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Why does greasy hair make my scalp ache?

Apisums asks…I wash my hair every morning. If I skip washing my hair one morning, it’s not only greasy looking, but by the afternoon/ evening my scalp actually begins to hurt. It’s like a headache on the crown of my head that just gets worse and worse until I wash my hair. After reading all of the articles out there about how washing every day can be damaging, I tried for a while to get by with shampooing every other day. On the off days I tried just using conditioner, or just using water and scritching my scalp in the shower, or not wetting it at all and just using dry shampoo. I had varying levels of success with these, but still, by the end of any day that I didn’t use shampoo, my head would be killing me. No one that I’ve ever mentioned this to has ever experienced similar aching. Any clue what this is, and what I can do to avoid it?

The Beauty Brains respond: 

Wow, that’s an interesting question! I don’t have any solid answers but I do have two guesses:

1. If you have long hair and you’re pulling your hair back into a pony tail or bun on the days when you don’t shampoo, the pressure caused by the weight of your hair could cause a headache.

2. A greasy scalp is a breeding ground for a specific fungus called Malassezia furfur. The fungus feeds on the oils and releases free fatty acids which can irritate your scalp. I’ve never heard of this irritation manifesting itself in the form of a headache but, like I said, this is just a guess.

Post script: Apisums responded to my original answer in our Forum:

“Thanks for the response! My hair is somewhat long and having it pulled up definitely makes it worse, but the ache is different from the ache i get from heavy buns. It’s more like individual spots on the scalp that become incredibly sore, even if my hair is down. I suppose I simply need to accept that it’s my destiny to be a daily-shampooer.”

Have you experienced the greasy hair headache? Leave a comment if you have any suggestions for Apisums.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • jaann January 24, 2014, 8:13 am

    I get that from time to time, but I don’t remember if it’s because of greasy hair… though I suppose it does ring a bell. I have long-ish hair and I also usually wash my hair every day.

    When it happens, even letting my greasy hair down is just temporary relief. Moving the hair around hurts at the roots. Shampooing makes it feel better.

    • S. Viera February 29, 2016, 7:20 pm

      I also experience the same kind of pain, when I don’ t wash my hair. At least I know that I am not the only one. When I mention this to people they say its mentally, but I don’t think so.

  • breezy January 24, 2014, 10:45 am

    I get this sometimes! My hair is short, and I round-brush blow dry it every day. I think that on mornings that I don’t wash it until the afternoon it tries to hold the shape of the blow dry (or even holding a kink from my pillow), causing it to hurt. It’s kind of like having long hair up in a ponytail but without the physical hair tie.

  • ll January 24, 2014, 11:04 am

    Yes! This happens to me, too! I have shoulder length fine hair, but a lot of it. Like jaann, moving the hair around hurts at the roots. I didn’t think about it as being connected to second day hair, but that is totally it. Who knew?! No solutions other than washing it to offer here.

    • jen April 15, 2015, 3:32 pm

      Yes, I have the same thing going on. My hair is very thin and shoulder length. If I don’t wash it everyday my scalp right in the crown area hurts. If I move my hair or if the wind blows it, it akes and is tender.

      • Kelly August 20, 2015, 11:21 pm

        I’ve had the exact same thing for the last 12 months and it’s progressively getting worse. I’m trying lots of different shampoos to try and relieve the pain but no luck yet 🙁 My hair is my natural colour, about 2 inches below my shoulders and average thickness. It really has an effect on my life!!

        • Metoo October 4, 2015, 11:20 pm

          I have the same thing and have been trying for over 3 years to figure out what it is and how to manage it. I have had no luck and wondering if I should go to a dermatologist – again. The scalp looks totally fine. When I scratch the spots they flake but it is not a dandruff type of flake. The bumps hurt a lot and it is more than just me suffering, it is also my daughter. I feel as if I have tried everything!!! I have also wondered if it is an allergic reaction to something. I am only allergic to types of mold though. If has affected my life as well. There has to be an answer.

          • Sarah January 15, 2016, 10:04 pm

            Hey!! My scalp used to hurt like this…not often and only if I went like 4 days without shampooing, but I got it to go completely away doing this (coincidentally, not for this reason, but to go to a natural shampoo).
            When I got pregnant, I wanted to get rid of chemicals in my body. I switched to 365 shampoo as it is free of parabens, fragrance…and more! Simply based on my desire to also stay more physically active, I started swimming twice a week. Those combined efforts are what I believe helped reset the oil production on my head. I could go like 7 days not washing (I had just had a baby, so don’t judge) until I would see any trace that my hair looked greasy!! I write this now after having used Herbal Essence once or twice and now my head is KILLING me–my scalp aches and I washed my hair 2 days ago. I am going back to my old process and back on natural shampoo ASAP!!!

          • Emerald June 14, 2016, 11:25 am

            I’m a cosmetologist. I believe it’s due to the sebaceous glands being sensitive the oils has clogged the pores and shampooing the hair it’s releasing the oils that clogged the pores on the scalp. While sleeping at night the head moves and it’s excrets more oil. Shampooing the hair releases the pressure of the build up. That’s just my anlysis.

          • Randy Schueller June 14, 2016, 3:05 pm

            Very interesting theory but I haven’t seen any evidence to support the idea that oil pressure in the follicle stimulates pain receptors. I wonder if it could be the free fatty acids irritating the nerve endings.

          • Cheri March 22, 2017, 8:52 am

            Sounds like a yeast infection on scalp and possibly a bacterial infection down in follicles. After 7 years – yes I said 7, I was just diagnosed with both put on an anti biotic and anti yeast pills. I also have a toxic mold problem in my house that was just discovered & am in the midst of fixing. I am also very allergic to mold. Go to a teaching hospital and ask for a scalp scraping to look for yeast ( there’s a long fancy name for it that starts w letter M). A regular derm will not test for this but they won’t tell you that, that’s why I’ve suffered so long! My scalp also burns in spots & ive lost 1/2 of it!! Good luck…

          • Cheri March 22, 2017, 8:59 am

            It’s a bacterial infection in your follicles and it a yeast infection on scalp. After 7 years, I was just diagnosed and put on 2 weeks antibiotic and 6 weeks (1 pill week) of Diflucan antifungal. I’ve also lost a significant amount of hair. Do yourelf a favor and go to a teaching hospital dermatologist. Regular Derm will NOT run test for the yeast. They’re not set up for it but teaching hospital is. Also do you happen to have mold issues at work or home or mold sensitivity? Also if you do, you should eliminate sugar and take a good probiotic! Best of luck

        • kay November 3, 2015, 2:05 am

          Baby powder is the answer. (Maybe talcum powder too, but I haven’t tried it). Just apply it by sprinkling it on the area of your scalp that is hurting. It is amazing, and I honestly don’t know what made me try it. Anyway, within an hour, it seems to adsorb excess grease and completely alleviate the discomfort. And the best part is, it will last for a day or two! Try it… you won’t believe it!!!

          • Tlc February 29, 2016, 9:34 pm

            Thank you so much for the baby powder suggestion. I have been living with this pain for awhile, but within the hour it has almost gone. I was so stressed. I can now relax thanks to you.

        • Maris March 11, 2016, 6:11 am

          I’m experiencing the same pain. Sometimes it feels like a sunburn but yeah, it hurts at the roots if I move it from side to side. Kills when I put it in a pony on top of my head when I go to bed. I’ve taken selfies of the top of my head to see if there’s any redness, bumps, lol… nothing there. 🙁
          I don’t wash my hair every day but my hair isn’t greasy or oily by any means but will try washing every day and see if that helps.
          Glad to hear I’m not alone 🙂 Thanks everyone for posting!

          • Laura April 29, 2016, 8:13 am

            Hey all. The greasy hair/hurting roots combo can be a classic example of androgenetic alopecia, aka genetic hair loss – something that can happen to women to a less radical degree (and goes often unnoticed until later stages). A strong sign of it is the increase of hair shedding and progressively thinner ponytails.
            I’d suggest an appointment with a trichologist (a dermatologist whose specialization is the hair and scalp) and ask for a root miniaturization test.
            And, if that is the case, there are some topical treatments that can be used to help slow/stop the process in combination with some androgen receptor inhibitor (such as spironolactone).
            Best of luck!

    • Vy December 23, 2016, 3:06 pm

      This happens to me as well!
      If I don’t pay attention to it, it will turn into migraines. Washing it almost instantly relieves it.
      I always thought it was because of the oil/buildup my hair got heavier than my head is used to. Even if you have long hair your scalp has gradually gotten used to the weight as it slowly grows, but when it gets greasy the buildup weighs it down much more/faster, and if you go a couple a days it’s like someone’s been pulling at your hair all day and it’s sore.. At least thats what I tell myself! Either way, just happy to know I’m not the only one.

  • S January 24, 2014, 11:06 am

    This happens to me as well, but I’ve always thought it was “just in my head!” Jaann described it well also–moving my hair at the roots hurts.

  • Eileen January 24, 2014, 12:08 pm

    I’ve had long hair all my life; anywhere from mid-back to waist length. I have also always had an oily scalp and so I shampoo daily unless circumstances prevent me from doing so. I use a mild shampoo and concentrate on the scalp. I am very gentle with the hair itself and don’t scrub at it or rough it up. My hair is in excellent condition; shiny and undamaged. So, if you need to shampoo every day, I say go for it! I don’t think it is the actual act of shampooing daily that is the culprit, rather it is using an overly vigorous method of shampooing or using a harsh shampoo that has given the daily shampoo a bum rap.

    Apropos the scalp pain, I know exactly what you’re talking about. It happens to me occasionally and only when I’ve skipped my daily shampoo. For me, it’s not a headache per se, rather it is a sensitivity in certain spots of my scalp. Jaann described it perfectly when she said that moving the hair around at the roots hurts but that shampooing gives relief. Bizarre!

    • Randy Schueller January 24, 2014, 12:50 pm

      It appears we’ve stumbled across an issue than many people have but few have articulated. Therefore, I say that the Beauty Brains community gets to name it!

      Here are a couple of options:

      Greasy Achy Scalp Syndrome (GASS)
      Hair Ickiness Can Cause Unusual Pain (HICCUP)
      Pain from Minimal Shampooing (PMS) I guess this one’s already taken.

      Does anyone else have any suggestions?

      • Cheri March 22, 2017, 9:14 am

        I’ve answered in a couple places here…
        After 7 years of the same symptoms plus significant hair loss, I found my way to a teaching hospital and was diagnosed with a yeast infection on scalp in addition to a bacterial infection deep in roots. I was put on 2 weeks antibiotic & 6 weeks 1x per week of anti fungal Diflucan pills. Do yourself a favor & skip regular dermatologists as most DO NOT test for fungus/yeast – they don’t have the resources but a “teaching hospital dermatologist” will. They are the big guns and have more training and technology! Also if you have a diet heavy on sugar & refined carbs, stop both, they feed yeast. Lastly, do you have mold issues in your home/office, you may also have a mold allergy with makes you more prone to the effects of fungus. Take a great probiotic too. I hope this helps save someone of the 7 years of Hell I’ve just gone through. My treatment results remain to be seen but at least someone listened FINALLY and identified what the problem is. Best of luck!! (PS if you’ve tried Head and Shoulders, TGel, Clebotsol, and they have made your head burn worse or your scaling worse, it is more than likely a yeast issue on scalp!!!

        • Patty November 21, 2017, 9:49 pm

          Thank you SO much Cheri!! I am going to find out if this is my problem too! It sounds like it could be. My hair has consistently gotten thinner and thinner over the past ten years and I’ve had the same achy scalp issue like everyone describes too! I’ve been paying closer attention to it and noticed it is worse when I haven’t washed for a day, or when ive I’ve eaten more junk than usual or drank soda all day. Now, thanks to you, I know what to ask when I go to the Dr. I’ve avoided it bc I feel stupid going in there saying my hair hurts! so I just wanted to say thank you !!

  • Sarah F. January 24, 2014, 8:26 pm

    No poo I have a headache. NPIHAHA. Sorry the acronym isn’t so catchy.

    • admin January 25, 2014, 12:56 am

      Actually I think the HA HA part is quite catchy!

  • N. January 24, 2014, 9:56 pm

    GASS! And I get that too. Actually it stopped a long time ago, curiously. So I’m not sure what did it, but it really hurt!


  • Daria January 25, 2014, 11:55 am

    Ahhh, I’m not the only one! I have shoulder length fine hair and it does hurt like hell when I skip my morning hair washing procedure. It just feels like all the grease and dust do not let my brain work. Washing hair as fast as I can usually help a lot, so I always thought that was a neat way my organism helped me be clean!

    ps. I also have a theory that massaging your head when you wash it helps to fight headache and the days you skip it the headache comes back (I have headaches often).

  • Rachel January 25, 2014, 4:13 pm

    I also get this… I have long, thick, straight hair and only shampoo/condition 2-3 times a week, but on occasion if I go a long time between washes (like 4 days) my scalp will ache at the top of my head where the hair is most oily… very strange.

  • somebimbo January 25, 2014, 5:14 pm

    YES! I encounter the same issue.
    So glad to know I’m not alone. I don’t shampoo daily but if I skip it for a few days, it’s terrible. This used to happen to me even before I developed dandruff.

    Maybe the roots get clogged up with oil, which slightly hardens and makes it hard for the hair to move, so it pinches on some nerves. I don’t even know if that’s scientifically plausible but since acne is caused partially by hardened oil in the pore, it’s possible that the hardened oil in the pores on the scalp could be somewhat inflammatory. Beauty Brains, tell me if I’m crazy.

    • Randy Schueller January 26, 2014, 7:00 pm

      Somebimbo: You’re not crazy but you’re not exactly right either. Excess sebum is a contributing factor to acne because it feeds the bacteria that can infect the pores. But the skin oil doesn’t “harden,” rather the follicle becomes clogged with dead skin cells because they don’t slough off properly.

