With natural hair, I never quite feel that breezy feeling when the air hits my scalp. Also, scalp scrubbing is purported to help hair growth. I use scalp scrubs and I love them because they make me feel like my scalp is clean.
When discussing hair care, it’s important to acknowledge that all hair types are not the same. I have thick, curly, African American hair. The scrubs with olive oil in them are not advisable for thin hair. The mixture with cornmeal is great for drying an oily scalp.
In a bowl, mix:
The Tingly Scalp
Sweet Olive Oil
Sticky And Sweet Olive Oil
Stir until it is thoroughly mixed. I part my hair and apply the mixture to my scalp with a toothbrush.
There is not a one size fits all solution for itchy scalp. Most people think scalp problems are as simple as oil balance, however, when one has chronic illness, there could be so many reasons for itchy scalp. In my experience, my scalp becomes really itchy right before it falls out in that spot so I try to be very proactive in resolving the skin flare and hopefully saving my hair.
I'll start with the simple solution and suggest some remedies you may not have considered.
Maybe your scalp is oily- Try a different shampoo. Many people have had shampoo suggested because the ingredients or the development process is supposed to be better for hair health, the environment, animals, or even your specific illness. What good are any of those things if you are experiencing scalp discomfort or even hair loss? One of the not-so-pretty truths about chronic illness is that sometimes, we have to use products that are socially unpopular if that's all we can afford of if that's all that works for us. Avoiding products could mean avoiding a solution to a serious problem.
Oily scalp continued- Do you have mystery bumps similar to pimples or severely oily hair? Try your astringent/freshener that you use on your face. Part your hair in fourths and hold the sections with bands or clips then part the sections into smaller sections and use a cotton ball to dab the skin with the oil balancer.
Maybe your scalp is dry- Use a scalp moisturizer. Most ethnicities do not moisturize their hair even less believe in moisturizing their scalp. If you know your scalp is dry, it's time to try creme moisturizers or natural oil combinations and applying them directly your scalp. (I have different natural oil mixture suggestions on this Bath & Body page.) Part your hair in fourths and hold the sections with bands or clips then part the sections into smaller sections and use your fingers or a spray bottle to apply the oils. Massage your scalp with your finger tips. If you have oily hair but a dry scalp, be careful to only use a small amount of oil because whatever doesn't absorb into your skin will get in your hair.
Maybe your scalp is affected by your illness in an unexpected way- Here are some unconventional suggestions to try if you think your scalp discomfort is more than just oiliness or dryness:
Vitamin A&D Ointment- Many people are familiar with Vitamin A&D Ointment because it is used for diaper rash. It can heal skin that is irritated for any number of reasons. As with other scalp treatments, part your hair in fourths and hold the sections with bands or clips then part the sections into smaller sections and use your fingers to rub the ointment into your scalp. Massage all over your scalp with your finger tips. My only word of caution is that this will obviously make your scalp oily, and perhaps your hair too oily depending on how much you use.
Antifungal Cream- Some people have higher about of fungus in their bodies. If you have frequent yeast infections, MRSA or other fungal infections, this is worth a try. Part your hair in fourths and hold the sections with bands or clips then part the sections into smaller sections and use your fingers to rub the ointment into your scalp. Massage your scalp with your finger tips.
Hydrocortisone- Maybe the itch is eczema or some other skin irritation that causes itch and the only thing that will work is hydrocortisone; so try it. Like all of the other suggestions, part your hair in fourths and hold the sections with bands or clips then part the sections into smaller sections and use your fingers to rub the ointment into your scalp. Massage your scalp with your finger tips to make sure you get it all over.
*I'm not a health care professional or a esthetician. My suggestions are based off of my experience with chronic illness and skin flares and thing I have tried that have worked.
About a year ago, I decided to cut all my hair off and try wearing it natural. I have been trying to perfect my hair care ever since.
A few weeks ago, I discovered max hydration methods. I know many may have heard of them; they have been around for quite a while. There are so many different mixtures of oils with varying benefits. This is what I decided to use:
I use the LCO method. The initials stand for Liquid, Cream, Oil.
Liquid- this is simple; water.
Cream- I use leave-in conditioner with shea butter in it.
