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View Full Version : Help!: What to do when your scalp HATES oils?



henné
January 18th, 2013, 12:41 PM
Does anyone out there have a similar problem?

I found out about this 'fact' by trying to use shampoo bars instead of a good ol' shampoo, which ended up in a major, I repeat, major, shed. The poo bars were chock full of different oils and I didn't connect my scalp's intolerance to conditioners to possible issues with oils present in poo bars.

So, what do you do to moisturize and care for your scalp if it hates oils and conditioners?

Btw, my scalp is extremely sensitive and naturally more on the dry side, which often ends up in itchiness, irritation, etc. Washing my hair as little as possible was one way I brought the dryness, flakiness and itchiness down, but I feel like I need to do something extra especially now in winter and I'm too scared to use oil for fear of further shedding.

Halp, plz!

Thanks for all suggestions, experiences, etc. And apologies if there are threads like this already out there ...

:blossom:

Lauram
January 18th, 2013, 12:48 PM
I'm the same.i shed a ton more if I oil my scalp. I just stretch washes as much as I can and use a boar bristle brush to massage my scalp and move oils down. It really limits what we can do... I also like henna/ cassia treatments for dandruff. Cassia you can keep on for a short time so it doesn't cause hair fall for me

WaitingSoLong
January 18th, 2013, 12:51 PM
Aloe Vera Gel. Moisturizing. Good for hair. Win win.

Annibelle
January 18th, 2013, 12:56 PM
I shed tons when I oil my scalp or if I go too long without washing. :( I can, however, use light conditioners on my scalp, which is great, since I CO. But once I notice that I'm shedding more than usual, it's time to shampoo, or else! :(

henné
January 18th, 2013, 12:58 PM
Aloe Vera Gel. Moisturizing. Good for hair. Win win.

Yes! AVG! Thanks! Do you also have this issue with oil? Just curious.

sarelis
January 18th, 2013, 01:05 PM
I shed kittens if I oil my scalp, seriously it looks like I'm gonna go bald! It's not a problem with my natural sebum though, I can stretch washes without this issue.

henné
January 18th, 2013, 01:06 PM
Lauram - Thanks! I also use henna and cassia. I've used deep oiling method before, but only about once a month or once every couple of months, so it never really caused any sheds, but this poo bar experiment just poo pooed it all :(

Annibelle - I also noticed that leaving my hair greasy makes it shed more - plus it makes my scalp itch like hell. What is up with that? Gr. And I wanted to try WO ... guess not after this experience :rant: I can't CO, I tried, even with the lightest conditioner I could find ... it didn't make me shed since I didn't use it long enough, but it did make my hair too greasy, which didn't work towards my 'stretching-washes' goal, so I abandoned that experiment very early on.

henné
January 18th, 2013, 01:10 PM
Sarelis - Interesting. I've stretched my washes as far as twice per week. Diluted shampoo once a week and then WO once a week. Sometimes it lasts even longer than 7 days - max 10 - sometimes I don't make it a whole week between shampoo washes - depends on how much I handle my hair and how much conditioner I use. What do you use to condition/moisturize your scalp?

Astraea
January 18th, 2013, 01:12 PM
Hi henné!

Which oils have you noticed with the irritation? Did you notice shedding and dryness with both conditioners and oils? Which shampoo bar did you use and do you have the ingredient list? Is it possible you're reacting to added fragrance or essential oils or some other ingredient(s) that may have been present in all of these items?

My scalp became infernally itchy with Tropic Isle's Jamaican Black Castor Oil and I believe I experienced increased shedding, and if I remember correctly coconut oil clogged my scalp. My scalp however gets along famously with products that include these oils. Also vegetable glycerin and other humectants in great amounts seems to cause shedding and tangles and evil in my hair and I find them in a lot of shampoo bars and conditioners.

I don't add anything to my scalp, my scalp is dry as well, it makes a loud noise when scratched but is generally fine. I use oils and pomades on my hair and occasionally massage my scalp after having added these oils but mostly my scalp stays oil free. I also don't use conditioner and do WO pretty often and like the results.

I know a curly blogger who uses aloe in place of oil to moisturize her strands, not her scalp as far as I know, though perhaps adding an aloe like LOTD, will calm and moisturize your scalp.

