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Thread: Henna for seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff

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    Member Elettaria's Avatar
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    Default Henna for seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff

    I have seborrhoeic eczema on my face and scalp. I can keep it at bay on my face through using the right oils (let me know if you want my recipes), but the scalp is being more stubborn. It's fungal, apparently, and I've heard that you can't cure it, only manage it. The dermatologist prescribed an oral treatment (didn't work at all) and Nizoral antifungal shampoo (worked, but only temporarily, and it's not a product I want to keep on using). I've messed around with various essential oils and such (no difference) and cassia (didn't help, plus it makes my hair dry).

    I also did a "dead henna" treatment a few weeks ago, which contained 116g henna (boiled with chamomile/liquorice herbal infusion for an hour to kill the dye - I didn't know at this point that the lawsone is also what imparts the conditioning properties), 22g amla, 20g rosemary powder, 30ml coconut oil, appropriate essential oils, and lots of conditioner. My hair was lovely afterwards, but it didn't do anything for my scalp, and from what I've read somewhere, the effect on my hair will only be temporary.

    So I'm planning to use henna, which has an excellent reputation for treating dandruff and as a general antifungal. I hennaed to a red/auburn for a couple of years when I was twenty, and my hair and scalp were in fabulous condition. I messed around a bit with the odd henna gloss last year, so my ends are a bit coppery and I have about 4" of roots. My natural colour is medium brown, with fairer bits at the temples (the base is more of a golden brown than an ashy brown) that used to get quite bright when I was hennaing ten years ago. I don't want to go red this time, I'd rather stay with copper if I can. This is the current plan:

    1. Strand test! This is the useful part about having just had a 4" haircut, though I've freaked several people out by saving the clippings. The tricky bit will be that I'll be testing over henna-glossed hair rather than virgin hair, plus ends tend to be a bit lighter and more porous than roots. Any helpful suggestions here?

    2. Henna my roots. I did a trial run for root applications with cassia the other week, which I reckon covered about 2" of my roots and wasn't too hard to do, but for this one I might get someone to help, as I don't have eyes in the back of my head. The idea is to get a decent scalp treatment and also get my roots to match my ends. I'm guessing that an hour or two would probably do the trick, at least to match the colour. I used to use 500g henna for hip-length hair, so would 100g be about right for 4"? 80g? I used 40-50g cassia when I did that 2" root application last week and had a bit left over.

    3. If that doesn't deal with the scalp, perhaps try another treatment (if anyone knows of any), and failing that, do a full head henna and hope that I can sort out my scalp without turning thoroughly red.

    4. Once I've worked out how many hours I need in total to get my scalp behaving itself, do root applications every few months.

    5. Plus the occasional henna gloss or something to keep the ends in good condition.

    How does this sound? Any suggestions about other ways of tackling my problem scalp? Are there any good herbs that can be obtained in powdered form, that will also help my scalp and will dilute the henna without making the colour any darker? I currently have powdered rosemary and brahmi sitting around. Should I assume that if cassia alone makes my hair dry, having a bit of cassia in the henna blend won't do me any favours either?

    I'm also a bit stuck for suppliers. I'm in the UK, and used to use Ganesha henna from the local hippie shop, but apparently it's now been discontinued. I'm chasing up a couple of boxes on eBay (total 160g), which won't last me all that long. Everyone recommends Renaissance Henna, but she's pretty pricey. Henna Boy is cheaper, but I hear there are problems with reliability there. I'm thinking of using Baldwins, as they seem to have a good reputation as a herbalist supplier and their cassia seemed good (well, it was very finely and applied nicely to my hair, but since my hair doesn't appear to like cassia it's hard for me to tell). Will any decent quality henna do, or is it worth hunting down a particular variety? I hear that hennas from different countries may produce a stronger or weaker red, is that worth investigating, and if so, which hennas should I use/avoid?

    Is it likely to make a difference if I break the henna applications down so that they're more frequent? For instance, let's say one 3 hour application vs two 1 1/2 hour applications. Would one of those be better for the scalp, and is it like that one would produce a stronger colour than the other? If I'm better off splitting the applications, how far apart is optimal?

