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Why Does My Hair Hurt? Causes and Treatments for Scalp Pain (2024)

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why does my hair hurtI feel your pain, friend. Let’s get to the bottom of why your hair hurts. Like lettuce tossed too roughly, hair can be sensitive to handling. By learning what causes follicles to ache, we can prevent future soreness. With some care and attention, your scalp and strands will be soothed.

Key Takeaways

  • Avoid tight hairstyles, excess heat styling, and product buildup, which can irritate the scalp.
  • Use gentle shampoos without harsh chemicals or irritating ingredients like sulfates and fragrances.
  • Manage conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis with gentle hair care and by consulting a dermatologist.
  • See a doctor for severe, chronic, or persistent scalp pain, which may indicate underlying health issues.

What Causes Scalp Pain?

What Causes Scalp Pain
It’s understandable to feel frustrated when your scalp hurts. Scalp pain can be caused by sensitive skin, tight hairstyles that strain your scalp, having either too oily or too dry of a scalp, certain skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema, inflammation from an infection, or a reaction to hair care products.

Tension headaches and migraines can also sometimes cause scalp tenderness. Getting to the root cause of the pain is important to find the right treatment.

Sensitive Skin

If you get scalp pain when using certain shampoos, it could be a sign of sensitive skin or an allergy, so check in with your dermatologist. Skin sensitivity and allergies can make your scalp very uncomfortable when certain ingredients irritate it.

See your doctor to find the right gentle products for your sensitive scalp and hair. They will help you manage irritation and discomfort from shampoo ingredients, so your scalp feels better.

Hairstyling Habits

A carefree hairstyle may strain your scalp over time. Overusing heated styling tools, chemical hair dyes, and tight hair accessories can irritate your scalp. Infrequent washing allows for product buildup that exacerbates discomfort. Adopt gentle, mindful hair care habits to avoid tension headaches and scalp pain.

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Greasy or Dry Scalp

You’ve got to stop drowning your scalp in grease if you want the pain to cease.

  • Too much product buildup
  • Overwashing and underconditioning
  • Ignoring dandruff as a warning sign

An oily scalp needs gentle cleansing while dry ends beg for moisture. Listen to your scalp and hair, and tend to their unique needs. With care and patience, balance can be restored, leading to a happy, pain-free head.

Preventing and Managing Scalp Pain

Preventing and Managing Scalp Pain
Preventing and managing scalp pain through proper hair care should be a priority. Simple steps like using the right brushes, shampoos without harsh chemicals, and doing regular scalp massages can go a long way in avoiding discomfort.

Finding products and routines that meet your specific hair needs and goals while promoting scalp health can help work together to maintain scalp health. Prioritizing scalp health through proper hair care tactics such as utilizing appropriate brushes, gentle shampoos, and regular scalp massages helps prevent and manage scalp pain.

Establishing hair care regimens catered to your unique needs boosts scalp health.

Proper Hair Care

Let’s handle hair damage by keeping your scalp clean and hydrated. A routine focused on scalp health prevents issues down the line. Gentle scalp massages increase blood flow. Use high-quality brushes that stimulate without irritation.

Check labels for hydrating ingredients and avoid harsh sulfates. Limit tight styles that pull on hair follicles.

Avoid Triggers

You’re 32% more likely to experience scalp pain if you use hair products containing common irritants like fragrance and alcohol.

  1. Avoid products with sulfates.
  2. Use gentle shampoos.
  3. Don’t over-style hair.

Identifying triggers helps prevent scalp issues. Stress management, scalp massage, and hydration tips soothe discomfort. Avoiding irritating products with fragrances and alcohols reduces reactions. Consult a dermatologist for chronic skin conditions, allergies, and eczema.

Is It a Skin Condition?

Is It a Skin Condition
I’m so sorry you’re experiencing scalp pain. Eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis are common skin conditions that can cause scalp irritation and discomfort, so it’s important to identify any signs like redness, scaling, or itchiness that could point to one of these issues.

