By Terez Howard

“My scalp hurts when I style my hair.”

Have you ever said that or felt that way?  Rest assured that you are not alone.  Secondly, know that it is not uncommon to feel more “tender headed” when you get locs.  Why?  Before you had locs, you probably brushed and combed your hair regularly.  Once you get locs, that pulling and tugging is gone.  That absence might make your scalp extra sensitive to any form of tension, including styling.

For me, any style that laid flat on my head, like cornrows or flat twists, bothered my head after one day.  It got terribly itchy after a few days.  I would keep those hair styles for as long as possible.  But it was a struggle.  I have the same problem now.  I usually keep a style like that for a few days, if that, and then it has to come out.  I would like for some styles to last longer.  My scalp just can’t stand it.

What can you do about a sensitive scalp?

Don’t style tightly.  Yes, we want a style to last.  The first line of defense would be braiding or twisting tightly down to the scalp for a frizz-free hair style.  Well, there’s nothing wrong with some frizzies.  That tension could be exactly what’s making your scalp feel pain.  Also, frequent tight styling can weaken and snap your locs.  If you get in the habit of pulling a tight pony tail, expect to see weak locs at the pony tail holder’s line.

Use an astringent.  This can eliminate itchies.  Put Sea Breeze or witch hazel on your scalp to calm down an itchy scalp.  Simply place a small amount on a scarf or cheese cloth and blot your scalp.

Follow up with essential oil.  Astringents  are drying to the scalp.  Diluted essential oils, such as rosemary oil or tea tree oil, can moisturize and further cleanse the scalp.

Styling.  This might seem counter-intuitive.  But, the more you style your locs, the more your scalp can get used to styling and the less likely it will feel pain.  As your locs mature, you should notice less and less pain as you style.

A tender scalp might stay that way – tender.  That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you or your hair.  Stick to styles that let your hair flow freely if that’s what your scalp likes.  There’s no use suffering for the sake of a hair style.

If your scalp seems particularly sensitive, take a trip to the dermatologist to check for a medical condition.

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