By Grace Gould via Allure

If you’ve ever experienced it, you know what we’re talking about: painful hair. And no, it’s not just your imagination playing tricks—doctors say the ache is a very real condition, with several common causes.

The science behind the pain originates in the scalp. “What’s happening is inflammation coming from blood vessels in the scalp is flooding the nerves in the hair follicles and causing them to ache,” explains New York City dermatologist Debra Jaliman. “The pain in the follicle is indistinguishable from the strand, so it truly feels like your hair is hurting,” she adds.

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