What Causes Sore Scalp and Hair Loss: Understanding the Link

Medically reviewed by Dr. Bilal Khan M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Sore scalp and hair loss are symptoms that can be caused by a range of conditions, from common scalp issues to more complex health disorders. This guide will delve into the main causes of sore scalp and hair loss, aiming to provide comprehensive insights on the topic.

What Causes Sore Scalp and Hair Loss?

A number of skin conditions, systemic diseases, and lifestyle factors can contribute to a sore scalp and hair loss. Dermatitis, psoriasis, and infections can lead to scalp inflammation and tenderness, which might be accompanied by hair loss. Disorders such as fibromyalgia and tension headaches can also manifest as scalp pain. Moreover, sunburns, hair extensions that are applied too tightly, or even certain scalp infections like ringworm, can cause both an itchy, sore scalp and hair loss (source, source).

Understanding Specific Conditions Leading to Sore Scalp and Hair Loss

Dermatitis is characterized by skin irritation and rashes. It can lead to a dry, itchy, and painful scalp, potentially resulting in hair loss. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that can cause red, itchy, and scaly patches on the scalp, thereby causing hair loss. Fibromyalgia is a pain disorder that can cause chronic and widespread pain, including on the scalp, and this might be accompanied by hair loss. Tension headaches often result in pain in the head and neck area, which can lead to scalp soreness. Lastly, improperly fitted hair extensions can cause scalp discomfort and, in some cases, hair loss due to traction (source).

Preventing and Managing Sore Scalp and Hair Loss

If you're experiencing scalp soreness and hair loss that doesn't resolve within one to two weeks, it's important to seek medical advice. A healthcare professional can provide accurate diagnosis and suitable treatment options. Prevention and management strategies can include avoiding excessive sun exposure to prevent sunburns, maintaining a healthy scalp hygiene to reduce the risk of infections, and ensuring hair extensions are properly fitted and not too tight (source).


Understanding what causes a sore scalp and hair loss is the first step in effectively managing these conditions. While they might seem intimidating, many causes are preventable or manageable with the right care. As always, if you're experiencing persistent symptoms, it's crucial to consult a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment.

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Dr. Bilal Khan M.B.B.S. graduated from the Jinnah Sindh University in Karachi. He'll take the official medical licensing program in the US (USMLE) in September 2023. Bilal has a passion for research and has extensively fact-check and medically review articles under his name to make sure you have the most accurate information.