  • Apisums January 26, 2014, 1:26 pm

    I’m so happy to find out that I’m not alone! I’ve wondered about the possibility of hardened oil in the roots too, but like somebimbo (haha) I also have no idea if that’s a real thing that could happen.

    Also, I’d like to place my vote for “GASS”. It feels right.

  • Sarah F. January 26, 2014, 8:40 pm

    I don’t get a headache but I feel itchy and uncomfortable by the end of the second day if I don’t bathe. Yuck.

    • Yumi January 16, 2017, 6:29 pm

      I have EXACT same issue… no ache though. I have a waist long thick hair, so I twist up-do most of the rimes, but stopped ponytail or tight bun which I used to do. Every night by the time I go to bed, my scalp so itchy, but NO Dandruff!!! I can’t find any shampoo to remedy my issue!!!
      Can somebody help?!

  • Julz January 27, 2014, 12:50 am

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one experiencing this! Like others have said it sometimes feels like the roots are painful when the hair is moved, but the headache also often feels like an inflammatory response, and seems to go along with my face feeling hot and flushed and oily along with an aching head until I can wash my hair. As others have mentioned it does almost feel like an inflammatory response. Any ideas beauty brains? ??

    • Randy Schueller January 27, 2014, 7:24 am

      It could be a reaction to a build up of oleic acid from the excess sebum.

  • rozy January 28, 2014, 7:47 pm

    I’ll call it PMS!

  • Joni January 30, 2014, 5:21 pm

    This used to happen to me all the time! I have long, thick hair. I’m trying to think what I’ve changed, since it hasn’t happened in a while…

    I wash my hair every other day. Daily is too often, but less often leads to very oily scalp, which will bring on the pain.

    I think the biggest change I’ve made is blow-drying my hair straight, starting at the top. (I get really weird cow-licks otherwise.) I used to let my hair air dry, but now I much prefer the sleeker, straighter look. My scalp doesn’t get achy like it used to. Perhaps those two things are related some how?

    • Michael December 17, 2015, 1:58 pm

      Thanks to your comment, I found that brushing my hair straight, starting at the top, fixes the problem. I use a plastic brush with a low number of combs. With my hair dry, I brush hard on to the scalp while straightening the hair forward. It’s good to brush, especially if you don’t wash your hair with shampoo.

      I also blow-dry my hair after showering with water, but it seems that isn’t enough for me. Maybe it’s because of the direction I blow-dry, to speed up the drying. I think I will stick to blow-drying my hair faster, and then brushing afterwards or the next day, when it hurts again.

  • Shrvmom February 17, 2014, 12:09 am

    I have that REALLY bad. I have just below the shoulder length thick curly hair but mostly wear it straight. I have to have it thinned every time I go to the salon and my hairdresser doesn’t do it enough to suit me. Sometimes even shampooing doesn’t make the pain stop. It’s like my body is punishing me for not washing it every day. But with thick, nappy hair, the whole process is time consuming and tiring. Wish I had an answer. I’ve grown my hair out and cut it back to chin length twice before just to get rid of pain. And just had it cut and thinned and still hurts. Maybe I’ll have to start washing it twice a day until the pain subsides then back to every day?

  • Azi July 13, 2014, 5:27 pm

    I have read that scalp soreness when you miss one day of shampooing is linked to hypothyroidism.

  • Ginger August 21, 2014, 1:29 pm

    This is way late, but I’d like to share my ideas:

    1) Similar to what some of the others have said, some of us get pimples or some kind of folliculitis if we skip washing for a day or two.

    I’ll get at least a few VERY sore and itchy spots whenever my scalp is greasy; maybe some of you get a ton, leaving the entire scalp sensitive.

    2) For people like Daria:

    I have daily migraine. For me, nothing really alleviates them better than a long, steamy shower. Some people instead use ice packs or take cold showers, but showing is a common way to relieve the pain. In some people, either hot or cold showers can be a trigger.

    Either way, it seems that showering can affect migraine. Can it affect other headache pain, too? If so, maybe spending more time in the shower or running water over your head might be the difference in a headache v. non-headache day.

    • Apryl October 22, 2014, 6:55 am

      I’m coming in late to the game, too, but my hair’s not been this long since the 3rd grade =0,

      When I moved to Provence, the dry climate, enjoyable rosés, and my growing number of years have contributed to dehydration–the result is frequent migraines.

      Whether or not it’s related to our hair length, drink plenty Plenty PLENTY of fresh water! Santé!

  • Kim August 22, 2014, 3:23 am

    I’ve searched the internet for months looking for a solution and this is the first time I’ve seen anyone even recognize this problem!

    I hate washing my hair, mostly because of the time it takes to dry and style it (it’s long and thick and wavy), so I go as long as possible without doing it. I always end up washing it by about day 5 or 6 though solely because of the scalp pain. It gets worse when I pull my hair up into a ponytail or bun, and the pain/itching is limited to the crown of my head. It always goes away when I wash, though it sometimes still lingers for a few hours afterwards.

    Maybe I should just be less lazy and wash my hair more. 🙂 but if anyone figures out the problem and a solution I’d love to hear it!

    • Victoria Martinez October 16, 2015, 3:56 pm

      This is the first time I’ve ever come across this on the internet – I thought I was crazy or something. I’ve had this problem for quite some time…decade or so; however, I recently had a child and it seemed to get worse. This could be attributable to the fact that I have less time to dedicate to myself so I don’t wash my hair often enough. I have the same problem, greasy scalp which will get sore and tender, mainly around the crown, puss filled pustules, and what I can only figure is some weird form of dandruff. I hate how much my scalp hurts and am very tired of trying remedies and spending countless dollars on shampoos/treatments. Sigh…at least I can find a little solace in that I am not the only one.

    • Shana November 24, 2015, 6:07 pm

      Hiya Kim l too hate washing my hair, but because l was washing it when my grandad passed away. Now like you l go days without washing it, but too like you l am in agony with my scalp. At the mo l have hair to my waist which only grew that long after closing my mom 3 years ago. She always cut it for me, so after loosing her never being to a hairdressers l let it grow. I was so glad to read l am not alone. I can’t find a cure to overcome my panic of washing my hair, have you???
      Take care Shana x

      • Sue May 22, 2016, 8:25 am

        Hi Shana
        You sound like you could have more than one issue and would most likely benefit from counselling to alleviate your feelings regarding washing your hair. I get the scalp pain too when my hair needs washing. Do yourself a favour and go tell your Dr and ask for counselling help.

  • Charlotte August 26, 2014, 7:22 pm

    I get this every day! I washed my hair this morning, and it already looks greasy and my scalp aches. I tend to wash my hair every other day, so about three times a week. But the morning after washing my hair, it looks too greasy to have loose, and my scalp hurts in a headache form. If you have found a solution please let me know!x

  • amyboo August 31, 2014, 11:32 am

    I get this all tge time its so annoying but as soon as I start to feel my head hurt I wash it and it goes away I have no idea of what it can be either..

  • melanie September 5, 2014, 9:03 pm

    Hi all. I’ve come across this thread as I started with this month’s ago. The feeling is like someone has grabbed a handful of hair and pulled it and your left with the pain when it’s moved or brushed? Mine started to go like this and after a while I started getting itchy if I didn’t wash it. If I put up with the itch I develop spots. I’ve sometimes noticed u bleed when I scratch the itch and hit a spot. I think the shampoos are to blame. And conditioners make it worse. I itch now after using conditioner so only on the roots it goes. Well my daughter who is 8 has beautiful long blonde hair. I noticed when I washed it her roots still looked greasy just after shampoo so I tried nutrigloss LIGHT. Both shampoo and conditioner. For her this WORKED! no greasiness after shampooing. It helps for me but I still get the itch not so much the greasy gunky feeling although it does get greasy. I found that a strict every 2 day wash helps but yes, we need to find out if a new ingredient has been added to them. All we ever see is “for greasy hair” “for dry or damaged” and my favourite “for softer hair”! Are there any out there which actually CLEANS hair to take away the muck or are they all there just competing with adding ingredients and more chemicals to get what they claim? Dry hair? Well it needs something to keep moisture in, greasy needs a chemical to take grease away and to get softer hair it needs what?. !

    • Julie F February 11, 2015, 1:22 pm

      You might want to try a clarifying shampoo. I have used them in the past (though not recently) but I believe they are supposed to get all the gunk out of your hair.

  • Jayna September 6, 2014, 11:59 pm

    I have the same issue, and have had it for years, but here’s what I noticed:

    -If I wash my hair more often, than the pain is more frequent. If I make my scalp get used to going days between washes, then the pain doesn’t come as often, or goes away all together.

    -When I went off shampoo completely, I didn’t notice the pain between washes at all. I was washing with baking soda and vinegar, which rocked my hair world. It made it soft and shiny, and accentuated strawberry blond highlights, BUT I ran out of vinegar and had to borrow my sister’s dandruff shampoo a couple days ago. Well yesterday I got the flu, so today I stayed in bed all day with my hair in a ponytail. When I got up, I put it in a bun while I made myself some food and left it up for about an hour. Five minutes ago, it hurt so bad I had to move the bun to adjust the hair, and eventually take it down. This wasn’t the pain you get from having a hairstyle too tight, it feels like a group of bees or needles stinging your scalp in, for me, the top right side.

    There is a giant cowlick behind the crown of my head in about the same spot, and what fixed the pain for me without washing it, was arranging my hair in the direction of the cowlick. That means that right now, I have a clockwise shaped tidal pool of hair flowing from the back of my head. Hair that usually hangs down in the back of my head is now covering my right eye; hair that is usually tucked behind my ear, is sticking out in front of my ears.

    In my opinion, shampoo is to blame.

    • Apryl October 22, 2014, 6:58 am

      This is exactly what I’m dealing with. (Seriously, where was I before google?!!)

      Please rock our world with your vinegar & baking soda magic! What’s the combination?

      • Stacia February 8, 2015, 7:40 pm

        I wash my hair every day. I have very short and very fine hair, but a lot of it. It’s always been very oily, so I have always felt that I have to wash it every day just to look decent. I heard about NoPoo from a friend and tried it this past December. I did it for six weeks and then I ran out of baking soda and apple cider vinegar, so I, out of laziness, went back to regular shampoo and conditioner. Now I find myself googling about scalp pain and discovering that it is due to shampoo. So I guess I will be going back to my NoPoo. This is how I do it… I mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with warm water in a squirtable container. I apply the mixture right at the roots of my hair after wetting in the shower. Then I rub my scalp for a minute or so until I feel like I have worked the baking soda all through my scalp and hair. And I rinse it out. Then I mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of raw honey with warm water. Again, I apply the mixture to my roots and then work it through my hair, massaging my scalp. And rinse again. This leaves my hair clean, healthy, shiny, easy to manage, and with more volume. My sister has very thick, curly hair. She tried the same process and her curls were soft and shiny and easy to manage as well. So I think it works for most, if not all, hair types. It seems to bring your hair back to its natural, healthiest State.

  • emmy September 8, 2014, 9:54 pm

    Usually I have greasy hair and it has to be washed everyday. I have a pixie cut so the hair is really short . The day before I had washed my hair n straightened it I don’t know what about my hair that it’s just so oily. I woke up the next morning with greasy hair but I decided to re flat iron my hair n spend the rest of the day like that. Then I noticed when my hair was at it’s most greasy point that I had a pain on the crown of my head as if it’s been in a tight pony tail all day. I believe the hair being greasy made it hurt. So again I have a pixy haircut and I had so much pain at the crown of my head it’s so crazy to know that I had to wash my hair as soon as I got home for the pain to go away.

  • ddoll September 10, 2014, 1:03 am

    I have the same pain, like someone pulled my hair. This was something I thought I had solved years ago. I have very thick and coarse hair. It used to be very long and when I pulled it into a ponytail it would hurt by the end of the day. A solution was to French braid the hair which distributed the tension evenly throughout my scalp. But mostly I just wouldn’t put it into a ponytail. But for the last year my hair has been short and now it just hurts. I wash it every 5 to 7 days, sooner if it starts hurting. Sometimes the washing helps for a while, sometimes not right away. Good to know I’m not the only one too, but I’m beginning to think that there may be something with the shampoo also.

  • Pooja September 17, 2014, 5:00 am

    I also experience this discomfort from pain in the scalp when I don’t wash my hair for longer than three days. I believe it’s due to sebborheic dermatitis.

  • LeAnne October 9, 2014, 5:02 pm

    My hair has always done this if I go too long without washing my hair I get this ache so bad I need to lie down or take painkiller and only happens if I don’t wash..is strange

  • MaryAnne October 11, 2014, 8:41 pm

    I have this and it comes and goes. My scalp feels like someone pulled it or like my roots are standing straight up. I usually wash my hair every two to three days but when I get this I have to wash it at least every other day. The scalp gets very oily. I have bought calming shampoo and conditioner and ph balanced shampoo. I rinse with cool water which feels great. Just washed my hair and it’s killing me. Used to be ok after I washed it but hurts now like crazy feels like my hair is standing on end. Any suggestions?

    • Randy Schueller October 13, 2014, 7:59 am

      Hi MaryAnne: We’ve been surprised by how many people have this problem. As of yet we don’t have any suggestions but we’re looking into it!

  • menny October 15, 2014, 10:23 am

    Same thing. Need to wash my hair every single day in order to avoid the pain. Dr. Think I’m crazy. All he could told me is what I DON’T have.
    Needless to say he had no clue how to help me. I have a girlfriend w the same issue, she went to 3 or 4 different dr.s had all types of tests. Every thing was good. But the scalp is still hurting. … it is really frustrating! I’m going to try to change the shampoo (using head and shoulders so far) to something natural w/out sulfate.
    Hopefully that will helps

    • Randy Schueller October 15, 2014, 11:08 am

      Menny: Let us know if changing shampoos makes a difference. It might help us diagnose the problem. Good luck!

