If you've found this the chances are you've Googled 'burning scalp' as I have when I first encountered the problem over a year ago.
I was so frightened with what I was reading about hair loss, I clicked off and never searched again.
But I want to let you know if you are suffering with this problem there is hope.
Mine first started when I was on holiday, it happened suddenly and I notice when I brushed my hair more strands than usual came out. This was accompanied by a distinct burning sensation that I though must have been sunburn.
After coming home to the UK the problem persisted. I was under a lot of stress having just broken up with my boyfriend and now I had to worry about my hair falling out! I remember sitting on the train from the airport gently pulling on my hair and five to ten hairs would come away easily. All the while it was burning, a sensation that seemed to move around my scalp, from one side to the other. I felt sick with worry when I realised it wasn't sunburn and I went to see my doctor.
They gave me special shampoo and a steroid liquid. When this didn't work I went to a consultant who put me on a type of anti-depressant Citalopram, which apparently works by dulling nerve endings. He thought it could be some kind of neuralgia. This appeared to work for a few weeks and then the problem was back. Hair still coming out to excess.
I was so scared of losing my hair, I kept checking it with a hand held mirror so I could see the back. I did this every time I went to the bathroom. Sometimes I'd wake in the night petrified about all my hair coming out. I had met someone new and when he text me to say my hair was all over his pillow and how funny it was I almost died. He had no idea quite what I was going through. I started to wear my hair up a lot as I became paranoid it was starting to thin. In the street I would check out everyone's head of hair as they past me, I felt obsessive but there was nothing I could do about it.
I'm writing all this because if you have a burning scalp now, I know you'll identify with all that I'm saying and I want you to know there's a chance it WILL get better all by itself.
Right back to the story...in general, the pain seemed to intensify then dull, at it's most painful I'd be in tears, unable to concentrate at work. After another doctors visit, one told me that it could be stress related and to go home and have a drink! He looked at me like I was crazy and so I decided to try and ignore the problem to see if worrying less about it would ease the pain. After 6 months of ignoring it the best I could, it was still nagging away at me!!!
I went back to the doctors, they did blood tests but ultimately found nothing wrong. By this point I had told those closest to me what was wrong, they all told me that I had a full head of hair and that I needed to try and stop worrying. My new boyfriend was amazing - and still is! - unlike the doctors he doesn't think I'm nuts and would ask each day 'how's your head today?' He didn't even laugh when I invested in a retro ice bag to place on my head when it got really bad!!!
I can't give you a cure to this as I am still living with a burning scalp BUT...for some reason, after a year and a half, the pain has started to subside. I can now go for days without thinking about it. If you imagine the pain as volume control, it's like the volume has been turned right down, just the faintest burn/tingle. This i can live with!!!
I am using special prescribed shampoo one a week - maybe this helps. Mentally I am no longer stressing about my hair coming out - I think this certainly helps and my hair is coming out less, still more than it ever used to but no one else notices but me.
I think this condition is a real catch 22. The more you worry the more you burn so accept the fact that the pain is real, try and treat your hair like you did before the burning scalp began - so if you want to use your favourite conditioner on the ends of you hair - do it. Just by treating yourself as you did before the burning began really helped me.
I'm at a stage now where I can even book a hair cut appointment. Something I have done only once since I've had this problem! I was always terrified they were going to be rough with me and make the pain worse.
Even if writing this helps one person I'll be happy. I just felt when I was at my worst the terror of looking at websites which spoke only of definate hair loss and depression really upset me!!
So there IS hope. Be patient, ride the storm and hopefully your scalp will calm itself down and give you a well earned break!
Thank you for your letter. My scalp has been burning for six months and have seen two derms with many treatments and no cure. No flaking or sores, just like you said feeling sunburned, hair hurting. May I ask what special shampoo you used as I have tried many. I even put aloe vera plant gel on my scalp. Hair spray seems to make the sting worse, but like you said with the hair thinning I have to use it to go out. My hair is to my waist and it is so disturbing as my scalp has never done this until the doc gave me a steriod shot in my scalp and its been burning ever since. Thanks for the encouragement, it means alot.
Thank you very much. I'm waiting to see if it is my thyroid meds as they were on the high end and just changed to a lower dose. Have been playing detective for awhile. I will get back with you and so appreciate your help and hope you get better asap.
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Thanks for your post, I am having scalp/hair loss trouble and it is nice to hear someone else talk about the same feelings and actions. I laughed when I read about checking your hair with a mirror - I do that all the time!
I have been given topical steriods to try address the inflammation and Coal Tar shampoos - to no avail.
I am also changing my diet - as a way of reducing inflammation - reducing sugar, diary (a big culprit for causing psorisis apparently) and also limiting gluten, I am feeling better and my allergies are better but still itchy burning red scalp and hair loss - so I will keep it up for a while longer to see how it goes.
