Scratching Head

Little boy
Photo: Dreamstime
Q: My son is scratching his head all the time, and I told him he should stop doing it because it is very bad and it can cause all sorts of problems.
And then the inevitable question came: "Why is it bad, and what problems will it cause?" Can you help? What do I tell him?

A: Simply put, your son is likely scratching his head because of scalp itch. This could be caused by something as innocuous as a sweaty scalp or could be the result of dandruff or other (possibly more troublesome) irritant or even basic allergies.
Regardless of the cause of the itch, scratching can lead to further irritation of the scalp, as well as inflammation and infections of the skin if his fingernails are dirty. The first thing to do is to examine his scalp closely for signs of irritation, redness, flaking or inflammation.
If there is any sign of redness or inflammation, he should be seen by a doctor to discover the cause. If there is simply a matter of oiliness or flaking, then perhaps using a dandruff shampoo a few times a week would be called for.
But the bottom line is that the scratching is the result of a symptom not being addressed. Unless you identify the reason the scratching is being provoked, then you only run the risk of worsening the situation depending on the underlying cause of itch.
See also:
Scalp problems
Teenagers and hair problems
Hair diseases