WaitingSoLong
January 18th, 2013, 01:16 PM
Yes! AVG! Thanks! Do you also have this issue with oil? Just curious.

Not the issues you do, no. My shedding is in cycles and no product seems to make it wore or better. Basically I shed awful every other year. That's life.

My scalp issues are the painful, scabby crusty things once in awhile. I have yet to figure out what exacerbates it or why it goes away sometimes (I am suspecting chelating poo helps but the jury is still out). I use Pantene S&C normally, so sulfates, cones, the works. I do have a leave-in I use, a serum that has oils but it never touches my scalp. It just smooths my up-dos and smells heavenly, which is the real reason I do it. It makes my hair greasy just like every oil I have ever tried. Currently my scalp is great. :shrug: Whatever, maybe it is the dry-er weather.

I pretty much don't use oils. I do on my skin (not my face). My skin does OK with certain oils (avacado, jojoba).

I dilute AVG in water and spritz it on my hair as hairspray or to set my braids for braid waves or just when it feels dry. AVG is also the only thing that helps my acne and does not cause break-outs. Oiling my scalp inevitable led to break-outs. Good luck.

Annibelle
January 18th, 2013, 01:21 PM
Annibelle - I also noticed that leaving my hair greasy makes it shed more - plus it makes my scalp itch like hell. What is up with that? Gr. And I wanted to try WO ... guess not after this experience :rant: I can't CO, I tried, even with the lightest conditioner I could find ... it didn't make me shed since I didn't use it long enough, but it did make my hair too greasy, which didn't work towards my 'stretching-washes' goal, so I abandoned that experiment very early on.

I did WO for a month two summers ago, and I really blame that for my year-long shed. I was shedding like mad during WO, but I thought it was just a transition thing. I got to the point where I couldn't stand it anymore, though, and stopped WO after the first month. The shedding slowed significantly after that first shampoo, but never normalized for about a year. :(

henné
January 18th, 2013, 01:41 PM
WaitingSoLong - I get the same crusties! I get them only when the conditioner makes it onto my scalp and I got them a lot when I used poo bars. I'm considering to stop using conditioners altogether and try using olive oil for conditioning my lower 1/3rd of my hair with good ol' olive oil instead. I 'think' my scalp hates conditioners more than pure oils.

When I was 18/19, I experienced an immense shed that my hair has recovered from only about 5 years down the road because of antibiotics-poisoning, etc. and I used olive oil infused with onion seeds to massage my scalp with to get more growth (an advice of my Pakistani friend with ultra thick, ultra gorgeous hair). It seems to have worked. At the same time, though, I started using henna to color my hair (and to fix my hair growth), so I'm not really sure how much of it was henna and how much of it was the olive oil. My scalp always hated chemicals - even the ones in 'natural' this and that-free shampoos and conditioners. It seems I was born in the wrong century :D

Amber_Maiden
January 18th, 2013, 02:12 PM
Aloe Vera Gel. Moisturizing. Good for hair. Win win.

I second this.

DinaAG
January 18th, 2013, 02:45 PM
i infuse citric acid water with rosemary and peppermint as my scalp is oily and i spray it on my scalp with a daily massage

torrilin
January 18th, 2013, 02:46 PM
I found out about this 'fact' by trying to use shampoo bars instead of a good ol' shampoo, which ended up in a major, I repeat, major, shed. The poo bars were chock full of different oils and I didn't connect my scalp's intolerance to conditioners to possible issues with oils present in poo bars.

The two may not actually be connected in the slightest. The fats and oils in a shampoo bar will largely be saponified, so they've undergone a chemical reaction with lye (NaOH) or potash (KOH) and they're not a plain old oil anymore. The exact amount of oil present is going to depend on the shampoo bar's formula, but in general if it's a solid bar, I'd guess there's very little oil. (there are exceptions to this, and you'd want to talk to the bar's maker about it if you want details)

However, a lot of shampoo bars have other ingredients added that aren't necessarily used in a standard shampoo, and if you've got sensitive skin it'd be easy to have reactions. Also, shampoo bars tend to be pretty alkaline, and if you're using them alone without an acid rinse to restore your skin's natural p.H, it'd be easy to wind up with infections if your skin tends to be fussy about p.H.