  • Cynthia October 18, 2014, 2:58 pm

    So glad I found this thread! I’m not crazy!! I have naturally curly hair that I wear about chin length. Conversely, I have an oily scalp, so I wash my hair every day. When I skip a day, I get the root/scalp pain that hurts to move the hair. I don’t blow dry, flat iron or pull the hair up. So, it must be not shampooing. I use a vegan, organic shampoo and conditioner, so, fortunately, I don’t think washing it every day is too bad. Thanks for the information!

  • Suzan October 24, 2014, 3:35 am

    I used to get this years ago and went away when I got a shampoo from the doctor. But it’s back with a vengeance and nothing helps. Not shampoo or washing, not anything. It is really starting to annoy me and get me down as I do not know what to do to get rid of it.

  • Suzan October 24, 2014, 5:04 am

    As well the above constant scalp ache which is not due to pilling my hair back or up. My hair is relatively short and very fine and is also falling out quite a bit. Which is what happened when it happened the first time I got this kind of scalp ache it is exasperated if not washed but this will not stop the ache by washing. Although the doctors gave me Polytar shampoo first time it helped not this time though.

  • Olivia November 1, 2014, 6:16 pm

    I’ve had this too! As long as I can remember. For the past two years I’ve gone “no poo” . I just used a baking soda wash, and a vinegar rinse. And for those two years I did not have this problem. Recently I’ve gone back to shampoo, and this hair root ache has come back! How strange. I do believe that using shampoo has something to do with it. For those interested, I do about a teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of water. I put that on my scalp and rub that in. Then I fill a spray bottle with vinegar, white or applecider, any kind is fine. I also add some essential oils to help cover the smell. I use the vinegar rinse after I wash out the baking soda. Needless to say I am going back to no poo. Having my scalp ache is annoying. :S

    • Sue May 31, 2015, 5:21 pm

      If I’ve gone too long without a shampoo and I get a sore spot, I spray a bunch of dry shampoo on it. Better to wash my hair, but dry shampoo is my friend when I’m busy. It does relieve the soreness.

  • Westyn November 2, 2014, 12:12 am

    For starters my hair is not “that long” its about four to five iches long. But after not washing it for a few days (3) I get the same pain. I don’t even want to touch my head because I know it will hurt if I move my hair. But as soon as I wash it and give myself a little head rub it goes away and my hair feels amazing again. Ive talked to a few other people about it and they Dont know why I’m talking about either.

  • Heather November 4, 2014, 6:12 pm

    OMG……the pain…that hurts but also feels good? I have a great temporary fix for this weird problem. If you have a dry shampoo (powder) hanging around your slew of products….you just have to sprinkle it onto your scalp and when it absorbs it relieves that weird pain till you can shampoo! try it…it really helps.

    • Stacia February 8, 2015, 7:44 pm

      I discovered that the main ingredient in dry shampoo is baking soda. I started using baking soda instead and I think it works even better! And it’s way cheaper!!

      • Amanda February 26, 2015, 4:56 pm

        My hair is pretty long and I’ve been trying to see how far I can push it between washes. Around day 3 or 4, my hair hurts SO BAD! I’ve been using a sulfate-free shampoo for about two months now and I thought that would help with the pain. I am considering the baking soda / vinegar routine. I know it would be cheaper and fewer chemicals in my hair, on my skin, and going down the drain, but if it also staves off this pain, it sounds totally worth it!

        I would like to comment on Stacia’s baking soda suggestion. I have also started making my own dry shampoo. I start with corn starch and add unsweetened cocoa powder until it becomes a light brown color so that it blends into my scalp a little better (plus my boyfriend loves the way it smells!). I keep my mixture in a mason jar and just dust it in to my hair with an old makeup brush. I have had great success with the way it looks and feels. Plus, when I use it, I don’t have the scalp pain at all!

        I’m glad to see that I’m not alone with the dirty hair scalp pain!

  • charlotte andrews November 22, 2014, 6:19 pm

    Was looking on the web for an answer to my own hair/scalp issue. I too go through the samesore scalp issue if I go more than two days without shampoo washing my hair.

  • Brooke December 2, 2014, 8:13 pm

    I have the same problem, and is driving me nuts! I’ve always had to wash my hair daily.I’m starting to think it’s my shampoo too, any suggestions on what shampoo to use? For me it was explained best when someone said, that it actually hurts to move the hair, and it feels like it’s standing up. …I suffer from frequent migraines too… so Idk if this is migraine related or oily scalp… I’ll take any suggestions I can get at this point. .. it’s very painful, and when I tell people about it, they have no idea what I’m talking about.

    • Randy Schueller December 3, 2014, 6:45 am

      Brooke: I’m sorry to hear that you’re afflicted with this problem. If we figure out a possible solution we’ll be sure to share it here.

  • Pooja December 8, 2014, 1:34 am

    I used to have the exact same problem but I figured out a way to reduce the frequency of occurrences. I have long hair that I always leave open, parted down the middle. I can’t tie it up because that’s a sure-fire way of getting a headache.

    I’ve been trying to quit shampoo and just let my hair take care of itself naturally (it’s a long and icky process that I haven’t been able to stick to). So now I shampoo my hair only once a week. Before I do, I massage my scalp with hot coconut oil. This improves blood circulation on the scalp and coconut oil is super nourishing for the hair. I got lucky recently and found a local Tibetan herbal shampoo that’s really mild and doesn’t lather much because it’s mostly natural. But my hair has never been better – it’s shiny and bouncy and soft.

    But before I made the switch to herbal shampoo, I used to get the same pain (GASS? :P). And if I had to stay true to my once-a-week-hair-wash routine, I couldn’t just wash the pain away.

    So the next best thing is to change the parting of your hair. It IS going to make the pain a little worse when you move the roots around, but it gets better I promise!

    Move it around where the pain is centered (it was the top right part of my crown, for me) and then use your fingers (not nails) to gently massage the area. Again, it WILL hurt in the beginning but keep at it and then use a wide comb to gently comb your hair.

    Give it ten minutes and you’ll feel MUCH better. If you have a really oily scalp, this might make the oil problem seem worse but the pain goes away and it really isn’t the best thing to shampoo your hair so often.

    P.S: Coconut oil can be washed away completely in the shower. It will not leave your scalp greasy if you wash it out properly. See if you can find a good herbal shampoo in your countries!

    Good luck ladies! 🙂

  • Randy Schueller December 8, 2014, 7:05 am

    Thanks for sharing, Pooja!

  • Ray December 17, 2014, 2:29 am

    I get the same pain at the crown (upon moving the hair) with oily hair that immediately goes away with shampoo. My mother does also and asked me what causes it…but I didn’t know…and still don’t. I believe I’ve had it in places other than the crown also…but those pains aren’t as memorable.

  • Sarah December 29, 2014, 7:00 pm

    Hah! Okay, I’m joining the club! I’ve seen quite a few boards or Q/A blogs chat about this briefly, but never to this extent, so thanks for the space for this discussion!!

    I’ve always had this issue, which makes me never want long hair. I had a hair stylist explain that I have “heavy” hair, which was enough of a pseudo-diagnosis to make me feel satisfied. However, I’m growing hair long to have wedding style options, and the aches have been tremendous! I do get greasy hair fairly often. I am suspecting oil + a sensitive scalp + “heavy-ish hair.”

    If I have it in a ponytail (or any style), wherever the hair is going against the roots seems to be really tender. I try to do a pull-through bun, a french braid, or a different style instead.

    When I use a clarifying shampoo, it helps a lot. Plus, I try to go light on conditioner, as it seems to add weight to hair. Not ideal for a daily wash. Oh, and I really want to try the vinegar/bs wash!

    Someone mentioned blowdrying. If I blow dry my hair, it’s much better. I think this is because it dries the roots and fluffs them away….maybe it even alleviates the oil that drags down on roots.

    Also, if I do leave it wet, I’ve started combing (not brushing) it to massage my roots. This has been awesome.

    At times, I’ve gone super short, and it’s amazing to have the lighter weight and to ever deal with this.

    No clue what to name it.

    • Cat February 19, 2017, 10:09 am

      So relieved to find this! I’ve only recently noticed this problem (the past couple of months) so I just put it down to stress and middle age – I’m turning 46 this year – making my body go wonky 😉
      NoPoo helps, and so does a more natural shampoo (pardon my laziness if somone wrote earlier, but has anyone tried the “make your own shampoo” method yet? I’m thinking along the lines of Castile soap blended with other ingredients…). Concerning blowdrying vs airdrying…could the warmth from the blowdrying aid in relaxing the scalp a little?
      I try and use my fingertips to perform a gentle scalp massage daily – not rubbing the surface, but actually manipulating the muscles and tendons a bit – and that seems to be helping. My hair is fairly fine, I have a lot of it (well, that seems to be thinning at the front, possibly stress and peri-menapause), and it’s almost collarbone length. Naturally straight, going silver one strand at a time *lol*.
      I wonder if this could be related to both on-the-popular-market shampoo and the aging process? Meaning our bodies change completely every 7 years according to popular belief…
      Thank you all for your terrific tips and help, I hope someone is able to find a solution that helps them here! 🙂

  • Parneet January 7, 2015, 1:23 pm

    Happens with me all the time. Like she said, if I don’t wash it for a day, it will get greasy and next day the scalp will start hurting. If I massage my head I can feel the pain when the hair are moved. I have short hair, lovely and shiny but it becomes so irritating if I don’t wash them everyday. I used to have long hair as a kid but I cut them short coz of all types of headaches I used to get. I remember I didn’t have to wash it everyday, just 2 or 3x a week. It never got greasy then. Any suggestions what pain is this and is there a way to stop it? Thanks!

  • Sarah January 9, 2015, 12:13 pm

    I also have this scalp pain when I don’t wash it every day. I have lupus. I attribute it to that. I have heard of it with other autoimmune issues too such as Hashimoto’s which is a thyroid issue. Could be an inflammatory response.

  • Victoria January 9, 2015, 3:52 pm

    I have this to. I have really long hair and I have dyed it like 4 times in my life, last time was 5 years ago though. However, my hair is best when it is shampooed, bu when I don’t wash it after a couple days my scalp starts to hurt in a certain spot and it stays like that until I wash it. It’s like it is demanding to be clean haha, otherwise I condition it every day, but I guess for some weird, odd reason it has to be shampooed in order to not hurt. haha I wonder why that is?

  • Julie January 10, 2015, 7:17 am

    I also get achy scalp! I have long hair but I’ve noticed it only hurts
    when it’s oily. I can tie it as tight as I want when it’s clean but after two days without washing it, even a messy bun will be so painful 🙁

  • silent January 10, 2015, 11:56 pm

    I’ve had this problem also however I don’t have greasy hair nor does it itch ,it is extremely sensitive at the roots as some have said also like some, I have constant migraines so my question is; is it related to migraines? Sometimes if I cut my hair in layers it’ll eliminate the pain for at least a month then I guess as my hair grows back the pain comes back ..could it also be the weight of my hair ?..

  • silent January 11, 2015, 12:00 am

    I’ve had this problem also however I don’t have greasy hair nor does it itch ,it is extremely sensitive at the roots as some have said also like some, I have constant migraines so my question is; is it related to migraines? Sometimes if I cut my hair in layers it’ll eliminate the pain for at least a month then I guess as my hair grows back the pain comes back ..could it also be the weight of my hair ?.. as for the name HHS heavy hair syndrome?

  • dreamer January 13, 2015, 2:44 am

    I have been dealing with this problem for the past two years and have been researching this issue for months. I finally think I have a clue to the problem. I sure hope it helps everyone as I really think it is the source of the problem (along with the terrible products we often put on our hair).

    I was living in another area for 12 years and never had a problem with my hair. As a matter of fact, my hair (which I always keep bleached or dyed light) never looked or felt better. I kept it long (shoulder length or a bit longer) and frequently wore a pony tail or would twist it up into a clip at the back/top of my head all day long, every day. Sometimes I would go 4 or 5 days without washing it and never had an issue with oily hair, etc. I even had it cut real short a few times living there and still no problems.

    The one thing that was different when I lived in that area was the municipal water was “softened”. When I first moved there I hated the feel of the water as it seemed slimey and my hair wouldn’t squeak after rinsing. But I soon got used to it and realized how much better my skin and hair felt and looked. I never had dandruff, sore scalp, scalp breakouts, hair loss, sore roots, head odor, etc. Back then I used Prell Shampoo (original), or Sauve Clarifying Shampoo or their Coconut Shampoo, all the time and Sauve Coconut Crème Rinse. Prell Shampoo and Clarifying Shampoos are pretty harsh, but I never had a problem with any of them back then.

    Well, I now live in an area where the water is unbelievably hard. So hard, in fact, that I have to add 2 cups of white vinegar to every laundry load (I’ve also started adding 1/2 cup of washing soda too) in order to get the heavy minerals out of my clothes or else the dark clothes come out of the dryer with a white powdery film on them. After living here for about a year, I slowly began having all the hair problems everyone here is talking about and it has gotten progressively worse over the last 2 years. I also have the root pain, greasy hair, scalp breakouts, and lingering head odor right after I’ve washed it. It’s been driving me crazy. My dermatologist said it was an overgrowth of yeast which she said is what dandruff is and told me to use Head and Shoulders Shampoo, but it’s not really helping and just seems to add to the greasy feel.

    I began to suspect it was the hard water here, so last night I started googling the issue and found a blog where people were having the same problems with their hair and their water. Those who resolved their hair problems did so by installing a filtering shower head or installing a whole house water softener. Right now I’m using a vinegar rinse after shampooing, but it only helps temporarily because my pillow cases are washed in this hard water and they also get the mineral buildup on them as does all my laundry (the vinegar and washing soda only helps so much with the laundry).

