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View Full Version : Went sulfate free and now have serious dandruff Help!



BraidFreak
April 20th, 2017, 05:16 AM
Hello everyone, long time lurker here :)

I went sulfate free and silicone free about three months ago, I live in the UK and use the shampoo and conditioner from the body shop. It took me a while to get used to but I definitely noticed a difference in my hair. About a month ago though I started noticing some serious dandruff or flaky scalp (when I scratch I get tonnes of white flakes coming up) I thought my hair just needed a good clean and so I used head and shoulders twice but it still hasn't gone away. Has this happened to any of you? I didn't really have a flaky scalp when I was using my Tresseme.


Thank you!

Borgessa
April 20th, 2017, 06:03 AM
I would try a little bit of coconut oil, massage it on the scalp leave it for 20 mins to an hour and wash it off, some people notice some shedding if they put oil on the scalp others do not. So keep and eye on it.. I had a flaky scalp and did this once, haven't had a prob since. Good luck Braidfreak :)

Aphra
April 20th, 2017, 06:46 AM
It sounds like the shampoo is not cleaning your scalp in the way your scalp needs. I would give it a good clean with a shampoo you know works for your head, and then if you want to try sulphate free again, maybe look for one with different cleaning agents compared to the one you currently have.

I can't go sulphate free - all the ones I've tried have resulted in scalp acne - most of the time I have to use sulphates, sometimes I can get away with a conditioner only wash to stretch things out a bit. Different things work for different people, and unfortunately we have to find what works for our heads, rather than what we would like

lapushka
April 20th, 2017, 06:51 AM
I went sulfate free and silicone free about three months ago, I live in the UK and use the shampoo and conditioner from the body shop. It took me a while to get used to but I definitely noticed a difference in my hair. About a month ago though I started noticing some serious dandruff or flaky scalp (when I scratch I get tonnes of white flakes coming up) I thought my hair just needed a good clean and so I used head and shoulders twice but it still hasn't gone away. Has this happened to any of you? I didn't really have a flaky scalp when I was using my Tresseme.

Go back to what worked aka sulfates. You may have reached the end of your time with sulfate-free and may need a good clarifying wash *all the time*. The flakes might need a few more good harsh washes. Otherwise, it may be that you have more than dandruff and in that case, an oil is the *last* thing you want to use on your scalp.

If all else fails, go see a dermatologist. Do not play when it comes to scalp-health.

I have SD (seborrheic dermatitis). I can keep it away by using sulfates every wash. The moment I go sulfate-free, after a wash or two it all goes to hell and beyond and I have a flare-up. Major scales, itchiness and redness. You can have SD even though you only have one of these things occur. I can't use an oil or conditioner on my scalp or it flares up.

It just means you can't go sulfate-free. Or, you may have to switch it up a little more often.

Aredhel
April 20th, 2017, 06:59 AM
I tried sulfate-free for a week and it failed; I got some serious dandruff and an unbearably itchy scalp after a few days of washing. Some people just need sulfates, it is what it is. Try using sulfates again and see if your issue goes away... that would be the quickest way to determine if that's the culprit.

mermaid lullaby
April 20th, 2017, 07:50 AM
I cant use sulfate-free shampoos either. You can braid your hair and jump in the shower and keep the shampoo from getting on your length when you rinse for the same effect.
Also, welcome to the boards! :joy:

spidermom
April 20th, 2017, 07:52 AM
Welcome to the party, and I agree with everyone else. You may need to see your doctor to get a prescription for a medicated shampoo. There are ways to keep it off your length.

Chromis
April 20th, 2017, 08:32 AM
Since the sulphate-free brigade has given you other options, I will give another theory. People often change a lot of things in their routine all at once because this place is super full of exciting new stuff to try. Often people try switching to sulphate-free at the same time as stretching washes. If this is you, you may need to try washing more frequently again and taking it one experiment at a time. I already was used to stretching washes when I joined since I had never been a daily washer to start with, but that is a common hurdle. (Not everyone needs to stretch washes for that matter which the same folks who have responded about will tell you very loudly.)

This might not apply to you, but I figured it was worth a mention since it is a pretty common newbie thing :flower:

Agnieszka
April 20th, 2017, 10:15 AM
You could try Nizoral 2% from Boots. It's without prescription and works better than Head and Shoulders in my opinion. It will strip your hair from all of the oils so conditioner after is recommended. Good luck!

lithostoic
April 20th, 2017, 10:32 AM
Sounds like you need to wash more often or scrub your scalp more.

akurah
April 20th, 2017, 10:41 AM
I would do a sugar scrub on the scalp, then go into a "holding pattern" back to whatever it was you were doing to see if that resolved or if that did nothing (if you change your routine further, it will make identifying a bit harder). Keep in mind though, if the sugar scrub resolves it, it's probably going to come back at least a few times (if not perpetually), because if the sugar scrub fixes it, that means its gunk accumulating on the skin between the follicles, that you will need to periodically exfoliate.

