View Full Version : Does scatching your head cause damage?

April 13th, 2011, 10:46 AM
I was scatching an itch on my head and wondered if I could be causing damage to my hair with my nails. Could this be true?

April 13th, 2011, 10:55 AM
Well I hope not, I have a habit of scratching my head all the time! I have done it since I was a kid and haven't noticed any balding. It doesn't itch or anything, I just scratch my scalp/face when I'm thinking or reading (LHC).

April 13th, 2011, 11:03 AM
Depends on how you're scratching, I suppose. But generally your hair is pretty strong and well-moisturized at the roots, so it is more resilient anyway.

Scalp massages are very popular around here and are actually a must for certain kinds of routines. You cannot, for example, use the SO/NW method without regular scalp scritching, and it is also kind of a good idea if you use the WO method.

April 13th, 2011, 11:31 AM
Depends on how you're scratching, I suppose. But generally your hair is pretty strong and well-moisturized at the roots, so it is more resilient anyway.

Good to know. I always worry if I'm rubbing my scalp too vigorously when I'm massaging or working products in. :)

April 13th, 2011, 11:47 AM
I imagine occasional scratch-an-itch scratching isn't a problem. If you develop a habit of scratching or picking at it til it bleeds, that could potentially cause follicle damage.

April 13th, 2011, 12:03 PM
Since I like to scratch my head I always try to pull hair away from the zone I'm scratching, to better reach the scalp and avoid hair damages.

April 13th, 2011, 10:58 PM
Of course, the exception would be compulsive, destructive scratching; but I have long been curious about this topic.

Decades ago, magazine articles warned not to use fingernails on your scalp at all, whether it be for scratching, massage, or shampooing. It never rang true to me because 1) I've never experienced or observed hair falling out while scratching even the fine hair on an arm or leg and 2) It seems like using fingernails on the scalp would help loosen debris and stimulate blood flow to the scalp. I might add 3) The experts giving this advise also recommended sleeping on brush rollers and teasing hair.

April 13th, 2011, 11:05 PM
In a word, yes. However any manipulation of the hair is damaging, it's only when the action is repeated enough that you start to see/feel the effects. Try not to use your nails when you scratch (it takes some time to be mindful of this!) but an occasional itch scratch isn't going to create visible damage.

April 14th, 2011, 12:16 AM
i will often use my fingernails at an angle, ie where the nail rather than the finger pad is facing the scalp. Feels good:D

April 14th, 2011, 01:34 AM
As long as you don't break the skin I guess scratching an itch can be filed as normal daily-wear-and-tear. So it should not make much of a difference and I don't think it's humanly possible to not scratch your head occasionally anyways :wink: I certainly do.
Of course it can damage the cuticle of the hair / add up with other damage, but the same goes for all mechanical wear and tear. As long as you do it gently and not too often you should be fine and there are other things putting mechanical stress on ones hair which are easier to avoid.

Drat, thinking about scratching made my head itch :lol:

April 14th, 2011, 04:03 AM
Yes, my experience is that it can. I have a habit of scratching my scalp at the hairline (when I'm studying a lot, for instance) and I think that has definitely led to traction-like damage. It seems to recover, though.

Edited to add: this is like, after quite a lot of scratching, though <blush>. I don't think the occasional itch is much to be concerned about.