    My advice to all is to either have your water tested for hardness (if you have well water), or contact your municipul water supplier and ask for a report on the hardness of their water. Your scalp and hair may be suffering from calcium/mineral residue buildup from your water. And even if they tell you your water isn’t “that” hard, you could be very sensitive to it just the same.

    I plan on installing a whole house water softener as I can no longer stand this hair problem. My head itches and hurts most of the time like there is something on my scalp. It has to be calcium buildup clogging my pores and making my scalp itch and break out. Even my body itches often.

    Hope this information helps. Good luck to everyone. I feel your pain.

    • Ria May 16, 2015, 2:23 am

      Just stumbled upon this thread / site as well, as I was itching my scalp wondering “why in the world does this happen?” I thank you for your post about the excessively Hard Water (and also the “No Poo” Entries while I’m at it…) because this may actually make some sense ! The water here is SO HARD, I must dry my Glasses right away with a MICROFIBER CLOTH or new thing I found – “Spiffy Cloth”, for No Water Spots… If I Do use the Dishwasher, I must use Special Soap, Rinse aid, salt to balance the ph… It’s KOOKEY. The Granite Will get white if we do not clean up water straight away.
      So, This Water HAS to be doing something to our hair… But, my weird itchy scalp came long after I moved here…

      My Hair is extremely Fine, Long- ish, but have Professionally Colored (not going there Yet) & I have used high quality products as long as I can remember. Yes, Products are Chemicals, but try best I can. As far as list shampoo products, I only try to use things to detangle , (Magic Potion and I can only use agreeable scents… I am very sensitive to Scents, perfumes, and Chemical smells.
      I do not use anything questionable, or especially drying, etc. I have been getting my hair highlighted and lowlighted for years… It makes me feel better about this very Minute amount of hair I have. I also now get it layered, and it really helps with the illusion of having more hair than I do.

      I’ve never ever had Oily Skin, or Oily Scalp until just a couple years ago. It was one of those, “Great, Just add that to the list” moments… And I cannot get over the Oil I see after 12 or so hours of washing my hair.
      Worth mentioning, I have had acne my whole life… (Nope, not tell in my age, but the F word is comin)
      I have had headaches all my life so to me, pain on or around my head is part of life…
      This “Hurting /Aching Scalp ~ Head Syndrome” because of Itchy Scalp is very hard to Articulate… And I Feel your Pain too. Frustrating, Annoying, Perplexing…
      I agree with the gal below me – if this gets posted around her entry- that this is not a headache but a “Scalp Ache” technically.

      After you get a bad mosquito bite, you itch the hell out of it, then it aches, and YOU KNOW IT’S THERE. This IS INFLAMMMATION. Period. Not happy tissue. Done deal.

      But how are we gonna get rid of this , why does this happen to our scalp?
      I have a feeling the Root Shaft does not get enough stimulation, circulation, and it just wants it. Nature’s way of making us to something about it. Stimulate it.

      I DO FIND I GET THIS FEELING MOST when I SHOULD wash my hair.
      I try to wash my hair every other day. Never every day. If I go past that, ~ Itchy Scalp.
      I too dislike all the PREP to get HUMAN AGAIN…Shower, wash hair, get tangles out, remove hair from drain , exfoliate, Shave,… O MY GOD – YEAH.
      MEN HAVE IT NICE. Sorry, had to be said.

      I can tell you some things that MAY help, coming from a Chronic Headache sufferer.
      Not wearing your hair up in a Claw, Bun or something that pulls on your head is A NO BRAINER… There were some scrunchies on the market years ago I STILL HOPE I WILL FIND… That were “No Hurt ” , made of Velour. They were AWESOME! Never pulled on your hair.
      Another thing to do… Get a MINTY OIL of some sort, to get u by until you can wash your hair~ Like Aveda’s Blue Oil (I think it’s called). I wasn’t using it for my headaches, but found it & thought this would be great! It is it a little pricey, but is convenient, quick, and when you DO FINALLY hit the Shower, the lukewarm water feels GREAT ON YOUR SCALP!!!! AHHHHH!!!!
      Now, you can probably make your own, but I have other things to make!
      Also, I will not wear Glasses – insist on Contacts, (even for Close up work) as ANYTHING ON MY HEAD HURTS. If I wear Sunglasses (Crucial, if we are talking headaches, no matter what they are from) make sure they are good ones with Springs at hinges, do not Squeeze your temples at the ear areas… And Rose Color Lenses or “Bronze” are wonderful, you can wear these all the time … Even inside Buildings and see great. Now this relates more to to “Headaches” , but maybe it can help someone.

      I hope we find a resolve to this. Thank you for all your help. My head is ITCHY. Gotta go & wash Hair!!!!

      • Randy Schueller May 16, 2015, 7:55 am

        Excellent comment, Ria. Thank you! (It makes me wanna wash my hair too!)

    • Heather March 5, 2017, 1:34 pm

      I have this same problem everyone is experiencing. However I grew up in california with hard water and never had this problem. About 10 years ago i moved to another state with really soft water. I loved it soft hair, soft skin, and my face even cleared up BUT… i started having this scalp problem i never knew what it was so i started researching and found this forum. No one really seems to know what it is but it cant be hard water because i have soft water and never had it when i lived with hard water. so back to square one. I have an appointment with a dermatologist tomorrow i will discuss it with her and see if she knows anything and come back here with a response.

  • MM January 13, 2015, 8:59 pm

    This has happened to me for years, and still does now that I am 60. I simply need to wash less often, but end up with an achy crown so I wash to relieve the pain. No ponytails involved and not heavily oily – even after a few days.
    Someone should do a scientific study!

  • Meera January 19, 2015, 4:42 am

    I have the exact problem. And I think the correct description is not a headache, it should be a scalp-ache(going by me) as a scalp ache is more superficial. I feel a foreign-body sensation in my roots when I shift my hair and there is pain. I have a very oily scalp. The dermatologist I went to said that because I have an oily scalp, the dandruff causes inflammation of the roots and thus the pain. There is no problem at all if I use a medicated shampoo for dandruff every alternate day and shampoo everyday but that is really difficult to manage.
    And I have no disorders or even long hair, I have shoulder-length hair.

  • Meera January 19, 2015, 4:50 am

    Oh and here’s an option for ladies with oily scalps and the same problem– wash your hair with your regular, unmedicated, non-special-anything shampoo and then use a medicated anti-dandruff shampoo(not head n shoulders), use a shampoo that contains ZPTO or selenium oxide and wash hair according to the directions on the bottle. Use a conditioner after that. It takes time but trust me, it works wonders!

  • Liz January 21, 2015, 12:36 am

    I use tar shampoo for dandruff on a regular basis. As my hair gets longer my head will start to hurt from time to time, only relieved by washing. I think it has to do with how the hair hangs, and the length of your hair. I don’t get any pains when my hair is short. I grew my hair out, and always wear it in a loose pony tale. I painted the ceiling recently and my scalp hurt so bad afterwards, I was in agony. My hair was loose and clean and hurt. I feel that there is a certain weight and a certain direction a hair follicle can hold a hair and if it’s wrong it hurts like someone is trying to pull out your hair. When I get tired of long hair woes I have mine chopped and donated to locks of love. I never feel such scalp pains with short hair. I used to get itchy like scabs in my hair till I started using tar shampoo once a week. Tar shampoo cured that for me.

  • krystal January 24, 2015, 5:05 pm

    Yes this happens to me a lot I never knew y I have short hair three inches below my ears and its so very thick idk if mine hurts all the time because of how much I’ve dyed it or what but even shampooing in the a.m it hurts in the afternoon I have to put biooil in my hair and rub it in to make it go away its been like this since I was 19 but like I’ve said I dye it three four times a yr I know its bad how would I fix my hair its completely dead its been two years since I cut my hair to my ears and it only grew three in a half inches is there anything I can do to grow it plz don’t say stop dying it cause I have thanks for any help

  • Kim January 28, 2015, 4:58 am

    I experience the same soreness of my scalp when my hair is greasy and it is quite sensitive and unpleasant. My hair is down to my chin so not very long. I am very curious to find out what is going with this scalp sensation.

  • Gabby January 29, 2015, 11:38 pm

    Literally dealing with this right now…at this very moment.

    I do have greasy hair, but this happens when my hair is clean too. And it only hurts, it’s not itchy and I don’t get scabs or anything. I had to take some pain killers to deal with it. It’s horrible! I have to say though…it only happens when I put my hair in a ponytail. Oh, and – I have long, thick hair.

  • Vanstressa January 31, 2015, 3:19 pm

    I’m curious. I never used to experience these pains when I was growing up. Only in the past year. May I ask how old everyone is who is experiencing this pain? If we narrow the options, we may be able to come to a solution (eg: did the shampoo manufacturers change the ingredients? If so, when….).

  • Krint February 6, 2015, 5:31 pm

    Not this is a random thought, how many of you are using laptops? How many of you are using metal based laptops (mac book pro) is there a link between these factors, are they sending electricity through us and making our hair stand on end… seems in the past 2-3 years alopecia has become increasingly common. Please post how long you have been using your laptop on your lap….

  • Julie F February 11, 2015, 1:28 pm

    I am so glad I’m not alone on this! I have it right now (Wednesday) and I washed my hair on Sunday. Usually I can go every other day just fine, but after that my scalp definitely can hurt (particularly the crown.) It’s not all over my head (and not a headache) but specific spots and hurts most when I move it around. It’s bad after wearing my dirty hair up for a while and then I let it down… it’s like it still wants to go up. I have long hair, wavy, not super thick but LOTS of it.

  • Geneva February 19, 2015, 7:27 pm

    I get this scalp pain, too! I am not alone. I cannot believe that this is a thing. Soreness starts on Day 3 oily and dirty hair and won’t go away unless I wash or clean it. Dry shampoo is a band-aid fix but the soreness returns after a few hours. It seems like it won’t go away unless I wash my hair. Massaging also hurts. It’s like spreading the soreness all over. I have long straight hair that I wear loose. I don’t blow dry or iron my hair. I don’t have dandruff and my hair is generally healthy-looking. I don’t have the scalp soreness if I’m able to keep up with my shampoo-every-other-day routine. I have no clue why.

  • nayab February 21, 2015, 8:06 am

    me too suffering from this problem 🙁 nd its breath taking 🙁

  • whorls February 21, 2015, 3:27 pm

    For me it has to do with grease and cowlicks (whorls) and God knows what else…. http://modernfarmer.com/2014/09/complexity-cow-lick/

  • Chash February 22, 2015, 1:27 pm

    This happens to me as well. I have long hair and usually wear it down. My hair is extra oily, and have also tried to go more than one day without shampooing. I can usually get away with it, except for the days during which I exercise. Exercising causes instant overly greasy hair and the pain while even exercising. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I were to find myself without shampoo or soap for my hair, after a week it would be an interestingly dramatic result of grease running… it’s pretty gross, therefor I will stop there

  • Angela February 24, 2015, 11:11 am

    I have this too! Everyone I ask about it, including doctors don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. Washing it always helps. It’s an achey feeling and my head is actually sore, really sore. Someone said to try baby powder on the off shampooing days.

  • Nancy February 26, 2015, 9:39 am

    I can’t believe I am reading this. I have had this on and off all my life but at the moment is is unbearable. Interestingly I have hyperthyroidism and pernicious anaemia and it seems to be linked to the sore scalp thing. This week I have been really run down: sore throat, ear ache etc and all of the classic hypperthyroidism symptoms worsen, like croaky voice, dry skin, tiredness etc have cranked up along with the terrible scalp pains. There are so many great answers on here, I think mine will be looking to my GP for answers.

  • Leslie March 10, 2015, 10:44 pm

    Omg! I have a headache as I type this out right now. I’m so glad that I’m not alone on this. My hair is about 4-5in past my shoulders and very thick and oily. I also get the pain when I don’t wash it for a few days. A shower usually helps but not right away. It takes an hour or 2 for me to feel some relief because painkillers don’t help. It’s always on the crown too, ugh. It gets so swollen and inflamed. Im SO SO SO happy I found this post though! I thought I was going crazy!

  • Julianne March 14, 2015, 4:18 pm

    Im not the only one!
    Im having a headache right now and ive realised that I havent washed my hair for two days! I guess ill be a daily washer now!
    The pain is really at the roots and hurts everytime I move my hair around! (My hair is a bit more than shoulder length)
    Thanks so much!!

  • Alicia March 16, 2015, 12:35 pm

    I too get sores from going days without washing my hair. The reason we get this is caused from bacteria not being washed away. Mine gets worse as I sweat in gym and not washing the same day. I also experience hair loss if I let the sweat and bacteria sit on my scalp too long. I hope my information helps.

  • Mallika March 18, 2015, 8:40 am

    I experience this.
    I have heavy thick shoulder length hair that’s been shorter and I still get a pain a couple of days after washing my scalp, the day the greasiness sets in. The pain is around the back area of the crown, sometimes only on the right side, other times the whole back area of the crown where I have what I think is a cow lick and hair has some of directions that it grows in. Meaning not directly flowing down like the surrounding hair. There’s no relief from this except tying my hair really tight and chocking away the pain but the minute I open it again it’s like hell. Can’t touch my scalp in the painful areas as it feels overly sensitive .Washing does relieve it. I’m so relieved to read that there more ppl out there who experience it as no doctor seems to understand what I’m telling them.

  • delightful March 26, 2015, 7:34 am

    This is what has worked for me; I wash my hair every day with a few drops of tea tree oil and make sure it doesn’t get into your eyes (I used tea tree oil every other day) mixed in with the shampoo in the palm of your hand leave on for two to three minutes rinse out do not use conditioner on scalp only on the rest of your hair is okay. I did this until the pain was gone took me about two weeks.
    If you have some areas that are still sensitive I dabbed a little baking soda in those areas and the pain was gone.
    I did see the doctor about this problem he said its happening more and more these days it has something to do with certain shampoos that remove natural oil on the scalp and in order to remedy this the company has put some other synthetic oil back into the shampoo which are causing my oil ducts to clog. The doctor did mention to me to use a baby shampoo from now on because it is mild on the scalp and conditioner only on hair past the scalp and no other products are to be used on the hair after shower either.
    I do suggest if you have this problem do consult a doctor first as they know best what the problem is.

