Burning Scalp Syndrome (Trichodynia) is a disease causing feeling of pain, sometimes itching and burning of the scalp. It appears to affect women three times more than men due to the fact that women have longer hair. There are two theories explaining this disorder. According to the first theory, when there is no hair in follicles, nerves connecting follicles to the nerve system of the brain sends ‘pain’ signals to the brain. This happens just as in phantom limb pain (pain felt in an organ which does not exist or cut off from the body). Another theory claims that the scalp of these people suffering from the disease have extremely sensitive nerves. When long hair is tied tightly for a long time, the sensitivity increases. Moreover, when hair follicles and scalp can’t breathe, these factors result in ‘Ponytail Syndrome’. According to the researches, burning scalp syndrome (trichodynia) has a close link to hair loss. However, there isn’t certain information about whether which one causes another. Both may trigger one another. A research revealed that 34% of women consulting doctors for hair losses also complain about scalp pain. (Willimann, Trueb)

Reasons of Burning Scalp Syndrome (Trichodynia)


Feeling of being pricked by needles, intense itching, burning and pain on the scalp is thought to be as a result of the tightly-tied hair.

When the hair is tied very tightly, it makes follicles and the scalp difficult to breathe and this causes scalp contraction and hair loss.

Another reason is that long hairs aren’t dried enough after shower. Especially, the follicles of which damage risks increase in cold and windy weather lose their strength and cause itching and loss of hair when not dried.

Blow-dry and intense hair conditioner applications are thought to be among the factors triggering burning scalp syndrome. Blow-dry and some hair products cause scalp irritation.

Likewise, people who are allergic to hair dye may suffer from this disease.

Irregular eating habit, vitamins and protein deficiency are also associated with hair health. Especially, vitamin D deficiency increases the chance of suffering from the disease as it weakens hairs.

Although the direct relation between psychosomatic reasons and burning scalp syndrome is not proven, it is thought that depression, stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety cause burning scalp syndrome.

Burning scalp syndrome may be seen in women taking contraceptive pills. Many women reported that the pain passed off when they stopped taking these pills.

Symptoms Of Burning Scalp Syndrome (Trichodynia) And Treatment


People suffering from burning scalp syndrome (trichodynia) feel their scalp burning or being pricked by needles when they touch their scalp. This is the main symptom of this disease. Afterwards, redness, wound on scalp, and hair loss or shedding can be seen. The factors causing this disease should be removed immediately. What should be done is listed below (these can be applied also for the protection).

  • There is no certain treatment of this disease. So, at first, the factors causing this illness should be specified and removed. If the problem continues, the patient should consult a dermatologist. Generally, symptoms differ from person to person. So the treatment varies.
  • Regular eating habit is important. Foods rich in protein and vitamin such as egg, fish, meat and milk etc. should be eaten so that hair can become stronger.
  • Tough and fast diets should be avoided.
  • Stress can cause not only burning scalp syndrome (trichodynia) but also other diseases. So, people suffering from this disease should eliminate stress from their life. Some antidepressants under doctor examination are proven to have positive effects on scalp.
  • Hormonal problems affect scalp health. Hormonal instability should be treated by doctors.
  • Organic products should be applied carefully. Hair products, especially hair gel shouldn’t be overused. Leave your hair natural at certain periods.
  • Moisturizing shampoos preventing dryness should be preferred.
  • Too hot or too cold showers should be avoided. Warm water is ideal for scalp.
  • Hairs should be dried with towels, and then with hair dryer.
  • Do not go out right after the shower for 2-3 hours. Especially if it is cold, extra attention should be given. Hair should be dry, head and neck should be protected from cold with special accessories.
  • Hairs shouldn’t be combed roughly and scalp shouldn’t be itched severely.
  • Hair styles irritating scalp should be avoided. Hairs shouldn’t be tied so tightly.
  • It is useful to give a massage on scalp delicately at certain periods.

Note: If you suffer from Burning Scalp Syndrome, please consult your doctor in order to learn the right and effective treatment method.


  1. Anyone with a burning scalp should talk to a professional medical provider about eliminating gluten from their diet. Check your shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, etc..

  2. I have a burning scalp ocasionally although today I am in agony, I do not get itching or pin pick sensations, for me it feels as if I have had boiling water poured over my scalp. I have not consulted my doctor as yet but I have found holding cool pads, frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel or ice packs against the offending area of the scalp does alleviate the burning, that is up until you remove the ice, but I am sitting here now nursing some frozen peas and a tea towel and the relief is fantastic. Hope this helps.

  3. Purchase a laser comp and massage the scalp at least 3 time per week. They are expensive but QVC offers them on easy payment option. An ointment called Taclonex and a spray called Clobex helps with the pain. Where ever my pain is located is where my hair loss generates. Also Spyronolactone and Finesteride pills help with the hormones. These are all prescription drugs from my dermatologist. I have this condition and have had it for 11 years. I’ve developed a routine with the Laser comb. The instructions for this on the package tells you to simply place it on your scalp, but I actually massage my entire scalp for about 15 or 20 minutes. I place extra emphasis on the spots that are burning and balding I also use Rogaine but not excessively. I mix it in my hair oil, I’m a Black woman…our hair needs oil. And I use the mixture product about every 2 or 3 days. I don’t wash it out until I wash my hair. This isn’t a cure but between the meds and laser come, I’ve managed to limit the hair loss and even grow back some hair that I lost. Winter time makes my condition worse. And so, I’ve started wearing hats when I go outside in the cold. This condition doesn’t seem to like cold weather. So sometimes I’ll take the blow dryer and simply warm up the spot that is burning. During the warm months, my hair is much fuller. I wear my hair as natural as possible with very few chemicals. Only enough to over my gray and red highlights on the tips. I certainly wish you good luck. These things mentioned above has actually saved most of my hair. If I hadn’t discovered this method, I wouldn’t be able to wear my hair out in public. My method results in what I refer to as my scalp ritual. Without it, I would probably have no hair. Good luck everybody!

  4. Can you please tell me what kind of a dermatologist might help me with itching: burning scalp.I cannot get help anywhere.I also suffer from tremendous anxiety and I take a blood thinner but I had this condition long before I got on Xarelto.


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