For many women, a sore scalp and hair loss go hand in hand. As if the hairloss wasn’t enough, a sore, sometimes burning, irritated scalp enters the picture. Or, the hair loss comes after experiencing a sore scalp for awhile.
One of my readers asked about scalp soreness and hair loss earlier this month, and I promised her I’d do some digging. I know plenty of fabulous women in the hair loss community so I asked them for their take on it. Many of the women have experienced a sore, painful scalp during their hairloss journeys. I asked them what causes it (to the best of their knowledge) and what their experiences were like with it. Because I have not experienced this myself, I’ve asked their permission to copy and paste their responses so that you can read feedback “direct” from them. I’ve corrected some instances of grammar or spelling errors, but all of these experiences are as true-to-form as possible in hopes that this will help some of you!
“It could be LPP or subcutaneous lupus. I had a red, bumpy, HOT scalp the first 9 months of hair loss. That’s the reason I did 3 biopsies. It gets hotter as the day goes on. With a negative result from biopsies it is then considered in your head and they want to put you on Elavil. They do believe it is psychological (derms) even though we damn well know it’s not. Or is it? I’m just so glad it gone. I wanted to die it was so awful.”
“It could also be something as simple as Seborrheic Dermatitis which is totally treatable, or an allergic reaction to something that she needs to remove from her house or diet… has she seen a derm?”
“I was also tested for scarring alopecia which can cause scalp redness and burning.”
“Sometimes if the hair loss is rapid or in times of heavy shedding, there can be scalp pain like tingling or burning. I had that – it was like I could feel every follicle! I never found anything that helped, it just went away when the shedding slowed down.”
“My scalp hurts all the time. I can hardly brush my hair. Although its like a soreness. Feels like bruising. It gets better when I take anti-inflammatories but [the relief] never lasts. I was given a steroid to put on it but never really used it because it was messy. I don’t know what’s wrong with me except that I was told I have fibromyalgia. I’m also being tested for some other stuff because my joints are all inflamed.”
“I suffered with burning scalp, as well as pain and soreness. This was in the beginning of my hair loss or when I first began to notice it. I came here for help. A friend told me to buy Nizoral shampoo (hard to find, try Amazon) and wash whenever I felt it, and also take 1-2 Benadryl. It really helped me. There were times the shampoo was enough. I was so thankful to her for this, I’m happy to share and hope it helps her.”
“I have Lichen Planopilaris, which is an autoimmune disorder. If someone has redness and an itchy scalp with hair loss, those are the symptoms. Treatment is low dose antibiotic (similar to what is used to treat acne) and topical steroids. I think the earlier you catch it the better. If someone is having these symptoms, they should get a scalp biopsy and try to see a derm who is a hair loss specialist.”
“Felt like sunburn and poison ivy on my head at the same time. No diagnosis, but after an ER visit docs recommended that I try Benadryl when the flare-ups happened. I did and it helped.”
“Lauren, I just read all the comments and there are now two of us where benadryl helped. I was shedding 300-500 hairs a day (150-200 in my bed when I would wake up and then non-stop watershed during the day. Once the shed slowed (3 + months) I didn’t have so many of these unbearable attacks. I also tried tea tree oil on my scalp at night. Benadryl seemed to help the most.”
“For me it was hormones….going on birth control and synthroid leveled my hormones and stopped the scalp pain!”
Potential Remedies for a Sore Scalp with Hair Loss in Women
It seems many women have had success with Benadryl (I can see how that might help with an itchy scalp, or an inflamed one) as well as with Nizoral shampoo. The Nizoral is actually an anti-dandruff shampoo and can help with the same symptoms the Benadryl does: itchy scalp and inflamation.
From what I understand, these symptoms can be devastating…for less than $20 for these two products, I would definitely try them out.
What have your experiences been with scalp pain? Do you tend to have an itchy scalp with your hair loss, or is it more of a burning, bruised or sore sensation?