Burning scalp and hairloss

by Susie
(Granbury, TX)

Dear Wray, I am a healthy 46 year old and have been on Mircette, the low dose BCP, for many many years. All was well until June 2010 when A LOT of hair began coming out and my scalp was burning. This lasted 10 days.

In September it started again and by the end of November I lost over 50% of my hair. My GP doc was no help--no advice about my hair problem but he told me my blood tests showed I was menopausal (my FSH was <.7) and my Thyroid T4 was .9 so he put me on Synthroid. I felt fine except for sleeping 9+ hours each night. The pharmacist was a Dr. Lee fan and suggested I go off the pill and start on progesterone cream. I did that and within 3 days my hair loss and burning slowed. I was using a 1% cream and used 2.5 grams twice a day. Then I got my period and stopped using the cream and by the 2nd day my hairloss increased a lot. So I began using 1.25 grams once a day. Now the hairloss slowed again but not as much as I'd like.

I just changed to Emerita 1.5% cream and am using 1.25 grams twice a day. How much do you think I should use? Did you ever hear of buring scalp along with hair loss? Could it be hot flashes concentrated on my head? Will my hair grow back? I have no other bothersome menopause symptoms. I am taking Biotin and B vitamins. I will probalby switch to your 3% cream since I seem to need so much. Thank you for any advice you have for me. Susie

Comments for Burning scalp and hairloss

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Dec 30, 2010
Burning scalp and hairloss
by: Wray

Hi Susie I'm relieved your pharmacist suggested going off the pill, please see our page on Contraceptives. Your progesterone has been suppressed for years, as the pill stops ovulation, but it doesn't stop an egg maturing. As you are now in Peri-menopause, ovulation naturally slows, but mature follicles also slow down. The pituitary senses this and increases LH to stimulate a follicle to mature. But LH also stimulates the secretion of androgens, this causes hair loss, often called male pattern baldness. I don't understand how an FSH level of less than 0.7 could be menopausal, it's indicative of someone in puberty! Unless the lab uses a different reference point, see Medline FSH. The same goes for the T4, see Medline T4. If your thyroid is 'slow', it's more than likely due to a lack of vitamin D, please have a test done, see the Vitamin D council website. A lack of vitamin D also reduces the benefits of progesterone. The burning scalp could be caused by a lack of vitamin B2, I suggest you try taking about 100-150mg/day. Biotin is good for hair loss, about 2-3 mg/day, also 2000mg/day inositol, 2000mg/day cysteine and 100mg/day thiamine (B1). Take care Wray

Jul 24, 2014
Same Issue
by: Renee'

I experienced the same problem 48 years old burning scalp and hair loss for the past month. I have Hypothyroidism my FT4 was .8 on Synthyroid and Cytomel. Seems worse around period, noone could tell me what was wrong. Going to try Progesterone cream and see if burning goes away, thank you for sharing your story.

Oct 03, 2014
Same Symptoms
by: Anonymous

You just described what I have been going through over the past year. I am 40 and have hair thinning associated with burning scalp and arms (my arm hair has thinned as well)typically around menstruation. I will have a few months with little shedding and then it will start all over again. My Vitamin D levels were severely low and I have wondered if that has contributed to my symptoms. I will look further into progesterone.

Thanks for sharing!

Sep 09, 2017
Burning scalp for two years
by: Jennifer

I have had a burning scalp with hair loss for two years. It gets bad during ovulation and during my menstrual cycle. I have tried progesterone and it makes it worse and I have tried estrogen and that makes it worse. I do have a thyroid condition (Hashimoto's) but I am in optimal range and my vitamin D is optimal as well. Sometimes the burning sensation goes to my face and arms as well.

Lab work day 20 of cycle 48 yrs old menstrual cycle normal
Progesterone 5.54 (1.83-23.90)
Estradiol 120 (22-341)
Testosterone 21 (2-45)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Sep 10, 2017
by: Anonymous

Same here Jennifer: Face, arms. Yesterday I had Chinese for dinner. Started getting chills, then scalp pain, wonder if food sensitivity like MSG is an issue?

Sep 11, 2017
Burning scalp for two years
by: Joy

Hi Jennifer

Have you read Wray's reply to Susie dated Dec 30, 2010? What gets bad during ovulation, your menstrual cycle or your hair loss, or both?

Progesterone, if not used correctly can cause issues. You do not state what cream you used or how much. If not enough is used it aggravates estrogen receptors, definitely not what any women needs. Depending on symptoms between 100-200mg progesterone is needed a day, more if symptoms are severe. By using a good quality cream such as Naptro which is natural and and organic will help you. Many creams come mixed with parabens, chemicals, estrogen and or testosterone, again not what any women needs. You also don't say how long you used progesterone cream for. Between 2-6 months is needed, longer if symptoms are severe. The body needs to adjust to progesterone therapy, time and patience is needed. Please read the How to use Progesterone Cream page.

Estrogen should never be used, so I am not surprised that you did not find relief from using it. There are well over 100 estrogen mimics in our environment as it is, why use more?

Thyroid issues, as you most probably know can also cause hair loss. A Vitamin D3 deficiency affects the thyroid. Please make sure that your 'optimal' range for D3 and hashi is correct. For D3 it should be between 70-100ng/mL. Vital co-factors are needed when taking vitamin D3, like Magnesium and Vitamin K2 with NO soy.

Let's not forget that you are also in Peri-Menopause which can be a torrid time for most women, but it need not be with the correct use of progesterone. Progesterone levels start to drop at around 35 resulting in hormones becoming completely out of whack!

Your progesterone:estradiol (E2) ratio is 46:1 it should be around 600:1, please find out more about your tests on the Hormone Testing page.

Please read the following pages and the references, they will help you to understand how to use progesterone correctly and what is needed.


How to use Progesterone Cream


Estrogen Dominance

Hair Loss

Vitamin D3


Hormone Testing


Sep 11, 2017
by: Joy

Personally I try to avoid MSG as much as possible. I would imagine that it can cause issues if consumed in large amounts, but then again, even the smallest amount may affect certain people. Has your burning sensation cleared now? May I suggest that you test it. Try eating a Chinese meal again in a few days, perhaps the same meal and see if you react to it. If it is not the MSG, then you need to look elsewhere and I suggest that you follow advice given to Jennifer above.

Nov 21, 2017
hormonal imbalance
by: Bonnie

Burning scalp is usually caused by a hormonal imbalance resulting in hair loss, whether that is estrogen to progesterone, or thyroid. It is also been found to be related to cervical spine disorders.




I disagree that women only need progesterone; instead, women need balance and the difficulty is determining what each woman's respective balance is. I think you do a disservice telling women they do not need estrogen and then using your site as reference, which, incidentally sells progesterone.

Aug 03, 2018
by: Justine

Hello Bonnie

I agree wholeheartedly with you that it is all about balance.

What I think you have failed to understand is that progesterone is a PRECURSOR to the hormones oestrogen and testosterone.

The body will use Progesterone to make the hormones it needs to create balance.

Please see this chart as it may make it clearer.

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