  • PB March 30, 2015, 4:55 am

    GHAPSS (Greasy Hair Aches and Painful Scalp Syndrome)

    PAPUS (Painful Alien Probe Under Scalp Syndrome)

    PISS (Painful Irritated Scalp Syndrome)

    LAPS (Localized Area of Pain on the Scalp)

    I thought this was just sore follicles, but never thought it was from not washing. I tend to skip a day or three a week. I normally use organic and natural oil shampoos but I do have oily hair. I thought I read that when you strip the oils from your hair/skin it tries to balance out by producing extra oils. I like the idea of using baking soda and vinegar, gonna try that soon.

    • Randy Schueller March 30, 2015, 7:24 am

      “PISS” made me laugh and “GHAPSS” made me think of “GASP” (Greasy Achy Scalp Pain.)

  • Amanda Gibson April 8, 2015, 12:57 pm

    It was just on a whim that I decided to search for something about this topic.

    I’m glad I’m not alone. It really is like sore spots and to be honest it is really only the spots where I put my hair out. This only perpetuates the bad cycle as the soreness makes me want pull the strands out even more. UGH

    Definitely notice it after not washing my hair for longer periods than I usually do. I have very thick and curly hair so unlike most of the girls in these comments I cant wash my hair more than once a week. I know some of you are probably thinking that it’s gross but every one is different and with thick hair its takes 24 hrs to dry on its own , or is too expensive to go to the salon or is an intense work out if I do it my self.. about a 2 hour process soo yea no I only do it once a week. That is if I do it straight. if I do my hair curly then yes 2x a week as if I leave it longer it becomes dread locked because i cannot brush it when it is curly.

    I know most of you wont understand and on well lucky you have thin hair.

    But this soreness is still the same. I read one of the comments further up that it could be a build up blocking the roots which makes sense when you need to wash your hair.

    At the end of the day I think we have all found the same issue. It arrises when they hair needs to be washed. Wether it’s 1 week, 2-3 days or 1-2 days everyone’s hair is different.

    Im just glad I finally got some answers and opinions on the sensation I feel!

  • Anne April 12, 2015, 2:03 am

    I believe it has to do with the cranial nerves
    I really want someone to figure this out …. I suspect itdcs condition mostly experienced by women … Only thing that helps me is humming which gently massages scalp from inside

  • Tara April 20, 2015, 12:53 pm

    Years ago I researched about this and couldn’t find any information. I am glad I am not alone. One thing that causes this for me is Magnesium supplements. So I stopped taking Mg. Massage works for me and when I can’t wash my hair because of time (mine is very long) I use corn starch to remove the oil and this works too. Again I am glad I am not alone thinking I have a tumor 🙂

  • Beth May 2, 2015, 6:47 pm

    I’ve been experiencing one sore spot at the dead center on the top of my head, hair breaking and splitting at the ends, texture has went from silky straight and smooth to coarse and kinky at the ends, I have no idea what caused it, it started when my hair was long but I cut it all off thinking that would help but still the same.. it gets a sticky substance also and when I run my fingers threw my hair the broken pieces seem to stick to the tips of my fingers… does anybody know what’s going on or ways to help? It’s exhausting and hurts really bad…

  • Charlotte May 16, 2015, 10:31 pm

    YES!! ALL THE TIME!! I usually wait a few days to take a shower and usually around day 3 my head hurts and if I leave it till day 4 it’s excruciating!!! I have boy short on one side and fairly long on the other. It’s not nearly as bad on the boy short side but it’s still there.

  • Milli Burg May 17, 2015, 9:57 pm

    My daughter has had these intense scalp pains for many years. She says her “hair hurts”. She has extremely thick and curly blonde hair that is now shoulder length. We have had it thinned and layered to help with the problem of her hair hurting. We have asked people and nobody seems to know what we are talking about. She says it helps when she washes her hair, but she doesn’t wash it every day because of the process of drying, straightening, etc… takes too long. I have wondered if it could be a type of fungus from her hair being so thick and not drying properly, but it sounds like that probably isn’t the cause. I am thinking about taking her to a dermatologist to see what they have to say about this issue. It is helpful to be able to read about others with the same problems. I have looked online to find information about this and this is the best that I have come across!
    Hope doctors can find a cause and solution.

  • roja May 19, 2015, 4:57 am

    I face the exact same problem……if I don’t wash my hair….every day leaving it oily….my head eventually ends up hurting……I actually had sebohorreic dermatitis(caused by fungus malazzeia which feeds on oil nd releses products which can cause both itching as well as pain in scalp and other body parts)Which had gone unnoticed and whose effects i had ignored until it started to affect my studies and daily routine…..I visited a dermatologist who diagnosed me with this disease and told me that my hair was very oily and I needed to was my hair with a cleanser every single day….and I don’t get those throbbing pains as long as I cleanse my hair properly!….I knw whtchya going through…..y not use a gentle cleanser that u can safely use to clean your hair everyday without bringing much damage to it!….hope this works forya! 🙂

  • Michelle June 8, 2015, 12:59 am

    This is odd that so many people have this same issue! I have had this issue for what seems like forever and I just thought, I’m googling to see what causes it and I came upon this thread. I have really long hair, it’s fine but I have a lot of it. I’m fortunate enough to not have a super greasy scalp when I go 3-4 days without washing. I do use a dry shampoo in between as well. I am at this moment pressing on my crown area and it feels bruised! If I move my hair around at the root, it’s very painful. This ONLY happens when I don’t wash my hair for 3+ days. As soon as I wash it, the pain immediately goes away. So weird!!

  • Michaela June 15, 2015, 6:19 am

    I get the same, I have tried different shampoo and conditioner and dry shampoo nothing help, it’s horrible, if you find anything please share.

  • Sammy June 17, 2015, 3:55 pm

    I have this problem when I am stressed mostly, but if I get highlights or bleach my hair, my hair is less oily and air can circulate my scalp.

  • Amy June 23, 2015, 9:55 am

    I’ve had hair and scalp soreness since I can remember. I always tell people my “hair hurts”, too. I woke up with it this morning and had to google it to see if there was anything I could do. I thought I was going insane because it does hurt so much in that area. Rubbing it hurts, but I always thought it would help. I am so happy I came across this discussion. I know when I was a little girl the soreness was from ponytails. My dad would rub my head. ♥ I still have pain and soreness when I wear a ponytail at times, but I have noticed I will have it when I don’t wear a ponytail. I never connected it with my scalp being greasy. I wash my hair every other day. I use a dry shampoo on my off day, so maybe I need to try spraying more on the sore area. I would also like to try the NoPoo. Thanks everyone!

  • Rita June 23, 2015, 7:41 pm

    It’s a relief to hear I’m not the only one to have this problem. I was afraid it was something horrible. Yes my scalp aches until I wash it and my scarf is oily. It’s been three days since I washed my hair, I normally wash every two days if I wait then this happens. I’m using Aveda products which are 90%+ natural. I use to use popular shampoos and had the same problem. I also have thinning hair, dies any one else?

  • Aarthy July 4, 2015, 12:22 pm

    I have this, it gets better only after I wash my hair. I noticed this problem is aggravated when I am taking DHA supplements. My hair is already oily and the tablets make it worse. I was wondering if anybody else take any supplements.

  • Kate July 16, 2015, 9:41 pm

    U shud get ur doc to look:) it cud be a fungus growing on ur scalp the same one that causes dandruff, if left unwashed for long periods can cause limph nodes to trigger swell n cause pain. Go to your doc!

  • Jyoti August 4, 2015, 1:23 am

    Yes, I have the same thing going on. I am always saying to my mom my hair hurt. My hair is shoulder length, very thin and curly blonde hair. It’s looking very dirty types and very greasy. I am washing hair regularly with shampoo but no help. I am very afraid. can you suggest me, please????

  • Bobby August 4, 2015, 8:24 am

    Wow, so many people with similar stories. This is new for me. It’s been a couple of weeks since I started to notice that the crown of my head looks greasy right after it’s been washed. It has dried naturally. It all kind of glunks together at the crown and gets sore when I move/rub/scratch it. I have recently dyed my hair at home but with the same dye I have used before. I have also changed conditioners so don’t know what has caused it. Has anyone got any ideas to fix this problem. I have been forced to wear my hair in a bun for weeks now to hide the greasy mess underneath it. I’ll try the baking soda and vinegar in the morning but any other ideas or advice would be appreciated.

    • Miss Hannah January 31, 2017, 8:21 pm

      Hello everyone! I have this hair hurting sensation too. For anyone wanting to find something natural to clean their oily hair try egg yolks! I tried it lately because the baking soda method wasn’t cutting it for me. All you need is two yolks (I did 4 because my hair flowers past my waist. You can either do it in the shower and leave it in for a couple minutes then rinse with cold to Luke warm water or put it in your hair when it’s dry for about half an hour and then wash it out! That will really get your hair squeaky clean! (: If you want to moisturizer your hair add a Tbl. Honey and a tsp. To a Tbl. of olive oil/coconut/grape seed oil. I have tried these methods and they work wonderfully for me! I hope this helps! I’m guessing you can add tea tree oil to it to but look it up first. God bless you all!

  • Thirupati August 6, 2015, 11:40 am

    I have exact symptoms with painful small buds(no pustules) and hair loss also.
    I was used different types of drugs,lotions.
    but there is no use and hope less.
    but some foods increases my problem. so I avoided that one.

  • Danielle August 17, 2015, 1:10 am

    I get this too, you’re not alone. It happens when my hair is due to be washed but also when it isn’t. I’m on this page because my scalp has been extremely painful for 3 days now despite washing my hair. I’m a nurse and have to tie my hair up everyday but I’ve even tried putting it in a low loose ponytail and that didn’t help. It’s a horrible feeling 🙁

  • sonal August 19, 2015, 10:31 am

    in India we have a practice of oiling our hair daily I have been doing it since childhood but now whenever I don’t oil my hair my head aches like hell can u tell me the reason and any solution to this

  • McKenzie Anderson August 27, 2015, 1:30 am

    I also have naturally curly hair and this happens to me, too. I have only started noticing it in the last 6-12 months, tho. I pretty much always wear my hair curly and my scalp never hurts when I do, no matter if it’s down, pulled up, or hasn’t been washed in days. But when I straighten my hair, the next day my scalp aches like crazy!  It’s just a few spots on my crown but just my hair moving in the wind hurts it; it almost feels like my scalp is bruised in that spot. I don’t burn my scalp or tug too hard when I’m straightening and I also don’t get relief until I massage it as I wash it again. This is the strangest thing! The greasy hair issue could make sense in my case because my hair NEVER gets oily when curly, but when straight it’s much thinner and gets greasy fast. The whole thing is weird and I would LOVE an answer or solution!

  • Nat August 29, 2015, 5:02 am

    Omg I’m exactly the same. My scalp feels like it’s been bashed with a baseball bat by the end of the day. Feels like sore bruises on the crown of my head that gets worse the longer I leave it.

  • Lisa August 29, 2015, 6:35 am

    I get achy scalp. Always have. But only when my hair is longer. If I have a short ‘boy’ cut, no problems. But as it gets longer it just hurts my head. Like this morning, I woke up flipped my hair from the left to the right and pain. Not excruciating and none of the terrible hair loss I read in other articles, just these areas/patches of pain. And yes, if it were in a ponytail, I get those pains. But this is just waking up and flipping my hair. My mom used to brush my hair when I was a kid with long hair and as a beautician, she couldn’t understand why it hurt. So I’ve just grown up accepting the fact that the human body does strange things…kinda like that stabbing pain I randomly get once a year in my chest under my left boob. No doctor can explain it, but it takes my breath away and I have to pant for a few seconds before I can take a deep breath again.

  • Evonne Singh October 6, 2015, 11:43 am

    I was reading through all the comments and see there is no concrete answer. I am 47 and have long hair and have had it long most of my life. I don’t use too many products nor do I blow dry it much. I do have highlights and even those are to a minimum. In the past I have experienced scalp pain when I went to long between washing, also I do put my hair up a lot. That pain was dull and achy and for the most part I felt it immediately after putting my hair down. Like a tired arm up in the air to long kind of ache.

    Recently I was diagnosed with Hoshimoto thyroiditis and Celiac disorder. Both as you may know are autoimmune disorders. I am waiting on the third testing for Lupus. I just started experiencing scalp pain that is excruciating! It’s not an ache but pain and burning similar to burning your skin. It doesn’t matter if my hair is up or down. The pain usually last about 20 min then subsides unless I try and move my hair in any direction, up , down or sideways. Sleeping on it has been uncomfortable but manageable when I take ibuprofen. In all fairness this doesn’t feel as bad when I wash my hair. But only then first day of washing after that it’s the same. I do not have oily hair by the way mine is very dry and I have to go two days before washing it or it feels like straw.

    I don’t know yet if this has any relation to the autoimmune disorders. Before being diagnosed with Hoshimotos I was on medication for hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is simply a problem with your thyroid not making the hormones T3 and T4 in amounts that the body can process and use. This is the simplified version. Hoshimoto ‘s is when your immune system attacks your thyroid tissue. You can have one or the other or both. Either way your hair if affected by the thyroid not working as it should so are your nails and sensitivity. I am not a physician so please read as information. Perhaps at your next well woman check or man one you can have these things checked out. Some people like me have the geneome for both of these autoimmune disorders, so it’s only a matter of time before you feel it. Up until this year gluten wasn’t something I worried about. Or my thyroid I thought it was under control. But it manifests in some ways that have us scratching our head. Like having a fever for a week with no visible symptoms of anything or scalp burning. Or just feeling achy and tired all the time. As we get older our body just isn’t the same and if you are a woman your thyroid has a direct affect on your female hormones and your brain and everything it regulates, it’s worth checking out, I say. That way whe you get that healthy approval from your doctor you can simply blame it on shampoos or other more normal things our body goes through.

