If you’ve ever experienced painful hair, you’ll be pleased to hear you weren’t imagining it. That sharp, achy feeling that can come on out of nowhere, all starts with a secretly sore scalp. When our scalp becomes inflamed, blood vessels flood the nerves leading to our hair follicles and this causes that all familiar throb. Due to the sensitivity of the follicle the pain can feel as though it’s travelling the whole length of the hair. What’s worse, is that it can be a warning sign that your beloved strands may soon be about to depart. ‘Pay attention to pain’ says Lars Skjoth, founder of Harklinikken (a Danish brand that specialises in preventing hair thinning) ‘it can be a warning about coming hair loss’. So, what actually causes scalp inflammation in the first place? Read on to find out.
According to experts, tight hairstyles are the worst perpetrator. Tugging from ponytails, braids, buns and a whole variety of other updos can permanently damage follicles and lead to ‘traction alopecia’ – premature balding caused by excessive tension. If you are prone to pain, hair loss specialists advise tying hair up no more than two or three time a week and refraining from sleeping with your hair up or ‘setting’ it overnight. Another simple tip is to always opt for cloth hair ties over more abrasive elastics.
As well as extending the time between washes, dry shampoo can deliver instant root lift for maximum volume at the last minute – making it a go-to for busy women everywhere. However, used too often or not washed out properly and it can clog the scalp leading to build up and inflammation. To protect the precious hair follicle, lightly mist along the roots as opposed to spraying directly onto the scalp and always wash out thoroughly to reduce the risk of premature hair loss or unnecessary pain.
Not washing your hair properly
Washing hair too vigorously can be just as bad as washing it too little. A good way to gauge it is to consider the number of products you use. If you load your strands with dry shampoo, hair spray, heat protectors, frizz relaxers and the like, on a regular basis, you will benefit from two rounds of shampooing. But, if you favour a low-maintenance hairstyle with little to no product you can get away with a quick wash and go.
There are other factors that could be causing your hair pain, both stringent hair dyes and even migraine’s have been linked to it. If your hair pain is accompanied an excruciating headache, it could be a sign of something more serious and it’s worth discussing with your doctor. But as for the rest of us, it’s high time we let our hair down and give ourselves and our weary scalps a rest.