A woman with an itchy face

Why Does My Skin Itch After Using A Vibrating Massage Gun? Help!

There are many reasons why your skin might not be taking too well to a powerful vibrating massage gun. Here's what you should look for.
Updated: May 29, 2023
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We all love a good massage, especially after a long stressful day. While most of us opt for the traditional oil and hands approach from a qualified professional, more of us are taking matters into our own hands with consumer vibration guns. Also referred to as massage guns.

However, a common complaint is emerging regarding these innovative pieces of tech; itchiness! Yep, what was supposed to be a relaxing and soothing massage soon turns into a frantic scratch-fest. Not ideal.

Why does this happen, and what can be done to stop it? We decided to look into it.

Always consult the experts

Before we continue, it’s very important for us to say that if you are having constant itchy reactions to vibrating massage guns, you should resist the urge to self-diagnose and instead seek the advice of a professional in this field. The reasons for your sensitivity could be numerous, and not everyone is the same. The problem could be as simple as poor preparation, or there could be a medical component at play. Always consult the experts.

What is a vibrating massage gun, and how do they work?

A vibrating massage gun is a nifty device that can provide a soothing and invigorating massage experience right at home. It’s like having your personal masseuse on standby!

Here’s how it works: these guns use powerful vibrations to deliver deep tissue massage to your muscles. They’re designed to target specific areas, helping to alleviate muscle tension, knots, and even soreness from those intense workouts.

The magic lies in the rapid oscillating or pulsating movements produced by the massage gun’s motor. When you turn it on, it creates vibrations that transfer to the attachment head, which you then place against your body. As you move the gun across your skin, the vibrations penetrate deep into your tissues, promoting increased blood flow and loosening up tight spots.

The vibrating massage gun is like a multitasking champ! It not only helps relax your muscles but can also aid in improving your range of motion, reducing muscle recovery time, and even boosting circulation. It’s a powerhouse when it comes to self-care!

These devices often come with different speed settings, allowing you to customize the intensity of your massage. You can start with a lower speed if you’re new to using massage guns and gradually increase it as you become more comfortable.

What causes itchy skin when using a vibrating massage gun?

There are many possible explanations as to why skin may react negatively to a vibrating massage gun. Of course, we aren’t medical professionals and can’t give medical advice. If you are worried about any of the following points you should talk to your doctor, though none of these outcomes is considered to be dangerous.

Allergic reaction

The first explanation is a simple one, your skin could be having an allergic reaction. If you are using a vibration gun on bare skin and not through clothing, there could be a material in the gun itself that is disagreeing with your skin. To determine whether this is a possibility, try using the gun both with and without clothing to see if there’s any difference.

Muscle spasms

Another straightforward possibility is muscle spasms. The high frequency and pressure of rapid vibrations can send ripples through the skin and tissue that can sometimes trap nerves. This then leads to spasms, which can create the sensation of itchiness.

Nitric oxide release

Have you ever been for a run or had a workout that has left you feeling itchy in certain places? This is because cells in the body release nitric oxide, which can lead to itchiness and discomfort. This process can also be triggered via artificial vibrations on the skin. Something to think about!

Vibratory urticaria

Perhaps the most serious reason for itchiness is a genetic skin reaction called vibratory urticaria, otherwise known as vibratory hives.[1] Alongside the itchy sensation, a red rash can also appear in the same area, although this isn’t always the case. This is a rare condition that isn’t considered to be dangerous, but it will be uncomfortable and can spread to other parts of the body.

Pressure urticaria

Similar to vibratory urticaria, pressure urticaria is the emergence of itchy hives after the skin has been subjected to sustained pressure. Vibration guns, tight clothes, and certain types of prolonged exercise can induce this state. Again, this isn’t dangerous but can be frustrating and annoying to deal with.

How to prevent itchiness when using a vibrating massage gun

If you want to minimize the potential irritation and itchiness caused by using a vibrating massage gun, you’ll have to engage in a process of trial and error.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, as everyone is different. Some possible solutions include applying soothing massage oil to the skin prior to using the gun, soaking the skin in a warm bath either before or after, applying aloe vera, wearing soft clothes instead of exposing the gun to bare skin, or experimenting with different seating/laying positions while using the gun to see if that makes a difference.

Make sure you’re using the right technique and applying the massage gun properly. Start by placing the device on your skin gently, rather than pressing it too hard. This will help avoid unnecessary friction that might lead to itchiness.

Another thing to consider is the speed setting on your massage gun. Sometimes, using a high-speed setting can cause more irritation and itching. So, try lowering the speed and see if that helps. It’s all about finding the right balance and what feels comfortable for you.

Oh, and don’t forget to keep your skin well-hydrated. Moisturizing regularly can improve your skin’s overall health and reduce the likelihood of itchiness. Drink plenty of water and apply a good moisturizer to keep your skin happy and hydrated.

If you have tried literally everything and are still scratching yourself silly, maybe it’s time to put down the gun and try a different type of massage… Sorry!

Conclusion

Itchiness caused by massage guns is a common reaction that many people experience. Sometimes the reason can be hard to determine, but thankfully the chances of there being a serious underlying medical condition are very low.

Nonetheless, nobody wants their relaxing massage to end with endless bouts of scratching, so be sure to find out whether you have any skin conditions that could be contributing to it.

For us, nothing beats a good old massage with a bottle of oil and a firm pair of hands (preferably from a hunk).

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This article has been reviewed by the in-field experts on our Medical Content Advisory Board to ensure everything is up-to-date and accurate.