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View Full Version : Having hair troubles again, is it time to chop?



Imalath
August 15th, 2014, 09:52 PM
My hair is longer than it has been since I was in high school, but the past four months has been one horror after another with it. My SLS products were making my scalp break out in boils, so I swapped to sls-free. Cue shedding and breakage, but my scalp was healing. After a lot of experimenting with products, I find a detangler that helped with the breakage, and I get a new job that requires my hair to be styled "up" and covered with a coarse fiber shower cap. More shedding and breakage. I finally find a hairstyle that eliminates breakage from rubbing against the cap without any traction alopecia, and the warm humid environment sets off my dandruff.

Right now I am back on the wagon of trying to balance products to get and keep the flakes under control without resorting to steroid creams. My hair is falling out in handfuls. I have tried washing daily, washing weekly, a whole barrage of products and treatments, and at the end of the day I still have a burning scalp and a comb full of hair. I am probably loosing close to 500 hairs a day, at least, and it's pretty disheartening. The urge to chop back to a pixie until I get my scalp under control grows daily, but I don't want to undo almost two years of growth. On the other hand, my hair doesn't look very nice atm, the ends are getting really thin with all the shedding I'm doing.

Help talk me out of (or into) cutting back? It feels like I'm going in circles here...I could use some advice!

Madora
August 15th, 2014, 10:19 PM
500 hairs a day is a bit much. Maybe there's something else going on that is affecting your hair. Perhaps a visit to a trichologist would be a good idea. Tell him all about your usual routine and bring your products with you so he can inspect their labels.

As for the cap, would it be possible for you to line it with silk? Also, your scalp needs to breathe every once in a while so it is important that you take off the cap once in a while. Can you substitute any other kind of head covering for your job? I'm thinking that your scalp really needs to breathe correctly in order to be healthy. That's the most important thing. Good luck!

restless
August 16th, 2014, 01:43 AM
Have you been to a doctor with this? 500 hairs and a burning scalp doesnt sound good at all. I dont think a chop is the answer to anything at this point, but a visit to the doctor could be as there might be more to this than wrong products and a cap.

I hope you'll find a quick solution to this. Take care of yourself.

diddiedaisy
August 16th, 2014, 03:46 AM
I think the only thing you should do is go your doctor, I really hope you get it sorted soon.

fiğrildi
August 16th, 2014, 04:09 AM
As others suggested above, I would also advise you to visit the doctor. Don't cut yet, because this could have a solution; and try not to "try" everything either, because the scalp needs some time in order to get used to new routines and products. Therefore if you change very rapidly from one kind of product, and from washing everyday to washing once a week, your scalp will surely respond negatively.
Go to the doctor, and best wishes to you :flower:

lapushka
August 16th, 2014, 05:09 AM
As others suggested above, I would also advise you to visit the doctor. Don't cut yet, because this could have a solution; and try not to "try" everything either, because the scalp needs some time in order to get used to new routines and products. Therefore if you change very rapidly from one kind of product, and from washing everyday to washing once a week, your scalp will surely respond negatively.
Go to the doctor, and best wishes to you :flower:

This. ^^ Switching it up too fast will get you nowhere.

Another vote for a doctor's visit!

Imalath
August 16th, 2014, 06:45 AM
Thanks for all the encouragement...I just had a meltdown last night after combing my hair and needed to rant a bit. I feel a bit silly this morning. I've been going very slowly with the routine changes; I always try to wait at least two weeks to let something work before I change it.

The biggest thing I've noticed is that my scalp only burns and flakes when it's damp; either during or after my wash, or when I'm sweaty. When it's damp, there are big soft patches on my scalp that I can scrape away without ever hitting bottom. At first the stuff I was scraping had a yellow-green tint to it, but now it's just white. As soon as the scalp dries, the flaking and burning stop. Unfortunately I work in a kitchen, where there are always giant pots of water boiling on a stove and stuff steaming away in fryers and steam ovens. Getting my scalp to stay dry in that kind of environment is just not happening.

Thank you all for the advice about the dermatologist; this may be something that I can't treat on my own.

