If you’ve had hair shedding, you might have felt the scalp tingling that is common with this condition. It drove a friend of mine crazy. She said that it felt as if little bugs were crawling over her scalp. And I know that her perception isn’t unique. I hear from people who say things like, “my scalp is driving me insane. It makes its presence known 24 / 7. It is worse than the hair shedding, which is saying a lot. When my hair sheds, I can simply throw it away and get it out of my sight, but I don’t seem to have that option with my scalp. It is tingling all of the time. Sometimes, the tingling makes it hard to sleep. I know that some of this is psychological because I’m paranoid about my shedding and about my hair. But, the physical sensations make it very hard to ignore. Why is this happening and what can I do to stop it?”
I am not an expert, but in my experience with two very bad bouts of chronic telogen effluvium after pregnancy, I believe that there are multiple reasons why you feel those sensations. The first possibility is that you’re feeling the follicles that are being affected by the shedding. Another possibility is that you are feeling the newly activated follicles as the hairs begin to regrow. Or, the tingling might be the result of inflammation that can happen when so many follicles are active all at once. (Normally, you don’t feel anything when you shed or regrow hair. This shedding / regrowing process happens every day and we usually don’t feel a thing. But when we have telogen effluvium, more of our follicles are shedding / growing at once. And that can make us feel sensations that we normally would not feel.)
So, in order to diminish this sensation, you want to make sure to keep your scalp as clean and as healthy as possible to combat any inflammation. This is really the only thing that is within your control, since you can’t control the regrowth or the hair that is already programmed to fall. You can use anti inflammatory shampoos (but make sure they’re gentle.) Or you can try topicals like tea tree oil. If inflammation is a problem for you and is causing those sensations, then this should help.
Other than that, patience and time will have to come into play. I always tried to tell myself that this sensation might have been hair growing back and that was something to be thankful for. I also used anti inflammatories on my scalp. But it’s important to keep in mind that when your hair sheds, another hair is right behind it and this is what will ultimately allow you to get your normal volume back once your hair regrows and fills back in. I know that it’s not ideal to feel this process in the form of tingling, but it’s a better alternative than having hair follicles that aren’t active, since that would limit regrowth.
I believe that my tingling probably lasted for less than a few months and then it started to taper off. It never hurts to see a specialist, but many people with TE experience this, and for most, it goes away on it’s own. But it’s a good idea to combat inflammation just in case. You can read more ideas about that on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/