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5 min read

What causes scalp tenderness and how to relieve it

What causes scalp tenderness and how to relieve it

Have you ever felt like your hair hurts? No, it’s not a headache—it’s more of a painful tenderness around your hair and it can be pretty frustrating.

So what causes your hair to hurt? Well, it’s not exactly your hair causing the pain—it’s your scalp. You see, your scalp is rich in nerve endings, which is why head scratches can feel so good and brushing out tangles can feel so awful.

However, there are many other factors that can cause stressful hair and scalp pain, and you might not even be aware of them.

Causes of hair and scalp pain

Many sources of hair and scalp pain can be remedied by something as simple as washing your hair, while others could take more time. However, don’t be surprised if you find that your hair pain is due to more than one issue.

Buildup. Your hair follicles have glands that regularly secrete oil to keep your hair and head healthy, but there are times when that oil can build up. Excess oil and dirt buildup is one of the main causes for dandruff, which, when left untreated, can lead to painful inflammation around your follicles.

Hairstyle. In addition to dirty hair, the way you style it can also be stressful on your scalp and cause irritation. If you frequently rock styles that pull your hair, such as high ponytails or tight braids, you’ve probably experienced some hair and scalp pain at the end of the night.

Dermatological issues. A trip to the dermatologist may be in order if you have chronic scalp pain because there could be an underlying disorder or illness. Dermatitis is a skin reaction, like an allergy, and it can be caused by just about anything.

Infections. Get ready for a mouthful—folliculitis, furunculosis, and carbunculosis are all infections of the hair follicles that can cause some serious pain. On top of those doozies, there’s also tinea capitis and tinea versicolor—fungal infections of the scalp. All should be examined and diagnosed by your healthcare provider.

Lice. Doesn’t the word just make your skin crawl? These little buggers are obviously very contagious and can definitely lead to some scalp distress.

Climate. Extreme temperatures and environmental factors, such as harsh wind and direct sun exposure can cause your scalp to ache.

Hormones. The hormonal causes of scalp pain tend to affect women more than men and can often be traced back to their menstrual cycles.

Hair pain remedies

Different hair types might require different forms of treatment to relieve scalp pain. That’s why we put together a list of some of the best remedies we found to address your specific scalp and hair pain need.

New shampoo. Using a pH-balancing scalp care shampoo can help clean out oils, yeast, dandruff, and other inflammation-causing particles.

New hairstyle. If your hair pain is related to the way you style it, then you’re going to need to mix it up to give your scalp a break. If you’re a habitual user of elastic hair bands, then it’s a good idea to switch to cloth ties or scrunchies for a looser hold that doesn’t pull.

Hair vitamins. Your hair might need a revitalizing blend of vitamins to repair damage and give it a healthy boost as it recovers.

Scalp massage. Regular, routine scalp massages can help relieve tension headaches and hairstyle pains, as well as loosen dirt and oil build-up to make washing more effective.

Appropriate protection. You can protect your scalp and hair from harsh weather conditions and irritants with sunscreen, a scarf or a hat. Adding Moroccan oil to your haircare regimen will also give your locks added protection from the elements.

Feed your hair. You can help nourish your hair and scalp by adding nutrient-rich foods to your diet. Pumpkin seeds contain a powerful amino acid called curcubitin that promotes hair growth and the oil from avocados naturally soothes your scalp.

This Avocado with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Kale Salad recipe is a delicious way to help feed your hair and support your scalp.

OTC and prescriptions. Some hair and scalp conditions, such as lice, certain infections, and dermatitis, will require medical attention and possibly medication. Even hormonal issues affecting the hair and scalp might benefit from a visit to your healthcare provider.

Final thoughts

If you’re dreaming of long, luscious locks and trying to grow out your hair, then you might run into situations where you experience some scalp pain.

Whether you’re experimenting with how frequently you shampoo, trying out new products or just throwing it all in a bun to hide that awkward growth stage, scalp pain can be a real downer. Don’t worry! With time and the right techniques, you can have the hair you’ve always wanted.

At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

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    At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

    Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

    Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

    JOIN THE GROUP