The other day whilst washing my hair, I realised that I had neglected to talk about a really important part of my hair regime……my scalp. A clean and healthy scalp is vital for optimal hair growth and quite frankly a sane mind. I first noticed I had scalp problems when I was 16. I had done a drastic big cut and was rocking a cute pixie style but suddenly started experiencing severe dandruff. I would get great big flakes of skin in my hair and on my shoulders and no amount of washing seemed to help. At it’s worst I would wash my hair and after drying, my scalp would be a bed of dry, white skin. I tried everything from tar, sulphur and dandruff shampoos to all sorts of horrible smelling potions but nothing worked. I can tell you this, no matter how amazing your hair looks, if your scalp is jacked up you will always feel awful! For almost 10 years I continued like this with no end in sight. Then one day I decided I’d had enough!
Ignorance is most certainly not bliss people and you will be surprised what a spot of knowledge can do for you. I started researching scalp disorders; the differences between fungal dandruff, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. I learnt that adding oils and pomades to the scalp can actually make the condition worse. I discovered that some conditions are caused by an allergic reaction to certain ingredients in the products we use; for example my sister had severe scalp problems purely due to an allergic reaction to sulphate based detergents. I even read that product build-up caused by improper rinsing can mimic the appearance of dandruff (you should rinse for a solid 10 minutes!). Mostly I learnt that no-one really knows what causes the majority of scalp disorders and a lot of the treatments available are purely trial and error, but most frightening of all is that if left untreated, most scalp disorders can lead to permanent hair-loss.
Armed with a new sense of urgency and considerably more knowledge, I decided to tackle the issue directly. Firstly, I went to see a Trichologist and this really made a difference. He confirmed that I was suffering from a severe case of dandruff and not psoriasis which had been my main worry. This information helped me better decide which products and techniques I would need to use to combat my problems. I immediately increased the frequency of my washes and cut out sulphates and I honestly have to say this probably had the most impact. I introduced some serious anti-fungal ingredients into my regime such as neem oil, coconut oil and tea tree essential oil. I started drinking more water and taking cod liver and omega 3 oil supplements and lastly I stopped applying any mineral oil based products to my scalp.
My scalp has never been this good y’all. Gone are the days where I couldn’t wear black for fear of the white shoulders I’d have at the end of the day. The itchiness has decreased dramatically and I’m not scared to run my fingers through my hair or have people looking down at me from great and lofty heights. However, I can’t ever, even for one moment get tired and stop treating my scalp as there is no cure, merely prevention and management. What gets me the most though is that it took me so long to man-up and tackle the problems head-on. I think it’s because scalp problems are one of those ‘embarrassing’ problems people don’t like to talk about or deal with and to be frank there isn’t a whole lot of help freely available for sufferers. The best advice I can give is to do your research and seek professional help if necessary; you really don’t need to suffer in silence.
The Belgravia centre in Victoria offers a free consultation and for more detailed info on the function of a healthy scalp and some great tips check out this article.