desperate for help with dry, itchy, flaky scalp - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 08-30-2007, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have always had this problem, since I was a kid. I have a very dry, tight scalp that often gets thick scales that flake off, and also get what feel like scabs on my scalp that if you scratch at them, they come off and then the scalp gets raw and red underneath. When I was a teen I tried every hair product under the sun to fix it, nothing worked. I've done the no-poo and every variation of it (ACV, WV, baking soda, honey, conditioner only and every combination of them)

I just cannot take it anymore. I'm desperate to find something that will work. I have a good diet (whole foods, TONS of water, etc) so suggestions to better my diet won't be helpful, but I'm open to any and all other suggestions! Please, wise mamas, help me be happy and comfortable with my scalp.
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#2 of 17 Old 08-30-2007, 03:03 PM
 
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Your diet is good....the products you are using are good (I am assuming you are still using products with no fragrance?? a very big irritant). How 'bout the rest of you? Are you stressed? Do you exercise? Are you overall a balanced person? Do you take fish oil? Do you get natural sunlight? Sorry to ask you so many questions. But I believe, speaking from personal experience, that these problems (skin conditions) are the result of many, many possible environmental factors....which, of course, is different for each of us.

Very important....if you don't already take fish oil....consider adding this to your routine. Fish oil is known to help inflammatory conditions such as you described, and, I think, key to helping me kick the same problem you described. LARGE doses of fish oil. Turmeric can also be helpful.
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#3 of 17 Old 08-30-2007, 03:59 PM
 
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It could be a number of things, I'd recommend a trip to a dermatologist to get it diagnosed so you know what direction to head in for treatment. Sounds a little like psoriasis to me.
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#4 of 17 Old 08-30-2007, 04:10 PM
 
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If it is psoriasis, sometimes adding coconut oil topically and also internally helps (internally, it helps with some issues with immunity that causes skin to freak out due to psoriasis, allergies, etc.).

If you ever had food or environmental allergies, your body's immune system is overactive, so it would make sense if you now had psoriasis.
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#5 of 17 Old 08-30-2007, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I knew I could count on the MDC mamas to help me I'll try to answer all the questions, and I'm definitely going to call the derm (seriously, why the heck didn't I think of that first?!?!?!)

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Your diet is good....the products you are using are good (I am assuming you are still using products with no fragrance?? a very big irritant). How 'bout the rest of you? Are you stressed? Do you exercise? Are you overall a balanced person? Do you take fish oil? Do you get natural sunlight?
Currently using baking soda and honey, with a (very) diluted ACV rinse for my hair, so no fragrance at all. I'm not any more stresses than is normal for a mama to 4 boys and running her own business (read: no more stressed currently that I have been in the past 3 or 4 years, LOL!) I do yoga almost daily, walk daily and run around after my 10 month old probably a good 45 minutes of every hour I'd like to think I'm an overall balanced person, but who can say really? I do not take fish oil, I used to but then couldn't handle it during my last pregnancy (no matter what I tried, it made me vomit) and I jut never got back into the habit. I really need to do that. But, I did it for a good 3-4 years and had this scalp problem then as well. I get sunlight every day when we're playing outside

Spastica, I do take coconut oil internally (probably 2-3 tablespoons a day, between cooking with it and eating it before meals to curb ravenous eating ) but I've never tried applying it externally to my scalp - wouldn't it just make a horrible greasy mess of my hair?
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#6 of 17 Old 08-30-2007, 06:06 PM
 
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My dd has the same thing. She's been to 2 dermatologists and neither knew what it was. I started using coconut oil on the spots and then using this shampoo and it really helps. Right now her scalp looks perfectly normal.
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#7 of 17 Old 08-31-2007, 01:29 AM
 
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Thank you so much for posting this! I was coming here to post this exact same thing. I have the exact same problem as the OP and it's been driving me nuts for years. I was using a tea tree oil shampoo and it was working ok, but I still had some problems. Then I switched the the BS/ACV no poo. It seemed to get a little better at first, but there were still some spots, so I started mixing in some honey with the BS. The last couple of days it has gotten so bad, I'm going crazy!! I'm going to go find some coconut oil ASAP!!

