Unexplained Scratches on the Body

Waking up with unexplained scratches on your body can be frightening.

If you believe in the paranormal, then you might think you’ve been abducted by aliens or attacked by a ghost.

In other cases, it might be due to something simple, like genetics or firmly stroking the skin while sleeping.

This symptom can be quite annoying and distract you from everyday life.

In this post, we’ll talk about some possible causes of waking up with unexplained scratches.

Mysterious Scratches – Overview

These types of scratches can appear anywhere on the body- thighs, face, legs, arms, abdomen, and back.

Most people report developing scratches on their arms and legs, although that’s not the only place they can appear.

Unfortunately, scientists aren’t entirely sure why people wake up with this strange symptom.

It’s estimated that up to 1% of the world’s population will experience unexplained scratches at some point in their life.

In most cases, they’re harmless and will go away on their own and never come back.

Others are less fortunate, and may experience these mysterious scratches on and off for the rest of their lives.

What Causes Unexplained Scratches?

The origin of mysterious scratches isn’t entirely clear. Some doctors and scientists believed that it’s an allergic response by the body.

The allergen believed to cause this is yet to be discovered. Other researchers believe that it’s related to genetics.

The human body is incredibly complex, so it’s possible that you have a gene that’s leading to your symptom.

Yet another possibility is self-affliction. You could be scratching yourself in your sleep and not even know it!

Ask yourself: have you been experiencing a lot of stress lately? If so, this could manifest itself in your sleep.

Some people talk/scream in their sleep when they’re stressed, while others scratch themselves. It’s not as common, but it’s still something to think about.

Is This Symptom Gender or Race Specific?

There doesn’t appear to be any clear connection between unexplained scratches and race/gender.

It’s equally common in all races. It’s also seen just as frequently in men as it is women.

There is, however, a connection between age and mysterious bodily scratches.

People between the ages of 20 and 30 are most likely to suffer from this symptom. Again, doctors don’t know why this is.

They believe that it could be due to wearing tight clothing, anxiety, emotional stress, hot/cold stressors, or pressure from bed sheets.

Dry Skin Makes You More Susceptible to Scratches

When your skin is dry, you’re more prone to scratches. It’s important that you keep your skin hydrated to prevent this symptom from reoccurring.

It’s well known that having extremely dry skin can cause the skin to break and crack.

Dry skin is common in hot areas that lack humidity (like Las Vegas for example). It’s also common during the winter months.

There are various medications and lubricating lotions that you can use to not only rehydrate your skin, but also alleviate your itching.

Finally, secondary infections can also lead to the breakdown of your skin.

How to Prevent Unexplained Scratches

Without knowing the exact cause, it can be difficult to prevent unexplained scratches.

The good news is that most cases of mysterious scratches don’t last long. Most people won’t experience this symptom on a continual basis.

Others aren’t so lucky. They may develop scratches on their body for many years without a known cause.

This can cause the individual to believe that there’s something supernatural causing their symptoms. They might even blame it on extraterrestrial life.

Without evidence of either, you should assume that it’s either due to emotional stress, dry skin, tight clothing, or hot/cold stressors.

Parting Thoughts

Most doctors will treat this condition with anti-histamines. In some patients this works, and in others, it does nothing.

If you’re experiencing unexplained scratch marks on your body, then avoid hot showers for the time being.

Hot showers cause dry skin, which makes you more susceptible to scratching the skin and breaking it open.

People suffering from this condition should also start wearing loose-fitting clothing (especially when sleeping!).

Patients should reduce their exposure to both extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures.

Finally, do things like exercise, yoga, meditation, or acupuncture to deal with any emotional pain that you’re experiencing.

Ask a Question: If you want to ask a medical doctor a question that hasn't been answered in one of our articles go to: Ask a Medical Doctor About your Symptoms

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1 Comment

  • I read the above article..my scratches just appeared, I was checking my messages on Facebook, my boyfriend is sitting next to me..I don’t have any nails

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