The Editors
Updated on December 14, 2022

Those who have faced scalp pain at least once in their lives know how unpleasant and painful it can be. In such cases, we always ask ourselves the same question, “Why does my hair hurt, and how to reduce this pain?”

A little spoiler: whatever the reason for your scalp pain is, it is fully reversible. Yet, you still need to define the source of your problem to find an appropriate method and get rid of it. Read on to learn what causes scalp pain and how to reduce it effectively.

What Is Hair and Scalp Pain?

Scalp pain is a fairly common issue that affects lots of people. The feeling of “hurting hair” may be accompanied by tingling, burning, and other painful sensation when pulling or moving hair. This pain might seem to come from your hair directly, yet it actually originates from nerve endings in follicles.

When the nerves in your scalp experience discomfort or pain, it feels like your hair hurts as well. The reason is hair roots are located right inside the outer layers of the scalp (epidermis). Thanks to the ties of hair and nerve endings, you can get a signal of having excess sebum production or health issues.

Symptoms of Scalp Tenderness

The painful sensation with the scalp may appear as itching, tingling, or burning. Some people also complain of pulling feelings, similar to what we experience when brushing hair strands aggressively.

If it sounds like your symptoms, you better make an appointment with a doctor who will test your hair follicles and examine your scalp. Consider it can be challenging to find the cause of this painful sensation on your own, as it may lay a lot deeper than you might think.

What Causes Pain in Hair Roots?

The source of the problem often lies in stress or increased scalp tenderness. However, sometimes there might be more serious reasons for hair that hurts. Therefore, it is crucial not only to reduce the painful symptoms you have but get to the heart of the issue, i.e., to determine the reason for pain. Check out the most common causes of “hurting hair”:

  • Migraine
  • Inflammation
  • Stress
  • Contact Allergies
  • Eczema
  • Scalp Psoriasis
  • Dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis)
  • Scalp Dysesthesia
  • Rashes
  • Sunburns
  • Insect Bites
  • Ponytail (too tight hairstyles)

Among the less common reasons for scalp hurting is alopecia areata, a form of hair loss when hair follicles fall out in round clumps, and viral diseases that cause skin sores. Besides, if you are washing your hair not enough, it can also lead to pain, as underwashing causes a build-up of oil that irritates the scalp.

Best Solutions to Reduce Scalp Pain

Some people don’t even pay attention to scalp pain, as the conditions causing their scalp tenderness usually go on their own spontaneously. However, underrating the situation may cause you serious health issues, so you should always treat any conditions on time. Here are certain treatments and methods that can quickly and effectively soothe the pain sensation when moving hair and give your scalp some relief:

1. Take Migraine Medication

This solution fits those suffering from scalp pain during headaches or migraine. If you have a headache from time to time, you can try to take aspirin, ibuprofen, or any other over-the-counter pain reliever, which can subside the pain. However, if you’re having regular migraines, it is better to consult a doctor to ensure this is an actual reason for your hair hurting.

2. Use Appropriate Hair Care Products

This method works for those who have no other symptoms except scalp pain. If it’s your case, you are most likely suffering from an allergic reaction to a new hair product.

To get rid of this specific reaction, you need to avoid using fragrant oils, serums, or products meant to condition your hair that can irritate your scalp. Opt for massaging moisturizers and lavender hair oil to soothe the skin and suppress allergies.

3. Keep the PH of Your Hair Balanced

As mentioned above, the reason for your scalp sore may also lie in underwashing your hair. Thus, if you already have scalp tenderness, you can try to fix it by washing your hair more regularly (every two to three days).

This problem probably signals your oil glands are likely overstimulated, thus creating a greasy feeling in your scalp. But once you start keeping the pH of your hair balanced, your hair and scalp will get back to norm over time, making you forget this problem.

4. Use Satin Hair Ties When Styling Your Hair

Grippy elastics can hurt your hair and cause scalp pain. So, if you feel the painful sensation only when wearing tight hairstyles, you are likely to reduce this pain simply by getting rid of such hair ties. Opt for satin scrunchies, which are easy to take off without pulling out hair.

5. Wash Your Hair with Antibacterial Cleanser

If your doctor diagnosed your hair hurt from folliculitis (inflammation of your hair follicles), you could reduce it by using antibacterial cleansers or antibiotics. Wash the scalp with an antibacterial shampoo during some time to prevent yeast infection and dandruff that might lead to scalp pain.

How to Prevent Hair Pain

If, for now, you don’t have any issues with your scalp, you still need to follow standard care routines and avoid things potentially leading to scalp tenderness. Here are some of these harmful habits:

  • spending too much time under the sun without UV protection for hair and headwear;
  • using hair-damaging chemicals and devices (dyes, irons, etc.);
  • pulling hair that has been held in a tight hairstyle;
  • intense stress;
  • sharing hair ties and brushes;
  • using dry shampoo too often.

To keep your hair healthy and avoid scalp pain, you can massage the head with fingertips in circular motions. This will improve blood circulation and prevent hair loss, leading to painful sensations with hair roots. Moreover, you can let your hair down more often, especially while sleeping. Try to sleep in a silk bonnet or on a silk pillowcase.

Overall, there are many reasons why your hair hurts but, luckily, knowing the solutions to this issue, you can get rid of scalp pain for good. Analyze your symptoms to figure out what specialist you need to contact if necessary or what measures to take to prevent this problem in the future. Keep in mind that the pain in hair roots can signal not just a little stress but different health issues, so you better take this seriously.

Featured image by Depositphotos

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