The Real Reason Your Hair 'Hurts'

Have you ever felt like your hair is hurting? We know, it's a weird sensation that can be hard to explain to others. Especially if you are unsure of what is causing this unnecessary pain. The truth is, if your hair is hurting, it's likely because your scalp is hurting. And what causes scalp pain? There are a number of places to point blame, but one of the most obvious is that both your locks and scalp need a wash.

Manhattan–based dermatologist Francesca Fusco tells Vogue about how our scalp can be surprisingly sensitive. "The scalp is incredibly rich in blood supply, nerve endings, and oil glands," Fusco explains. "Additionally, this yeast (pityrosporum) builds up, leading to dandruff. The combination of these factors can cause inflammation, which translates to sensitivity that can feel like your hair is hurting." She goes on to reveal that when we haven't shampooed and conditioned in a while, the irritating yeast build up can become even worse during times of stress or lack of sleep.

The skin around the hair follicles on your scalp may be inflamed

Healthline tells us that if we are experiencing pain in what feels like our hair, it can be described as an itching, burning, tingling, or aching sensation. Because our strands don't have nerve endings that would allow us to feel any pain, it is the irritated skin on the scalp around the hair follicles that send off pain signals. So even the unconscious movement of flipping your hair stimulates the strands enough to provoke the sensitive scalp into feeling pain. 

Migraines can also be to blame for scalp pain. In this case, the condition is referred to as allodynia, shares Vogue. "Allodynia is not limited to the scalp, but refers to increased sensitivity to pain from a non-painful stimulation like a light tapping or a light touch," explains Dr. Fusco. "Individuals with migraines may experience the sensation that a mere wind blowing, a hat, or a light touch to the scalp elicits pain."

Other possible causes for scalp pain include eczema, psoriasis, or folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles), states Healthline. Most of the time, simple at-home remedies or over-the-counter products will treat the sensitive areas. But if the pain seems to be getting worse, or your scalp is experiencing breakouts or is bleeding in areas, reach out to your doctor for advice.