I was washing my hair one day when I noticed an odd sense of pain and tenderness on my scalp. If you’ve ever experienced it, you know what I am talking about. Scalp pain has several different causes, but you’ll often notice that it gets WORSE when you’re overly tired and stressed…so it’s no surprise that 2020 has aggravated scalp tenderness in many, including myself.
DOES YOUR HAIR HURT, OR IS IT A YEAST INFECTION?
A sensitive scalp originates from inflammation coming from blood vessels beneath the area. This floods the nerves within your hair follicles, causing pain and sensitivity. And though there are many conditions that could lead to scalp pain – such as infections, headaches, and skin disorders – one factor that is often overlooked is dirty hair. Or if we’re being more specific, it’s YEAST…
If you don’t shampoo your hair for a while, the natural oils that produce on your scalp will begin to gather and aggregate. This leads to infection, and the overgrowth of yeast in the area. According to Francesca Fusco, a Manhattan-based dermatologist, not washing your hair enough can lead to pitysrosporum (yeast) build up, which often leads to dandruff. However, as this issue worsens, it can cause inflammation, which translates into sensitivity.
SO HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WASH MY HAIR?
There is no one-size fits all schedule when it comes to how often you should wash your hair, as your hair type can make all the difference in the world.
The rule of thumb is that the finer your hair is, the more you need to wash it. This is because if you have fine or straight hair, you’ll find that your scalp tends to produce more oil, faster. However, curly hair or thick hair tends to be dryer, and can often go longer. So if you feel your hair is on the finer side, try to wash every other day, and use a natural dry shampoo as a ‘bridge’ between washes. If you have dryer hair, then you can normally go up to four days without washing.
OTHER FIXES YOU SHOULD TRY
Things like pulling your hair up in a ponytail and using too many styling products can make the pain on your scalp EVEN WORSE. So, here are a few recommendations that you can try to help fix scalp pain.
Let your hair down – We often tend to put our third-day or fourth-day hair up in a tight ponytail or bun to ‘hide the grease’. I personally like to pull my hair up when I sleep as well. But this doesn’t help matters AT ALL. Doing this can actually contribute to more pain, as they pull on your hair follicles, and can often damage them in the process. This can even lead to hair-loss, so be careful!
Switch up your shampoo – Natural shampoos are often a lot more delicate for the scalp, as they do not apply any harmful toxins to the scalp area. I would also recommend trying a pH balancing scalp care shampoo, as this can eliminate yeast and nourish your hair.
Use dry shampoo in between washes – Use a natural dry shampoo that’s delicate on your scalp to absorb oil and prevent build-up. This reduces the chance of infection, and the growth of yeast. BUT, this is a double edge sword. You want to REDUCE the amount of hair styling products you use, not increase them. SO, make sure to only use dry shampoo once or twice in between washes, max. And, try a technique like co-washing to eliminate product build-up on your scalp.
If you have tried all of these and still experience scalp pain, there may be an underlying medical condition that you are unaware of. Many are not aware that headaches and migraines are also linked to a sensitive scalp. If this is the case, make sure to seek medical consultation from your dermatologist.
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