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View Full Version : Identifying scalp gunk. *dandruff, sebum, buildup?*



Heavenly Locks
February 17th, 2009, 10:46 PM
I have some 'gunk' issues. The thing is, I don't know what the gunk is...

The day after I wash my hair, there is relatively nothing. A few small flakes at the hairline that are just white and will flutter out of my hair if I brush at it with my hand. The next day if I scratch my scalp with a fingernail, I get a small amount of whitish substance. It is powdery but oily at the same time. The day I wash (when my hair is it's dirtiest) the oily substance is very pronounced and I can scratch up quite a bit and my scalp itches.

How do I know if it's buildup, dandruff, sebum or something else?

Peter
February 17th, 2009, 11:02 PM
I don't have an answer to your question but I have the same issue. Some mysterious offwhite waxy powder under my fingernails after scratching my scalp. It's calmed down a bit now that I've started CO but it's not even close to gone. I'm also interested to know what it is.

Caxikian
February 17th, 2009, 11:15 PM
I think it's maybe dandruff (see below & link included where I got it from) but I'll keep searching Because I would like to know what this is

"Dandruff is the dead skin cell, which covers the scalp of a person's head, and cause itching and hair fall. It's a white color powdery substance in dry hair and sticky white substance in oily hair. It covers the scalp surface and smells bad when there is sweat in the head. When you itch the dandruff in the head it comes up and looks on the hair. "
http://www.beautytips.ayurvediccure.com/homemade-recipies/home-made-dandruff.htm

Caxikian
February 17th, 2009, 11:23 PM
I have found another site that may help both of you & Good luck! =)

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/937047/dandruff_vs_dry_scalp_how_to_recognize.html

Auryn
February 18th, 2009, 12:41 AM
I have found another site that may help both of you & Good luck! =)

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/937047/dandruff_vs_dry_scalp_how_to_recognize.html

I read through that article and have a few issues with it...

Hair does not need to be washed at least every other day. Haircare truly is all about what works best for the individual. There are members here that have gone years without washing/conditioning.

I think my biggest gripe with the article is her condemnation of Pantene Pro-V. I have used that line of products for years without ANY of the side effects she described.

All of the products she recommends are 'professional' products which generally cost $$$$, so methinks she may be a stylist trying to upsell her clients.

tiny_teesha
February 18th, 2009, 12:57 AM
Oh i have that, isn't that just natural skin cells that shed like on our bodies and face??
That's what i assumed.
It completely goes if you wash your scalp with some bicarb added to your shampoo and massage the scalp well. Your scalp will have NOTHING on it for days, then it starts up again.

I swear i think this is just normal skin renewal and shedding?
It can't be dry scalp??? I have an oily scalp! Now i am really confused. It could be product use, even though i'm on all natural no: SLS, cone, paraben and artificial things inside. Maybe I should go back to herb washes and see if that takes it away. I like a challenge to find something that will take this white dust away, not that it bothers me in the slightest!
I can't use conditioner on my scalp, so perhaps that is the culprit to "dryness".
Maybe i should try poo bars again?
This is really interesting. :) Thank you for alerting me to this :)

Samikha
February 18th, 2009, 01:41 AM
It's sebum and scalp skin :) Dandruff is fungal, and believe me, you'd know if you had it.

I doubt it's buildup, although it can and does build up on your scalp if it doesn't get truly clean once in a while. For me, a good CO with a scalp massage does clean it properly.

I wouldn't go on any new routine to try to "get rid of it", were I you. I doubt you'll stop your scalp from shedding skin and producing sebum:cool:

Aicha
February 18th, 2009, 02:11 AM
I have this too. I figured it was just conditioner build-up on my scalp and that I should be more careful to rinse more thoroughly. But after reading your replies, it seems to be normal. I don't really notice it unless I scratch my scalp, so maybe I should just save scratching my scalp for when I'm in the shower!

Tiny Teesha, what is bicarb? Is that the same as baking soda? I haven't done a baking soda wash in quite a while, so maybe I should give that another try.

Aditi
February 18th, 2009, 04:18 AM
Ohh i have the same thing too. Whenever i scratch my scalp there is some white flakes coming out but i presume it as normal as winter winds are very harsh on me.

manderly
February 18th, 2009, 05:15 AM
This is the reason I have to wash my hair, actually. I can't just "brush" out the tiny little flakes, it looks like I have salt in my hair. I would love to stretch washes longer, but alas, the dead skin cells force me to wash :(

going gray
February 18th, 2009, 05:42 AM
Used to have the same problem for a long time. But my seems to have disappeard!(afraid to write this for fear it will be back, so knock on wood, just did, my head)

Been using Neutrogena Triple Moistsure products, even their leave in conditoner, made for a dry itchy scalp. So far, it's actually doing what it claims, how about that! I've been using their bath gel too for about 8 years now, love that stuff.

MadPirateBippy
February 18th, 2009, 11:07 AM
I have this too. I figured it was just conditioner build-up on my scalp and that I should be more careful to rinse more thoroughly. But after reading your replies, it seems to be normal. I don't really notice it unless I scratch my scalp, so maybe I should just save scratching my scalp for when I'm in the shower!

Tiny Teesha, what is bicarb? Is that the same as baking soda? I haven't done a baking soda wash in quite a while, so maybe I should give that another try.

Bicarb is baking soda. Baking soda's chemical name is sodium bicarbonate. It's a bit of an old-fashioned way to call it- my Grandmother used to call it bicarb. I hope that helps! :cheese:

viking_quest
February 18th, 2009, 09:52 PM
I have the same thing. I always assumed it was sebum.

ChloeDharma
February 19th, 2009, 03:37 AM
It sounds like dry sebum and dry skin to me. My advice would be to make sure you get plenty of essential fatty acids in your diet, drink lots of water, try oiling your scalp overnight before washing and i'd keep conditioners off the scalp.

Morri
June 17th, 2016, 11:00 PM
I started having the same thing recently and if I scratch it, scalp becomes so itchy I have to wash my hair immediately. I thinks it's over active sebum production. Since I started getting this, my hair is getting greasy faster than it used to before too. I'm not sure how to manage this though.

gustavonut
June 18th, 2016, 06:43 AM
I have the same thing. But immediately after my hair dries after washing it.