If you’ve ever thrown your hair back and immediately wondered, “Why does my hair hurt?”, you’re not alone – and you’re not losing your mind. Hair pain is a real thing! Technically, it’s a pain radiating from your scalp to your hair follicles, not in your actual strands, but you get the idea. Many everyday stressors can hurt your hair follicles, including stress (naturally), a lack of sleep, and your hair-washing schedule. Don’t worry, though – there are easy fixes for most of these factors.
Keep reading to discover why your hair follicles hurt and what you can do about it. And if you need a new motto? Think no pain, healthy mane.
Why Do My Hair Follicles Hurt?
That annoying scalp pain you’re feeling is usually caused by poor grooming habits or not getting enough rest. However, sometimes, it can also be caused by a medical condition. So if you’re regularly dreading brushing your hair or lying down because of the pain it causes, see your doctor to ensure nothing serious is going on.
If you’re occasionally suffering from minor to moderate scalp pain, don’t panic. It’s likely caused by one or more of these culprits:
If you often feel tenderness at the base of your tresses, your styling habits could be to blame. Some hairstyles like high ponytails à la Ariana Grande can cause tension on your scalp, resulting in pain for a couple of days after you let your hair back down. Any tightly pulled hairstyle like cornrows or super tight updos can put pressure on the nerve endings in your scalp and make your hair follicles hurt. That constant tension on your scalp and hair can cause scalp pain and headaches. Makes sense, right?
So how do you avoid scalp and hair follicle pain caused by your go-to ‘do? Wear your hair down more often or rock a looser ponytail when you can to give your scalp a break.
2. Dry Scalp
A dry scalp is known to cause embarrassing issues like dandruff, but – guess what? – it can also give you serious scalp pain. Yup. Washing your hair too frequently or not using a good moisturising regime can leave your scalp dry and irritated.
If you suspect your scalp could be causing you grief, grab yourself a high-quality hydrating shampoo and conditioner, STAT. Treat your melon to a deeply nourishing and moisturising hair masque for some extra TLC – and don’t forget to exfoliate your scalp with a product like our soothing and hydrating Deep Clean Scalp Scrub.
Another tip? Don’t overwash. Aim to wash your hair every other day instead of every day to avoid stripping your hair of its natural oils. And make sure you’re using products that are free of drying sulfates (like Coco & Eve, naturally).
3. Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin is often associated with the rest of our bodies, but our scalp is just as likely to be plagued by sensitivity. If you experience dry, flaky, itchy skin that’s easily irritated, you may have sensitive skin or another skin condition like eczema. Scalp sensitivity can flare up when exposed to ingredients commonly found in haircare products. So check out the ingredients on your bottles for things like sulfates and parabens.
Another reason your scalp or hair follicles hurt could be folliculitis. Folliculitis is a bacterial infection of your hair follicles that results in pimples and pus on your scalp – which is obviously less than ideal. It can cause itching, burning, and painful-to-the-touch skin. But don’t freak out.
A trip to your dermatologist can help clear folliculitis with a prescription antibiotic treatment. To help alleviate some of your pain in the meantime, you can use warm compresses and anti-itch cream at home.
How to Rehab Hair Follicles That Hurt
Now you’ve determined the cause of that itch, burn or ache, check out some simple ways to prevent scalp pain and end your hair woes.
Avoid chemicals as much as possible
This will protect your sensitive scalp from being irritated. Look for products free of parabens, sulfates, and other nasty stuff (an excellent place to start is right here!). Skin conditions are often triggered by using products with harsh ingredients, so try to stick with shampoos, conditioners, treatments and styling products that are as natural as possible. (Our online store is the perfect place to start – wink wink.)
Take it easy on the top knots and high ponytails
Make sure to take a break from tight hairstyles, at least for a while. We know that sleek hairstyles are super popular, but for those of us prone to a painful scalp and hair follicles that hurt, those updos are a major don’t.
See a dermatologist or talk to your doctor
First things first, make sure to rule out any serious skin or health problems. Your doctor can help you figure out what can be causing your scalp pain and what’s making your hair follicles hurt so you can prevent the pain from coming back.
Scalp discomfort or pain is typically normal and just an annoying inconvenience for most. However, in some cases, it can be a symptom of a medical condition and warrants a trip to see your dermatologist or doctor.
Treating your scalp like you would any other part of your body in need of rest will also help you rid yourself of annoying hair pain. Let your hair recover from being overworked by wearing it down for a few days or skipping a wash cycle. Bottom line: taking some time to rehab your roots and free yourself from distressed tresses is well worth it!
Have more burning beauty questions? Keep reading our blog for more haircare tips and tricks.
Edited by: Pip Jarvis and Iris