Hair Restoration Blog

"Burning Scalp Syndrome”―What Is and How Can It Be Treated
June 30 2021

"Burning Scalp Syndrome”―Updated After the COVID Pandemic

Have you ever woken up to a painful and irritated scalp? You gently touch your head, but it feels like you’ve stuck it in an oven, or like the follicles of your hair have turned into lit match heads. Burning Scalp Syndrome is no joke, and it can have painful consequences if left untreated. Here’s what you need to know about this painful condition.

Causes of Burning Scalp Syndrome

Burning Scalp Syndrome has not been fully researched by scientists, but researchers do have some theories on what may cause it. The theories break down into two major theories, and it’s important to look at both to have an idea of what may be causing your particular problem. Let’s take a look at both theories.

  • Theory 1: Follicles send “pain” signals
    • In the first theory, researchers believe that empty hair follicles may be perceiving the lack of hair as a pain signal. This results in the feeling of pain all over the scalp.
  • Theory 2: Extra sensitive nerves
    • Another theory is that the nerves in the scalp are extra sensitive, so normal behaviors like tying up your hair can cause symptoms.

Talk to a Trichologist

Before Burning Scalp Syndrome, sometimes called trichodynia, can be diagnosed, a trichologist should evaluate you for other problems. Trichology refers to a field of dermatology that is focused on the scalp. Having a healthy scalp is necessary for having healthy hair growth. An experienced trichologist will conduct a thorough trichology test of your scalp, getting a better sense of what’s going on.

Many skin diseases can cause the same symptoms, as can specific causes such as burning your scalp with a blow dryer, or excess pulling from styling.

Only after the scalp has been evaluated for skin conditions, and the hair care routine examined to make sure chemical burns or styling techniques are not the cause, can trichodynia be considered.

Common Triggers

Your mental health and your skin share an intricate relationship. When you are depressed, or going through a traumatic life experience, these things can reflect in your hair and scalp. If you have never experienced scalp burning before, but suddenly do after a stressful life event, the event itself might be the cause. Stress, anxiety, and depression are common symptoms of the pandemic caused by COVID. Because of these issues caused burning scalp before, the pandemic made these symptoms more prevalent and brought up more cases of burning scalp syndrome.

Stress management techniques can help. Although you may need to plan out life farther ahead, live one day at a time, and only take actionable steps for that one day. Talk therapy, practicing mindfulness, and daily quiet time can also help ease these symptoms.

Another common trigger for scalp burning is drugs. Certain drugs can cause scalp burning. If you notice the symptoms start after you have started a new medication, consider talking to your doctor about a change in prescription.

Burning scalp syndrome is a painful condition with a multitude of possible causes. If you are suffering from a burning scalp and need help, talk to your doctor. Help might be as simple as a medication adjustment or a yoga class away. While it might seem silly that these things can bring relief, your skin has an odd way of showing when it is under stress. By taking the time to take care of your scalp, you may be able to find the relief you need quickly and effectively.

At New Look Institute, we put a big emphasis on trichology and seek to underscore everything we do in the proper understanding of trichological principles. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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