I don't think I'd blame the oils in this situation, since there are a LOT of ways things could be going wrong.

henné
January 18th, 2013, 03:26 PM
The two may not actually be connected in the slightest. The fats and oils in a shampoo bar will largely be saponified, so they've undergone a chemical reaction with lye (NaOH) or potash (KOH) and they're not a plain old oil anymore. The exact amount of oil present is going to depend on the shampoo bar's formula, but in general if it's a solid bar, I'd guess there's very little oil. (there are exceptions to this, and you'd want to talk to the bar's maker about it if you want details)

However, a lot of shampoo bars have other ingredients added that aren't necessarily used in a standard shampoo, and if you've got sensitive skin it'd be easy to have reactions. Also, shampoo bars tend to be pretty alkaline, and if you're using them alone without an acid rinse to restore your skin's natural p.H, it'd be easy to wind up with infections if your skin tends to be fussy about p.H.

I don't think I'd blame the oils in this situation, since there are a LOT of ways things could be going wrong.


You definitely have a point there.

I did use ACV rinse each time I used a poo bar though, so that's not it.

renia22
January 18th, 2013, 03:32 PM
Henne- I have the same problem with shampoo bars, even when using an ACV. Not sure if it dried out just your scalp, but for me, in addition to messing up my scalp (acne, shedding), the length of my hair gets very dry & straw-like too. Which is weird because my hair is fine and usually tends to get oily, not dry. At any rate, I totally agree with keeping oils off the scalp and trying aloe vera. It might even help slow down the shedding a little.

WaitingSoLong
January 18th, 2013, 09:04 PM
WaitingSoLong - I get the same crusties! I get them only when the conditioner makes it onto my scalp and I got them a lot when I used poo bars. I'm considering to stop using conditioners altogether and try using olive oil for conditioning my lower 1/3rd of my hair with good ol' olive oil instead. I 'think' my scalp hates conditioners more than pure oils.


I condition ALL of my hair but don't make it a point to get conditioner on my scalp, and I scrub my scalp when rinsing it out while leaving some of it on the length.

ACV is also not something I use or recommend. It did awful things to my hair (not sure about my scalp). I chelate with shampoo, Joico to be exact and it is so good I have never looked back. Unless I have been in chlorine (which is never, I avoid pools at all costs) I only use it when my hair gets that tangly weird feeling that regular clarifying does not help. I do have high chlorine in my water at home. Not to mention lime. My hair is so awesome after chelating it is tempting to do it every time I wash! Oh and I follow the chelate/clarify with a DCT.

henné
January 19th, 2013, 02:20 AM
I condition ALL of my hair but don't make it a point to get conditioner on my scalp, and I scrub my scalp when rinsing it out while leaving some of it on the length.

ACV is also not something I use or recommend. It did awful things to my hair (not sure about my scalp). I chelate with shampoo, Joico to be exact and it is so good I have never looked back. Unless I have been in chlorine (which is never, I avoid pools at all costs) I only use it when my hair gets that tangly weird feeling that regular clarifying does not help. I do have high chlorine in my water at home. Not to mention lime. My hair is so awesome after chelating it is tempting to do it every time I wash! Oh and I follow the chelate/clarify with a DCT.

I never put conditioner on my scalp either, but by handling my hair even way after washing it and drying it, it always finds its way onto my scalp. :( I haven't used conditioner on my scalp in at least 6 years. From what I remember, the best hair days were when I didn't use any conditioner in my hair at all. I had to use it from time to time though - like once every two weeks or so.

Our water is soft and doesn't contain any chlorine - if any, it's impossible to discern - so our water is not a problem at all and I don't need a chelating shampoo. I recently bought a shampoo that I consider 'clarifying,' even though it doesn't say so on the bottle (here in Sweden it's a problem to find a true clarifying shampoo it seems and the ones that say 'clarifying' seem to have other oils and additives in it that are not supposed to be in true clarifying shampoos). I used it for the first time today just to remove any residual poo bar and conditioner build-up. Let's see how that goes.

