itching.

The neurosensitive system rapidly responds to the mosquito bite, so we notice the itch even before observing the swelling and redness.

Why does scratching feel good?

Itch inevitably leads us to scratch. Scratching is an evolutionary response that alerts our body, indicating something strange is happening on our skin.

When we scratch, we are replacing the itching sensation with pain. Although it may seem strange, the perception of pain inhibits itching, giving us the feeling of relief and pleasure. When we scratch, we activate the neurons responsible for pain, replacing the itch signals the brain receives with different ones.

As can be seen, the skin’s neurosensitive system plays a crucial role in uncomfortable sensations such as itching or stinging. Its study is key to reducing these discomforts. That is why neurodermatology, the branch of dermatology that allows us to understand how our brain and nervous system affect the health of our skin, was born.

Neurodermatology studies the mechanisms of action of the skin’s nervous system and the imbalances that occur in it, helping us to discover nociceuticals. These molecules act on the neurosensitive system, restoring its balance.

Relief your itch this summer with Prospera Biotech

At Prospera Biotech, we are pioneers in neurodermatology and neurocosmetics. We have been researching for more than 25 years to develop neurocosmetic products that apply the knowledge provided by neurodermatology and that contain nociceuticals to soothe the discomfort of the skin.

Nocisens Intense, our neurodermatological cream for sensitive and atopic-prone skin, helps soothe the typical discomforts of these skins, such as itching or stinging. During the summer, it can help relieve itching from insect bites and jellyfish stings, as it acts on neurosensitive receptors in the skin, helping restore its balance. Relief is very fast!

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