Why Has Scalp Popping Gone Viral

Monitoring my nine-year-olds Tik Tok and I came across a series of videos on scalp popping. These videos were literally filled with kids pulling their hair until they heard the scalp make a popping sound. Think of the sound you hear when you crack your knuckles. I was in disbelief and started laughing. Why on earth are videos of scalp popping going viral?

Scalp popping

What Is Scalp Popping

Scalp popping is also known as “hair cracking” is a technique made popular on TikTok where a small section of the hair is pulled from the scalp by the root. Tugging the hair results in a “cracking”  or “popping” sound. This trend is also made popular by the ASMR experience.

When I saw this trend I couldn’t help but laugh. Why in the world are teens trying to crack their scalps. Just to hear the pop?  Reasons are beyond me. I thought that’s what we have microwave popcorn for. I think everyone is bored and needs to get out of the house at this point. The sound is kind of scary to me honestly. I mean, who wants to hear a loud crack anywhere near my head. Then the thought of my hair coming out after the pop. A bit too much for me.

Where Did Scalp Popping Come From

Tik Tok users have speculated that scalp cracking could be related to traditional Turkish or Asian techniques of relieving migraines. There are tons of videos on YouTube that show this technique done in other countries around the globe.

So I did a bit of research.

Scalp popping has been used in other parts of the world as a beauty service. If your new around here, salon anything makes me happy. Hairstylists and barbers in India have been using scalp cracking as an ASMR response. 

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a euphoric experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine, precipitating relaxation. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia. Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) signifies the subjective experience of ‘low-grade euphoria’ characterized by a combination of positive feelings, relaxation, and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin’. It typically begins ‘on the scalp’ before moving ‘down the spine’ to the base of the neck, sometimes spreading ‘to the back, arms and legs as intensity increases’, most commonly triggered by specific acoustic, visual and digital media stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attentional control.

Is Scalp Popping Harmful

When scalp popping, what you’re essentially trying to do is pull tissue layers apart in your skull. So if you pull it too hard or in the wrong way you risk tearing those tissues.

Either by tearing the skin itself, tearing the tissues underneath, and pulling out a whole lot of hair.  

The issue I find with scalp popping is that in an attempt to create the cracking sound you are in fact encouraging traction alopecia. This is a constant pulling of the hair until the hair follicle becomes damaged.  This will result in permanent hair loss in that area. I don’t think there is any good reason for you to pull on your hair follicles at any time. 

 So although scalp popping may not be the most dangerous trend I see on Tik Tok. it is however harmful to the hair and scalp when not done properly. I would encourage you not to try and crack your scalp. There are plenty of other ways to relieve tension. Perhaps going for a walk, lol. Pop some popcorn, anything but this. 

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