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Constant head scratching

4568 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Mother2Amaya
For months I've been scratching my head in various places, and can't seem to stop. There are a number of sore and itchy areas that won't heal because I can't leave them alone! I've seen a dermatologist, tried various prescription remedies and even had an area biopsied to make sure there are no major skin diseases causing this (there don't seem to be). I've tried many drugstore and homeopathic itch creams, tea tree oil, etc. and have even resorted to things like diaper rash cream and Vicks Vapor Rub! Nothing helps. The dermatologist very nicely suggested it's a stress-related problem, and I'm willing to consider that though it seems like an awfully odd stress reaction.

Generally I'm healthy though I have fairly severe anemia that finally responded to ferrous gluconate twice a day, and do have a history of an immune system disorder but it has been in remission for nearly 15 years.

Has anyone ever encountered this, and if so did anything help? I've been reading older posts about diet-related conditions and have been wondering if there are any connections for me - I've read about gluten intolerance and also yeast-related problems, but I don't even know what to try to eliminate from my diet (and how to start) to see if my scratching will diminish.

My ds and his dad have taken to teasing me by imitating a monkey scratching its head, in an effort to get me to stop. I wish it worked! If anyone has any ideas I could try, or advice about dietary changes, I would be so grateful.
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My DH has had this problem for many years now - it started when he put this wierd hair wax in it to flatten down his "tufts". All I can say is that it's never gone away - no matter what he does. It's coming from the inside so creams aren't going to do diddly-squat. The two things that've helped a little bit is taking the essential fatty acid GLA (gamma linoleic acid) found in Borage and Evening primrose oils. I take it and it's cured my eczema and when he takes it, his itching isn't nearly as bad. And rinsing with diluted Apple Cider Vinegar after shampooing. We think it's a fungus or yeast-related thing so the vinegar works.

Dematologists know sh*t - I don't know how they survive as a practice.

Good luck! Let me know if you find anything else that works. Dh has already tried everything there is.
have you tried listerine on it?

also, have you thought of going no-shampoo? The harsh chemicals in commercial shampoos could be making it worse. You can find loads of info in the Natural Home and Body Care forum
Thank you Emily and Stacy for your replies. I looked for borage oil today but couldn't find any at our supermarket's natural vitamins section, but maybe I can find it at Whole Foods or online. I'll try anything! I'd wondered about a fungal thing too but have tried that special shampoo and OTC anti-fungals without success so have kind of given up on that route.

Stacy what is in listerine that could help? Hey, after Vicks Vapor Rub nothing is too weird for me to try! Funny I've been thinking about No Shampoo since I read Curly Girl (I have naturally curly hair that I no longer want to struggle with). So maybe this will be my incentive. I'll check out the other forum for advice on that.

Certainly if I find out anything that helps I will post it here. Emily, good luck to your DH!
You should be able to get it from whole foods. If not, they can order it from the warehouse as some stores carry it all the time. I have to order it from them because I'm vegan so I get the vegetarian capsules or the liquid.

Yeah, Nizoral shampoo sometimes helps DH for a few weeks, then stops working. So perhaps the fungus is mutating? He keeps using it several times a year because it does work again after a break.

One wierd thing - when he first moved in with me, I got it too. And it was bad. I was scratching all day long - he had to yell at me because I was scratching so hard. After about 5 months, it went away. So I know how you both feel. But it does support the fungal thing and perhaps my system is just better at vanquishing the bad bacteria.
I have a scaley area that bothers me a lot --I HAVE tried the Listerine --it is supposed to kill any yeast/fungus that could be there.
It does seem to help for the next day or twwo.

I am reluctant to use harsh thing on my scalp.

I have been considering the possible chlorine in my water idea--maybe it is the culprit.

Maybe a filter on my shower would help.?
I've used baking soda and water instead of shampoo for two days, but so far no change. But I'll hang in there. And will look for the borage oil and try that.

Jazmommie, I never thought about anything in the water causing it. Mine doesn't change if I'm away from home for a few days so there is probably no connection, but hmmm...

Maybe I'll give Listerine a whirl. Though some of these things I've tried might make people wonder what perfume I'm wearing!

At least we are not alone with these problems. Though I guess a thread in FYT would be a bit much to ask for.

Thanks everyone - hope you and yours get some relief soon.
(couldn't resist!)
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HAHAHA. I never thought of that smilie that way.

We DO have a water filter on our shower and I took it off for a while because it needed a new filter and I was too lazy. DH says his head is much worse since I took it off. And when I make the switch, we notice a difference in the water. I'd give it a try. Even when you leave home, I assume you aren't going to other places where they have a filter on the shower.
My mom has been scratching her scalp for as long as I can remember. I'm pretty sure it's a nerve thing for her. Well now she has a large bald spot on the top of her head. I used to cry about it, make fun of her, exactly how you are describing. We used to ask her if she's made it to the brain yet.... She thought that the tiny hairs that were regrowing were a scab.... If you can, try to break the cycle no matter how hard you can. I think it's soothing and addictive. She tunes out while she is scratching her head. I don't know if it's the same thing, but supposedly it's a common issue. It has a name and my mom is on an internet support group for this problem. Good luck, I hope it'sjust a fungal thing
Hi Moss's Mommy,

Yes, that is a wierd syndrome - BIL's ex used to do that, and pull out the hairs too. But that is far different from what we're discussing here - my DH tries everything he can not to scratch but he's driven crazy with the itching. Nothing soothing or addictive there. Same thing when I had it.
that's good that it it's not the same thing, tell me if anything works. She swears it itches etc... but I think it might have started out as legitimate itching but it turned into this addiction. As I've gotten older, I've become more sympathetic to it all... I wish she could cure it...not to scare you all...just to give you insight on that situation!
Last night I saw this borage oil lotion in the Vermont Country Store catalog. It's awfully pricey but I just might give it a try, and will post on the results if I do splurge. I've also been doing the no shampoo/baking soda hair washing, and this morning I rinsed with apple cider vinegar. That really helped for about 4 hours - amazing for me! So maybe there is hope after all...
Neutrogena T-Gel Shampoo works well on my scalp. I suddenly developed an area of itchy, scaly rash on one side of my head and this shampoo helps a lot. I still kinda wonder what it is though. The best I can guess is seborrheic dermatitis.
You might look into the food connection. Dairy can make it worse for some people. Good luck!

OT- If you have had anemia for years that didn't respond, you might want to get a blood test for celiac disease (gluten intolerance). Sometimes anemia is the only symptom.
Lark - While we do use borage on our skin, you really want to take it internally to help cure it. It is expensive - I pay $18 for a small bottle but it lasts a really long time since the daily dosage is only 1/4 teaspoon.

I'm glad the ACV gave you some relief.

Re: dairy - I know that dairy helped with my skin, but DH has been vegan 4 of the years he's had his scalp problem and it hasn't helped.
I have this but not the physical parts of it, I do it for psychological reasons. It's a form of trichtillomania. I've done it for years and antidepressants were the only thing that ever made me stop. I'd pick and pick until spots bled over, then pick those, and it would start with a 'blemish' or 'dry spot' I'd find on my scalp and I'd keep picking until it wept, then pick that, etc. It was a vicious cycle.

I read into the psychological reasoning behind it and supposedly it's a 'search for perfection' and the thought that 'picking away the skin would reveal something better underneath.'

I hope it's not psychological and just physical for you because it's a helluva thing to have and recovery is not easy.
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