It wasn’t until I decided to go natural two and half years ago that I experienced pain in my scalp towards the front of my head. I immediately attributed it to my scalp going through the healing process of not using chemicals on it anymore. Seems logical, right? Well, the pain would come and go, and sometimes it would be so painful that it would keep me up at night. From time to time I would experience itching there, but for the most part it would even be painful to the touch. Sometimes it would last for a few hours or a few minutes while other times it would last for days.
Over time I became used to it, even though in the back of my mind I kept wondering what was causing it. Fast forward to today and I now have a small bald spot in that same area of my scalp where the pain would occur. One day recently I was putzing around on the internet and I began to look up painful scalp, and what I found was A M A Z I N G! Not only is this something that is very common (unfortunately), but it’s something that men and women alike experience regardless of race. The vast majority experienced hair loss with the pain while some did not experience hair loss, just the intense scalp pain. There are various terms to explain the condition:
- Trichodynia is a condition where the patient experiences a painful sensation on their scalp. The pain sometimes is described as burning. Trichodynia often is associated with hair loss, but some studies show it has no connection to hair loss. Often there is an underlying psycho-somatic cause, such as stress, depression or anxiety.
- Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. There are several patterns of natural and disease related hair loss. Hair loss may also be caused by several drugs and medications.
Types of Hair Loss and Symptoms
- The commonest type of hair loss is male-pattern baldness. This type of hair loss is typically caused by the effects of hormones. This is also termed androgenic or androgenetic alopecia as the cause lies in androgens of male sex hormones. There is a pattern of receding hairline along with thinning of hair over the crown.
- Female pattern baldness – there is thinning of hair over the top of the head.
- Alopecia areata – this is also termed patchy baldness as there are patches of baldness that come and go. This may commonly affect teenagers and young adults but may affect a person of any age. Alopecia areata is commonly caused due to a problem in the immune system. The condition may sometimes run in families.
- Scarring alopecia – this is mainly caused after a scar over the skin. This type of alopecia is called cicatricial alopecia. The hair follicles that hold the roots of the hair may be completely destroyed. This means that the hair would not grow back at the areas affected. Some diseases and disorders also cause scarring alopecia. These include lichen planus, injury, discoid lupus etc.
- Anagen effluvium is a more widespread hair loss that may affect the whole body apart from the scalp. This is caused most commonly due to cancer chemotherapy.
- Telogen effluvium – leads to thinning of hair all over the body rather than baldness in patches. This may be the result of stress of some medications.
Having read all of this and how common it is, it made me feel a lot better. For one, I know I’m not alone, and for two, I now know what to look for in myself to figure out the causes. One of the biggest causes for hair loss besides heredity is STRESS. Thinking back when I first noticed the pain in my scalp, I can’t remember being stressed, but I also have a tendency to internalize my feelings too. Because the pain would come and go so randomly, I began to ignore it over time. I have a high pain tolerance as it is and I think I became used to it.
In addition to seeking medical attention by visiting a dermatologist, there are natural hair treatments for painful scalp and hair loss such as gentle scalp massages, being gentle with your hair and not pulling it or styling it too tightly, being mindful of the products you use such as your shampoos and the ingredients used in them. Pumpkin seed oil is a good natural oil that is known to help with growing hair and healing the skin, Finger detangling instead of using a comb will cause less friction damage to your hair. Protective styling as much as possible and keeping your hands out of your hair will help too.
Another key thing I need to do is keep my dandruff under control. I’ve always had a problem with dandruff since I was little, and mom used Sulfur 8 shampoo and scalp conditioner. I think I will go back to that as well as use rosemary and tea tree natural oils, and stick to a natural hair care routine. The information is out there people and research is KEY! Now that I know what I’m working with I’m going to keep a careful eye on my condition. If it worsens (the bald spot gets bigger or other symptoms develop) my next step will definitely be a trip to the dermatologist. Most importantly, you’re not alone!
Have you experienced painful scalp and or hair loss? What did you do for it? Please leave a comment below!