View Full Version : Getting Rid Of Inflamation AND Sebum?

July 15th, 2018, 12:38 PM
Hey everybody!
So my scalp is frequently itchy no matter what day of my washing cycle it is. Through spring and fall I generally wash every 3rd day, and currently in this heat I've been washing every other day. It's an annoying little itch, like a light tickle. Not an insanity inducing itch like poison ivy.
I consider myself to have oily scalp. The sebum I have will make my hair look damp by day 3-4. I tried last winter to stretch to 1 week and that simply doesn't work for me.
So today at work I asked the doctor to just look at my scalp for me. He says it's inflamed and I need to moisturize. So I was like, do I need to stop using Ketoconazole 2% shampoo, and he said "yes, PLEASE stop using that, Ketoconazole isn't exactly benign."
I don't use it a lot. My usual wash is with Nature's Gate Daily Herbal shampoo diluted by at least half. I have it in a condiment bottle so I can restrict it to just my scalp. I usually only need to lather once. Then I use the conditioner that goes with it, and I massage my scalp. I DO re-moisturize my scalp.
And so now I'm confused. How can my scalp be dry to the point it's itchy, and appear so oily that it can't go without washing every other day? Should I reduce washes by using corn starch powder? Should I try to CO or WO most washing and cut back on shampoo? I mean, the doctor didn't give specific care advice. Just that it's inflamed because it's dry and I need to use a more moisturizing conditioner.
I'm going to do an SMT today when I get home. But this makes me think I'm going to have to totally rearrange what I do and how I do it.
Plus I've recently had to do 2 protein conditions and I've been wondering how in the world that had suddenly become a need.
I'm going to need some help getting this all organized.
Any suggestions would be great.

July 15th, 2018, 01:47 PM
What color is your urine?

There are many reasons for itchy skin, dryness is sometimes correlated to dehydration. Or poor nutrition, by any chance are you vegetarian?

Stop. Think. Examine what you just said. You went from identifying as having an oily scalp and using a stripping chemical because of that assumption, to wondering about water only. You're flailing between extremes. The solution is most likely going to be somewhere in between.

Start by losing the special shampoo and change to something more common. V05 seems to get good reviews and has the benefit of being cheap. Give your scalp a week or two to normalize, and then evaluate.

Even more basic, you said you want to remove the sebum. Why? Remove contaminants and dirt, obviously, but why the sebum? You were very specific in that statement.

I cowash for that.

I do water only and have for quite some time. Always thought I had an oily scalp too but this is the best thing I ever did for my hair. I do use a light conditioner periodically, though, because I have curls.

July 15th, 2018, 03:17 PM
Urine is very pale. Most days I drink only water. Of course a cup of coffee in the morning, but no coke, no tea. My diet is imperfect, but certainly not a vegetarian. I drink only occasionally, no tobacco. I should probably exercise more. I take a daily multi for women, and an extra b12 in the form of methycobalamine instead of the usual cyanocobalamine. I am currently neither losing nor gaining weight.

As for wanting the sebum removed, I feel mine is excessive. I've tried WO and CO washes and my hair tends to look like it's wet and that it is gelled in place. By day 5 of trying to stretch washes (day 4 is questionable) my hair visibly appears wet to the nape of my neck. I don't think it's healthy to leave it there, water and my conditioner don't really remove it. Even as frequently as I wash, I do SMP. It feels nice and I think it's good hygiene.

I've been 90% sulfate free for about 10 years. I use the Keto2% maybe once a month. I'll check V05 to see if there is a sulfate free one. I made that move because of trying to be aware of what I'm rinsing down the drain.

I'm really trying to trouble shoot this as best I can, I know there's something obvious I'm probably look right past, but I really just can't put my finger on it.

July 15th, 2018, 03:27 PM
Yeah, if you learn anything from these boards it's that the solution is almost always simple. Keep it simple.

It's people who overcomplicate things who always seem to have issues.

I hope you figure this out.

July 15th, 2018, 03:50 PM
Hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner might help. I’m currently using a Naturelle Biotera hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner. I’m really liking it so far. .

