Gone are the days when a “pop” or “cracking” of the knuckles or back satisfied us. Now popping the scalp or cracking hair has taken the world by storm.
Hairline cracks or scalp popping is a growing viral TikTok trend that has taken over the internet. It has amassed a hurricane of emotions from people of all ages and different hair types. While some find it fascinating, others are overwhelmed with anger. Read on to learn the origins of this trend, its safety tips, and the risks of popping your scalp.
Scalp Popping of Hair Cracking: Origins
The concept of scalp popping is not entirely new.
A 2014 research paper in the Quarterly Medical Anthropology talked about “chucaque”, a specific headache that occurs in the Peruvian Andes (1). Locals believe the headache is caused by direct exposure to bright sunlight or stress caused by a traumatic event. Interestingly, the head massage technique to relieve the pain is also called Chucaque or Chukake and follows the same steps as the ongoing trend of scalp popping.
Crazing is also practiced in many 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 now witnessing hue and howling around this practice? Read on to find out.
It started with Yana Semerly, a TikTok user, demonstrating the technique with an unnamed friend. Their video alone managed to rack up 4.9 million views and 820,000 likes!
Soon, other TikTokers followed suit and the hashtag #ScalpPopping started circulating across the platform. The hashtag has more than 6.4 million views.
Let’s see what goes into this process.
Procedure for Popping Scalp or Cracking Hair
To pop the scalp, all you need to do is:
- Divide the hair.
- Twist and wrap the section around your finger until it is close to your scalp.
- Pull the section in a linear direction until you hear a pop.
There are many theories about scalp snapping or hair cracking. Some say it helps relieve tension when pulled properly. However, people have also lost hair patches and damaged scalp tissue. The following section discusses the security concerns of this practice.
Is Scalp Popping or Hair Cracking Safe?
It depends on who runs it. Scalp popping is not a recognized medical practice and there is no extensive research on its safety and efficacy.
Anyway, it is widely used in different regions and cultures. Turkish and Indian hairdressers offer massages for cracking the hair after a haircut. Likewise, it is common in Peruvian and Mexican households. In these places, crazing is an alternative therapy for the treatment of tension headaches and migraines. When done properly, it can have some effects.
However, several social media users tried this method and ended up with a bald spot. It can also damage and tear the skin and the connective tissues that connect the scalp and skull. The scalp also contains blood vessels and nerve endings, which can become damaged in the process.
Therefore, chiropractors and massage therapists strongly recommend that treatment be left exclusively to trained experts. If you want to relieve tension and headaches, it’s best to try a head massage at home instead of cracking and popping your hair.
Popping scalp or hairline cracks are all the rage on the internet because of the potential benefits of relieving headaches (including migraines) and relieving stress. However, it is not a medically recognized practice, although it has been present in various regions and cultures for years. In addition, any mistakes in the procedure can lead to scalp tissue damage and patchy hair loss. So it has to be done by trained professionals to get the technique right. However, many experts are averse to popping the scalp and recommend simply massaging the scalp in circular motions or seeing a massage therapist to relieve a headache.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I try scalp popping?
No. Trying it at home can damage the scalp and lead to bald spots. Consult a chiropractor or massage therapist who can safely practice it on you.
What does scalp popping feel like?
When done correctly, a snapping of the scalp or cracking of the hair will start as a strange sensation, followed by a deep state of relaxation or relief (especially if you have been in pain for a long time).
What makes the popping sound as the hair cracks?
There is no conclusive evidence as to what makes the popping sound. However, experts believe it could be the sound of the vacuum created when the skin separates from the bones. Alternatively, it could be the snapping sound of the fascia being released.
Key learning points
- Scalp popping, also known as crazing, is a head massage technique that can help relieve migraines and reduce any negative energy.
- The technique went viral when TikTok sensation Yana Semerly used it with a friend. Her video exceeds 4.9 million views.
- However, scalp popping is not a recognized medical procedure and can lead to damaged scalp tissue or hair loss.
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- Chucaque and social stress among Peruvian highlanders