Thanks so much for everyone's advice (even though it was meant for someone else! )

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#8 of 17 Old 08-31-2007, 01:36 AM
 
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I had this when I was in Junior High. I was very stressed out, and I found out I had a food intolerance (dairy). Eliminating the food I was intolerant to and getting de-stressed made the worst of the problem go away (the raw scalp part and the itch, I still have flakes). If I get too bad about eating the offending food it does come back, but not nearly as bad as it was then. So even though your diet is good, you may be eating something regularly that your body has developed an intolerance to.

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#9 of 17 Old 08-31-2007, 02:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by vioburn View Post
Thank you so much for posting this! I was coming here to post this exact same thing. I have the exact same problem as the OP and it's been driving me nuts for years. I was using a tea tree oil shampoo and it was working ok, but I still had some problems. Then I switched the the BS/ACV no poo. It seemed to get a little better at first, but there were still some spots, so I started mixing in some honey with the BS. The last couple of days it has gotten so bad, I'm going crazy!! I'm going to go find some coconut oil ASAP!!

Thanks so much for everyone's advice (even though it was meant for someone else! )
DEFINATELY not alone in this problem!! I have exactly the same thing. When I switched from comercial shampoos/conditioners it seemed to get better when I detoxed and went to No Pooing, but then it came back. Now I alternate No Poo regimine and a natural shampoo. Still not much difference, but it's tolerable. Once I'm out of my other shampoo, I'm going to try the one the pp linked to.
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#10 of 17 Old 08-31-2007, 10:26 AM
 
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It does sound like psoriasis- which I was also diagnosed with. It is really tough to deal with, because as I said before, it could be related to soooo many environmental factors. A word of caution if you visit the dermatologist, of course, they will put you on topical creams and medicated shampoos. None of which ever worked for me. I also got a shot of some steroid....and it was the only thing that helped get it under control initially. I hate to admit it, but that shot helped every time. However, not something I wanted to stay on for life. Thus all of the adjustments mentioned previously. Once I got it under control with the shot, then I was able to continue trying all of the natural stuff. It sounds like you are doing alot of the right stuff already. But you may be more stressed out than you realize. I don't necessarily feel stressed when I have my big breakouts either. But the last one occurred last Nov.......holidays approaching, work gets really busy for me, we lost our 13 year old dog, some financial issues.....on top of having a 4 yr old and a 2 yr old. I didn't feel stressed, but my body told me otherwise and I had a big flareup. Back to the dermatologist and a shot. The good news is, since then it is completely gone (or in remission) and I am continuing with the fish oil. Again, I cannot stress enough megadosing the fish oil. I know you said you used to take fish oil, but I'm talking between 6 & 10 grams a day!!! That's alot of fish oil!!!:

The shampoo link posted by SummerLover looks fun. I think I would like to try it. But I would suggest for you a very boring kind of shampoo & conditioner. I use JASON fragrance free. It is sooooo boring. No fun stuff at all. Although, sounds like what you are doing now would be mild enough. But, who knows, everything is worth a try if you are desperate enough. I know that feeling.

Also, althara gave good advice as far as an offending food. You may have a great diet, but maybe something is bothering you like dairy and/or gluten. Or of all things, pork. Pork is really not good for me.

And finally, just wanted to suggest some books (check your library) that may be helpful. I personally did not have to go to these lengths, but I was prepared to.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0895299178/...pf_rd_i=507846

http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Psoria.../dp/0962884707

Good luck!! I so wish I could help you more cuz I know how frustrating it is!!
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#11 of 17 Old 09-01-2007, 12:23 PM
 
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Hi,

On another list, many women have found relief from itchy/flaky scalp by doing the following:

Mix 1 teaspoon citric acid powder into a few ounces of warm water.