Still long-haired for now,
Imalath

Johannah
August 16th, 2014, 07:20 AM
Another vote for the doctor. And please don't feel silly, there's nothing wrong with making a thread like this! Hope everything will be alright :grouphug:

Mya
August 16th, 2014, 07:44 AM
Burning scalp, flakes and shedding? Are you sure you are not allergic to something inside your shampoo? Or inside something else your scalp is exposed to? That's exactly the allergic reaction I got when I used certain shampoos. There are very, very few shampoos that won't give me that reaction. You may want to consider that, if the trichologist or the dermatologist can't solve your problem. If that's the case, you will see results as soon as you use the right product for your scalp... At least that's what happened to me.

Anje
August 16th, 2014, 07:54 AM
Do see a doctor. It sounds like seborrhic dermatitis from your description, but that's a diagnosis for a doctor to make. Do get that looked at ASAP, even if it means steroid creams to clear it up. You need to get it diagnosed settled down first, then you can start to experiment.

Are you using conditioner (not just a detangler) to help with your hair's breakage and dryness? Most of us need one. For the moment, use it only below ear level to keep it off your scalp.

Do understand, most of us wear our hair up daily. Done right, that should help your hair, not harm it. A gentle bun held with hairsticks, a hairfork, a Ficcare, a claw clip, spin pins, or long U-shaped pins (notably, no elastics), should be good for frequent wear.

You might do well to use a hairdryer to get your scalp dry quickly. On low or medium heat, damage should be minimal, and it's probably an acceptable alternative to having a damp scalp in your case.

spidermom
August 16th, 2014, 08:55 AM
Agree - see a doctor.

The work environment doesn't sound very healthy for hair and scalp. I have seborrheic dermatitis, and my doctor stressed that I was to keep my scalp/hair dry and not sit around with wet hair.

Silverbrumby
August 16th, 2014, 09:13 AM
I think you have this condition, seborrheic dermatitis. I'd recommend keeping your scalp completely clear of any oils and conditioners, dry it ASAP and no wet bunning, use Nizoral shampoo 3x a week and remember to leave it on the full five minutes.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/293115-pimple-like-bumps-on-the-scalp/

If the link doesn't work go to Livestrong and type in seborrheic dermatitis. I'd also recommend seeing someone who specializes in scalp issues but I hope using the shampoo and keeping the scalp clear and clean will help till then. Mi found the shampoo got rid of most of my condition.

Good luck and the shampoo is at most walgreens and cvs pharmacies.

lapushka
August 16th, 2014, 10:17 AM
I think you have this condition, seborrheic dermatitis. I'd recommend keeping your scalp completely clear of any oils and conditioners, dry it ASAP and no wet bunning, use Nizoral shampoo 3x a week and remember to leave it on the full five minutes.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/293115-pimple-like-bumps-on-the-scalp/

If the link doesn't work go to Livestrong and type in seborrheic dermatitis. I'd also recommend seeing someone who specializes in scalp issues but I hope using the shampoo and keeping the scalp clear and clean will help till then. Mi found the shampoo got rid of most of my condition.

Good luck and the shampoo is at most walgreens and cvs pharmacies.

If you have it really bad you'll probably need the 2%, and I believe in the US this is prescription only. In Belgium it is just over the counter (we just don't have the lighter version).

Imalath
August 16th, 2014, 07:50 PM
Burning scalp, flakes and shedding? Are you sure you are not allergic to something inside your shampoo? Or inside something else your scalp is exposed to? That's exactly the allergic reaction I got when I used certain shampoos. There are very, very few shampoos that won't give me that reaction. You may want to consider that, if the trichologist or the dermatologist can't solve your problem. If that's the case, you will see results as soon as you use the right product for your scalp... At least that's what happened to me.

The original change in my routine several months ago from sls to sls-free was because i thought i was allergic to something in my shampoo. Until my scalp started to react to it, I was losing maybe twenty to thirty hairs a day, which is why my current shedding amount scares me. I know there were no formula changes in the shampoo itself from bottle to bottle, I checked. I had been using it for almost a year before my scalp decided it hated it, with no change in routine.


Do see a doctor. It sounds like seborrhic dermatitis from your description, but that's a diagnosis for a doctor to make. Do get that looked at ASAP, even if it means steroid creams to clear it up. You need to get it diagnosed settled down first, then you can start to experiment.

Are you using conditioner (not just a detangler) to help with your hair's breakage and dryness? Most of us need one. For the moment, use it only below ear level to keep it off your scalp.

