Why do braid extensions hurt my scalp?

Written by maribeth pugh
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Why do braid extensions hurt my scalp?
Hair loss can result from wearing a tightly braided hair style. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Pain and soreness while wearing braid extensions are signs that the hair has been styled too tightly. Some braid styles pull the roots of the hair. Those with too-tight braids may experience tension headaches, bumps around the hairline or scalp, soreness and burning sensations. Over time, tight hair styles can damage hair and lead to permanent hair loss.

Too Tight

Many people experience pain and small bumps around the hairline when braids are new. The scalp commonly feels sore in the initial stages, but this soreness subsides after a few days. However, pain may be a warning sign of a larger problem. A stylist may braid the hair tightly so that the style lasts longer. Tight braids can lead to a thinning hairline, bald spots and an irritated scalp. It's best to braid with medium tension to prevent scalp pain. The braids will not last as long, but the natural hair will remain healthy.

Scratching the Scalp

For some people, the scalp can feel itchy while wearing braids, usually in the first two weeks of getting extensions. Most people will feel the urge to scratch the scalp, but it's best to refrain from doing so. Scratching inflames the scalp and increases its sensitivity. A better option is to pat the area instead of scratching.

Keeping the Extensions In Too Long

Braid extensions can cause the scalp to become irritated when kept in the hair too long. Remove braids after four to eight weeks to prevent discomfort and an itchy scalp. An itchy scalp is a response to an inflammatory reaction of the skin under the hair that may occur with broken skin or a visible rash. Braids tend to absorb the natural moisture of the hair, so the hair requires moisture treatments while braid extensions are present. A deep conditioning treatment at least once a week and daily use of an oil-free moisturising spray can keep discomfort at bay.

Overly Heavy Extensions

The weight of braid extensions may cause tension on the roots and lead to hair breakage. The scalp needs time to adjust to the added weight of the extension. Too much weight can make the scalp tender, so schedule a consultation with a stylist before agreeing to get extensions.

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