July 15th, 2018, 04:24 PM
I had an itch scalp for years. The things that have helped are Nizoral shampoo (which you use but maybe don't use frequently enough?), Zinc shampoo (like Head & Shoulders - I'm using Dove dandruff shampoo right now and really like it!) and a shampoo with Tea Tree oil (currently using Nature's Gate Tea Tree & Sea Buckthorn). These have all helped, but never fully made it go away. What *has* made it go away is cutting out all gluten from my diet. I was recently diagnosed with celiac. I had no idea I had it because I didn't have the usual symptoms (or at least not as severe as others do). I didn't even know gluten caused my itchy scalp until I re-introduced it into my diet (after an elimination diet). Gluten actually made my whole body itch, but it started at my scalp. Now, my scalp only itches if it's really dirty.

Now, I'm not saying it's likely celiac that's causing your itch, but if you rule out all other contaminants in your products, or other food allergies, it might be worth checking into. HTH!

July 15th, 2018, 04:26 PM
Also, I would stay away from putting conditioner or oils on your scalp. They always seemed to make my itching worse.

July 15th, 2018, 05:03 PM
I've been 90% sulfate free for about 10 years. I use the Keto2% maybe once a month. I'll check V05 to see if there is a sulfate free one. I made that move because of trying to be aware of what I'm rinsing down the drain.

I'm really trying to trouble shoot this as best I can, I know there's something obvious I'm probably look right past, but I really just can't put my finger on it.

You didn't say that in your first post. Also the Nizoral needs to be used more frequently to have an effect, like 2x a week, until the itch goes, only then can you resume regular washing. I take it you use it right? Sudsing up, leaving it for 5 to 10 min. on the scalp, sudsing some more (washing), then rinsing clear.

I'm just trying to get to the bottom of this.

Maybe 90% sulfate-free is the thing that is giving you the itch.

I have SD as well, for which I use Nizoral 2% occasionally (bouts of it) but I can keep it at bay with a harsh sulfate shampoo, in between bouts (when I have an itch I need Nizoral).

Maybe you just can't go sulfate-free. I couldn't either. I would get itchy *so* fast!

July 15th, 2018, 10:32 PM
I have SD and have successfully went sulfate/cone free but so far, have only found one brand that doesn't make me itch.
Natures gate is the worse I've tried, makes my hair waxy and builds up immediately. Not to mention how bad I itch.

I've been using acure pumpkin and argan poo/con and it's really nice. Cleans well and the conditioner has a fair amount of slip. It's not a terribly expensive brand either.

July 15th, 2018, 11:08 PM
Oh, I have some more thoughts as well:

One of the first things out of doctors mouths when you complain about being itchy is "Oh, your skin must be dry, moisturize more". This is partially because that dryness can cause itch, and it's the easiest fix. Even when you are doing literally everything physically possible to ensure the skin is not dry (above and beyond what is considered reasonable) this is the first thing out of their mouths when it comes to itching (as an aside, I am personally going to read a riot act to the next doctor who tells me my itchiness is from dry skin)

If the doctor was not a dermatologist, I would go see a proper dermatologist to rule out SD. If you DO have SD confirmed previously, you're probably not using Ketoconazole often enough.

If you've already had SD ruled out thoroughly, and if the itching is driving you as crazy as it sounds like? My advice is to don't go experimenting around--go straight for something explicitly designed to be hypoallergenic (Free and Clear, or the Naturelle Biotera hypoallergenic stuff) and use that until the inflammation calms down. This may mean you have to temporarily go back to sulfates, but the goal isn't to find your new routine, the goal is to get your scalp to calm down first. After that's accomplished, then go experiment as you think is appropriate.

Aloe Vera Gel (get the pure kind) is going to be soothing on the scalp, but it may not be easy to apply.

July 16th, 2018, 02:47 AM
From my own experience, sebum over-production seems to be a panic response. The scalp is trying to normalise itself by loading up on the only stuff it has available to it. So my first question, what have you changed recently? Diet, routine; hell, water variety? Something has set it off and you won’t fix the problem by continuing to firebomb your scalp.

Second, you seem to be in panic/problem solving mode over this. I have done this before myself, it feels productive and helpful for you and hair. Pro-tip, it’s not helping. Second question, why were you using Keto 2% in the first place and do you need to use it more often or less diluted? Have you tried clarifying?

Third, you mentioned that you have an oily looking scalp. This is part of that whole “panic response” system your scalp has going on. I used to have something very similar, manually oiling my hair cut mine right back to barely any panic at all. Not a silver bullet by any stretch, but it might be worth a trial once everything else has calmed down.

Fourth, you mentioned the doctor specifying a more moisturising conditioner. Do you let the conditioner just sit and soak for a few mins? And have you tried a deep moisture treatment/mask recently? Was it effective?

