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TikTok’s Scalp Popping Trend: Should You Crack Your Hair?

You can crack your back, your neck and your knuckles. But did you know that you can crack your hair, too? Tiktok says so.

Scalp popping (otherwise known as hair cracking) is a Tiktok hair trend that has been circulating on the social network platform recently, and it’s got everyone confused, intrigued and a bit concerned.

Scalp popping is a trend that has people tearing their hair out — literally.

What is the Scalp Popping Trend on TikTok?

If you go on TikTok, the hashtag #ScalpPopping has over 6.4 million views with a video from a user named Yana (@yanasemerly) taking the top spot (4.9 million views and 820,000 likes). In her video, Yana and her friend try a scalp popping technique, each of them taking a small section of each other’s hair, twisting it around their fingers and pulling from up. Each pull elicits a popping noise, which surprises both girls.

Yara and her friend aren’t the only ones invested in this TikTok hair trend. Other users on the app have also uploaded their versions of hair cracking or scalp popping. In another video, TikTok user Giselle (@gizzybautista) also took a section of her hair, wrapped it around her finger and pulled it away from her scalp. She heard the same popping noise.

Tiktok user Rebekah Grider also tried her hand at this hair crack trend. In her video, Grider claims that scalp popping is “real and it works.” Like the other users, she did it before the camera and heard the same popping noise, to which she responded with “Ew!”

But not everyone had fun with the scalp popping trend. After her first video, TikTok user Gisele revealed that she couldn’t do it again. Other users on the platform reached out to her, saying that they tried hair cracking but ended up with bald spots, which is a risk when you pull your hair really hard.

Clearly, there is plenty of interest surrounding TikTok’s hair cracking trend.

How Do You Do Scalp Popping? And Other Basics

Scalp popping or hair cracking involves grasping a few hair strands close to your scalp. Next, wrap these strands around your finger and pull the hair taut and away from the scalp. You can do this hair-pulling motion yourself, or you could have a friend do it for you. If you apply the right amount of pressure, you’ll hear the same popping sound the TikTokers hear.

The “popping” noise that has fascinated the TikTok community has no exact cause. It could be caused by the fascia, which is a thin casing of connective tissue that holds blood vessels, organs, muscles, nerve endings and bones in place. When you pop your scalp, you’re ripping the fascia as your skin pulls away from the scalp, which creates a vacuum that ‘pops’ as the space gets filled in by liquid.

Apart from the “fun” popping sound, hair cracking is also a technique people use to ease tension and relieve their headaches. People that suffer from intense migraines pull their hair to create another point of discomfort.

Simply put, when you crack your hair or pop your scalp, you distract yourself from the pain of your headache.

The external discomfort you feel temporarily gives the feeling that your headache subsided. This is because the brain is receiving a different pain signal that overpowers the headache. Applying pressure can comfort people with certain types of headaches.

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Is Popping Your Scalp Bad?

Doctors, however, refute the claim that scalp popping can relieve headaches or migraines. In fact, many doctors warn teens against this TikTok hair trend.

No medical literature or clinical trials suggest that hair pulling or cracking is an effective method for relieving yourself from a headache. Apart from being inconclusive, scalp popping may cause uncomfortable, if not harmful, side effects.

You could pull out your hair, tear your scalp or even create folliculitis, a skin condition that causes scalp tingling. When you have folliculitis, your hair follicles become inflamed and swollen.

Other side effects of hair cracking include:

  • Hair damage, hair loss or hair breakage
  • Skin tearing, which can lead to an infection
  • Redness or inflammation of the scalp

Scalp popping or hair pulling is not effective at relieving headache pain or at entertaining curious TikTokers. If you’re interested in trying this trend out, best to just file it under the “interesting trends I’ve seen on TikTok” and just don’t do it.

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