Do understand, most of us wear our hair up daily. Done right, that should help your hair, not harm it. A gentle bun held with hairsticks, a hairfork, a Ficcare, a claw clip, spin pins, or long U-shaped pins (notably, no elastics), should be good for frequent wear.

You might do well to use a hairdryer to get your scalp dry quickly. On low or medium heat, damage should be minimal, and it's probably an acceptable alternative to having a damp scalp in your case.

Yes, I use conditioner in addition to my detangler, and plenty of it. I CWC, keeping the conditioner below my ears, for the most part. If i'm particularly tangly at the crown, I will sometimes condition everything. I also wear my hair in pretty protective styles; usually either a nautilus or a cinnabun, held in place with spinpins or a metal hair fork. I just had to change where I put them on my head to keep them from rubbing against my fiber cap at work; nape of the neck puts them right where the elastic edge rubs; sometimes I wish they'd just give us hairnets.

Thanks for the idea with the hair dryer; I think I will try using it on really humid days to see if that cuts down on the itching!

Thanks for all the replies, everyone. Having a few short-term solutions to try while I wait for a doctor's appointment and an official diagnosis really helps a lot.

Silverbrumby
August 16th, 2014, 09:44 PM
Imalath, it's the conditioner on the scalp that's probably causing the issues. For anyone with this condition (see my link above) you need to keep all oils and conditioners off the scalp. It caused major flare ups on my head. The shampoo you get here in the USA is 1% and it does a good job. I now very carefully condition my hair keeping it off the scalp all together.

Oops misread the comments above. Good advice there but do see a doctor. Boils are serious if they develop.

Imalath
September 7th, 2014, 07:35 PM
Just popping in for an update. I am waiting to get in to see my doctor, but am using some of the suggestions here while I wait. I went through all my products and grabbed the ones with oils listed latest in the list, and wash daily instead of trying to stretch washes to twice a week. I am very careful to keep oils from getting anywhere close to my scalp, even if that does mean going back to using sls and cones.

The giant soft patches have dried up and shrunk in size; I only have a couple of quarter-sized spots that still burn when I get sweaty or my scalp is wet. My shedding has only decreased a little; I figure I might not see an improvement until my scalp heals completely. I hope it all grows back and I haven't damaged the follicles somehow!

gthlvrmx
September 7th, 2014, 07:59 PM
Just popping in for an update. I am waiting to get in to see my doctor, but am using some of the suggestions here while I wait. I went through all my products and grabbed the ones with oils listed latest in the list, and wash daily instead of trying to stretch washes to twice a week. I am very careful to keep oils from getting anywhere close to my scalp, even if that does mean going back to using sls and cones.

The giant soft patches have dried up and shrunk in size; I only have a couple of quarter-sized spots that still burn when I get sweaty or my scalp is wet. My shedding has only decreased a little; I figure I might not see an improvement until my scalp heals completely. I hope it all grows back and I haven't damaged the follicles somehow!
Yeah you won't like damaged follicles. I'm sure your hair will grow back it will just take time :)

McFearless
September 7th, 2014, 11:47 PM
The biggest thing I've noticed is that my scalp only burns and flakes when it's damp; either during or after my wash, or when I'm sweaty. When it's damp, there are big soft patches on my scalp that I can scrape away without ever hitting bottom. At first the stuff I was scraping had a yellow-green tint to it, but now it's just white. As soon as the scalp dries, the flaking and burning stop.


It sounds like your scalp isn't being cleansed properly and your follicles are being suffocated with dead skin cells and sebum. That might explain why your shedding increased after stopping products with SLS. Is it possible for your to brush your scalp a few times a week and/or massage your cleansing product into your scalp during your wash to remove all build up? Rinsing your sweaty scalp immediately after work might help also. Good luck.

Panth
September 8th, 2014, 02:29 AM
Sounds like seborrheic dermatitis.