It just really seems my scalp is ultra sensitive to 'something' and I have to figure out what that something is. I compared ingredient lists on my conditioner (that I know I react to) and the poo bar that I definitely reacted to and the only common ingredient was caprylic triglyceride. Everything else in the poo bars were either saponified oils or oils. Then there was some clay, but I doubt my scalp could react like that to clay as that never occurs in conditioners - at least not the ones I've ever used.

Btw, what is DCT?

sarelis
January 19th, 2013, 03:46 AM
Sarelis - Interesting. I've stretched my washes as far as twice per week. Diluted shampoo once a week and then WO once a week. Sometimes it lasts even longer than 7 days - max 10 - sometimes I don't make it a whole week between shampoo washes - depends on how much I handle my hair and how much conditioner I use. What do you use to condition/moisturize your scalp?

I don't! If I have clarified then I use a little cheapo, cone free condish on my roots, that's mainly to combat the drying effects of the shampoo on my hair though. I do wonder though if maybe I tried some different oils my scalp might find one it doesn't object to, I think coconut oil is the main culprit for the vast sheds I experience, I'm too chicken to try any others though!

E2A I do use an ACV rinse after every wash though, my scalp seems to like that :)

Jing
January 19th, 2013, 04:24 AM
I'm the same! I haven't tried schampoo bars, but anytime I get any amount of oil or conditioner on my scalp, I shed like mad. I have recently discovered my holy grail, though: sulphur! But not on my scalp, on my face! When I started using sulphur on my face, my shedding almost immediately decreased by almost half. I hardly even dare to believe it. I keep thikning it must be some kind of coincidence, but any time I skip the sulphur for a while, I notice an increase in my shedding. I sincerely doubt that it has changed my scalp's sensitivity to oils, but if I used any now, I'd probably just shed as much as I would normally before the sulphur.

My scalp and hair both loved ACV, but over time it made my hair more and more red, so I stopped using it. Slightly duller hair is better than hair that clashes with everything. :(

sarelis
January 19th, 2013, 06:19 AM
My scalp and hair both loved ACV, but over time it made my hair more and more red, so I stopped using it. Slightly duller hair is better than hair that clashes with everything. :(

If you find that ACV gave you too much red tones, try white vinegar, same effect without the red :)

WaitingSoLong
January 19th, 2013, 06:47 AM
DCT=Deep Conditioning Treatment.

ladyfey
January 19th, 2013, 06:53 AM
Why oil? I don't, my hair does just fine and is mid-calf length.

henné
January 19th, 2013, 08:00 AM
Why oil? I don't, my hair does just fine and is mid-calf length.

I guess it's because when I was 18/19, I experienced a huge shed that stopped and got reversed thanks to deep oil treatments (olive oil infused with onion seeds - an old Pakistani recipe) and henna. I'm not sure if it was the oil or the henna that helped so much, but ever since then, I always did at least a handful of scalp oilings per year to combat my naturally dry and flaky scalp. I'm sure there are folks that can get by without it or any sort of scalp treatments, but I think those folks must be quite young or have 'normal' scalp. I'm pretty sure folks with dry and/or sensitive scalp have to do something extra to keep it happy.

The more I think and write about it, the more it seems it's not oil per se, but some other product that appears both in (some) conditioners and the shampoo bars I used. Maybe it's the saponified version of oils? Who knows???

Btw, I did a totally counterintuitive thing and deep oiled my scalp with olive and castor oil with a drop of tea tree oil because I noticed last night that my scalp was insanely dry and was getting itchier by the second. I am just so scared that I will have another bout of insane dandruff/skin infection that I get a little freaked out each time my scalp freaks out on me like that. Actually, my scalp literally hurt after I was done massaging the oil mix in, but when I woke up in the morning, my scalp felt amazing. Then I clarified and both my hair and my scalp feel amazing even without using any conditioner, just very little olive oil in the ends.

I'm seriously confused as to what caused the shed/itchiness/flakiness, but I'm going to revert to a completely minimalistic hair-care routine for now. Hopefully, with clarifying I removed all poo-bar, conditioner residue (even though I can still smell the damn conditioner in my length!!!) and my hair and scalp will get a fresh start. The fact that it's nearly -20 degrees here doesn't help, does it :/