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View Full Version : Scalp funk? SD? Weather? Help me get to the root of this issue, please!



Hiyotoris
October 30th, 2018, 09:49 AM
Hey everyone! I have a small-ish issue going on right now. My scalp is seriously hating me! I'm not sure if its the weather, or something in the water that is making it play up, but it's doing my head in!
All jokes aside, my scalp looks like a flakey, greasy, itchy mess. I've been cone/sls free for probably close to a year now, mainly because I found out that SLS makes my scalp produce more sebum, quicker, which makes sense since is it a harsh cleanser. And cone free because I have naturally dry hair, that with cones ontop made my hair super dry. I typically only get oily around 3-4 days after washing, and during the summer I could stretch my washes to maybe once a week, or every 5 days since it wouldn't look oily. Now i'm washing every 3 days because it looks awful, it itches and when I scratch flakes fly off and get stuck under my fingernails, (gross, I know) I've tried co-washing, washing with fairy liquid, doing an ACV rinse, putting tea tree EO into my shampoo to try to clean my scalp a bit better, putting peppermint EO into my cleansing conditioner (which I normally use to get off super heavy deep conditioning oil treatments) All to no avail! I'm not going to lie though, using the peppermint EO on my scalp makes it feel amazing. Can anyone shed some light onto this?

*Wednesday*
October 30th, 2018, 10:17 AM
I would see a dermatologist. Seborrheic Dermatitis should be diagnosed so you know how to treat it. We can't examine your scalp to make a determination what is happening to the scalp.

ETA: you may need a medicated shampoo to treat the scalp. Again, you need an official diagnosis. I would not just throw things on your scalp if it is getting worse.

lapushka
October 30th, 2018, 10:38 AM
Fully agree! ^^

You can't ask this of a forum. And I would not start experimenting. The cleanser you are using may not be harsh enough or you haven't clarified at least monthly with SL(E)S. That may just be it. In any case you probably need a medicated shampoo to help you get rid of these flakes; do not do it on your own.

Please see a dermatologist! :flower:

Obsidian
October 30th, 2018, 01:24 PM
I agree with a doctor but I have to wonder if being sulfate free for a year is finally catching up? I would do a thorough clarifying wash first. If its just a year of build up, it could be a easy fix.

lapushka
October 30th, 2018, 01:26 PM
I agree with a doctor but I have to wonder if being sulfate free for a year is finally catching up? I would do a thorough clarifying wash first. If its just a year of build up, it could be a easy fix.

The thing is, if it is SD (let's just say that), then you first probably need a medicated shampoo to clear the flakes. If I get a bout of SD, a sulfate shampoo is not going to solve it.

But... who knows...

I would not mess with it, and go see a doctor straight away, without touching it with any other product from now on.

*Wednesday*
October 30th, 2018, 01:34 PM
The thing is, if it is SD (let's just say that), then you first probably need a medicated shampoo to clear the flakes. If I get a bout of SD, a sulfate shampoo is not going to solve it.

But... who knows...

I would not mess with it, and go see a doctor straight away, without touching it with any other product from now on.

My youngest son has SD. He uses the Nizoral. When he was at his worst, he used 3/4 times weekly, reduced to twice weekly and now once a week. The Dr said if it starts to add another day. So far he's been good. He uses a sulfate between the washes with Nizoral.

Hiyotoris
October 30th, 2018, 02:27 PM
It's not that it's getting worse, its just that nothing keeps the gunk away for longer than 2 days.
Seeing a dermatologist isn't really a "thing" where I live. You have to go through your general practise to get a referal which usually takes months, and id feel bad if I went to see them and they just say it's really bad dry scalp or dandruff

lapushka
October 30th, 2018, 02:34 PM
My youngest son has SD. He uses the Nizoral. When he was at his worst, he used 3/4 times weekly, reduced to twice weekly and now once a week. The Dr said if it starts to add another day. So far he's been good. He uses a sulfate between the washes with Nizoral.

Me and my dad both have it. We can keep it pretty much at bay (once it's all gone) by using a good harsh sulfate. It took me a while until the penny dropped for me, especially since it got so popular with the sulfate-free and the CO-washing, boy did I flare-up, I "flaked up" like a Christmas tree. :p


It's not that it's getting worse, its just that nothing keeps the gunk away for longer than 2 days.
Seeing a dermatologist isn't really a "thing" where I live. You have to go through your general practise to get a referal which usually takes months, and id feel bad if I went to see them and they just say it's really bad dry scalp or dandruff

Any doctor is good, doesn't have to be a dermatologist, just get it *seen* by a medical professional. Then go from there, and get that referral in case anything they say doesn't help one bit.

