focus on scalp conditions: eczema, dandruff, fungal infections and alopecia.
if you have not seen one already, please see a doctor if any of these conditions persist. please do not self-diagnosis or self-medicate without getting the proper information. the information that follows is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1) the roots to the causes of dandruff are varied. most often it is the result of dead skin cells due to overactive sebum production. most of us are familiar with those unflattering white flakes. it has been linked to hormonal changes and stress. as a child, i had persistent dandruff that was not alleviated by commercial or physician prescribed anti-dandruff shampoos. the dandruff remained while my hair became stripped and dry. knowing now what i know about sulfate shampoos, i understand why (and i’m sure “grease” only exacerbated the problem). eventually my mother had success with various “back home” concoctions in the form of scalp pretreatments before shampooing which included castor oil mixed with herbs.
some options to try:
for dandruff and fungal infections, try apple cider vinegar (acv). this is because apple cider vinegar has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties, mostly coming from the malic acid and acetic acid portion of the vinegar. many people suffer from dandruff due to some kind of yeast on the scalp. the key with using acv is consistency. use it with every wash. leave it in the night before you wash as a pre-treatment. mix it with a few drops of rosemary, sage or lemongrass. several years ago, i acquired this anti-dandruff recipe: mix equal parts tea tree oil with jojoba, cover with cap for 30 minutes. follow with an apple cider vinegar/water rinse in a 1:4 ratio. you can also simply add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo. another oil with disinfectant/antibacterial/antifungal properties is neem oil. use it as a pretreatment before a wash. caution: a little goes a long way! test your level of sensitivity with this oil as it is potent. and the scent may not be pleasing to some as it is strong and nutty! finally, you will not see results if you’re contaminating your scalp with harmful ingredients. avoid ingredients on the natural girl’s black list.
2) eczema is thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to a bacterium that normally lives on the skin or the body’s response to an irritant. again, avoid sulfate shampoos/cleansers and harsh detergents. some of the best oils that have provided relief are kukui nut oil, emu oil and neem oil. use on damp skin/scalp. tea tree oil is an antibacterial so it works the bacterial angle. add foods rich in b and e vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc to your diet. although the cause of eczema is unknown, symptoms typically occur as an allergic response so try supplementing internally with natural anti-inflammatory agents like turmeric and msm.
3) alopecia areata is characterized by bald patches on the head. according to the dermatology channel, it is sometimes associated with autoimmune diseases like lupus and allergies. its cause is unknown but one-fifth of those afflicted by alopecia areata have a family history. although not a trichologist, i do know that some people have triggered traction alopecia with harmful hair practices like tight braids. other triggers can include hormone imbalances, eczema, fungal infections, and chemicals in hair dyes, relaxers and permanents. check out this link for more triggers. according to cathy wong, some alopecia sufferers have had success with daily onion juice treatments and daily essential oil massages. try a blend of thyme, rosemary, lavender and cedarwood blended with jojoba and grapeseed oil. extreme stress has been linked to hair loss. try exercising, yoga and meditation to clear out negative energy.