The H&S will kill whatever generally is considered dandruff, but it's been my experience that not all scalp flakiness is actually dandruff, sometimes it's just accumulated gunk (I periodically suffer from both, and generally don't treat for dandruff unless there's itching involved). That's why I suggest a sugar scrub, esp. if the H&S didn't resolve.

I would not do additional anti-dandruff shampoos until directed by a dermatologist or doctor, as those can be harsh and drying. From what I understand they're not dangerous in the least, but I would consider the hassle not worth it unless a professional thinks it is needed.

Ophidian
April 20th, 2017, 03:42 PM
There are lots of causes of dandruff/flaky scalp, and equally many ways to deal with it/opinions on how it should be dealt with. I think that most people tend to speak from their experience and what has worked for them (including me!), which is of course normal, but it's worth bearing in mind that there isn't really a right or wrong here and it might take some tweaking before you find what works for you.

I have combination skin/hair, and I use very mild cleansing methods. I do find that I have to wash more often (which for me is twice a week instead of once) to keep my scalp from getting gunky. I scritch gently with a comb and often do a light scalp oiling the night before washing, and afterwards while my hair is still damp I apply a few drops of oil and/or aloe vera around my hairline (which gets dry in the winter). Scalp scrubs are nice sometimes too.

If you decide you're more happy with sulfates then by all means use them--there are ways to help protect your length as others have mentioned. But I don't think there is anything wrong with seeing if you can make some adjustments to your new routine to see if it works for you. I try to find a balance between trying to make things work despite clear evidence that it's just not going to happen and "just giving it [hair] what it wants" even when I have solid reasons for wanting to do things differently. I take pretty good care of my hair, and I reserve the right to ask that it make some compromises within reason too :)

BraidFreak
April 20th, 2017, 04:56 PM
Thank you all so much for your replies! As most of you have said I think I'm just going to go back to what was working for me (sulfates). It was worth a shot though! :)

Rebeccalaurenxx
April 20th, 2017, 05:19 PM
You could do what I do and just go sulphate free for a short period and then clarify/shampoo with a sulphate shampoo every 2-3 weeks. I need them once a month, twice a month if I work out a lot that month. But yeah. I have SD and I am sulphate free for most of the year, so I think if I can do it its possible.

Rowdy
April 20th, 2017, 05:29 PM
I also get scalp gunk and flakes and I need to wash every four days to keep it away. It does't make a difference with what- sulfate-free, sulfates, diluted, prescription - just every four days a good wash.

meteor
April 20th, 2017, 06:00 PM
Another vote for a more cleansing routine for your scalp. :)
If something like Nizoral (2% ketoconazole) is way too drying for your hair, you can always use it in Scalp-Only washes or in routines like CWC or double conditioning, for example.

Sulfate-free shampoos aren't necessarily gentler (it really depends on the specific ingredients, the formulation - http://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/2012/06/sulfate-free-shampoos-least-and-most.html, http://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/2012/06/are-sulfate-free-shampoos-really.html), but that particular product you used is either not cleansing enough or even possibly contains ingredients you may be sensitive to.
Dandruff can be a symptom of a few skin conditions, so it's hard to tell without seeing a doctor, but getting an anti-dandruff shampoo with anti-fungals is probably the easiest first step: look out for ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione, etc... - http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.ca/2015/03/medicated-shampoos-and-conditioners-for.html If you can't get it under control within a reasonable amount of time, I'd go see a doctor, who might prescribe you a medicated shampoo/foam/etc...
Good luck! :D

ghanima
April 21st, 2017, 06:07 AM
I am going back to a sulfate shampoo as well, this week, after years of experimenting with alternatives. Let's see how it goes.
I just wanted to add that, sulfate or not sulfate, my scalp really loves a good massage, and that it also loves brushes, especially the Mason Pearson (popular type). Now my hair-type doesn't really agree with brushing, while yours might, so I wanted to put it out there in case you like brushes.

Ophidian
April 21st, 2017, 12:11 PM
I also get scalp gunk and flakes and I need to wash every four days to keep it away. It does't make a difference with what- sulfate-free, sulfates, diluted, prescription - just every four days a good wash.

That's me too--like clockwork