1 ) Got to the doctor to confirm this. If this is the correct diagnosis...
2 ) Use shampoo containing 2% ketoconazole (follow the instructions on the bottle / your doctor's instructions exactly).
3 ) Immediately stop all use of oils and conditioners on the scalp. (The causative malassezia yeast feeds on oils, including your sebum, so you want to minimise the amount of food for it to minimise its growth.)
4 ) Don't stretch washes, or do so very carefully and don't ever try to stretch up until the point that it starts to cause flakes/itching/burning (the yeast also feeds on sebum, so you need to minimise the sebum on your scalp).
5 ) Keep the scalp dry as much as possible (e.g. use a hairdryer on cool (cool won't hurt your hair) after washing/working out/getting caught in the rain).
6 ) Perhaps see if you can find an alternative hairnet for work (something that breathes better - maybe even a silk sleepcap?). Tell them it's for a health condition - I suspect having a hot, sweaty head is not helping things - both the heat, dampness and sweat (yeast food!).
7 ) Once things are under control, be very vigilant for recurrence of the condition and treat it immediately when you begin to get symptoms, rather than leaving it to get very bad (you'll also minimise hair loss this way).

8 ) Whilst doing all of that, keep an eye on your remaining hair. Most of the medicated shampoos with ketoconazole in are full of SLS so you'll need to adjust your conditioning routine accordingly. Don't use that as a reason not to use the medicated shampoos - there's no point in babying your hair by refusing all SLS-containing products if it means your condition remains untreated and causes you to loose all that hair anyway! However, once you have things under control (or are using the medicated stuff less than every wash) you can consider doing more gentle cleansers to prevent aggravation of the scalp skin. Be aware that you are probably always going to need a fairly strong cleanser (or at least a very thorough clean) to ensure the yeast remains under control.

nerdybrunette
September 8th, 2014, 02:43 AM
My hair is longer than it has been since I was in high school, but the past four months has been one horror after another with it. My SLS products were making my scalp break out in boils, so I swapped to sls-free. Cue shedding and breakage, but my scalp was healing. After a lot of experimenting with products, I find a detangler that helped with the breakage, and I get a new job that requires my hair to be styled "up" and covered with a coarse fiber shower cap. More shedding and breakage. I finally find a hairstyle that eliminates breakage from rubbing against the cap without any traction alopecia, and the warm humid environment sets off my dandruff.

Right now I am back on the wagon of trying to balance products to get and keep the flakes under control without resorting to steroid creams. My hair is falling out in handfuls. I have tried washing daily, washing weekly, a whole barrage of products and treatments, and at the end of the day I still have a burning scalp and a comb full of hair. I am probably loosing close to 500 hairs a day, at least, and it's pretty disheartening. The urge to chop back to a pixie until I get my scalp under control grows daily, but I don't want to undo almost two years of growth. On the other hand, my hair doesn't look very nice atm, the ends are getting really thin with all the shedding I'm doing.

Help talk me out of (or into) cutting back? It feels like I'm going in circles here...I could use some advice!

I fully understand your pain and frustration with your hair and hair products. I am in the process of finding the right ratio of ACV to water for my final rinse and it is working wonderfully for me. But due to major health problems (not cancer, or anything like that) I have been in the proces of finding all of the foods and chemicals that are bad for my body (aka allergic or intolerant) and have had to cut out a lot of foods and chemicals. But anyway, I had bad seborrheic dermatitis (aka yeast infection on the scalp) and tried Ketoconazole shampoo but it made my scalp very sore and my hair very dry and brittle. I have since switched to only using pure, organic castile soap in my shower and hand washing, and even use it on my scalp, hair and face! The "baby mild" version of my soap does dry out my hair pretty badly but my scalp is much, MUCH better as far as soreness, flakes, itching, pain, etc. I have now started working with Apple Cider Vinegar (with the "Mother") and it definitely helps my frizziness and poofiness. Plus the added benefit of helping my scalp and it's seborrheic dermatitis. I wash my hair once per week and use the ACV mixture once a week as well.

I am in the process of figuring all of this out but so far what I have been doing has been a positive experience.

Please don't chop your hair off just yet. I know how you feel though. I was loosing upwards of 500 hair strands daily as well but barring a bad allergic or intolerant reaction to foods, or chemicals (even touching my hands or other parts of my body) my hair does nto tend to fall out severely anymore. You might want to look into the foods you eat regularly as well, as you may have become intolerant or allergic to them. Allergy to food does not always mean anaphylaxis. It could be as simple as developing mild rash or sore throat and runny nose for a day when you eat it. I have no idea if you are allergic to anything but it's always a good idea to check everything in your life that could be causing problems.