Oil- In a spray bottle, I mix ¼ cup of water, 2 tablespoons of aloe vera juice, 2 tablespoons of glycerin, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of jojoba. (I did this proportion twice because my spray bottle could hold it) (this mixture lasted about 3 weeks)
Mornings: I either wet my hair in the shower or, if I’m not showering in the morning, I use a spray bottle to wet my hair. Then I put about a quarter to a half dollar sized amount of leave-in conditioner in my hand, I rub my hands together then I rub the conditioner into my hair. I am sure to put conditioner at the root in the spots where my hair grows slower then I rub it everywhere else. I let that sit in my hair for a few minutes. For the final step, I shake the oil mixture, part my hair with my hand in several places, and spray the oil mixture all over my head. I use my fingers to massage everything into my scalp and hair.
Evenings: The trick to max hydration is that you want to keep your hair hydrated (not feeling dry) all the time. So at night, at least an hour before I go to bed, I repeat steps C and O. I don’t do the L step because my hair will be wet enough and I don’t want to soak my pillow. I sleep with my hair down and unwrapped with a satin pillowcase. You may want to use a satin hair wrap or to do some protective style.
My results: Since I’ve been doing this, my hair is moist and unmated in the morning. I’ve previously had very moist matted hair when I woke up. My hair is definitely healthier looking all day long. I love it!
For some people, their hair will hold this moisture for a couple days; maybe in time mine will too. In that case, I suggest quickly figuring out how long it takes for your hair to get dehydrated and repeating the LCO before that happens. Example: If your hair becomes dry on the third morning, do the LCO the second night.
**When discussing hair care, it’s important to acknowledge that all hair types are not the same. The treatments I’m doing are best for coarse, curly hair. They are definitely not for straight or thin hair. I have thick, curly, African American hair but I have often suggested moisturizing to some white friends with curly hair.
I mentioned I have had hair loss due to autoimmune disease for years.
Until a couple years ago, I straightened my hair because it was just easier to manage with my chronic pain and arm weakness. About a year ago, I decided to cut all my hair off and try wearing it natural. I also started making hair masks from food several years ago.
I use several different hair masks recipes that I love. When discussing hair care, it’s important to acknowledge that all hair types are not the same. This mask is generally one that can be used for all hair types. I have thick, curly, African American hair.
In a bowl, mix:
½ can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of honey
5-10 drops of tea tree oil
Stir until it is thoroughly mixed. I part my hair and apply the mixture from the roots to the ends of my hair. I leave the hair mask in for 30 minutes to an hour. You may want to wrap your hair in plastic wrap or with a disposable shower cap. For added effectiveness, I put a heating pad on my head. I rarely use shampoo but this mask requires mild shampoo to wash it out.
*I buy a couple cans of coconut milk and after using half the can I pour the other half into a freezer bag and freeze it.
See my avocado egg hair mask here...
I've talked about my conflicting love of certain cents and my migraines before. I wanted to share my all time favorite scented product with you.
Peppermint essential oils walkway help with my youngest daughter and my migraines but it gives my second oldest migraines. The smell just soothes me, I think because I associate it with migraine relief. My dilemma is that peppermint is a seasonal scent so besides the essential oil, I usually buy enough peppermint products to last a year. Last month, I got sad because I'd only bought one candle in December and I was going through it much quicker than I expected. So I did something I hate to do: I paid full price for two more. This was the best price I found on Amazon for the 3 wick peppermint candles. If you want to give them a try, it's worth buying one at full price and we can call it a lesson learned and make sure we buy 3-4 this coming December.
I have battled with intermittent hair loss due to autoimmune disease for years. I’ve dealt with people insisting using chemical straighteners were making my hair fall out and not illness and I only realized that there was probably nothing I could do to prevent my hair loss after meeting more people with illness. I do appreciate, though, that many chemicals aren’t beneficial and that many natural products are more nourishing. So I began making hair masks from food several years ago.
I use several different hair masks recipes that I love. When discussing hair care, it’s important to acknowledge that all hair types are not the same. The mask I used today is generally one that can be used for all hair types. I have thick, curly, African American hair; it’s prone to dryness and frizz so I add natural oils to my masks that people with thin, naturally straight hair should omit.
In a bowl, mix:
½ an avocado
5-10 drops of tea tree oil
5-10 drops of lavender
½ tablespoon of castor oil (you may choose to omit the castor oil if you have thin, naturally straight hair)
Stir until it is thoroughly mixed. I part my hair and apply the mixture from the roots to the ends of my hair. I leave the hair mask in for at least 30 minutes; depending on what I’m doing, I may leave it in for an hour or more. I rarely use shampoo but this mask requires mild shampoo to wash it out.
*I buy avocados when they are on sale and I freeze them. The difference between my avocados I freeze for eating and the ones I freeze for my hair treatments is that I do not bother to mix in anything to preserve color. I cut them in half (because I only use one half for each treatment) and I toss them into a freezer bag.