    Anyone who's had experience with treating this condition, and in particular treating it with henna: I would love to hear from you!
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    metamorfose ambulante Bene's Avatar
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    Default Re: Henna for seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff

    i had thought about using henna, but didn't want to commit myself to the color change. i'd been fighting seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff for about 10-12 years, and i had it pretty bad, as in a whole patch behind my ear from where i could peel off whole eraser sized (or bigger!) flakes. ever since i've started using apple cider vinegar as a rinse, and i haven't had flakes of any kind at all. i don't want to jinx myself by saying that it's cured, but it's definitely under control to the point that i have nothing going on with my scalp, and it's been that way for almost a year.
    "But the back seat of the drive-in is so lonely without you"

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    Member 2luvmycurls's Avatar
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    Default Re: Henna for seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff

    Thanks for starting this thread! It's so helpful for those of us suffering from this condition. I've had this pretty much my whole life (had cradle cap as a little girl and I really don't remember *not* having my scalp problem). Was also on Nizoral shampoo, but the doctor said to not use conditioner or any products, so my hair got even drier, plus I don't want to have to be on medicated shampoos for who knows how long.

    Bene - that's great about your wonderful results with ACV!!! I have read how it's supposed to help, and it did seem to help somewhat (I probably didn't give it enough of a chance), but my scalp burned when I did it (I didn't do it as a rinse, though, I put it on full strength and let it on for a few hours before washing it out).

    I wonder what causes it? I mean, I know they think it is a fungal thing, but I wonder why I have it and others don't?

    Here are some herbs I have read that sound like they could possibly help (haven't used any of them): burdock, licorice, celandine, plantain, neem (it is in a shampoo I occassionally use, but I haven't seen a difference) (herbco.com has great little descriptions and information about them)
    Last edited by 2luvmycurls; July 4th, 2009 at 04:28 AM.

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    metamorfose ambulante Bene's Avatar
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    Default Re: Henna for seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff

    Quote Originally Posted by 2luvmycurls View Post
    I wonder what causes it? I mean, I know they think it is a fungal thing, but I wonder why I have it and others don't?

    my doctor said mine wasn't fungal, i had spent years thinking that it was, because one doctor misdiagnosed it and sent me home with a cream that didn't work . also, no one who's lived with me has ever caught anything like it, and being that if it were a fungus, i imagine that it would spread very much like ringworm (i've heard horror stories about ringworm.


    luckily, i changed doctors, and the new one actually LOOKED at it. i went from thinking my skin condition was eczema to knowing it's an allergic reaction, and having a scalp condition turning out to be eczema instead of a fungus.

    the ACV rinse seemed to work for me as a fluke. i had stopped using anti-frizz serums when i found this site, and started with diluted ACV. the intent was to help my hair, but it cured (hopefully!) my scalp.
    "But the back seat of the drive-in is so lonely without you"

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    Member 2luvmycurls's Avatar
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    Default Re: Henna for seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff

    that's great, Bene. Yeah, I guess you're right about if it were fungal others in the household would have it too. Never thought of that! My dad has dry scalp and skin and uses head and shoulders, but it's nothing like mine.

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    Member Sokudo Ningyou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Henna for seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff

    Elettaria, I don't know if you were the one I posted for in another topic, but the eczema on my toes (which is apparently fungal) has been doing great since I started white vinegar soaks, and using the same anti-fungal you buy for topical vaginal problems. Try a vinegar rinse, definitely.

    Also, my scalp sebum has been dry and flaky since I had eczema last year (a different kind than my toes), and since I've been using honey to lighten my hair, I've noticed it's been doing awesome in moisturizing my scalp. My sebum has been less flaky and dry. I use four tablespoons honey in 12 ounces of water, and soak my hair and scalp, cover it with a cap, and leave it for an hour or so. You can microwave the honey a bit to kill the peroxide.

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    Long-haired longhair danacc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Henna for seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff

    Fungal does not necessarily mean "contagious". Healthy skin has both "good bacteria" and some types of fungus on it. When things get out of balance, problems can result. That doesn't mean that my unbalanced skin will cause problems from folks who touch me, though. (Ringworm is caused by a more aggressive fungus that is not usually present on the skin at all.)

    I'm in a similar situation with scalp issues, and I'm slowly learning to deal with it. Nizoral does not work for me. My scalp reacts to something in it by developing small flakes immediately. Selsun Blue (selenium sulfide) keeps everything nicely under control. However, I do not like using medicated shampoo on any sort of on-going basis. I can't give you an answer on henna; I opted not to use it because I don't want to change my silver strands.

