Why Does Your Hair Itch When You Eat Spicy Food?

It can be frustrating to have an overwhelming desire to scratch the itchiness in your scalp while enjoying a spicy dish with friends. You may be unable to fully enjoy their company or your food while trying not to embarrass yourself. You’ve probably wondered, “Why does my hair itch when I eat spicy food?” Well, you are not alone here.

Spicy food generates heat sensation that causes increased sweating, which leads to itchiness when it accumulates on the scalp. An itchy scalp could also be caused by an allergic reaction to a specific spice. Spicy foods stimulate the skin’s polymodal nociceptive receptors that respond to heat and these receptors can be stimulated by the chemical called Capsaicin.

Having to deal with an itchy scalp after eating your favorite spicy food can be such a bummer and could quickly kill the excitement of your meal.  If you’re tired of this annoying feeling and want to know why and what to do about your itchy scalp, keep reading.

Why Does Eating Spicy Food Cause My Hair to Itch?

Being able to tolerate spices is an important factor in eating and enjoying spicy food. Some people have it, while others do not, and the same is true for an itchy scalp. However, there are a few possible explanations for why your hair itches after eating a spicy meal. 

Chemicals in Spicy Food

When it enters the bloodstream, the chemical compound known as capsaicin, which is found in spicy foods, is capable of producing a nervous response.

When capsaicin interacts with some receptors (primarily polymodal receptors) in sensory neurons, it causes a burning or painful sensation. These receptors also respond to excessive heat and abrasive damage.

The activity of nerve fibers caused by pain and warmth causes sensations and physical responses to heat, such as vasodilation, sweating, and flushing. As the hair follicles produce excessive oil on the scalp, the scalp becomes irritated, resulting in the desire to itch and continue itching.


An allergic reaction could also be the cause of a spicy food-related itchy scalp. Itching that occurs immediately after taking a bite of spicy food or when you smell it could indicate a severe allergic reaction. 

You may be allergic to some common spices like cinnamon, garlic, and black pepper. While spice allergies are uncommon, they can occur, ranging from mild to severe reactions that include skin itchiness.

Spice allergy symptoms include lip swelling, nasal congestion, bloating, hives, nausea, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and contact dermatitis.

Spice Intolerance 

There is a condition called “spice intolerance,” which describes the inability of a person to tolerate or enjoy foods that are particularly spicy. It’s possible that it’s genetic; if that’s the case, and both the mother and the father are intolerant, then the gene could be passed down to the child.

One of its symptoms is a rash, which, when brought on by eating spicy foods, can cause the person who has it to feel itchy and uncomfortable.

Hair Problems

Could it be lice? No one wants to think about being in such a terrible situation, but whether or not you end up in one depends entirely on how badly you want to scratch that itch. 

Spicy foods have the potential to raise your body temperature, which in turn can make head lice more active. Spicy foods can cause dandruff and eczema on the scalp because they raise the temperature of the scalp.

Make sure to consider paying a visit to the dermatologis t if you think this may be the issue at hand!

What to do if Your Head Itches When Eating Spicy Food

The solutions to an itchy scalp that is affiliated with spicy foods differ depending on the underlying cause of the itchiness.

Ignore It

Not one to state the obvious or anything, but you could ignore the itchiness, or better yet, tolerate it. This simple remedy works only when the cause is a high temperature, such as in the summer or when the sun is shining brightly.

Consult a Doctor

If the itching seems like a spice allergy, see a doctor. If it lasts too long, is accompanied by red spots, and/or affects the entire body, you should suspect an allergic reaction. You will almost certainly have to avoid the foods that trigger the allergic reaction. A disheartening reality for a foodie!

Seek Out a Hair Professional 

For someone who has had a case of dandruff or eczema, it may be time to have professionals treat your hair. Perhaps the “shampoos recommended online” have tried and failed to assist you.

If you have seborrhea, a condition that is characterized by excessive oil secretion on the scalp, using a great shampoo that easily removes oil buildup on the scalp should be done on a regular basis.

Be Careful With Your Diet

Avoid oily foods, which can cause the scalp to produce even more oil. Asides this, you should also stay out of the sun.

No Scratching!

When you have an itchy scalp, you should avoid scratching it as much as possible. This is the primary rule. Scratching starts a never-ending cycle of scratching. While this may provide temporary relief before more scratching, it may cause skin and hair follicle damage. This damage can result in bleeding, temporary hair loss, or scabbing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Top Eight Food Allergies?

Milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans are the top eight foods that cause allergic reactions in people who eat them.

Does Spicy Food Make Hair Grow?

It certainly does. Some spices, such as rosemary, cinnamon, black cumin, and even black pepper, have been shown to stimulate the growth of good hair.

Is It Possible to Get High from Spicy Food?

It is not possible to get high from spicy food. Capsaicin binds to polymodal receptors, causing a painful or burning sensation that triggers the release of endorphins and dopamine, resulting in a euphoric feeling.

Final Thoughts

Spicy foods raise the body’s temperature naturally, which makes you sweat. When you sweat, heat builds up in your scalp, which makes it itch. It could be that simple, or it could be a sign of a deeper problem that needs to be ruled out. How you treat itching depends on its severity and other symptoms. In the event of doubt, it is best to consult your doctor!

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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