See my milk and honey hair mask here...
Everyone who knows me knows that I have Chronic Daily Migraines. I am very sensitive to lights, sounds, smells and various chemicals. I also have Mast Cell Disease so as a rule I use as few chemicals as possible; most chemicals I use are odorless. I make many cleaners and moisturizers myself. I do, however, love trusted scents. I believe in the therapeutic power of a great smell. Unfortunately, my reaction to even my safe scents is sometimes unpredictable, My love for scents can be like the One Republic song, Counting Stars. Having 3 people with chronic migraines and 4 people with Mast Cell in our house, I know there is no one size fits all solution avoiding migraines, not having a Mast Cell reaction or soothing oneself. Here are some ways I use essential oils.
I have so many grooming tips so I’ll try to share my favorites of those I think are most beneficial to a wide audience. If I name a brand, please know that I’m in no way compensated for plugging the product; I just like it.
Body wash- I did a video a few years ago about my favorite bodywash and other bath items. That bodywash is still my favorite and I still stock up on it once a year. If you’re one of many people with chronic illnesses who has chemical sensitivity, sensitivities to fragrances, migraines, or so many other illnesses, the best advice I can give you is try to stick to the body wash or soap that you know works for you. Use that one and only that one all year long. One way I’ve saved myself a lot of stress is by buying my family’s bodywash before they run out. That accomplishes two things; I’m not force to go to the store when I don’t feel well and I’m not forced to buy a bodywash that may cause skin reactions or migraines.
Lotion- Many people get dryer in the winter. I use scented lotions and as long as I stick to a trusted brand and scent; they keep me reasonably moist, don’t cause skin flares nor give me migraines.
I do, however, swear by an unscented lotion that has tea tree essential oils in it; Melaleuca (brand) Renew. I have eczema and an unspecified autoimmune disease; both of these cause scaly skin and various skin flares. The melaleuca (tea tree oil) treats the flares and restores my skin. The scented lotion is nice but I must have my Renew constantly stocked. Sometimes I even stop using my scented lotion if my flare is bad.
Vaseline- I love Vaseline. I know some people insist that it clogs the pores but I don’t have this problem. Since I have autoimmune reactions on my face pretty much constantly, I love using Vaseline on my clean face to moisturize.
If you are not convinced or it is too oily for your face, you still need it. Here are some uses-
* Moisturize your cuticles. Rub a generous amount on your cuticles and let it sit for five to ten minutes then rub it in your hands.
* Moisturize your feet. First grab a pair of socks. Rub Vaseline all over your feet, even the bottoms, then put socks on. Some people do this before bed. I can’t sleep in socks. If you can’t either, do this for at least 20 minutes or as long as you can take it.
* Treat your elbows. Our poor elbows get the least amount of love on our bodies. Put a generous amount on your elbows to moisturize.
* Moisturize your décolletage, cleavage, and even your breasts. How often do you give your décolletage moisturizer? Your skin in that area is likely dry.
Underarms and bikini area (even legs)- I have had a policy since my teen years that hasn’t changed; winter is a season to give your skin a break. I grew up in a cold climate and now I’m in a state where it’s relatively warm all year but I stick to this. You are most likely live in climate where during winter; you wear long sleeves and pants/ trousers. Take advantage of this and give your body hair and the skin underneath it a break; put the razor down. Your skin will thank you. No one will see the hair anyway. One note: As warm weather approaches and you begin to expose skin again, allow several days before you expect or need clean-shaven skin. Get a new razor and gently remove some of the hair. Do not try to get a clean shave the first time. This will prevent frustration, skin irritation and cuts. In a day or two, try to get the rest of the hair off. I have to admit I’m not very hairy but even I need more than one session to remove my hair.
Your feet- I actually give my feet attention year round because I can wear open toed shoes all year but I have kept my years old routine of giving my feet special attention about a month before I start shaving for Spring. In addition to the Vaseline treatment, I used a pumice stone on my heels and other parts of my feet where the skin is thick. A good way to know where you need it is to think about the places that get caught on your socks or sheets. (Yuck, right? It happens to all of us) I don’t use a cuticle shaver on my cuticles but I find it useful on the tips of my toes next to the nail. I also have several buffing tools that I use not only on my nails but also on my feet and toes. Like shaving, don’t wait until the last minute to do this and allow several sittings to gradually buff off think, icky skin. If you have cracked heals, using Vaseline and buffing will gradually heal them.
I will be posting a separate article about hair treatments soon.
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