    Add my vote to vinegar rinses. I use a 1:16 ratio of vinegar to water. I leave the vinegar rinse on my hair about a minute, then rinse again with plain water. This is the last step in my hair washing routing. For me, it helps, but it does not manage the flakes alone.

    Before washing, I do a coconut oil treatment. I slather coconut oil on my scalp, and then oil the length, too. I put the length up in a bun (all my wooden hairtoys are well-oiled, now!) and leave it for at least an hour before washing. I use conditioner to cleanse the length, and a no-SLS shampoo to cleanse the scalp. With the coconut oil pre-treatment and vinegar rinse post-treatment, my scalp is managed. I do the whole pre-treatment, wash, post-treatment twice a week. I have a little itchiness and some flakes starting on Day 4 of the longer stretch each week.

    I tried the coconut oil treatment without the vinegar rinse follow-up. The coconut oil makes a big difference. The best treatment for me is using both the coconut oil before washing and the vinegar rinse afterwards. For my scalp, the coconut oil pre-wash helps to manage it more than the vinegar rinse post-wash, but both of them make a noticeable difference.

    (I use the coconut oil on my face, too, where I also manage patches that are fungal-related. I've taken to calling coconut oil my skin miracle.)

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    metamorfose ambulante Bene's Avatar
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    Default Re: Henna for seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff

    Quote Originally Posted by danacc View Post
    Fungal does not necessarily mean "contagious". Healthy skin has both "good bacteria" and some types of fungus on it. When things get out of balance, problems can result. That doesn't mean that my unbalanced skin will cause problems from folks who touch me, though. (Ringworm is caused by a more aggressive fungus that is not usually present on the skin at all.)

    you're right. in these cases, it's best to go to a doctor/dermatologist to check it out before trying to self treat. i thought for a long time that i had a fungal infection when it turned out to be a form of eczema
    "But the back seat of the drive-in is so lonely without you"

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    Long-haired longhair danacc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Henna for seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff

    I agree with the recommendation to get a diagnosis from a doctor. Mine prescribed anti-fungal cream for the fungal break-outs along with recommending some over-the-counter anti-fungal shampoos. That's where I started. Secure in the knowledge that I could manage the condition with a medicated shampoo that I can get easily, and secure in the knowledge that a flare-up isn't a serious health risk, I can be confident in trying other ways to manage the condition. And knowing that this is something I will be managing long-term, I want to spend some time trying to find less medicated ways to do it. I couldn't experiment as confidently if I didn't first have some understanding of the condition, risks, puts and takes. So yes, if others are reading this thread, start with a visit to the doctor!

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    Member Elettaria's Avatar
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    Default Re: Henna for seborrhoeic eczema/dermatitis/dandruff

    2luvmycurls, hon, could you edit your comment to remove my real name? Thanks!

    I agree that people should get a diagnosis from a doctor. I've already done that, and tried two prescribed treatments, neither of which solved the problem. Incidentally, it is entirely possible for it to be both a fungal infection and a form of eczema, as mine is.

    I forgot to mention that I've been doing vinegar rinses for years! I do the more dilute leave-in ones, though, with a capful of vinegar to a jug of water (more vinegar makes my hair greasy). Is it worth messing around with the wash-out ones, and if so what's a normal dilution and will it be murder if I get it in my eyes? How long do you need to spend washing this out? I'll try the coconut/vinegar method by all means, at least it's stuff that I already have and know that my hair likes (plus the eczema on my face does well with coconut oil). Although if it only lasts three days, that's only a very temporary solution. I'm looking for something that lasts longer, as due to disability I can't always keep up my ideal haircare routine, and I certainly won't be able to manage coconut/wash/vinegar twice a week long-term. The combination with henna might be the best bet. I'm guessing that if I improve my scalp as much as possible before hennaing, it'll take less henna to treat the condition.

    Honey's not an option for me, I'm afraid, as I'm vegan, but I'm sure other people will find that a useful tip.

    I've tried two neem two-in-one conditioners. The stronger one irritated the *%&% out of my scalp. The weaker one is a very nice product, but doesn't stop the eczema. I don't think neem is likely to be that good for me.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the henna side of things?
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