  • Amanda Sadler October 28, 2015, 7:36 pm

    I get this and actually have it now from not washing my hair for a day.

  • Vikki October 30, 2015, 6:04 pm

    Where we live ( Detroit metro area) we call this a “Hair Headache” To my knowledge it has little to nothing to do with hair being “dirty/greasy”. It has everything to do with hair being in one spot/style/ updo/ponytail/ hairproduct use etc…..

    If the hair is in one spot to long, it seems to kink, and the twist in the hair causes it to ache badly. I too have looked for a way to relieve this, which is how I found this post. 🙂
    So far though, the only way I know of is to wash it and use conditioner to soften the area where the hair is kinked ( usually around the crown of the head). Wish I had an answer too!

  • Lauren November 7, 2015, 10:09 am

    I have thin hair but yes this happens to me a well! When I don’t wash my hair my scalp aches! Not a headache! But the scalp! It resides when I get a fresh clean. I believe, even though my hair is thin it’s the extra weight on my head from the oils weighing it down that brings on the ache..so someone with thicker hair I would think this could be the problem as well..

  • Nam November 21, 2015, 11:50 am


    Two words:coconut oil.

    I wash my hair every other day or sometimes slightly longer and condition my hair using coconut oil once or twice a week. I apply a tiny bit to my scalp the night before and gently massage throughout. I keep it on while I sleep and wash it off the next morning. It doesn’t matter as much how long I go between washes but when I stop using coconut oil for a couple of weeks, my hair gets in the described condition. It’s almost like my scalp loses “strength” or it gets so dry that it hurts when it gets greasy.

    Try it- make sure you use organic virgin coconut oil.

  • Rose November 21, 2015, 6:10 pm

    I suffer the same problem for years and have no idea what this is (I tough it was only me, because of my epilepsy problem) if I don’t wash my hair, my head hurts on some spots on crown of the head. Specially the left top part.
    I wonder if I will ever find out what that is???

  • Painfulpony November 27, 2015, 9:24 pm

    Hey so this is probably really late but has anyone noticed that this pain is like a million times worse the week before your period?!?!?! Also I get it that if your hair is greasy and dirty you get that pain but if you are getting the scalp pain all the time and some other pains related to fibromyalgia you might want to call your doctor!!

  • Elizabeth December 18, 2015, 3:17 am

    I’ve experienced the same thing! I thought it was just me; thank goodness for this forum where we can all complain about our hair issues.

    I’ve been trying for the past few years to wash my hair every other day rather than every day (which I did growing up). I also guessed that it was the excess oil buildup that may have kept my hair from moving around in their follicles, causing stress/pain when I would style my hair a different way on the second day.

    Today I massaged my head just to see where it hurts and it seems to be just around the crown.
    My hair parts in the center and I often pin it into a bun or tie in a ponytail to keep it from looking greasy with 2nd day hair.

    As others have mentioned, my scalp only aches at a particular area on the crown, almost like a circle shape around the crown but not directly on the center of the crown and not the front, back, sides or even along the part.

    Has anyone discovered a cure for this? I’ve washed my hair but it’s still aching!

  • Jamie December 24, 2015, 12:07 pm

    I know exactly what you mean. I have the same, exact thing.

  • Ann Rossi December 27, 2015, 4:00 am

    What you most likly have is migrane based. There may be foods or hormones that are sensitizing your scalp. I have had this condition for 10 years and see a huge difference if I avoid soy, wheat and milk. I hope this can be beneficial.

  • Dede December 31, 2015, 2:33 pm

    Headache caused by greasy hair. Who knew but I get it as well. I used to be able to go few days without washing my hair when I was younger, but now I have to wash my hair everyday. The headache starts on top of my head and progresses to the rest of my head as the day goes on. I tried dry shampoo with minimal effect. The headache would subside for an hour before it comes back after using dry shampoo. The only relief is to wash the grease off with water and shampoo. I don’t bother telling anyone, don’t want to seem kookoo.

  • Mmk January 2, 2016, 12:56 am

    This sounds crazy to me but my hair hurt so bad today that I finally decided to search the Internet for an answer. I stumbled upon this thread. There have been many times when my hair hurt as if it had been in a ponytail and I just let it down. My scalp was very tender to the touch. I recently broke my wrist so I haven’t been washing my hair every day like I normally do. This was the second day I hadn’t washed my hair so I thought I would shampoo it and see if my hair quit hurting. I have to say that shampooing my hair seem to solve the problem. It’s hard to believe a day or so without shampooing can actually make your head hurt; but in my case it seems to be true. Glad I found the site thank you everyone.

  • Lisa January 8, 2016, 3:01 am

    I’ve had this problem my entire life. More so as a child, but occasionally as an adult. Same thing, hair hurts when it’s moved, especially at the crown & only when it’s dirty. Someone posted that baby powder helps & I agree completely because that is exactly what I did tonight before finding this post & my pain is gone. At least in my case the pain is caused by an excess of oils & the baby powder soaks up those oils. The downside for me is only that the powder really shows in my red hair. I have to brush it a lot to disperse the powder & regain my color, but that’s a small price to pay to alleviate the pain.

  • Ash January 10, 2016, 9:52 pm

    I have this same sensation. One person put it best it’s like my follicles actually hurt. I almost never put my hair up. One curious question though, how many of us are naturally red headed. I read that in a post and it got me to wondering….

  • Sherry January 16, 2016, 8:57 pm

    I have not seen this mentioned at all. However, I want to throw this out there. I too have these painful area’s on the crown of my head as well. And from my experience, I would refer to them as ingrown hairs.
    The reason I say this is, because what happens for me is first….I detect a new sore like everyone else, I’m assuming. I feel something and reach for that area of my head and realize I have a new sore.
    So by that time, it’s actually already flared up! It’s mind boggling! I go to touch the area because it’s very sore and such. And again…there’s another one. I get maybe one a month.
    We in my case, I have my sister carefully take a pair of expensive (good) tweezers and go around the affected area and go to the very root. Not any higher because you will break the hair.
    Anyway, she goes to the roots in this area. And only a few of them sting and hurt real bad when you put pressure by slightly pulling on the single hair.
    When she finds the right one’s, that’s when I cringe and tell her to pull.
    Now another thing we do is I have her keep the tweezers tight so I can observe the root of the hair follicle. And what I find most every time is a large white bulb that should not be there!
    That’s where the ingrown hair comes into the picture! Moreover, as soon as she removes these 10-12 hairs. The pains goes with them. Instantly! But you cannot do this yourself! You will end up pulling all of your hair out! Furthermore, as your doing this each time the person helping removes a hair. Check the area to see if the pain has gone completely. Maybe it’s only three ingrown hairs in that area. Also, when your done. Clean the area with alcohol and antibiotic cream. Virgin Coconut oil is really good as well! The only down side I see is some of you plucking all of your hair out. Plz. DON’T DO THAT! MAKE SURE TO LOOK FOR THAT LARGE WHITE BULB! YOU WILL NOT FIND THAT ON A NORMAL HEALTHY HAIR STRAND’S BULB!

  • lisa January 28, 2016, 4:45 pm

    I try to wash my hair every other day. If I wait two days my scalp is hurting as well. I wash my hair it stops. When this happens I actually have to wash it twice.

  • Chloe February 1, 2016, 9:37 am

    I have thin fine hair and have had this problem for several years. What seems to help is oiling and conditioning my hair *before* washing. As some of the people here have mentioned, oiling the hair seems to help. I often use coconut or sweet almond oil and let in sink into my scalp for at least an hour, preferably overnight if I can swing it. Then before washing my hair, I apply a mild natural conditioner like yogurt or a fruit mask (strawberries or banana mask). This makes it easier for the oil to get washed out completely. I think this process prevents excessive drying and production of more oil after washing. I can go longer without washing and my hair doesn’t hurt for at least a week. Whenever I skip the oiling, I know I am going to pay for it with a bad scalp-ache later that week.

  • E February 11, 2016, 5:04 pm

    I cannot believe that so many others are experiencing this! I have the thickest, coarsest, longest, curliest hair you can imagine. It is naturally sort of strawberry blonde (ok, getting gray now), and I completely get what all of you are going through!!! I always say my follicles are killing me and people think I’m nuts! I’m going to try some of your suggestions; I’ll write again and let you know what works for me.

  • tsippi February 12, 2016, 5:54 am

    I’ve had the same very painful problem off and on for decades. I took Alcactone for my oily skin for about 10 years and the problem got a little better, but now I’m off the Aldactone and in pain again. Most doctors think I’m crazy, so it’s a relief to find this site. I did once find an article with an answer that made sense. According to the doctor who wrote the article, some people with oily skin develop small scabs of oil around their follicles. The pain they feel when they move their hair is caused by the scabs breaking or being pressured. Among other things, this would explain why a big percentage of people with this problem have curly, thick, or coarse hair. Oil does not travel down the cuticle of curly hair, coarse hair strands weigh a lot, and thick hair means more follicles, which means more oil glands. The only solution I’ve found is washing my hair often. (I’ve also found, through trial and error, that some styling products make the problem worse.) When the pain is particularly bad, I use a salicylic acid shampoo like Denorex, and leave it on my scalp for a while. When I am symptom free, I use sulphate-free shampoos, but when I’m going through a year where I have this problem, I need to use a traditional shampoo, with Denorex used occasionally. Yes, this is all a lot of bother, as I hate washing my hair so often, but I cannot find any way around it. Thanks for your website. I learn a lot here!

  • Lamak February 21, 2016, 8:29 pm

    I can explain it this way:
    When your hair is greasy, or oily, it collapses/falls down and sometimes into groups or locks, and there is less static in the hair which usually makes it more erect or perpendicular to the scalp. When the hairs are pulled down, the hair follicles are forced to bend down which is against the natural position in which they are embedded in the skin (perpendicular to skin surface) , this will cause the cause the pain at the root of the hair and the hair follicles, and washing immediately restores some of the static which put the hair and hair follicles back into an upright position.

  • Lee-Anne March 11, 2016, 7:12 am

    I also have this problem & I’m not sure people understand how painful it in. It only happens when I need to wash my hair. Luckily my hair isn’t oily & I can get away for 3 days …but it is really painful & a terrible experience. It can ruin my day and nothing seems to ease it accept washing it. I appreciate the comments left as it gives some good explanation. I really hope there is more research etc about it.

  • Noor March 16, 2016, 3:04 am

    my skull gets really oily if i dont shower it for 2 days and it aches and its really irritating so i always have to shower every 2 days and i tried using dry shampoo which was useless

  • Kim March 23, 2016, 4:23 pm

    I have also had this very sore scalp if I don’t wash often. I have short dry hair but my scalp will get oily. It is very frustrating.

  • Lauren March 26, 2016, 2:42 pm

    Happiness to me when I go 2-3 days without washing my hair. Kerastase shampoo helps and the iscalp massager is the best

  • sri April 4, 2016, 11:44 pm

    its true gresy hair makes may hair roots pain a lot
    I cant evn touch the hair
    if i try to touch my scalp its like hell
    i have a long hair , I am scared to plug it or bun it or evn plait it
    I don use harsh shampoos
    i tried many oils like jajoba, avacado, rose merry , sesame, almond and argan but there is no use these oils are very costly and just money vanished from my purse not evn a single day I had relief.
    Its 100% true for a little while it gives me relief by taking head bath but it starts again…………sometimes evn headbath dosent help me out
    Additionally I have migrian and sinus but this problem is dominating the other two!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mandy whiffin April 9, 2016, 6:07 am

    I only experience a sore scalp when my hair is dirty,it’s really sore abs feels like a headache .

  • 2 of the 4MS April 9, 2016, 11:12 am

    LOL! This is the longest thread!

    Of all of these stories, my daughter and I have you all pretty much covered:
    *I’m 48.
    * Naturally thick, curly, fine hair.
    * Been wearing it long for most of my life.
    * My hair was normal, now becoming dry
    * I am not plagued with oily hair, nor dandruff, nor any visible problems. *When I was younger (and had time) I used to blow dry my hair & styling tools. Now, that I have to color my hair every 3 to 4 weeks, I just let it naturally dry. And, probably more realistically, I just don’t have time
    * I use a lot of products to keep my curl looking beautiful. (Curling gel, curling cream and texture for the well defined, natural appearing curl without frizz)
    * when I was younger I used to use separate shampoo and conditioner, in the last 5 to 7 years, I’ve noticed my hair is getting dryer. I have been using a all natural cowash (or a shampooing conditioner).
    * My entire life I have had issues from time to time with “scalp ache”.
    * this is regardless of my activity level, my water consumption, my alcohol consumption, or my weight.
    * I have always assumed everybody had this problem.
    * A good shampooing (working at the area of pain) has always alleviated the pain.
    * This is happened to me wherever I have lived, it didn’t matter whether or not I have had a water softener
    * it doesn’t matter if I wear my hair in a pony or not.
    * It always happens when I wait days in between shampoos.
    * Recently I noticed that using a cowash (or shampooing conditioner) that I still would get “scalp ache”. The “scalp ache” persisted, even when I worked in the cowash in to the area of pain. I used the cowash (working it into the area of pain) for a few days in a row. When my scalp continue to ache, I used my daughters separate bottles of shampoo and conditioner. This completely alleviated my scalp ache.

    Now my daughter is a young teen.
    * She, too, has thick, curly, fine hair.
    * She has visibly oily hair.
    * She is incredibly active
    * She drinks a great deal of water.
    * She has to wash her hair every day or she experiences “scalp ache”.
    * She does not blow dry her hair
    * Her use of styling tools is very in frequent
    * She does not use styling product in her hair.

    Given the degree of people that have responded to this post, I believe that This is a common situation faced by many individuals.

