What Is Scalp Popping Or Hair Cracking? Is It Safe For Your Hair?

Written by Ramona Sinha

Ever watched chiropractors adjusting the backs and joints? That satisfying “pop” or “crack” can heal chronic pain. Most of us unknowingly crack our knuckles and neck to relieve the tension. But now, the internet is taken over by scalp popping or hair cracking.

This viral TikTok trend is taking the whole world by storm! It has successfully managed to garner a bag of mixed emotions – some are fascinated, some confused, and some downright aghast! Read on to know more about its safety and associated risks before giving in to this trend.

Scalp Popping Or Hair Cracking: Origins

The concept of scalp popping is not entirely new.

A 2014 research paper in the Medical Anthropology Quarterly talked about “Chucaque,” a specific headache prevalent in the Peruvian Andes (1). Locals believe that the headache is caused due to direct exposure to harsh sunlight or stress caused by a traumatic event. Interestingly, the head massage technique to alleviate the pain is also called Chucaque or Chukake and follows the same steps as the ongoing scalp popping trend.

Hair cracking is also practiced in numerous Asian salons. Many people claim that it is a traditional Asian or Turkish head massage technique that can help relieve migraines and get rid of negative energy.

Why are we witnessing hue and cry around this practice now? Read on to find out.

How Did Scalp Popping Become Viral?

It started with Yana Semerly, a TikTok user, who demonstrated the technique along with an unnamed friend. Their video alone has managed to rake up 4.9 million views and 820,000 likes and counting!

Soon enough, other TikTokers followed suit, and the hashtag #ScalpPopping started circulating over the platform. The hashtag has more than 6.4 million views.
Let us take a look at what goes into this process.

Scalp Popping Or Hair Cracking Procedure

To pop the scalp all you need to do is:

  1. Section the hair.
  2. Twist and wrap the section around your finger until it is close to your scalp.
  3. Yank the section in a linear direction until you hear a pop.

There are many theories regarding scalp popping or hair cracking. Some say it helps relieve tension when pulled correctly. However, people have also lost hair patches and injured scalp tissue. The next section explores the safety concerns of this practice.

Is Scalp Popping or Hair Cracking Safe?

It depends on who is performing it. Scalp popping is not a recognized medical practice, and there is no extensive research on its safety and efficacy.

Regardless, it finds wide usage in several regions and cultures. Turkish and Indian barbers offer hair cracking massages after a haircut. Similarly, it is a common occurrence in Peruvian and Mexican households. In these places, hair cracking is an alternative therapy for treating tension headaches and migraines. If done in the right way, it may have some effects.

However, several social media users tried this method and ended up with a bald patch. It can also damage and tear the skin and the connective tissues joining the scalp and the skull. The scalp skin also contains blood vessels and nerve endings, which may get damaged during the process.

That is why chiropractors and massage therapists strongly suggest that the treatment should be left solely to trained experts. If you want to relieve tension and headache, it is best to try a head massage at home instead of cracking and popping your hair.

Final Thoughts

The practice of hair cracking and popping is popular in different cultures. However, it requires the right technique, expertise, and practice for effective results. Do not attempt it at home as it may damage the scalp, hair follicles, and connective tissues. If you have a headache, visit a massage therapist or try massaging the scalp in a circular motion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I try scalp popping?

No. Trying it at home may damage the scalp and lead to bald patches. Consult a chiropractor or a massage therapist who can safely practice it on you.

What does scalp popping feel like?

When done correctly, scalp popping or hair cracking starts as a strange sensation followed by a deep state of relaxation or relief (especially if you have been in pain for long).

What makes the popping sound while hair cracking?

There is no conclusive proof on what makes the popping sound. However, experts believe that it could be the sound of the vacuum created when the skin separates from the bones. Alternatively, it could be the snapping sound of fascia release.

1 Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Chucaque and Social Stress among Peruvian Highlanders

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Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.