View Full Version : Halp! Scalp and Dandruff Issues

June 19th, 2010, 05:38 PM
Hi everyone, I've been having problems with my scalp for about six months to a year now and I would appreciate any input or been-there-done-that experiences.

Little bit of background: I have just-past-waist/not-quite hip-length hair that is wavy, tangle prone, and rather flyaway. My skin and scalp tend to be oily, but despite this I'd managed to reduce my washes to about once a week, using an herbal Indian shampoo (this one (http://www.amazon.com/Ayur-Herbal-Shampoo-Shikakai-Reetha/dp/B002EJ4ULU)) up until all of this started. My routine also included the occasional ACV rinse and oiling the length with either coconut or a jojoba/lavender oil mix. I stopped using regular conditioner on my hair several years ago and my hair actually seemed quite happy with the switch to oils.

Then all of a sudden my scalp started to get very itchy, irritated, and inflamed, mostly around my hairline and I started to notice large, scaley flakes of dandruff (large as in some of them are the size of a dime). From my research I know that dandruff can be caused by numerous things; I decided I might have a fungal infection so I bought a bottle of Nizoral and used it for around 6+ weeks. It seemed to take care of the problem at first, but then both the itch and the flakes came back with a vengeance. At times it seems as though my entire scalp is coming off in one large sheet (though the flaking is pretty localized to my hairline) and the itching can be so intense that I've woken up with blood under my fingernails from scratching at it in my sleep.

After trying several different dandruff shampoos with different active ingredients and getting no results, I decided it was time for a visit to the doctor. My visit with the dermatologist did not yield much in the way of a diagnosis - she never told me what she thought the cause might be, just said to buy several different OTC dandruff shampoos and switch between them constantly. She also gave me a prescription for a corticosteroid ointment to spot treat the itchy areas. So I've tried her advice and still have not seen much in the way of improvement - if anything the flaking seems to be the worst soon after washing my hair which leads me to believe something in these shampoos (SLS I'm guessing) is possibly causing it. Additionally, the steroid ointment actually seemed to make things worse - the itching and burning increased significantly when I used it so I've stopped. I should probably get a second opinion, but unfortunately that is the only dermatologist that takes my insurance and I can't afford to pay out of pocket to see another one at the moment.

So I'm really starting to think this could all be a dermatitis from chemicals in these shampoos and I'm looking into alternatives like CO. On Wednesday I really slathered my hair and scalp in coconut oil and let it soak in for several hours. Then I washed it out with a little bit of my old herbal shampoo, followed by an ACV rinse. My scalp looked and felt a lot better. There's very little flaking now, but the itchiness started to come back yesterday and today is bad as usual. What do you guys think? Do you think dermatitis sounds like a likely candidate or could I just not be washing my hair enough? Or does it still sound fungal or like something else altogether? I don't know if this is important or not, but my husband also started getting the same type of flaking around the same time I did, though his seems to come and go and he doesn't have itching/irritation to the degree I do. He only uses Head and Shoulders when it crops up, then goes back to using regular shampoos. TIA!

June 19th, 2010, 05:47 PM
I had some bad dandruff and scabby type dandruff around my hairline and temples, the dandruff was so bad I could lay my head on dark color pillow case and when I got up I'd see a bunch of white flakes over the pillow case. My scalp was only itchy where I had the scabby like dandruff though, not all over. I also had to be careful scratching it, because it would not only bleed but take hair with it.

Vatika coconut oil seemed to help clear it up... it tooks a couple of months but the scabs cleared up and I don't have white flakes snowing all over. It has neem in it, so maybe that's what helped.

June 19th, 2010, 05:56 PM
That sounds awful! :( My scalp drives me crazy too, but yours sounds like a really bad case. Maybe you developed an allergy to something in the shampoo? You could try only washing with water only for a week to see what happens. Or maybe it's something in your diet? It's hard to say.

Can you get a second opinion from another dermatologist in the same practice, or is yours the only one in the office? Or maybe you could talk to him or her again and say that their advice just isn't helping at all. It's their job to help you, after all.

One thing that helps with really itchy patches for me is spraying a little bit of aloe mixed with water onto my scalp. It sort of cools it down temporarily, but it definitely doesn't fix the problem forever.

June 19th, 2010, 06:58 PM
My problem is seborrheic dermatitis. Supposedly all dandruff is caused by a yeast imbalance on the scalp. That also might explain why it would be transferred from you to your husband. There is a (very long) thread on here about using yeast infection medication on the scalp to accelerate hair growth. Maybe it would prove to be doubly helpful to you. ;)

June 19th, 2010, 07:20 PM
A simple way to find out if products are causing this trouble is to use the water only method of hair cleaning "WO". My experience indicates that all products leave residue, and it takes a long time to completely remove residue from the scalp and hair.

Over a period of 5 years I reduced daily washings to once a week. Then I gave up washing and practiced the CO method once a week. Then I gave up CO and practiced the WO method once a week. During the time I practiced WO, when I was rinsing my hair under the faucet, I smelled the last conditoner I used when I was practicing CO. I calculate that it required a total of 80 minutes of rinsing before I stopped smelling the last conditioner I used.

My point is that if you are always using a product to wash your hair, then you will never remove all residue from your scalp. If you only use water and nothing else on your hair, then if the problem is related to product residue, eventually the problem will go away as the residue is finally rinsed away. Simply changing products does not eliminate the residue from the old product.

I have scritched almost all my life. Scritching keeps stuff from accumulating on the scalp. When I used to wash my hair everyday, there was always stuff on my scalp. I never understood why until I figured out it was product residue.

Scritching is very helpful. Just adding scritching to your routine may be of some help to you. Scratch around your hairline everyday, and then shake the dandruff out of your hair. I think everyone should scritch over their entire scalp.

I eventually quit rinsing with water, and for nearly 3 years I have only scritched and massaged my scalp and preened to move the sebum down the length of my hair. It sounds gross to never wash or rinse, but I have not had any hair or scalp problems since I gave up using products and water.

Here is a photo I took at around two and a half years of my "SO" practice (the "sebum only" method of haircare). I think my hair looks pretty good, which is my evidence that products are not necessary. I think we have been brainwashed into depending on products.


June 19th, 2010, 11:12 PM
My dermatologist prescribed me Derma-Smooth FS. It's an oil that goes directly on the scalp under a plastic cap overnight and gets washed out in the morning. You might want to google it, there are pics on the site of what the symptoms look like. My wal mart pharmacy had it, while others didn't... good luck!

June 20th, 2010, 01:08 AM
I had similar experience after I did use jojoba and coconut's oil on my scalp ( only one time) after 5 days I had hair dye.
my top of scalp is pain, hot ,but no any sign
( I post about it in here)

my dermatologist prescribed topical steroids too.
I suspect if the topical steroids makes worsen the condition then it might be some kind of foungs infection ( include yeast infection) or folliculitis infection but I am not Dr..so this is just my guess.
also I heard that foungs loves oil like oil makes worsen to SD.
I found out that my case was triggered by oils.because my scalp got worse after I slept with oil. next morning my scalp burning feel
and pain but no any sign on my scalp.
now I am using free& clear shampoo( diluted ) because it's not contain oil or any hurb . no conditioner near scalp.
also my dermatologis is not helpful at all too. so I went to see GYN to get an advice as I feel my scalp conditione is same as
when I have yeast infection which no any sign ( only out side ) first very itchy, then burning -> pain.
he think it's foungus infection or bacteria infection.

I would recommend to back to see the Dr and tell topical steroids worsen the condition. good luck.