5 Ways to Treat Burning Scalp Conditions

large dandruff flakes
Written by Allison

Suffering from burning scalp? Try these treatment methods.

A burning scalp feeling can be caused many different ways. From literal skin burns that make scalp exfoliation feel like torture, to allergies causing crusty scalp, to anxiety it seems like almost anything can cause a little bit of scalp irritation. Read on for five of the most common ways people experience burning scalp conditions and how to treat them.

Sunburned scalp treatments

A literal burning scalp? No, thanks. Sunburn on the scalp is preventable by keeping things shady (luckily hats are in again) and using sunscreen if possible. If you do get a burned scalp it can be pretty painful and unfortunately the best thing you can do is wait it out. We suggest avoiding vigorous hair washing while your scalp heals and maybe a big glass of wine to forget about the irritation. You can also try a scalp sunscreen, like this one, to avoid future issues.

Sensitive scalp treatments

If you can have sensitive facial skin, it stands to reason you can have a sensitive scalp, and it’s one of the many scalp problems nobody talks about. Far less studies have been focused on sensitive scalp than sensitive skin on the face, but it appears the two areas have different sensitivity triggers. This study found the main triggers for sensitive scalp are pollution, heat, emotions, and shampoos. If you can get down to the bottom of what is causing your sensitive scalp, you can avoid the issue to avoid that burning scalp feeling.

Burning scalp from allergies

Have you recently switched shampoo, or any other hair product for that matter? An allergy to hair products and even hair dye can cause a burning scalp sensation. The first thing you’ll want to do in this situation is figure out what product is causing the reaction, and to stop using it immediately, good hair days be damned. Next head to your favorite doctor to hash things out. A common allergic reaction in a situation like this is contact dermatitis. The treatment for contact dermatitis is topical steroids and oral antihistamines, along with avoiding the allergen in the future.

Reaction to hair bleach

Getting platinum hair may be the ultimate realization of your style goals, but that bleach on your scalp can literally burn. Some literature suggests removing jewelry before having your hair bleached to avoid accidental chemical reactions. But, if it’s already too late for that you’ll need to assess how badly you’re burned. For mild irritation make sure to leave your poor scalp alone. No updos, hair washing, or braiding, please. You can soothe inflammation with cold compresses and wait it out. For serious chemical burns (like a bleach job gone wrong) head to your doctor for further treatment.


Anxiety (as well as other mental health issues) can cause a condition called cutaneous dysesthesia. Basically it can cause sensitivity and a burning feeling when no physical burn has occurred. If this is the case for you we highly suggest meeting with a doctor, therapist, or other counselor to help you treat the underlying issues.

Love this article? For more beauty, style, travel, and trending topics check out The Luxury Spot on Facebook. Like us and we’ll love you back!

About the author


Bio: She's a New Orleans based beauty writer, nail polish hoarder, and doughnut enthusiast. When she isn't camping out in her local coffee shop for hours on end, you'll probably find her taking selfies in front of every colorful wall she's ever seen. Follow along on Instagram @allisonmarieschmidt.

Leave a Comment