What Causes Scalp Tingling?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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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 scalp 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 a very uncommon side effect of these headaches. 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, scalp 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 allergy.

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, which are all known to cause a tingling sensation when applied to the skin.


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