Add this mixture into an about equal amount of cheap conditioner (Suave Naturals seem to work really well.) Shake it up pretty well to blend.

Wash hair with this mixture alone - no shampoo.

This is essentially conditioner-only washing, but the addition of the citric acid powder does something wonderful to the scalp and hair, resulting in shiny, non-dried out hair, and removal of gunk from the scalp.

I am doing this today for the first time, as so very many wrote in saying that this resulted in great hair.

Good luck with whatever you try!
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#12 of 17 Old 09-01-2007, 12:54 PM
 
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Any idea how the citric acid powder would work with baking soda? Don't you think they would do the same thing? I guess anything's worth a shot!

Also, is that high amount of fish oil safe to take while breastfeeding?

Thanks,
Miranda
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#13 of 17 Old 09-01-2007, 01:16 PM
 
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Hi,
Mix 1 teaspoon citric acid powder into a few ounces of warm water.
That's an awful strong solution, is it just to help the scalp? I use a rinse made up of 1/4 tsp of citric acid along with 1/32 tsp asorbic acid in a gallon of water to counter the hard water in may area. It's good to know it may also be doing something beneficial for my scalp!
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#14 of 17 Old 09-24-2007, 07:19 AM
 
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Lots of good infor here. Just wondering if any of this worked for anyone?

I've used coconut oil and tea tree oil on the problem. But it did nothing for me.

tia
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#15 of 17 Old 09-25-2007, 07:54 PM
 
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Whoever said it could be stress, may have a point. I have had a fairly bad episode of flaky, itchy scalp lately, and I was trying to figure out what was more stressful about my life lately. Well, I just started back to college after 12 years, and I have 3 kids. I suppose that's enough to stress anyone out, eh?

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#16 of 17 Old 09-25-2007, 08:44 PM
 
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I have had a horrible scalp with itching and big flakey chunks of dandruff. Both baking soda and honey make my scalp way worse. Baking soda has a high ph which means it is alkaline, my belief is that anything alkaline makes my scalp crazy. I also think that my condition is some type of fungal condition that is made worse by honey since it is a sugar that can feed yeast.

The citric acid has a low ph (its acidic) and that really calms down my scalp. Don't even try to use citric acid and baking soda together, you will get an acid base reaction which means it will foam up like vinigar and baking soda.

When my scalp was at it's worst, I learned to wash my hair with indian herbs. I used shikakai and sometimes aritha. I found the shikakai to have fabulous calming properties for my scalp. It also induced hair growth. I took about a teaspoon of shikakai and put it in about two ounces of warm water in a hair color bottle with a pointed tip. I got in the shower, wet my hair and then applied the shikakai/water mix to my roots. It has mild cleansing action, so I had to let it rest about 5 minutes while I did other shower stuff, then rinsed it out. It actually foams up in the bottle and does clean hair. After a week or two, my hair got a little funky and I used aritha in the same manner as aritha is more cleansing. Sometimes I mixed aritha and shikakai. Once in a while I did a conditioner only wash. I washed with herbs for over a year and my scalp was so happy. I have sensitivities to dyes, fragrance, aloe vera, SLS and who knows what all. This way I eliminated all of that.

It was a bit messy and smelled odd, like grass and herbs. When I went back to work, I started conditioner only again. I've been doing sort of OK with that as long as there are no colors/fragrance/aloe vera etc in the conditioner.

I bought my herbs at a local indian grocery, I think that www.gardenofwisdom.com also has them.

It is well worth the effort.

The other thing to consider is a food allergy, my scalp is much worse with some dairy products.
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#17 of 17 Old 09-26-2007, 01:40 AM
 
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What is "citric acid powder" -- and how does one find it?

I too suffer from this, but have found BS to be very theraputic. ACV rinse the same. I'd love to try the citric thing though -- if someone can provide more info.
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