    Onward and upward! Go individuals affected by scalp ache!

  • SS April 9, 2016, 3:17 pm

    yessss. Help! Put my hair up for 3 min and in so much pain until i wash it only thing that works!!

  • ReggiSpice April 12, 2016, 4:09 pm

    As a lady with mid-back length hair, I get this same pain when I’ve skipped the shampoo for a day or two and wear my hair up (for work or just to get it out of my face, or whateverelsehaveyou). I associate it with the pull and strain on the nerves of my follicles; if they’re in one position all day, and suddenly they’re let free, they’re going to have a hard time returning to their natural position, especially with an excess of oil. It’s painful, it’s sore, it feels like a Tonne weight, à la Warner Bros. cartoons, has been let loose on my head. When I let my locks fly free, I’m far less likely to feel this soreness, unless it’s been a few days between washings. Stiff hair means stiff follicles, and thus, stiff nerves.

  • Erika April 12, 2016, 6:50 pm

    It happens quite often to me too 🙁 and I have no idea why but I have noticed it happens when my hair is greasy ( however, I suffer from psoriasis and greasy hair anyway and my hair tends to get greasy after one or two days from washing it).
    It doesn’t feel like an ordinary headache but more like a scalp ache, so it’s not an inner pain but a skin one and only when touching the hair.It’s as if the hair has been in “the same position” for too long; just like when a part of your body aches, you sit down for a long period of time and when you finally move to get up you feel that part aching.

  • Katie April 14, 2016, 10:29 pm

    I have this problem as well. I usually notice it even more if i straigin my hair because ill go about 3 days without a wash if i go 5 days no wash ill use dry shampoos. Im experiencing this right now which made me google it which lead me to this thread. I have fairly long hair i do have in up most of the time but i noticebit if its up or down. Down seems to hurt more. I dont get a headache however my scalp hurts if i touch it it hurts. And only in apots not all over also comes and goes throughout the day not consistent.

  • Linda April 15, 2016, 7:24 pm

    Very funny, because my hair is curly but whenever I straighten my hair my head aches too – it’s like my scalp aches, not the first night of it being straight but after that until I wash my hair will my head stop aching !!! VERY annoying !

  • Steph April 28, 2016, 3:45 pm

    I’m not sure how accurate it is about it being a greasy hair problem.. I have very long, thick hair and I can go 5 days before any grease starts to set in, but when I shower, my hair roots almost immediately hurt as soon as the root is dry. I literally go everyday with sore roots, and this is also right after a wash… There’s got to be another cause of it. I thought it could potentially be the weight of hair pulling against the root, because my soreness gets instantly relieved once I put it up into a bun and the root is not being pulled down.

  • Niki June 17, 2016, 1:52 pm

    I have the exact same problem. I don’t wear my hair up, ever. And have extremely dry hair, so I can’t wash everyday. My hair will get greasy and it will hurt in specific spots (around the top back of my head) and just like you said it doesn’t feel better until washing it ! What’s the deal? Has anyone figured it out?

  • Busybee June 17, 2016, 3:38 pm

    Hello, Everyone!
    This thread is unbelievable.
    I stumbled upon this thread because today I experienced extreme scalp tenderness the first time, or the first time it was so noticeable. The soreness confined to about 2.5″-3″ semicircle from the top of the crown (if you draw an imaginary horizontal line from ear to ear that passes through the top of the crown). It felt as if I had multiple blunt force trauma on the head, or like lots of bruising on the crown area. The scalp was so tender that touching it was too much to bear.
    I am 49, have long hair that reaches my bra catch at the back. I have always had oily hair but in recent couple of years it doesn’t feel so oily any more (hormone??) so instead of having to wash my hair every other day, I can get away with 3 or even 4 days depending on the weather and my activities. However, this week I have been very busy (worked rather late) and unwell, so I was lazy and thought I’d leave the hair for 6 days, but had it tied into a pony tail (to conceal any greasy appearance) all day every day except bed-time.
    I have lived in a hard-water area for 20 years now, but this is the first time I suffered from this debilitating soreness.
    Now come to think of if, I must have this symptom from time to time, but I didn’t associate it with greasy hair, and never had it so severe, either. I remember sometimes my scalp felt a bit tender when I brushed it aggressively with the shampoo brush (those round, plastic things) but the discomfort went away once I finished shampoo.
    For 16 years now I have been using organic shampoo that does not contain any SLE, sulphates, artificial fragrance, etc. There had been a time when I had very itch scalp. The original manufacturer stopped making my shampoo, so I just grabbed anything from the supermarket (which I used to do 10 years prior to that) without thinking. Then I started having that prickly, irritating itch on my scalp. After a few weeks it dawned on me that for a whole decade I had been using quite natural shampoo, so perhaps my scalp was no longer used to those nonsense any more. Therefore I started searching for alternative and I found this brand that I am currently using: Cowshed. I live in the UK, so I try to buy British as much as possible. This brand does not contain any sulphates and sodium lauryl or laureth sulphate. It comes in a few varieties for different hair types. My hair is fine but quite thick, yet very straight and flat, so I use “Grumpy Cow”, which is volumising. It suits me very well. The shampoo has a pleasant smell, but not overpowering as it does not have artificial fragrance in it. The conditioner is also very moisturising but not greasy.
    Back to the soreness: I put the main reason down to lack of circulation, combined with clogged pores. I have a habit of bending down to wash my hair in an upside down position (just the head, not the whole person!) in order to encourage circulation. The excruciating pain I had today started to ease as soon as I poured warm water on the head (bent down). It felt better instantly, so I could proceed with washing the hair, when I massage the scalp with my finger tips at the same time (a habit formed 35 years ago). The pain was 90% gone by the time I finished shampoo, and the residual pain disappeared entirely a couple of hours afterwards.
    Hair follicles secret sebum, and our skin constantly shed dead cells, could the two combined form something substantial that would also cause physical sensation (in this case, pain) to more sensitive people like us? Anyhow, my problem today has been solved, but I am amazed that so many people are suffering from it, too!

  • sandra June 28, 2016, 4:57 pm

    It’s sebaceas dermatitis (inflammation). New borns get rhis, its called “cradle cap”. Your body is attacking your scalp and in return the body’s defense is to create sebum oil, or grease as you would call it. Starts out as small, sore spots on top of your head and those can lead to little pimples, then large flakes. Some never get the pimples and flakes, just soreness and greasy hair. I take flax seed oil and stay away from junk food to keep my inflammation down. An apple cider vinegar rinse helps tremedously, though this can strip the hair of dyed colors, so use a dropper. Stay away from greasy foods and don’t go in the sun. The sun will stimulate the sebaceous glands to release more gunk.

  • Carol Masumoto July 1, 2016, 3:29 pm

    I get the same scalp pain, if I wash my hair it feels a little better, I usually wash my hair every other day. This is a horrible feeling when my scalp hurts so bad I can’t stand to touch my head. It makes it very hard to relax. We also have hard water and I do color my hair about every 4 months. If there is a solution to keep from having this scalp pain please let me know.

  • Debra winson July 5, 2016, 2:07 am

    Hi I recently decided to try an experiment of not washing my hair. I am now into my seventh week and my hair has never felt so soft and well conditioned and all my dandruff has gone.
    I haven’t used commercial shampoo for over two years now so I didn’t experience the horrible greasy look that happens when not washing .
    The best alternative I have found is the Chinese way of using rice water it cleans and conditions without stripping the natural oils.
    Hope this inspires you to give up the evil shampoo! The main ingredient after water is sodium laureth sulfate an engine degreaser all wrapped up in a plastic bottle! Xx

  • Deborah July 6, 2016, 11:44 am

    I have spoken to some friends about this. One used to have very greasy hair, but she has found that the more frequently you shampoo, the more you need to wash your hair. Now she uses dry shampoo to de-grease the scalp a bit on the 3rd day or so, but doesn’t shampoo until about a week has passed.

  • Denise July 16, 2016, 8:23 pm

    I’m joining the conversation late but have had this for as long as I can remember! I am an every-other-day hair washer and if I try to push it to 3 and 4 days between washings, I have scalp pain right at the top, never in front and never in back, only at the crown. Definitely feels like inflammation but WHY? I’ve tried aloe juice and moisturizers but the only thing that works is to wash every-other-day. Just wish I could go longer because it dries my hair out 🙁 In addition, there are some shampoo/conditioners that also cause this pain and as soon as I encounter them, I return/exchange them for something different. Not sure which ingredient is to blame but it is rare that this happens but it does every now and then. Good luck to all and please let me know if you figure out what this is. Thanks!

  • Jennifer July 25, 2016, 1:12 pm

    I have long thick hair and I wash every other day. My scalp does the exact same thing, it’s like pain in certain areas. I will add that my hair is naturally wavy and I blow it straight with a round brush. Because my hair is so long it is so time-consuming to wash it everyday so I wash every other day or two, but sure enough by the next day my scalp starts hurting in certain spots. I find that if I take some water and pour it on my scalp and rub it in that it alleviates the pain somewhat. It’s almost like my hair is mad that it can’t go the way it wants to and when I put the water on the roots and it dries, it can go the direction it likes, thus alleviating the pain.

  • Lydia August 1, 2016, 1:00 am

    Thank god I’m not the only one!

    I am so happy to find this site and people that have the same problem as me!!!
    I’ve had this pain for over 3 years. I’ve been to the doctors, skin specialist, chemist. You name it and I’ve tried it.

    It made me really depressed and I cried a lot because it was sooo painful.

    I have just recently figured out that aveda blue malva shampoo then conditioner all over my hair helps! I part my hair into sections with a clip when I shampoo (shampoo twice) and make sure I wash it ALL out 🙂 my hair has never felt softer and my scalp doesn’t hurt.. I wash my hair every second day.

    I have really really thick blonde hair that’s long. One day I got so sick of the pain I cut all my hair off so it was short and it still hurt so it’s obviously not the weight of my hair.

    🙂 I’m much happier now.

  • Destiny August 11, 2016, 3:51 pm

    I have the same thing happen to me. I have blonde hilights and they say to only wash my hair every other day so it won’t damage but my scalp always hurts on my skipped days. Also everyone I ask thinks I’m silly so if you figure out why it happens I would love to know. TIA

  • Mom_2_Many August 13, 2016, 4:12 pm

    My hair is below my shoulders but it is very heavy. It seems like my hair got heavier after every child I gave birth to! If I pull my hair back by the middle of the day I have a very bad “hairache”. Our doesn’t matter if my is clean or dirty. I think it is the thickness of your hair.

  • Megan August 19, 2016, 3:59 pm

    For the last 5 years or so, docs and I have been chalking my constant scalp pain up to chronic lyme. I recently switched my routine from a daily blow out to air drying paired with a switch to silicone and sulfate free shampoo and conditioner (devacurl line). I’d never felt relief in the past from ceasing blow drying (I’d recently abstained for 4 months while on maternity leave.) But about a month after switching to the devacurl process/line I realized 2 things: I was pain free at the scalp, I missed my smooth hair. So I decided to blow dry one day and within a few hours all of the pain was back! Haven’t done it since and the pain is still gone. The combo of avoiding silicones and/or sulfates as well as keeping heat away from my scalp is what has truly worked for me. Hope this helps someone!

  • Nicole September 3, 2016, 11:12 am

    I have experienced just what you say for 15 years. I have to wash my hair every morning no matter what or I get severe headaches from the roots. I used to have longer hair but now have it really short which does help a bit but still the problem persists. Everyone thinks I’m nuts. So glad I’m not alone.

  • Katie September 12, 2016, 10:50 am

    I was my hair every two days, which is the same as I’ve always done. Occasionally, if I’m not leaving the house on the third day, I don’t wash it, but then I end up with a sore scalp like that. A few times, I’ve gone on backpacking trips where we don’t shower for over a week, and my scalp can got really sore during the first few days. After about the third day it didn’t hurt anymore, probably because I was used to it by then.

  • Lorna Trudeau September 16, 2016, 9:46 pm

    I love having showers and washing my hair but sometimes I go 2 or 3 days without washing it and I can feel my scalp becoming sensitive and sore but once I wash it it goes away I’ve always wondered about it.

  • Ray September 26, 2016, 12:20 pm

    My scalp feels sore usually on days where I don’t have time to wash it and I wear it in a ponytail or bun. It’s bothering me today but I’m also feeling somewhat like I have a cold. I wasn’t sure if that might have anything to do with it.

  • Valerie Mullen October 3, 2016, 9:34 pm

    This is from the malessezia fungus and the more oil you put on your scalp, the more it feeds them and they get into the follicles and damage the hair. Rinse with original Listerine. It used to be advertised decades ago as an antifungal but the government stopped it. Also nizoral shampoo or Follicular . If these malessezia get onto the skin it causes tinea versicolor and will leave itchy spots and scabs on neck ,back and chest and under breasts. Also will bleach skin such as on face. It must be considered an all out war to battle this and must shampoo every day to keep those fatty acids from causing the inflammation. Another thing I do is get a,quarter tsp of citric acid and pectin and mix in warm water and put on scalp and skin. The fungus needs an alkaline skin to grow on and this pectin and citric acid breaks down the biofilm where it hides. Try it, you can buy both of those on amazon.

  • Sheva October 10, 2016, 1:56 pm

    I have this same problem! My Detmatologyst said it was the fungus! My scalp feels as if someone or something has been pulling my hair from the crown without pause. I use tepid water in the shower as hot water stimulates the fungus. I have no cure! There is a prescription drug for it, but I declined it! I am going to search natural alternatives!

  • Tezcatli Diaz October 14, 2016, 9:51 am

    This has happened to me since childhood. Having my hair up definitely makes it worse but going like 3 days with out washing is miserable, camping always leads to a headache. But not like a real head ache more like a weight on the scalp. I have scepticism about it being a fungus because as soon as I shower I am relieved. It is the feeling you get when you hair is up all day (even when clean).

