Why Does My Hair Hurt? Here’s Why

Ever find yourself asking, “Why does my hair hurt?” You’re not imagining it, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You can genuinely feel pain in your hair, and it’s not an illusion or an anomaly.

Various hair care habits are the usual suspects behind this pain. You might have to alter some of your techniques and cut out some of your styling choices, at least for a little while. It never hurts to give your hair a rest from something you do all the time, whether that’s wearing your hair a certain way or using too much of a particular product.


Here’s Why Your Hair Hurts

Why does my hair hurt? It’s a question I ask myself every time I wear my hair in the same hairstyle day after day, after I smoosh my hair by lying on it a particular way, and sometimes when I’m sick.

Before I talk about the specific reasons, let’s talk about the anatomy behind the pain you feel. Whenever your hair hurts, the pain starts in your scalp. The blood vessels leading there become inflamed, and that inflammation floods straight into the nerves of your hair follicles.

The resulting ache travels from your scalp to the roots of your hair all the way down the shaft of each strand. Now, let’s get down to why your hair hurts and what you can do to change it.

#1: A Too-Tight Coif

Ponytails with top

Hairstyles that pull your hair tightly are the main reasons that your hair hurts. Ponytails worn high and tight are especially severe, but any ponytail worn in the same place and cause pain.

Braids and cornrows are culprits, too, as are high updos. Those hairstyles pull your follicles and, over time, can even cause damage. That’s when your hair starts to hurt in earnest.

You can still wear these styles, but limit it to two or three times a week and give your hair a break at some point during the day or night. You risk hair loss via traction alopecia if you ignore the pain.

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#2: Dry Shampoo Overdo

Dry Shampoo use

Dry shampoo is a lifesaver for anyone who has oily hair. It’s also the perfect solution for a no ‘poo lifestyle—you can breathe life into second, third, or even fourth-day hair. However, too much dry shampoo can cause residue to get all caked up in your hair follicles, which not only causes pain but can also impede growth and lead to itching and inflammation.


#3: Over-Wash Watch

Cleaning your hair

Over-washing is just as damaging as under-washing. When you do either, you run the risk of upsetting the pH balance in your hair. Cleaning your hair too much causes your scalp to dry out, which can lead to flaking. Click here to know how often you should wash your hair.


#4: To-Dye-For

Recently, I had to talk to my stylist about my scalp, so I asked her straight out, “Why does my hair hurt, Joy?” She informed me that the regularity with which I have my hair bleached and dyed is probably a factor.

Bleach is a particularly nefarious culprit, but even regular hair color can make your hair hurt. Here’s a tip: adding Sweet ‘n Low to your dye can help the pH levels to stay within a healthy, normal range.


#5: Migraine Madness

Migraines can make your hair hurt, too. Sadly, there’s not much you can do for that. Normal stimuli suddenly become painful because of your migraine, such as wearing a hat or even washing your hair. Like your headache itself, you have to wait for it to pass.

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I found out why my hair hurts. Why does your hair hurt?

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