Painful hair


Painful hair is one of the most commonly discussed topics, outside the medical world - that is within the sphere of hairdresser's salons and between friends.
Recently, one reader came to us with the question "why is my hair so painful sometimes ?"

Hair itself is an inert matter, it does not have nerve termination so we could not possibly "feel it".
However, its roots deep in the scalp skin, do have nerve terminations, and these termination will send impulses to the brain.

With the exception of obvious dermal trauma or of specific dermatological conditions or of hair transplant, when the skin was traumatized by the formation of slits or by the insertion of punches, there are just several cases when "hair may feel painful".

According to PHS, <the sensation of "painful hair" on the parietal area (top of the head), is a temporary condition caused by and has several causes, described below.
The most common causes of painful scalp skin at the based of the hair, mostly labelled as "hair pain", is caused several factors such as prolonged forced mechanical positioning of the hair with the help of a bandana or a Carmen set or even when, after showering, we go to bed with moist hair.
The torsion force temporarily rearranges the natural direction of the hair strands, in the dermal layer.
The fine muscles in the dermal layers tend to resist to the torsion force and re-position the strands in their natural direction.
The pressure exerted on the nerve terminals leads to the sensation of a tender scalp skin, which is labelled as hair pain.
In specific cases, especially at men, this temporary and reversible hair pain can signal a sudden and quick, strictly localized, short term associated effluvium that might occur in the course of the same or next day.
In other words, when you have hair pain, you might observe more hair loss than usual, especially on the parietal area.
The most pertinent theory about the relation between hair pain and the associated effluvium based on the fact that the muscle of the hair is forced for a long period of time to re-position the strand and this might influence the blood supply around the follicle, leading to a temporary poor blood supply in the follicle itself.
Normally, the painful hair or the painful scalp symptoms should disappear within 48 to 72 hours.
If it persists more than a week, the pain might be cause by the infestation with the ring worm (Tinea capilitis) or other parasites.>
The article in its original form goes on to talk about what a person with painful hair can do about the problem.

Generally, if the problem lasts for several consecutive days, it might be a good idea to consult a trichologist or a  dermatologist.
A dermatologist has the necessary know-how to detect issues and can perform a more appropriate verification of the problem, by using scalp dermoscopy to check for possible ingrown hairs or skin diseases such as perifollicular epidermis, lichen planpilaris or an idiopathic / atypical telogen effluvium.
As mentioned above, under normal conditions, the painful hair issue should not be a major cause of concern, but more of an issue of healthy hair care and good handling.


Credits & thanks to ké and to Dr. Antonio Alcaide Martin, specialist dermatologist at BHR Clinic Spain.


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