Surely we have sometimes felt that our head hurts, but it is also possible that hair pain appears. Hair or scalp pain is quite common and can be attributed to a number of possible reasons.
We are not delusional if we assure that the hair hurts on certain occasions, although it mostly hurts in the part attached to the root. That is why confusion can be generated about its origin.
Hair or scalp pain?
The sensation of pain in the roots has two technical names, and it is not the hair itself, but the skin and the perifollicular area of the scalp, the area around each hair, follicle or pore, that hurts.
This is what is called scalp dysesthesia or trichodynia . It affects the skin that covers the large surrounding muscle of our scalp called the occipitofrontalis and its fibrous tissue. It is richly innervated through our cervical nerves. The unpleasant sensation may come from a minor immune response to common stimuli, such as oil, causing nerve inflammation that manifests as pain, itching, or burning of the scalp.
If you’ve been wondering why your scalp hurts, and not why your hair hurts, you’re not on the wrong track. We know that hair is made up of dead skin cells. It has no nerve endings. So, no hair pain. But there is such a thing as pain in the scalp.
The scalp has blood vessels and nerves. And if it becomes inflamed, we can feel it throb, itch and ache. Although it can occur from harsh and irritating substances reaching the scalp, from keeping hair too tight in ponytails, even from migraines, dirty hair can also be the culprit.
What is folliculitis?
The greasy roots elicit a pain response. Hair follicles and hair shafts become too oily. When inflammation occurs, it hurts the skin and the perifollicular area of the scalp, which is rich in blood supply, sebaceous glands, and nerve endings.
Sometimes in this already inflamed area, bacteria can also overgrow. Folliculitis is just that: inflammation of the roots doubled by a bacterial growth that “feels right at home” in a sensitive area.
Why does my scalp hurt and itch when my hair is dirty? Yeast overgrowth occurs due to an imbalance in the pH levels of the scalp. Excess sebum causes inflammation. pH levels change. The yeast can grow to the point of causing irritation, itching, and even pain.
Can dandruff cause hair pain?
It starts with itchy scalp. We may feel some tingling and stinging that may prompt us to scratch. We can feel burning. Scalp sensitivity can turn into a throbbing pain.
Nerve endings, follicles, and blood vessels in the scalp become inflamed if the scalp is not clean. Seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff are worse at this point. The cause: the same yeast overgrowth (Malassezia).
There are several possible reasons why hair pain exists.
not wash hair
If we leave a time between hair washes, it is very likely that this is the culprit of hair pain. In this case, it’s all due to the buildup of sebum on the scalp, which is the “ordinary stimulus” that promotes an overgrowth of yeast on the scalp, causing itchiness and inflammation in the follicle.
It should not be confused with a yeast infection. This yeast is called malassezia, which exists in everyone’s body and is normal. To fix this, we’ll try using a clarifying shampoo to break down the oils without stripping the hair.
wear hair up
Holding your hair back in a tight ponytail, braid, or bun for too long can be the main culprit. Keeping a ponytail, braid, or bun too tight for hours at a time (especially with oily hair) could be another reason your scalp feels inflamed.
Traction alopecia, in which having hair pulled back into a tight ponytail or cut or braided too tightly, can lead to excessive tension and weakening of hair follicles. We will consider leaving the strands loose from time to time, pulling the hair back less tightly, or opting for cloth hair ties from time to time.
A stressful or traumatic event
If you’ve experienced a significant bout of stress or a traumatic event and realized your hair has been hurting more than usual, the two may be interrelated.
This could be an early sign of impending telogen effluvium hair loss. In a person with telogen effluvium, certain bodily changes (such as extreme weight loss or change in diet) or significant physical or psychological trauma can prematurely push more hairs into the natural strand-shedding phase (the telogen phase of their hair cycle). of hair growth), which may be preceded by pain in the scalp.
Tension headaches or migraine
Hair pain is something that happens to two-thirds of people who suffer from migraines. This is known as allodynia , which comes from the repetitive firing of nerve cells in the brain that are responsible for migraines. It is not limited to the scalp, but generally refers to increased sensitivity to pain due to non-painful stimulation, such as light touch or tapping.
Therefore, if we know we have a migraine, it is highly recommended to take medication as soon as it starts, but it is best to consult a GP for individual advice.
When to go to the doctor?
If we have doubts, it is best to go to the doctor. If we are concerned that the hair pain may be the result of something else, such as a scalp condition such as psoriasis, folliculitis or eczema, or that it is accompanied by other forms of pain or physical symptoms such as hair loss, sores or pimples, it is worth consulting a doctor.
The main thing is to seek help if the pain persists or is associated with other signs or symptoms, such as headaches or other neurological problems.
If we notice a concomitant increase in hair loss or changes in the skin of the scalp, we will make sure that we are seen by a dermatologist. This will allow us to accurately diagnose the underlying condition of the hair or scalp before embarking on effective treatment interventions, particularly to regrow lost hair.
In many cases, a person loses about 50% of hair density before noticing the appearance of thinning. It is important to closely monitor daily hair loss.