Why Does My Scalp Hurt When My Hair Is Dirty? [Tips for Instant Relief]

Do you like slicked-up ponytails? Do you like tight buns? Do you wear a head gadget constantly? Do you take shower after a long time? If so beware, you may suffer from scalp ache sooner or later. All these habits can easily prone your scalp to get sensitive day by day.

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If you’re feeling a scalp ache, this post is for you. Here you’ll read the potential reasons that may cause the scalp to hurt and solutions to get relief instantly.

Why does my scalp hurt when my hair is dirty?

The dirty hair is found to be the culprit of accumulating yeast on the scalp. It further gets more sensitive to water and hair washing products. When you rub it or massage it, it hurts badly. The other reasons for scalp hurting are migraine, pulling ponytail, head gadgets, and dryness of the scalp.

The dirt around the hair can block blood circulation of the porous skin of the scalp. It may cause nerve pain also. A good way to get relief is to massage your scalp daily for 3 to 5 minutes.

7 Reasons Why Does my scalp hurt when my hair is dirty

There are several reasons for scalp pain when you wash your hair after a long time. The dirt may stick around your scalp causing yeast, inflammation, and itching.  When you apply hair cleaning products like shampoo on the affected scalp, it hurts badly.

Below are a few more reasons and solutions for this problem:

Reason#1 Yeast Attack

According to dermatologists, when you don’t wash your hair for a long time the natural oil produced from sebum starts accumulating on the scalp. In many cases, it facilitates the production of yeast on your scalp.

It does not mean that your head is infected by yeast or fungus. It’s a kind of scalp yeast called Malassezia yeast. It is present in everyone’s body. But its overgrowth is unpleasant. It is sensitive to water. When you wash scalp affected with yeast, you feel inflammation, itching, and pain


The simple solution is to change your hair washing routine. If you’re not washing your hair for more than a week, shower it after every 3 days. If you’re washing it daily and still facing yeast build-up, stop washing daily and take a break.

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Remember hair washing routine depends on the climate, hair type, and scalp health. Using anti-fungal shampoo also help in treating yeast overgrowth

Reason#2 Grease Production

When you don’t wash your hair for long, the natural oil from sebum accumulates around the hair shaft. It further mixed up with dirt turning into grease.

The grease is heavy in texture and looks unpleasant. It sticks around hair strands causing a pulling sensation. When such hair is washed, the scalp may hurt. Grease may also affect the hair causing dandruff if you wash greasy hair daily using dry shampoo.


The solution to grease is not washing hair daily. Let the hair regain normal oil production. Wash it every 3 days with non-silicate shampoo. Avoid using dry shampoos. Use this degrease shampoo if you want to shower daily.

Reason#3 Migraine Or Undiagnosed Disease

Sometimes scalp pain is due to some undiagnosed nerve disease. If scalp pain is constant and not occasional, it’s an alarm bell. Get it checked by your doctor. It is a common observation that patients with migraine diagnoses often complain of scalp pain. In some cases, migraines cause inflammation in nerves which further go to the scalp and hair follicles.


The only solution, in this case, is to get connected with a neuro physician and get migraine medications. It will surely help to reduce scalp pain if diagnosed and treated properly. Don’t put on hats or head gadgets if you have migraine-like symptoms.

Reason# 4 Pulling hairstyles

Many times pulling hairstyles like tight ponytails and braids are the culprit of scalp pain. When you style up your hair in tight accessories, it is likely to make your scalp stretchy and painful. This pain increases when it is accompanied by dirt. Similarly, tying wet hair in buns may cause tension pain in the scalp. Sleeping with pulling hairstyles is one more reason for scalp pain.


The only solution is to change your hairstyle. Try to use loose flexible ponytails. Let the hair down with loose styling and don’t style up wet hair. Your scalp needs time to recover after washing.

Reason# 5 Hair Washing Routine & Products

The most important reason for scalp pain is dirty hair and not washing your hair for long. To know your washing routine, understand your hair type first. Daily washing is not good for every hair type. The normal routine is to wash hair after every 3 days. If your scalp is affected and hurt when combing, don’t use chemical shampoos.


If your scalp is already hurting, using chemical-based shampoo will enhance the pain. The solution is to use tar extract-based shampoo and anti-fungal shampoo.

Does my scalp hurt because my hair is dirty?

Worried to know the reasons for scalp pain, there are many. The primary reason is dirt, greases, and inflammation in the scalp. This dirt further causes yeast overgrowth on the scalp. It may also turn into heavy unpleasant grease. If you’re not washing your hair once a week, you may catch scalp aches sooner or later.

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The solution is to wash your hair once after every three days using chemical-free shampoo. If the scalp is affected by both dirt and yeast, use anti-fungal shampoo. Keep your hair clean and moist in dry weather. Washing regularly helps to nourish the scalp

Tips To relieve scalp pain caused by dirty hair

How to relieve scalp pain? Luckily, it’s easy to comfort the scalp ache with simple remedies. The easiest one is to wash yours early before it’s too late. Below are a few more tips to relieve scalp pain immediately:

  • Keep the head uncovered if you feel pain in the skull skin.
  • Avoid putting hat or head gadgets when you’re suffering from compression headaches.
  • Use anti-fungal shampoos to treat yeast infection on the scalp
  • For constant pain visit in scalp plus head visit your doctor
  • Keep the skull oily if the weather is too dry
  • Use this scalp soothing cream in case of itching
  • Try to wash oily hair once every three days
  • Keep your hair down, don’t try a ponytail
  • Massage scalp gently on the area where you feel pain
  • Avoid pulling hairstyles

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my head hurt when my hair is dirty?

There are many reasons for headaches when hair is dirty i.e, yeast infection in the scalp, inflammation of head nerves, and migraine. Other reasons include nerve pain, tumor, or undiagnosed disease. Why does my scalp hurt after not washing my hair?

When you don’t wash hair for long, dirt accumulates around the scalp. This dirt on further accumulation causes yeast infection and inflammation. When you wash it with water, the scalp gets sensitive and hurts a lot.

Why does my head itch when my hair is dirty?

Dirty hairs are greasy and oily. When you wash such hair with dry shampoo, it may cause dryness on the scalp. As a result, the scalp itches and hurts when you comb and massage.

Final Lines

Now after reading this post, you can understand the reason for scalp pain. The pain which arises as a result of pressure on the head spreads from skull to scalp easily. It even reaches your hair follicles.

Fortunately, it is curable. In this post, there are many ways described to treat scalp pain. The best way is to keep your hair neat and clean. Lastly, using too many chemical products can hurt your hair as well as your scalp. Stay close to nature and try natural products!