July 16th, 2018, 08:02 AM
This is all great food for thought.

I have noticed no change in itch from when I used sulfates and when I went sulfate free. This has annoyed me as far back as high school. There don't seem to be flare ups and I don't feel like there are times that are worse or better than others. I haven't been able to pinpoint anything that speeds up or slows down my sebum production other than weather, and that's not even a big change.

I'm going to call today to make an appointment with a dermatologist. I work in an emergency clinic. The doctor is not a dermatologist, and yesterday ruled out nits, lice, fungus/ringworm, scabies, bedbugs, active infection. I have never had SD officially confirmed nor ruled out.

Last night I simply rinsed with water and massaged my scalp in the shower, then put aloe gel on my scalp while it was still towel damp and let it dry that way.

When I do use Keto2%, yes, I lather up and let it sit 5 minutes and rinse. I've never used it twice in a week, I feel very dry afterward. It's also not officially Nizoral that I'm using. To get 2% requires a prescription. This shampoo is from a pharmaceutical company. Nizoral is only 1%.

This is all so much to take into consideration, I'm not going to make any changes or take any action until after I see the dermatologist and have more to work with. I've also considered this could even be phantom itch. When I used to go to salons to get my hair trimmed I always asked them to check my scalp. No dandruff, no flakes, no patches of redness or scaliness. I'm just plain going to have to get a diagnosis from a specialist.

I'll keep y'all updated, and thank you so much for all the suggestions. If anyone thinks of anything else, I'm always willing to consider any ideas that might be helpful. Thanks again.

August 25th, 2018, 06:29 PM
The verdict is in. I have seborrheic dermatitis diagnosed by the dermatologist. He prescribed me an antibiotic shampoo and a leave in foam for my scalp which my insurance doesn't cover and the two would cost me $1100 out of pocket. My insurance DID cover the topical steroid for breakthrough itching.
I asked my general physician if there was an alternative shampoo with antibiotic properties and he recommended Selsun Blue (Selenium Sulfide). This is classified as an anti-infective--Antibiotic and antifungal both fall under this umbrella classification.
So I picked up a bottle of the OTC strength, and washed as per Lapushka's directions of letting it sit on for 5-10 minutes. BINGO!
I've been washing every other day. One wash with any shampoo, then the second wash with Selenium, and I have virtually no itching. I get a little itchy on wash day, and there is still some white powder under my nails when I scratch, so it's not perfectly under control yet. But I'm no longer scratching like I have fleas, so at least I know I'm going in the right direction.
Yesterday at work I got my GP's blessing and had one of the other girls call in a prescription for me to have the stronger bottle of Selenium Sulfide, but it came up to $75 out of pocket so that's also a big fat no. lol
I'm grateful to finally have a firm diagnosis, and already be on the right path to relief.
Any tips on SD that y'all have learned along the way are very appreciated. Time for me to learn how to take care of myself. :)

August 26th, 2018, 05:45 AM
FennFire911, it's nice to finally *know* what's wrong. I don't think Selsun blue has an antibiotic, and if you need that it means it got infected somehow! Is it pus-like and oozing? Then you need treatment.

Maybe a tip? I would not alternate with a different shampoo, but keep using the Selsun until it's cleared up. If it's not prescription strength, I would keep using it and not weaken it by switching things around. Maybe ask your derm if he can prescribe a ketoconazol shampoo aka Nizoral 2%, it might not be as expensive out of pocket. The 1% is OTC but it won't be enough, I don't think.

August 26th, 2018, 05:59 AM
I would let the dermatologist know you don't have insurance. They may be able to get you free samples or a greatly reduced price with a drug company coupon.

August 26th, 2018, 02:26 PM
I would let the dermatologist know you don't have insurance. They may be able to get you free samples or a greatly reduced price with a drug company coupon.

Write the company as well, many pharmaceutical companies have programs for people who cannot afford the medication.

August 26th, 2018, 03:43 PM
I would let the dermatologist know you don't have insurance. They may be able to get you free samples or a greatly reduced price with a drug company coupon.

Write the company as well, many pharmaceutical companies have programs for people who cannot afford the medication.

Both very good ideas. Inflammation can't be solved with an SD shampoo, it needs the antibiotic!!! Please please talk to your doctor. :flower: They normally aren't that "giving" with AB treatments, so this means you really really must need it bad!