Let’s discuss your symptoms so we can determine the cause of your scalp pain. Hair shouldn’t hurt, so identifying the root cause will help us find the right treatment to soothe your scalp. Please share any additional details about your symptoms, like how long you’ve had this pain, if it comes and goes or is constant, and what seems to trigger or worsen it.

The more specifics you can provide, the better I can understand what may be provoking your scalp discomfort. My goal is to help you pinpoint the source of the issue so we can start working on solutions to relieve your pain and get your scalp feeling healthy again.


Regular brushing can identify eczema or seborrheic dermatitis, so avoiding oils and products prevents flare-ups. Eczema symptoms like red, itchy, flaky skin indicate scalp eczema. Gentle shampoos without fragrance or harsh ingredients help manage eczema.

Moisturizing creams soothe the scalp after washing. Limit hair products and heat styling to prevent damaging sensitive skin. Scalp eczema causes include allergies, irritants, and stress. Stay aware of triggers to control flare-ups.


Don’t ignore scalp pain; your flaky, itchy patches could signal psoriasis. If you notice red, scaly patches that itch and bleed, see a dermatologist. Psoriasis requires prescription treatment to relieve symptoms and prevent hair loss.


Itching and burning may indicate that dermatitis is inflaming your scalp. Allergic triggers like shampoos could be causing flare-ups. See a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment options. Manage symptoms by identifying triggers, controlling oils, and sticking to your hair goals.

Take a hair quiz to pinpoint suitable products that will not provoke dermatitis.

Could It Be a Headache?

Could It Be a Headache
Pounding and aching around your scalp could signal a migraine coming on. Migraines can cause scalp sensitivity or allodynia, making even a gentle touch hurt.

Common migraine triggers to watch for include:

  • Stress or emotional upsets
  • Hormonal changes
  • Bright or flashing lights
  • Lack of sleep
  • Certain foods or drinks
  • Weather changes

If you experience migraine symptoms like light and sound sensitivity along with scalp pain, try soothing remedies like cold compresses, massage, and OTC pain relievers. Identifying triggers, practicing relaxation techniques, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep may also help prevent migraines and scalp discomfort.

Consult your doctor if headaches persist to explore treatment options that can provide relief.

Dealing With Allergies

Dealing With Allergies
Listen friend, avoiding specific shampoo ingredients helps soothe your scalp’s unease while identifying the root cause. Discovering what ingredients trigger those pesky allergic reactions takes some trial and error, but relief can come from allergy management.

First, spot the usual allergic reaction suspects – fragrances, preservatives, and oils. Then, try allergy-free shampoos to see if that soothes the scalp flare-ups. If it persists, allergy testing can help identify the specific allergens.

It’s frustrating, I know, but take heart – with some diligent sleuthing, you’ll get to the bottom of those bothersome allergies. For now, stick with gentle, fragrance-free products and find what gives your scalp comfort.

When to Seek Medical Care

When to Seek Medical Care
Go see your doctor if this scalp pain persists. Chronic discomfort can signal underlying health issues needing medical evaluation. Don’t dismiss consistent tenderness or severe symptoms. Seek your doctor’s advice for persistent scalp discomfort, especially if over-the-counter methods haven’t helped.

Schedule a checkup to identify potential causes, like allergies, dermatitis, or neurological factors. Your doctor can provide specialized testing, treatment, and specialist referrals tailored to your symptoms.

Don’t struggle alone if scalp pain remains severe or recurrent. Take steps to get the root cause properly diagnosed. You deserve to enjoy pain-free haircare and styling. With your doctor’s compassionate guidance, you can discover solutions for stubborn scalp trouble.


You’re not alone if your scalp is feeling sensitive or painful. Up to 50% of people experience scalp discomfort at some point. While this can be worrying, in most cases it’s manageable by making some simple changes to your hair care routine.

Try gently massaging your scalp as you shampoo, using a moisturizing conditioner, avoiding harsh styling products, and giving your hair a break from tight ponytails. See a dermatologist if you have ongoing discomfort or think it could be a skin condition.

With patience and some tender loving care, you can get your scalp feeling healthy and happy again.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.