    I have thick and long hair, and the longer it is, the easier it gets to be painful. When I get a haircut, or my hair thinned/textured, it helps. Not much but enough to make it worth it.

    I have chalked it up to my hair being weighed in one direction that makes it hurt, and the greasier it is the heavier it is equalling more pain.

    Not a professional, but I am very in tune with your struggle.

  • Moniba November 4, 2016, 8:51 pm

    So everyone has this problem. My theory is as follows: it is because of the heavy hair pulling on the tiny muscles in the scalp called arrector pili and you end up with something like a muscle sore after heavy exertion; only its millions of them! And the hair gets heavy when they get greasy or if they are pulled at tightly. Goes to show how balanced God has made us and tiny bits of imbalances can cause so much trouble 🙂

  • Charzipan November 10, 2016, 11:35 pm

    I get a sore scalp if I don’t wash my hair every day, too (the way I have OCD I wash everything a lot anyways), though not nearly as bad as yours. I can massage my head, pull my hair, scratch my scalp, use dry shampoo, I’ve even tried dousing my head with perfume thinking the alcohol would stop the soreness (it just stung my scalp and it got greasy and weirdly dry at the same time, and I smelled like a crazy lady roflol), but nothing works except shampooing. My ex-husband gets a sore scalp from dirty hair (like if he’s got two days off work in a row and doesn’t get out of his jammies the whole time), also goes away only with washing his hair. It’s so funny-strange. I’m filing it in the Things That Make You Go ‘Hmmm’ cabinet along with why do we yawn, why do single socks disappear from the dryer, why do men think it’s a good idea to tell an upset woman to calm down, etc…;-)

  • twinkle verma November 16, 2016, 11:03 am

    I experience the same problem and im too prone to cold that im not even able to wash my hair frequently and this aching scalp sucks

  • Naqvi November 19, 2016, 10:07 am

    Hi all, i have the same problem, only difference is that,i have very dry hair, for temporary relief, I use Boric Acid Powder (borax) which u cant at chemist, one spoon mix in 50mls of warm water cuz it doesnt mix well in cold water, keep in spray bottle, after every shower, i spray into my scalp, rub in and then let it dry. You can also rub in lemon juice freshly squeesed where this inflamation is, one tea spoon of bio youghurt/ simple youghurt just massage in the scalp. I dont wash my hair after using any of these things, i wash after2,3 days, sometimes after a week to be honest. Again let me emphasize, these are temporary solutions, work for me, might not work for you..plz check of any sensitivities or allergies. Using coconut oil or any oil make my ache go worse… Good luck

  • Carrie December 7, 2016, 9:32 pm

    This is crazy! I was searching google to find out why the crown of my scalp hurts so bad after 2-3 days of not washing it and came across this page full of people with the same issue! This is the 4th or 5th time within the last few months that it has happened to me and it hurts so bad I can barely even touch my head back there and if I move my hair forget it, it’s awful! It’s wed eve and I last washed my hair Monday night into tue morning at like 2:30-3am so it really hasn’t even been a full 2 days this time and it hurts like hell! The last few times it happened I hadn’t washed my hair for like 4 days. I have really bad eczema and dry skin on my body but my face and hair are always super oily! I thought the scalp pain might be related to my fibromyalgia, eczema, or just wearing my hair in a messy pony tail (it’s always a lose messy bun though just to keep it out of my face since I gave up on doing my hair lately so I didn’t think it was held up tight enough to really cause this much pain) but when searching Google I found some medical pages saying a sore scalp could be an indication of something more serious! I was like oh great something else to be concerned about but then I found this page and read how many of you also have this issue and it has only ever happened when I’ve gone a few days without washing my hair! After showering and washing my hair it does start to feel much better but actually washing and scrubbing my hair when it gets this painful is torture because moving my hair and touching my scalp hurts so friggen much!

  • Sam December 15, 2016, 4:45 am

    I have thick hair and have a cowlick at the crown. I believe most do. My hair is not greasy. If I do not wash my hair with a good conditioner when I sleep the pillow pushing my hair against the cowlick by morning the crown hurts so bad. Hair has a natural direction could it be buns, ponytails,pillows force the hair in an unnatural direction causing pain? Washing the hair helps but is it because the cowlick is not as prevalent the day u wash your hair. Washing your hair helps it lay flatter relaxes it a bit? Is there more to this painful scalp issue? Are men affected less their hair is kept short and is cut to accommodate their unique cowlicks so they do not stick up. Women’s cowlick are covered by long hair. Heavy hair , long hair many conditions pull on the cowlick which causes pain sore spots on the scalp.

  • Dawn December 18, 2016, 6:37 pm

    I get that too, pain if I don’t wash my hair after a couple of days and it gets worse as time goes on. Never had that until the last couple of years I have medium length hair. The cow lick is very obvious. People do notice it. When I try to wet it and push down it doesnt work and using a flat iron won’t work either. I have to wash my hair every day to completely get rid of the cow lick and pain. I am healthy and lab tests have been good. Maybe menopause?

  • audrey halliman December 21, 2016, 1:10 pm

    I have the same problem ppl think it was all in my mind..but it’s not I really need help every 4th to 5th day I have to wash my hair help plzs no Dr out there can help us..thks again…

  • Lily January 5, 2017, 9:42 pm

    Cut my hair last week from long to super short and my scalp has been aching ever since so, in my case, weight is not a factor and washing only helps briefly Also, I have noticed every time I get my hair cut from long to short, it gets curlier. I always had super straight hair until about 10 years ago

  • Annie January 10, 2017, 6:25 pm

    I get this sometimes, I notice it more when I’m due to wash my hair. I get it especially when my hair has been tied back… my theory is that with the hair being pulled back tightly and the hair being greasy, the Oils/grease in the hair causes the hair follicle to stay in that position so the relief of having your hair down isn’t much of a relief atall. It’s even more uncomfortable when you touch the sore part at the roots.. for me it’s not so much a headache rather just an ache.

  • Meghan February 5, 2017, 2:39 am

    I’ve gotten this scalp pain so bad in the past, that it has been debilitating. At its worst, it was a constant pain, and I could think of nothing else. About 2 years ago, the pain was so bad, I made an emergency apt same day and left work right away to get my hair cut. I told the hairdresser to just take it all off. I haven’t put my hair up in a ponytail in 2 years and I keep it chin length and wash it everyday. My mom and sister tell me I shouldn’t wash my hair everyday, that it dries it out… I tried explaining that i cant because it physically hurts me to not wash my hair. They did not understand at all; I think it’s hard to if you havent experienced it. I went just 2 days without washing my hair, and i have the pain again. Im now on the Internet trying to find out what is wrong with me. My scalp feels very sore at the crown, like it was beat up and if I move the roots of my hair even just a little or touch my scalp, it hurts. I always assumed it was weight…. I have a lot of hair. But it’s short, I get it thinned, and I haven’t worn it up in years… I wish there was more awareness around this issue and a proven explanation for it. I’ve looked it up before and found nothing… Glad I stumbled upon these comments.

  • Meghan February 5, 2017, 2:45 am

    Also, it doesn’t go away right away when I wash it. I went 2 days without washing my hair 4 days ago and my scalp is still very sore. Once the pain is there, even if I wash everyday, I will still have it for several days or even weeks before it goes away.

  • Lindy February 9, 2017, 3:00 pm

    I too have this problem,although I try to leave washing my hair for a few days,by day 2 the scalp has become very sore in specific areas,quite worrying as I have had a few mini strokes in the past.As soon as I wash my hair it seems to dissipate,my G.P. says there is nothing sinister going on,wish I knew what is causing this.

  • Subha February 10, 2017, 4:28 pm

    I have been having the same problem since the last two years but recently I have stopped using shampoo. These days I wash my hair with soap nut and I also use rye flour sometimes. I have an oily hair so from the second day it starts getting greasy and on the third day, I start having pain in my scalp. Even with the use of natural product my hair does get greasy from the second day but my scalp pain has vanished. Its too early to conclude anything since I m in my third week but I feel, like maybe the problem was the chemicals in the shampoo.

  • EL February 11, 2017, 8:59 pm

    I’ve had a seriously oily scalp, along with scalp/crown pain (the “hair hurts at the roots when moved” feeling) for almost twenty years. I read this entire thread last week, as it was the first time I found similar descriptions from other people, and started digging around for solutions. On a suggestion from another website, I ordered Matrix Biolage Normal Clean Reset Shampoo from Amazon last week, and have been using it for three days. It seems to really work. For the first time since pre-adolescence, my hair actually looks good and my scalp doesn’t hurt at all. I’m still shampooing every day (I don’t trust the reviews that say you can go three days between washing yet:). I am trying a couple conditioners with it, and will update this post when I figure out the best ones. On its own, though, even without conditioner the shampoo is definitely a Holy Grail product.

    • Lauren February 13, 2017, 3:10 pm

      ScalpSync conditioner, with the Matrix Biolage Resetting shampoo, seems to be the winning combination. Highly, highly recommend.

  • Cat February 22, 2017, 8:26 am

    Seborrheic dermatitis…?? I looked this up on Wikipedia, and it’s not perfect, but it sounds close for some of us. Actually, I found it while looking up “Cradle Cap” on a whim – something about that condition my Grandmother used to talk about made me wonder if there were similarities. As this is a non-specific race or gender condition, I can’t help but wonder if it’s the right direction to look in when looking for an answer? I realise that we may not be suffering from strictly dandruff, but there are a few scalp (and skin) conditions connected with Seborrheic dermatitis.
    Of course the usual warnings apply concerning not self-diagnosing, or self-medicating for ANY medical condition…please! You could very well be doing more harm to yourself than good when it comes to self-medicating!
    Best wishes to you all, I know I’ll be checking back here to see if anyone can find any answers for us all. 🙂

    • Cat February 26, 2017, 11:09 am

      Ooops, sorry sandra, looks like we were looking up the same thing / idea, and I missed your previous post! 🙂

  • Sandra Pearse May 1, 2017, 12:32 pm

    Like many others stumbled across this discussion, when searching for ‘aching/sore scalp’. I can’t believe so many others suffer from it too, which in a way makes me feel a little better that I am not going mad!
    I’m going to do down the organic/pesticide free etc. route, also I’m going to try washing it with essential oil and rinse with apple cider vinegar, cos I’m in pain with it at the moment (hence looking up the problem at last).
    Good to know there is somewhere to discuss it.
    thanks ladies x x

    • Sandra Pearse May 8, 2017, 6:36 pm

      update to my earlier post, I used Dr. Bronner’s peppermint 18 in 1 soap to shampoo my hair, I then rinsed in apple cider vinegar. Seems to have worked, which I am really pleased about, although I am going to buy some Dr. Bronner’s conditioner and see how that goes. Hope this helps x x

  • adil May 2, 2017, 12:09 pm

    same problem.
    i have a natural solution its simple and it has been working for me for long time… i have tried lots of things.like organic shampoos, oil, and even medicanes. but those all things didnt work for me. thn oneday i tried onion juice on my scalp and after that day i haven’t felt any scalp pain till date.. one thing has been clarified . that the main couse of scalp pain is fungal or bacterial infection . ( you should try onion juice today and i am sure *it worked for me and it will work for you as well with 100% guaranty.

  • t77 May 19, 2017, 7:21 pm

    I have very short hair and i applied coconut oil to my hair and it was horrible. I washed it and conditioned it and my scalp hurts really bad. this has happened to me before when i was unable to wash, so conditioned it was a nightmare.

  • Jamila May 23, 2017, 12:56 am

    Yes i faced greasy headaches if I didn’t wash it next day .. I probably be disturbed by a headache

  • Charlene June 16, 2017, 2:11 pm

    I have the exact same problem, I can not miss one day of washing without suffering from a horribly greasy and painful scalp. I actually used to be able to go longer before it would happen but now I’m down to a 24 hour time line. I’ve considered medicated shampoo, but am doing a bit of research first.

  • Victoria May 2, 2018, 11:37 pm

    I getting it completely. Whole head aching and hurting, I have medium hair halfway down my back and I can’t have it up after the second/third day it really sucks and painful. Though I will say that I’ve noticed if I’m worried, anxious or even a little stressed the pain is more. Thanks for the article, great insight and to know I’m not alone!:)

  • Norton December 12, 2018, 1:08 am

    I get the exact same thing! I wash my hair everyday! My hair is a very short very textured bob. So no weight! Still get sore scalp!! Don’t have dandruff and using very good professional hair products. Still get if I use no products and let hair air dry! By evening scalp sore! Ugg!

  • Linda Thomson December 19, 2019, 11:53 pm

    I too, have this problem. I have oily hair and skin but also have dry skin due to aging. It can be very painful and I get right sided throbbing headaches. I appreciate all the suggestions from fellow sufferers and will be sure to try them until I find relief. Thanks to everyone!!!

  • Jeush March 27, 2020, 8:26 am

    Hi I saw your post while googling for the possible reasons why I get a certain sort of head ache whenever I use certain leave-in greasy conditioners and when I dun wash my hair clean for a day. I am growing my hair long hence all the smoothing I need from conditioners and such as to prevent hair breakages which I have alot. Anyway for this particular sort of head ache, believe it’s something to do with my scalp getting too blocked up by grease hence it’s unable to breathe properly which result in the headache cos my scalp perspire alot. With it being blocked up by those grease, heat gets trap too which further makes it worse. But once I wash it clean with lots shampoo and get rid of all the grease, the ache will also disappear.

    But if I use arggan oil mixed with essential oils, jus a few drops, and massage it into my scalp, it’s fine. No problem there– infact it feels good.

  • Thomasene Blevins May 11, 2020, 10:36 am

    I have this problem, and I have short hair. It seems to manifest on the second day after a shampoo. I usually go two days. I’m wondering if it has something to do with hydration. I’m on diuretics for a heart condition. My hair isn’t very oily at all. ??