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What Causes Scalp Tingling?

Anna T.
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are many different things that cause scalp tingling, which is also commonly referred to as paresthesia. In many cases, a tingling scalp is a side effect of other problems, such as a migraine headache or an allergy to a specific product used on the scalp. Some people might also experience tingling from excessive scalp picking and scratching. There are additionally some shampoos and other hair care products that are designed to make the scalp tingle. Hair care products that cause a tingling sensation are typically medicated and may be used for the treatment of dandruff or hair loss.

Many people who experience migraine headaches regularly also complain of tingling scalps. Not everyone who has migraines reports scalp tingling, but it is also not an uncommon side effect. In most cases, the tingling scalp will go away when the migraine headache does. The fact that a tingling scalp usually goes away when a migraine headache does tends to make it fairly easy for most people to pinpoint the cause of their tingling scalps if the problem coincides with the onset of migraine headaches.

Some people might experience scalp tingling if they are allergic to something they use on their scalps. Examples of products some people are allergic to are hair dyes, shampoos, and conditioners. Many of these products contain chemicals or artificial fragrances that cause allergic reactions that may manifest in the form of a tingling scalp. For most people, tingling that resulted from an allergy will go away as soon as they stop using the product to which they are allergic. If many hair products are used regularly, a person might need to go through a trial and error process in order to determine which product is causing the reaction.

Scalp tingling might also result from overstimulating the scalp. This is occasionally done when people continually pick and scratch at their scalps. A person who has a problem with scalp tingling might want to notice whether she frequently scratches her head, because many people do this without even realizing it. Making an effort to keep the hands away from the scalp might help prevent tingling scalps in people who are constantly scratching and picking at their heads.

Some hair products actually cause scalp tingling on purpose. Many companies put ingredients in medicated shampoos that make people feel a tingling sensation on their scalps when they wash their hair. In some cases, these ingredients are added only because a tingling sensation might make a person feel like the shampoo is working. In reality, the tingling has no effect on whether the product works. A person who is concerned that his scalp is tingling from an allergy to a specific hair care product should check the ingredients to see if his product includes ethanol, peppermint, or menthol, all of which are known to cause a tingling sensation when applied to the skin.

TheHealthBoard is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to TheHealthBoard. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.

Discussion Comments

By anon967736 — On Aug 29, 2014

The article should also mention that it can be a sign of MS or neuropathy.

By SteamLouis — On Aug 19, 2014

@candyquilt-- Be careful with those dyes. Although a little bit of tingling might be okay, if the tingling is severe or if you feel a burning sensation or pain, that's dangerous. These chemicals do cause scalp and skin allergies in many people. They can also burn hair if left on for too long. So anyone who feels too much tingling needs to rinse their hair with water immediately. And the dye should never be kept on longer than the suggested amount which is either 15 minutes or 30 minutes depending on the type of hair dye.

Every hair dye kit recommends doing a skin test or a test with a patch of hair before dying the entire hair and scalp. This is a great idea because major allergic reactions can be prevented. I've also noticed that dying hair that is not very clean, that is dying hair that was washed at least two days ago reduces the tingling since the natural scalp oils act like a protective barrier for the scalp. Regular hair dyes can be applied close to the scalp, but highlighting kits with bleach should never be applied close to the scalp. Those have to be applied at least one inch away from the scalp.

By candyquilt — On Aug 18, 2014

The only time I experience scalp tingling is when I dye my hair at home with a dye kit. The dye causes a lot of tingling but it goes away once I rinse my hair and scalp.

By ysmina — On Aug 18, 2014

I once used a hair loss shampoo that caused a tingling sensation. The tingling was supposed to cause an improvement in blood circulation, which in turn prevents hair loss and encourages hair growth.

I did not use it for very long so I don't know whether it would have worked or not. The tingling sensation was too strange for me. I did not enjoy it.

Anna T.

Anna T.

Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to TheHealthBoard. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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