Joules
October 30th, 2018, 03:05 PM
A nice harsh shampoo for oily hair, with SLS and all that jazz, preferably used twice. If it's buildup, then it will be enough. If not, then try a dandruff shampoo, maybe even a medicated one. I agree with the statement that it's a year of sulfate-free routine and stretching washes catching up with you, but not necessarily in a sense of buildup. It could be SD / fungi overgrowth. Scalp needs regular and proper cleaning, this sulfates-are-evil trend is not healthy at all (at least not for the majority), I've encountered an alarming amount of stories where people got scalp issues after jumping on that bandwagon.

MusicalSpoons
October 30th, 2018, 03:37 PM
It's not that it's getting worse, its just that nothing keeps the gunk away for longer than 2 days.
Seeing a dermatologist isn't really a "thing" where I live. You have to go through your general practise to get a referal which usually takes months, and id feel bad if I went to see them and they just say it's really bad dry scalp or dandruff

Okay, from that statement I just knew you were from the UK before I even liked at your location! I totally sympathise. One thing you could do is press then for specifics, because 'dandruff' can be used as a generic term to cover all sorts of different scalp issues. If they say it's dandruff, ask them directly if they mean it's SD, and if not then what exactly do they mean? Because you need to know exactly what you're dealing with to be able to effectively treat it. If they give you a diagnosis, you can buy Nizoral 2% online, I'm not sure about OTC at a pharmacy but if you have seen a Dr who has specifically said it's dandruff/SD that might be good enough evidence for them. I bought mine from Superdrug online, after their pharmacist had reviewed my responses to their questions (when I actually had a bout of scalp issues - beyond my usual dehydrated skin that I was told was dry skin with no advice or help given for how to treat/manage it :rolleyes: )


Any doctor is good, doesn't have to be a dermatologist, just get it *seen* by a medical professional. Then go from there, and get that referral in case anything they say doesn't help one bit.

Yeah, unfortunately referrals are like gold dust over here, and the difficulty of getting one varies by postcode and by GP. [My own saga with requesting a referral to an appropriate specialist for a non life-threatening chronic illness is currently coming up for 4 years - after a couple of years the GP agreed, but 18 months later I *still* don't know where I stand :shrug: ] Even blood tests are hard to get - once they've done the basic set once, something has to drastically change for there to be sufficient clinical justification for them to even order new ones, then whether the lab runs them all or not depends on whether the GP has written the right thing for the lab to think it's necessary (again, wishing I didn't speak from experience :rolleyes: :brickwall) In fairness the NHS is usually quite good at keeping people alive, but alive doesn't always = quality of life.

Edit: please don't be put off going, Hyatoris! I've found appointments are much more useful if you are specific and have done some research beforehand. If you go with the goal of getting a specific diagnosis and why - make it clear that you need to know exactly what it is in order to make informed decisions about how to treat it - you'll have more chance of success because they'll see that you are taking responsibility for your health, not just being a passive patient expecting them to fix it. If it helps, write down before you go all the symptoms you've been experiencing, the severity of them, when they started, if they are variable or any triggers you've identified, and anything else that could be relevant :)

Hiyotoris
October 31st, 2018, 03:23 PM
A fellow UK-er?! Hoo-ra! I think i'll try to make an apt then, I typically don't go unless I'm on the brink of death, or close enough! Ha.

On another note as I was thinking back to the last time i went to the docs, they blamed the issue I was having on my hypothyrodism, shrugged and gave me something to manage the symptoms, rather than get to the root cause of it.

What if my scalp is playing up because of my thyroid? I've been on meds for 8 years as soon as I was diagnosed, however I was using regular old shampoo and whatever conditioner i could get a hold of. (About 18months ago I developed contact dermatitis on my hands from washing too many heads, so to help my hands get a break, i switched over to SLS free everything, as I had sussed that it was the culprit for my cracking skin on my hands.)

lapushka
October 31st, 2018, 04:23 PM
A fellow UK-er?! Hoo-ra! I think i'll try to make an apt then, I typically don't go unless I'm on the brink of death, or close enough! Ha.

On another note as I was thinking back to the last time i went to the docs, they blamed the issue I was having on my hypothyrodism, shrugged and gave me something to manage the symptoms, rather than get to the root cause of it.

What if my scalp is playing up because of my thyroid? I've been on meds for 8 years as soon as I was diagnosed, however I was using regular old shampoo and whatever conditioner i could get a hold of. (About 18months ago I developed contact dermatitis on my hands from washing too many heads, so to help my hands get a break, i switched over to SLS free everything, as I had sussed that it was the culprit for my cracking skin on my hands.)

Doesn't seem fair. It's possible one doesn't have anything to do with the other.

Washing too frequently can dry out the skin, that's true, but that doesn't mean your scalp is the same. It may need sulfates (at least once in a while, to clarify).

If you can get Nizoral 2% OTC in the UK, I would give it a go, if you aren't into going to the doctor at all and don't think they can help you - with the possibility it worsens the condition! You just never know; one scalp isn't the other. YMMV and all.

Do use it as per instructions. Suds up, let sit for 5-10 min., suds up some more with the same suds (wash), then rinse.