Why Does My Hair Hurt? The Origin, Causes & Treatment

Experiencing hair pain and sensitivity can make even simple tasks like brushing or touching your hair hurtful. In this article, we’ll discuss the possible causes and treatments for your hair pain. Also, we’ll discuss some measures and habits to keep the pain away in future.

Origins and Causes of Hair and Scalp Pain

Hair pain, scalp soreness and sensitivity manifest as tingling, burning, aching, stinging, dryness, or general discomfort while combing hair. If these sensations accompany your hair, it’s advised to consult a medical expert.

Numerous factors can contribute to this sensitivity, ranging from regular hair care routines to underlying medical issues or allergic reactions. Identifying the root cause is essential for appropriate care. The main causes of hair pain are:

1. Tight Hairstyles

Tight Hairstyles
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If you’re wondering why your hair hurts, the answer could lie in your hair styling choices. Discomfort in the scalp might result from habits like tight hairstyles, such as high ponytails or hair ties, which exert pressure on nerve endings near hair follicles.

Similarly, hairstyles like cornrows or tight up-dos can lead to headaches and hair pain due to tension.


A solution involves opting for looser styles or letting your hair down more often. Scarves, ribbons, and gently applied bobby pins reduce stress on hair shafts, the unseen part that can be strained during vigorous grooming.

2. Skin Sensitivity and Allergic Reactions

Skin Sensitivity And Allergic Reactions
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A sensitive scalp might signal health issues also affecting your face and skin. Skin problems like rashes, redness, and flakiness elsewhere can extend to your scalp, causing discomfort.

Allergic reactions or dermatitis, which leads to itchiness, dryness, swelling, and redness, could be responsible. Seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) or eczema on the scalp can indicate general skin sensitivity.


If you suspect allergies, consult a dermatologist or physician, examining your shampoo and conditioner ingredients. Some contain questionable substances like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.

Moreover, excessive oil use might worsen scalp and skin conditions; consider aloe extract and salicylic acid for soothing and hydrating. For severe sensitivity or pain, consult a dermatologist.

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3. Dry Or Oily Scalp

Dry Or Oily Scalp
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Scalp irritation is more prevalent in individuals with oily or dry scalps, and those who shower frequently are also susceptible. As these factors can be managed, it’s advisable to opt for hair products that target oil balance, damage prevention, and overall hair health.

Solution For Dry Scalp

For those with dry scalps, a hair mask is recommended for deep conditioning, replenishing damaged strands, and shielding against environmental factors. Minimizing hair washing frequency can mitigate dryness and lessen the likelihood of scalp sensitivity.

Solution For Oily Scalp

For individuals with oily scalps, a leave-in conditioner containing natural components like rosemary leaf extract can regulate excess oil production, while vitamin E supports scalp health.
By addressing these factors and choosing suitable products, one can promote a balanced and comfortable scalp environment.

4. Neurological Issues

Neurological Issues
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Sometimes, follicle pain indicates neurological issues, evidenced by shooting or tingling sensations. Nerve irritation can cause severe pain during hair washing or touch.

This issue is more inclined toward the neurological side than the dermatology one, and hence should be addressed by neurologists.


While adjusting hairstyles might help, persistent migraines and scalp discomfort require professional medical attention. Pay a visit to a neurologist and follow his advice on your hair and scalp routine.

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How To Treat Hair Pain?

Here’s how to find relief from scalp and hair pain.

1. Loosen Up Your Hairstyles

Loosen Up Your Hairstyles
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Avoid tight hairstyles, which can be major contributors. Styles like high ponytails, cornrows, buns, braids, and updos exert pressure on and potentially harm follicles, causing hair pain. Limit these rigid styles to a few times weekly and don’t keep them in for extended periods.

Be alert to this hair pain—it could signal impending hair loss. It’s known as “traction alopecia,” gradual balding due to tight styles. To prevent hair pain, opt for soft fabric hair ties, avoid pulling styles, and refrain from sleeping with hair tied up to prevent prolonged tension and discomfort.

2. Find The Right Balance in Washing

Find The Right Balance In Washing
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Proper hair cleansing resembles Goldilocks’ dilemma — not too infrequent, not overly frequent. Disrupting the pH balance through excessive washing can lead to painful hair.

This practice can dry out the scalp and even trigger conditions like seborrheic dermatitis. For daily washes or sensitive scalps, cleansing with a baby shampoo like Mustela 2 in 1 Hair and Body Wash is advised.

This shampoo includes glycerin for cleaning and avocado extract to fortify the skin barrier. Another recommendation is Harklinikken PH Shampoo, which uses natural oat and mustard-seed extracts to maintain scalp pH balance through gentle cleansing, thus avoiding the hair pain.

3. Give Your Hair A Product Break

Give Your Hair A Product Break
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Overusing dry shampoo, a go-to for convenience, is contributing to hair pain. While it’s okay for occasional use, relying on it excessively instead of washing can lead to residue buildup in follicles. Applying too much on the scalp rather than the strands is a common habit among individuals.

This habit allows bacteria to flourish, particularly when combined with sweat. This can trigger inflammation, itching, and discomfort. To avoid this, use dry shampoo in moderation and ensure it’s applied to the appropriate areas.

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Hair Pain and Migraine Sufferers

Hair Pain And Migraine Sufferers
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Preventing hair pain holds significance, particularly for migraine sufferers. For those with headaches, hair pain occurs due to a phenomenon called allodynia, found in up to two thirds of individuals with migraines.

According to Brian Mitchell Grosberg, director of Hartford Healthcare Headache Center, stimuli that are typically nonpainful, like hair brushing, wearing hats, or showering, become painful due to allodynia.

Resting on the headache-afflicted side exacerbates scalp soreness. This results from the repeated nerve cell firing linked to migraines.

While tight hairstyles can contribute, hair pain can also manifest as part of a migraine attack triggered by other factors.


In conclusion, understanding and addressing the causes of hair and scalp pain are crucial for maintaining a comfortable and healthy hair routine.

Factors such as sensitive skin, hairstyling habits, scalp condition, and even neurological issues can contribute to discomfort.

Making adjustments to hairstyling choices, using suitable hair products, and maintaining proper washing frequency can help alleviate hair pain.

For those experiencing persistent pain, consulting medical experts is recommended to ensure appropriate care and relief.

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