Everything You Should Know About Sensitive Scalp 


Find out the causes of scalp pain and learn how to deal with the problems associated with a sensitive scalp, with tips and advice from our experts.

1. What causes scalp pain?
2. What are the symptoms of a sensitive scalp?
3. How to treat a sensitive scalp?
4. When to see a doctor?

Styling appliances and products can help you get gorgeous hair. However, it also gives rise to hair damage. Along with your hair, there’s something else that shares the agony—your scalp. You might want to sport a high ponytail, but that will cause a lot of scalp pain. And if you have a sensitive scalp, we highly recommend that you refrain from experimenting with your mane. Interestingly, over 60% of women and 40% of men have sensitive scalps for varying reasons. 

‘Reactive’, ‘hyper-reactive’, ‘intolerant’, and ‘irritable skin’ are some of the synonyms used for a sensitive scalp. It is quite an ordeal, and when you aren’t aware of how to deal with the condition, it only adds to the ensuing chaos. But your hair help is on its way. Let’s see what causes scalp pain and how to treat sensitive scalp without further ado.

What causes scalp pain?

Understanding the underlying causes of sensitive scalp will help you choose the right treatment. Although, you’ll know when your scalp starts hurting, some sensitive scalp causes are listed below:

  • Skin disorders:

Scalp pain is characterised by general inflammation of the skin. This occurs mostly due to skin disorders like dermatitis. Apart from an itchy rash and swollen skin, blisters, flakes, or crusts can also follow in the worst-case scenario. Usually, these symptoms are triggered when you are exposed to ordinary, everyday things like certain metals and soaps, water, laundry detergents, cosmetic or hair products, and even pollution.

  • Infestations:

Scalp pain can also occur due to lice infestations. It might affect you under the garb of flakes or dandruff with the regular itchiness, or can cause red bumps that crust or ooze. Yikes! 

  • Infections:

Infections of the hair follicles like folliculitis, carbunculosis, and furunculosis can make your scalp sensitive. Moreover, these infections can be painful, or feel sore or warm to touch. Fungal infections like tinea capitis and tinea versicolour are quite common in children, and can cause scalp sensitivity and *hair loss. 

  • Headaches:

As if headaches weren’t annoying enough, scalp pain makes it worse. Tension, headache, anxiety, depression, and stress can also trigger scalp pain.

  • Climatic conditions: 

Sensitive scalp can also occur due to excessive heat or cold. 

  • Chemicals:

Your scalp might react to the chemicals present in certain soaps, cosmetics, or medicines.

  • Hormonal changes:

Pregnancy, menopause, hormonal changes or menstrual cycle can also cause a sensitive scalp.

What are the symptoms of a sensitive scalp?

Keep an eye out for these symptoms of a sensitive scalp that serve as a warning sign:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Dryness

If you are already dealing with dandruff, these symptoms can get worse as the constant scratching can damage the scalp’s surface further. 

 How to treat a sensitive scalp? 

There’s no permanent cure for a sensitive scalp. Usually, the conditions disappear on their own, but sometimes, you’ll need some necessary cleaning and care to ensure that your scalp stays healthy. It is often believed that sensitive scalp can be treated with natural oils, vinegar, or simply by staying hydrated. But contrary to popular opinion, these techniques do not alleviate the symptoms of a sensitive scalp. In fact, the more you keep the actual treatment on the back burner, the more scalp pain you’ll experience. 

Instead, stay mindful of the hair products you use, which will help prevent any flare-up and keep scalp pain at bay. Here are some simple steps you can take to treat sensitive scalp:

  • Choose the right shampoo:

Unfortunately, given your scalp condition, regular shampoos will only worsen the symptoms. But there are sensitive scalp shampoos that are designed specifically to perform their functions without hurting your scalp. Thank goodness for science! If that’s the kind of shampoo you want, try Head & Shoulders Clean & Balanced Shampoo.

This shampoo presents you with seven major benefits: fights dry scalp, calms itchy scalp, relieves irritation, reduces redness, great scent, controls flaky scalp, and leaves hair looking great. Moreover, this shampoo is formulated with Head & Shoulders’ NEW Fresh Scent Technology for an improved in-shower scent experience. Also, this shampoo gives you hair that is soft, manageable, looks gorgeous and 100% dandruff-free*.

  • Try specially-formulated treatments:

There are certain hair products designed to suit sensitive scalp, and then there are those that help control the condition. This is where specially-formulated treatments step in. For this purpose, give Head & Shoulders Clinically Proven Solutions Scalp Relief Shampoo a try. 

This shampoo is formulated using selenium sulphide and is clinically proven to control itching and flaking. It fights flakes, dryness, and tight scalp, and gets rid of severe dandruff as well. The gentle formula makes it suitable for everyday use and leaves your hair clean and refreshed. Moreover, the gentle moisturisers give you healthy-looking hair that smells great.

While these shampoos work incredibly well, you need to make a few changes to your hair care routine like using lukewarm water to wash your hair, combing gently, and not sharing your comb with anyone else. These baby steps will go a long way in protecting your sensitive scalp.

When to see a doctor? 

It’s advisable to visit a dermatologist, if your scalp continues to itch despite the precautionary measures and the sensitive scalp shampoos you use. The symptoms can get severe, and your scalp can get inflamed or sore. 

Yes, a sensitive scalp acts as a roadblock when it comes to styling your hair. But, with scalp-sensitive shampoos and hair products, and some TLC, you can bring things under control. Your scalp health is vital since it determines your hair health, so that you can flaunt hair that feels good looks good. 

(* visible flakes, with regular use)

*All references on this page refers to hair fall or hair loss due to breakage.