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Papers of the Week

2020 Apr 22

Dermatol Ther

Pruritic and Antipruritic Colours: An Exploratory Pilot Study.


Mueller SM, Carruthers HJ, Navarini AA, Goldust M, Gysin S, Itin PH
Dermatol Ther. 2020 Apr 22.
PMID: 32323448.


Itch is the commonest skin-related symptom and can be influenced by visual cues as exemplified by the phenomenon of "contagious itch". Colours are visual cues able to modify somatosensory inputs. We explored the relationship of colours and itch and the impact of colour viewing on itch intensity. In this cross-sectional study, patients suffering from itch with a mean intensity of ≥2 on a Numerical Rating Scale during the last 7 days were evaluated. The study consisted of a questionnaire-based part using The Manchester Colour Wheel and the ItchyQoL, followed by an interventional part. All 72 itch patients were able to match their itchy sensation with a colour: In 68 patients (94.4%) this "pruritic" basic colour was red. Likewise, all patients were able to define a subjective "antipruritic" colour: The leading basic colour choice was blue (31/72, 43.0%). The impairment of the itch-related quality of life (as measured by the ItchyQoL) correlated with the brightness and saturation of the pruritic and antipruritic colors. Itch can be modified by color viewing and colors matter when treating itch patients. However, further investigations are required to elucidate the therapeutic potential of colors in itch patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.