The simple answer is yes: scratching can and will lead to hair loss. You should completely avoid scratching.
According to Medical News Today, "Studies have shown that with only 90 minutes of continuous scratching by the fingernails, it is possible to remove all of the cuticular scale, a protective covering on individual hairs, off of a hair shaft. This loss leaves the hair shaft weakened and permanently damaged, making it easily susceptible to breakage and hair loss."
Excessive scratching could also lead to a form of traction alopecia. This is a condition in which hair is gradually lost due to excessive pulling. You are at risk of developing traction alopecia if:
Seriously guys, after reading up on this I have loosened up my headscarf because I put it on so tightly that it hurts around my head. I am restricting the blood flow to my scalp and circulation is very necessary for hair growth.
The likelihood of scratching is especially high if you have a scalp condition e.g. scalp psoriasis. Such conditions may make your scalp itchy so you naturally feel the urge to scratch more often than someone who doesn't have an existing skin condition.
What should you do if you have excessive itchiness?
1. Pat or rub with the flats of your finger, don't scratch.
2. A dry scalp will exacerbate itchiness. Wash your hair and place peppermint oil in either your shampoo or condition. I wrote about this extensively in my blog on "Neno Natural's foolproof anti-itch hair wash". I have used my anti-itch formula several times and it works every single time.
3. Consider whether one of your products is causing the itchiness and stop using it.
4. Stop thinking about scratching or how itchy your scalp is. The more you think about it, the more you'll want to scratch.
The good news: hair lost due to scratching is not permanent and a brand new hair follicle will replace the lost one.
The bad news: you need to stop scratching otherwise you will lose more hair.
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward