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View Full Version : Sacrificing the Condition for Growth/Scalp



x0h_bother
October 22nd, 2010, 09:37 AM
Hello, I am a firm believer that shedding and lack of growth have much to do with scalp health.
There are some elements to improving scalp health such as unclogging pores from oil and inhibiting bacteria and fungus growth.
Things the LHC discuss are:
-washing (SLS or other surfactants)
-Monistat (miconazole)
-other -azoles
-Dandruff shampoos
Although it is good for the legnth condition, I feel like not washing hair and stretching washes or not using harsh ingredients will allow for the bad growth of bacteria/fungus and so hair will grow slower and shed more.
Is there any evidence to the contrary?
Also is there any more we can do to promote scalp health adn therefore growth and less shedding?

Cheeks1206
October 22nd, 2010, 09:58 AM
This is an interesting topic and I'll be following it. I can't wait to see what overs have to say about this.

ericthegreat
October 22nd, 2010, 10:02 AM
Its not about sacrificing one thing for another. Its about finding the right balance. The right haircare routine for you should be able to maintain both your scalp and your hair in a satisfying condition. For some people, this may mean everyday washing. For other people, it means washing less than once a week or even not washing at all. Some people will need a special combination of a certain conditioner, oils, maybe an AVC rinse. Other people might not need them. It is all about finding the perfect routine for you that addresses all of your scalp and hair needs.

pepperminttea
October 22nd, 2010, 10:33 AM
What Eric said. For me, cone-free washes every week or so works best in terms of satisfying growth rate and maintaining the condition of my hair. For someone else, it might be everyday coney washes, and for another person, it might be NW/SO. It's just different for different people. :shrug:

ddiana1979
October 22nd, 2010, 11:17 AM
I have a Ph.D. in microbiology for what it's worth. Admittedly, I work on respiratory pathogens rather than pathogens of the skin.

In my opinion, if you have a healthy immune system & no underlying medical conditions that might adversely affect your scalp, stretching washings shouldn't allow for the overgrowth of "bad" bacteria or fungi. That said, I personally wouldn't stretch washings further than a week. If your scalp is *itchy*, red, irritated, oozing, or suddenly releasing more or less oil than it usually does, it's definitely time for a wash, and possibly time for a trip to the dermatologist if the condition doesn't improve within a couple days. Look closely in the mirror at the skin surrounding your hair follicles. . . do they look red or inflamed or healthy & normally colored? Itching is usually the first sign of overgrowth of "bad" microorganisms on the scalp, so watch for that too.

And as far as "not using harsh ingredients", I disagree on that one. If, for example, you have some S. aureus on your scalp (it is a common commensal on some people's skin, though usually in the nasopharynx), and then use an extremely harsh shampoo, you may develop some irritation due to the shampoo which causes enough damage to your hair follicles to allow the Staph to colonize and then infect the hair follicle.

To promote scalp health, treat it gently. When shampooing or conditioning, use the tips of your fingers rather than your nails (I know it feels nice, but it can cause abrasions). Abrasions are points of entry for microorganisms to cause infections. Don't use harsh chemicals. Massage your scalp gently to improve blood flow to the area. Take care of your immune system in general, by eating a healthy diet, exercising, taking a high quality multivitamin, and hair vitamins if you wish. Clean your brushes or combs on a regular basis, and don't share them with others. If dandruff shampoo makes your scalp feel nice, use it on occasion (or more frequently if you have dandruff). I personally like the way my scalp feels after using clarifying shampoo, so I use that once a month. I also use ACV rinses (my scalp tends to be oily).

littlenvy
October 22nd, 2010, 11:25 AM
Its not about sacrificing one thing for another. Its about finding the right balance. The right haircare routine for you should be able to maintain both your scalp and your hair in a satisfying condition. For some people, this may mean everyday washing. For other people, it means washing less than once a week or even not washing at all. Some people will need a special combination of a certain conditioner, oils, maybe an AVC rinse. Other people might not need them. It is all about finding the perfect routine for you that addresses all of your scalp and hair needs.
I TOTALLY agree.
Balance and routine, routine, routine!

I'm totally convinced that most shedding that happens (unless you do have a medical problem) is due to change in routine. Its like your scalp, skin go into a panic when new chemicals are added or old one's taken away without any consistency.

Laylah
October 22nd, 2010, 11:26 AM
Is there any evidence to the contrary? Well, it's not particularly authoritative, but my own hair and scalp doesn't show any correlation between frequency of washes and growth rate. I wash once per week with shampoo but my scalp doesn't itch or get infections. In fact, it seems to itch more when I wash more than once per week, but from the dryness.

Also is there any more we can do to promote scalp health and therefore growth and less shedding? Living a healthy lifestyle to keep a strong immune system is the most you can do, IMO. But it is really individual regarding hair/scalp routine. Some people really do have to wash their hair everyday...that is really up to you.

Irnann
October 22nd, 2010, 02:07 PM
For me its important to have a clean scalp otherwise i shed much more. I guess it has something to do with bacteria and all the odd stuff wich is in our not clean air.

CO or WO doesn't work at all for me, i am shedding like a doog afterwards.
I wash 2 times per week with sl shampoo and my hair is doing fine with it. No dandruff, no itchies.
Every morning and evening i am brushing my scalp an hair clean from dust and dirt also to increase the blood circulation on my head followed by some misting and running trought my lengths with some oil.
For me it is important to have a *clean* feeling otherwise i feel not comfortable.

ilovelonghair
October 22nd, 2010, 02:37 PM
To promote scalp health, treat it gently. When shampooing or conditioning, use the tips of your fingers rather than your nails (I know it feels nice, but it can cause abrasions). Abrasions are points of entry for microorganisms to cause infections.

I am bad: I do this sometimes, gently though, to get the build up layer of dead skin cells and oil off. If I never do this it builds up to a really gross layer I can't get off unless scratching hard :( and that would be far worse (that causes little wounds for me). I have been wondering if fingernails could damage the actual hair.

I am glad I shed very little hair a day and not much at all in the shower lately, I must be doing something right :)

Igor
October 22nd, 2010, 02:44 PM
*Nods* Good post! :thumbsup:

@ x0h_bother, I must admit I donít entirely understand your post. Are you saying that the scalp needs to be squeaky clean for the hair to grow? If thatís the case, I think some of the floor length, super thick heads of hair here will disprove that theory. Or am I misunderstanding your thread?


I have a Ph.D. in microbiology for what it's worth. Admittedly, I work on respiratory pathogens rather than pathogens of the skin.

In my opinion, if you have a healthy immune system & no underlying medical conditions that might adversely affect your scalp, stretching washings shouldn't allow for the overgrowth of "bad" bacteria or fungi. That said, I personally wouldn't stretch washings further than a week. If your scalp is *itchy*, red, irritated, oozing, or suddenly releasing more or less oil than it usually does, it's definitely time for a wash, and possibly time for a trip to the dermatologist if the condition doesn't improve within a couple days. Look closely in the mirror at the skin surrounding your hair follicles. . . do they look red or inflamed or healthy & normally colored? Itching is usually the first sign of overgrowth of "bad" microorganisms on the scalp, so watch for that too.

And as far as "not using harsh ingredients", I disagree on that one. If, for example, you have some S. aureus on your scalp (it is a common commensal on some people's skin, though usually in the nasopharynx), and then use an extremely harsh shampoo, you may develop some irritation due to the shampoo which causes enough damage to your hair follicles to allow the Staph to colonize and then infect the hair follicle.

To promote scalp health, treat it gently. When shampooing or conditioning, use the tips of your fingers rather than your nails (I know it feels nice, but it can cause abrasions). Abrasions are points of entry for microorganisms to cause infections. Don't use harsh chemicals. Massage your scalp gently to improve blood flow to the area. Take care of your immune system in general, by eating a healthy diet, exercising, taking a high quality multivitamin, and hair vitamins if you wish. Clean your brushes or combs on a regular basis, and don't share them with others. If dandruff shampoo makes your scalp feel nice, use it on occasion (or more frequently if you have dandruff). I personally like the way my scalp feels after using clarifying shampoo, so I use that once a month. I also use ACV rinses (my scalp tends to be oily).

virgo75
October 22nd, 2010, 03:21 PM
For me its important to have a clean scalp otherwise i shed much more. I guess it has something to do with bacteria and all the odd stuff wich is in our not clean air.

CO or WO doesn't work at all for me, i am shedding like a doog afterwards.
I wash 2 times per week with sl shampoo and my hair is doing fine with it. No dandruff, no itchies.
Every morning and evening i am brushing my scalp an hair clean from dust and dirt also to increase the blood circulation on my head followed by some misting and running trought my lengths with some oil.
For me it is important to have a *clean* feeling otherwise i feel not comfortable.

2nd the bolded.
I was washing daily with shampoo during the warm weather, now I'm trying to cut down as I notice my ends are feeling a bit dry and it's cooling off.

I also CWC which helps TONS and I've been washing with diluted shampoo and only go full strength like once a week or whenever I have too much gunk on my hair from conditioner and/or oils and I feel that the diluted shampoo didn't get it out.

ericthegreat and ddiana made wonderful posts that it's all about finding what works for you. :agree:

If you need to wash daily or need to use "harsher" cleanser but don't want to dry out your length you could CWC and coat your hair with conditioner or oil so that the shampoo has more to remove instead of stripping your hair. At least that's how I see it. :o

Shany
October 22nd, 2010, 05:01 PM
I think the scalp doesn't need to be squeaky clean, but it should be free of pathogenic bacterias and an overgrowth of fungi, like Diana said. I've had a weak immune system since I was born and I've been suffering from seborrheic dermatitis (yeast malassezia) since I was a baby. My hair and eyebrows shed a lot. Since I've been using a specific shampoo for this condition (kertyol, Ducray), my hair sheds less and my eyebrows appear much more dense. This shampoo, loaded with SLS, dries my hair out a bit even if I CWCWC (yes, I have to wash my hair twice in row and wait 3 mins each time). I have to oil my length heavily more often to keep my hair in good condition.

With proper hair and sclap care, there shouldn't be any sacrifice.

x0h_bother
October 23rd, 2010, 12:04 PM
Is there any evidence to the contrary? Well, it's not particularly authoritative, but my own hair and scalp doesn't show any correlation between frequency of washes and growth rate. I wash once per week with shampoo but my scalp doesn't itch or get infections. In fact, it seems to itch more when I wash more than once per week, but from the dryness.

Also is there any more we can do to promote scalp health and therefore growth and less shedding? Living a healthy lifestyle to keep a strong immune system is the most you can do, IMO. But it is really individual regarding hair/scalp routine. Some people really do have to wash their hair everyday...that is really up to you.
Thank you for sharing your experience, I was wondering about the growth rate of those who wash less often.

For me its important to have a clean scalp otherwise i shed much more. I guess it has something to do with bacteria and all the od
d stuff wich is in our not clean air.

CO or WO doesn't work at all for me, i am shedding like a doog afterwards.
I wash 2 times per week with sl shampoo and my hair is doing fine with it. No dandruff, no itchies.
Every morning and evening i am brushing my scalp an hair clean from dust and dirt also to increase the blood circulation on my head followed by some misting and running trought my lengths with some oil.
For me it is important to have a *clean* feeling otherwise i feel not comfortable.
I've had the same experience with CO and shedding.

I think the scalp doesn't need to be squeaky clean, but it should be free of pathogenic bacterias and an overgrowth of fungi, like Diana said. I've had a weak immune system since I was born and I've been suffering from seborrheic dermatitis (yeast malassezia) since I was a baby. My hair and eyebrows shed a lot. Since I've been using a specific shampoo for this condition (kertyol, Ducray), my hair sheds less and my eyebrows appear much more dense. This shampoo, loaded with SLS, dries my hair out a bit even if I CWCWC (yes, I have to wash my hair twice in row and wait 3 mins each time). I have to oil my length heavily more often to keep my hair in good condition.

With proper hair and sclap care, there shouldn't be any sacrifice.
As you said, my post was not about squeaky clean but about pathogens. I guess each person has their own scalp and immune system, and so washing more or less often is a personal choice for their scalp. As you note, there is some compensation for the length with washing the scalp (with your specific shampoo) so much. I've had the same compensating experience, but I think it's worth it if I'm keeping my scalp happy, tho I may not get necessarily more growth and less condition for it.

princessp
October 23rd, 2010, 01:22 PM
Interesting topic. I don't know for sure, but I would say scalp health plays a very important role in growth. Also, if your scalp is irritated/itchy you'll be messing with it more and likely you will shed from this action.

So on a related topic, do people with sensitive skin find they need to use sensitive shampoos? I am having a heck of a time finding a shampoo that does not irritate my scalp (I think it is the perfumes). I'd love suggestions about sensitive skin shampoos (that don't test on animals). I'm currently CWC (but I only shampoo the scalp). I'm going to try to dilute my shampoo and see if this helps. ACV helps too, but I often only remember ACV when I am already in the shower (curses).

RecklessCharlie
October 23rd, 2010, 01:27 PM
For me less washing causes less shedding and a healthier scalp. As many have already said, it is about finding the balance and what works for you.
Ever since I switched to WO with a CO thrown in now and then my scalp and hair have been more healthy than they ever had in the past and my growth rate has not been effected negatively, if anything it has increased.

Starflower
October 23rd, 2010, 07:44 PM
I JUST had this conversation with my cousin today! She is my hairstylist and I announced to her last time I saw her that I wanted to grow to terminal. She's always been gentle and cooperative with my long hair but you would've thought I told her I wanted to kick puppies. After chatting she did come over to my long hair agenda so yay!
With my hair being so thin I get oily quick so I've being trying to stretch my washes to every 3 days by using dry shampoo. When I wash I CO and I just started to use a clarifying shampoo once a week with coconut oil on my ends. She is insisting that I have to wash at least twice a week with shampoo and to knock off this CO stuff because I'm going to clog up my scalp. I'm very happy to hear that everyones scalp is different. I have noticed that my scalp is itchy when I go 3 days without washing so maybe she's right, maybe I do need to wash with shampoo to keep my scalp healthy.
Good topic, interested to hear more.

prosperina
October 23rd, 2010, 08:04 PM
I think I see what you mean. I get irritated when I have to wash my hair because my scalp itches--I mean the rest of my hair still feels conditionned and nice and soft.

But, I don't think washing more often necessairly decreases hair quality or the condition of your ends, or at least that's what I gathered that the OP was saying. So if your scalp needs washing, wash it and then the rest of your hair gets a conditionning treatment. I was reading on Cinnamon Hair's website a while back that she washes daily, and I was very surprised. Somewhere I got the idea that less washing is best, and I don't think that's necessairly true.

christine1989
October 23rd, 2010, 08:30 PM
I have always wondered about this too. From personal experiance though I find that when I use any shampoo (not just SLS) I shed a lot afterwards. I figure that can't be a good sign. Besides, I usually get a bit above average growth doing what I am doing so my hair/scalp must like it well enough.

Niwa
October 23rd, 2010, 09:22 PM
I have used shampoo four times in the past four years, and my hair grows at the normal 0.5" monthly. I stick to using conditioner to wash, and how often I wash has varied from daily for a few months to once every two weeks for a few months to once every few days for some years. It seems to work for me. My hair would be longer than waist, if I hadn't repeatedly cut it to bra-strap length for the past year.

I read somewhere that the less curl the hair has, the oilier the hair gets because oil travels easier down straighter hair. That seems true in my case - either my scalp does not produce much oil or the oil cannot travel down the hair shaft because my hair is so curly. Then again, my sister's hair is the same type as mine and looks the same, yet she has to wash virtually every day, or else she gets big, chunky flakes, terrible itching, and a musty smell. I wonder why.

I guess all I can say for sure is that Eric's post seems right to me. One has to figure out one's own head of hair.

BeautifulBella
October 23rd, 2010, 09:29 PM
I only wash my hair once a month, and it is growing well. Low manipulation is key!

UltraBella
October 23rd, 2010, 10:02 PM
I don't find that anything I do alters my hair growth. My hair grows steadily regardless of routine, products and washings. I also can not notice any variance in shedding. I don't know if it is because my hair is just so darn thick, or what, but I have never experienced a seasonal shed or a large shed due to stress, etc. Maybe it just goes unnoticed ?

x0h_bother
October 28th, 2010, 11:04 AM
I don't find that anything I do alters my hair growth. My hair grows steadily regardless of routine, products and washings. I also can not notice any variance in shedding. I don't know if it is because my hair is just so darn thick, or what, but I have never experienced a seasonal shed or a large shed due to stress, etc. Maybe it just goes unnoticed ?
Maybe! Or you just have one of those great heads of hair that is consistent ;)
There are some things I do to my hair that there is no difference at all in shedding, and I haven't noticed more growth based on what I do. Yet! ;)