One connection I have made that may help others is that on days where I take ibuprofen or asprin my hair loss almost doubles - which is weird!
I wish everyone luck with their hair issues - hope you all find some resolution x
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Saw a new derm and he thought I might have Lichen planopilaris. Ugh. Well, he reviewed my two past biopsies and noted the inflammation was in the blood vessels not the hair folicles. I'm going for allergy testing Monday. He asked me to use Dermasmooth and am hesitate because I don't tolerate steriods. My hair is falling out and still burning. He also stated it could be scalp dysesthesia. I will hopefully find out what is going on and I don't like looking at my scalp in the mirror either. Anyway, this is real and he seems to be a good doctor. Thank God someone cares in the medical field. Best of luck to you all and I'll be in touch.
Hi there, interesting response from the doc. I've since been back to see a consultant who was also very helpful. I'm now on Amitriptyline as they insist it's neurological. I'm on week three and no real change yet but I'm hopeful as ever.
One thing I have realised though...I used to freak out in a big way when brushing my hair after washing it as sooo much came out. BUT then I realised I had stopped washing my hair as often as I used to which was everyday. So, naturally, 3 days build up of shedding hair looks so much worse than one day. This calmed me a great deal and just thought you guys might have a similar issue. Good luck and keep me updated all!! x
I'm glad you were able to find a bit of comfort in having a shared experience. Interesting one about changing diets. It's all worth a go I suppose. Apologies for the huge delay, I've not been on this website for ages Thanks so much for your reply, it's really helpful to swap ideas and try and boot this silly burning scalp thing in the butt!!
I went back to the dermatologist and he said I definetly have scalp dysthesia. I will try Clobex shampoo and if that doesn't stop the scalp pain he is certain I need to be on 10mg's of Doxipin or Neurotin. He blames the hair loss on my thyroid but assured me I wouldn't go bald. My hair is to my waist and thinning as I type this. Ugh. I hope this helps someone and the meds help me. Also, he suggested 5 to 10mcgs of Biotin and A/G Pro vitamins. They are sold on line or can be ordered at Walgreens or Wal Mart. Best of luck to all and I'll check back hopefully with good news.
Still have the burning scalp. Tried Doxepin for six weeks and no relief of symptoms and hair is very thin at crown where it burns the most. The derm told me the only medicine left to try would be Elavil. I'm not going there unless I start losing all my hair. I have read other posts and think I will try avoiding diet coke and using Philip B Rejunenating Oil as posted by Flower. My heart goes out to everyone who suffers with this condition. It is real and frustrating. If anyone has success from treatment please post. Best of luck to all.
I was going to start a new thread on this topic, but saw your post.
(I realize this is a couple old, but if it can help someone?)
I have had the same exact thing for around 4-5 years on and off only on the nape of my neck hairline and my part line. I have tried absolutely everything, had all the blood tests, prescription shampoos, steroids, etc.
Here is what worked for me:
I cleaned the nape area and part line once with stridex no alcohol / aloe pads which contain salycic acid. Yes, that made my scalp somewhat irritated and some of you might have to test a little area, but the salycic acid chemically exfoliated the hair follicles.
After the pad water dried up, I washed my hair with Free and Clear Shampoo and Free and Clear Conditioner and rinsed very very well, because my scalp is very sensitive from all the crap I've put it through over the years.
I towel dried my hair (with a towel that had been wiped down and let air dry with anti-bacterial hand cleanser as I also apply to my pillowcases).
I wait a couple of hours to let my scalp calm down a little bit.
I apply Bactin spray wound disinfectant, which contains benzothonium chloride, which sticks to the scalp and hair and is a powerful antibacterial that hospitals use. I felt the burn go away right away, I just had a little sting from the exfoliating stuff.
I did this routine with shampoo and Bactin (not the exfoliating all the time and still do if I feel a little burn coming on) and it took around 3 days to cure my burning.
I imagine if the scalp is too infected you would have to go on antibiotics? I'm not a doctor, just have been living with this for so long and did not want to go on AB's.
Hi, I see this is a few month old but I was wondering if your scalp is still doing better for? I am also wondering if one of the other girls could give a update on Phillips B oil and if it worked? I have been dealing with this crap about two years now. Hope to hear from back!
Welcome to the boards. I'm sorry to say the only product that has helped me is Sarna lotion. It calms my scalp temporarily, however that is better than no help. I have had this condition about four years along with hair loss. I'm apposed to being treated with Elavil which would most likely help. Just don't want to get on it. I keep hoping when I calm down my scalp will also. Wishing you the best and if I can help in anyway I'm here for you.