View Full Version : Could using Head & Shoulders make problems worse longterm?

August 1st, 2008, 11:04 PM
I've been using head and shoulders shampoo for YEARS every time i shampoo. Of course sometimes i CO, now i CWC. Sometimes i use other shampoos after the head and shoulders. But still, i do have dandruff, not horribly bad, but its there.

Could long term use of the Head & Shoulders be causing my frizz/dry hair issues? Would Nizoral be better to use? the prescription kind? I also use H&S conditioner, but i dont think thats any problem, its actually really moisterizing.

August 2nd, 2008, 01:39 AM
I don't know if you have the same problem as me, but I use to have to use anti-dandruff shampoos for years. If I switched to a normal shampoo, I'd get horrible flakes. I used Head and Shoulders for ages and then eventually switched to the Body Shop because of the animal testing.

After I found this site, I gave up the anti-dandruff shampoo and started doing a vinegar rinse after shampoo and conditioner. It seems that my scalp was too alkaline I think and the acid completely solved my scalp problems. I've been flake free for about 9 months now, just because of the vinegar rinses.

I don't know if it works for everyone but it was definitely the cause of my problems. The anti-dandruff shampoos did work in that they removed the flakes, but they were so harsh that they left my hair constantly frizzy. I noticed you started a thread about frizz so if you haven't tried this I'd strongly reccomend giving it a go.

You can use citric acid I think as an alternative if you don't like the vinegar smell. I just do shampoo and condition (I've now switched to diluted shampoo but I wasn't able to do this for a few months), and then the vinegar rinse (about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a litre of water). I leave on the vinegar rinse for about 2 minutes and then I rinse it (but not trying to rinse the scalp too much). Sometimes I use a mix of water and essential oils to hide any remaining smell.

As I said, I really really recommend trying this to anyone who is a constant anti-dandruff shampoo user. If you have to use these kind of shampoos for years then there's a good chance I think that it's not actually dandruff, just flakes. It's the best change I've made since I joined and my hair is almost frizz free now.

ETA: I didn't think my hair was dry either, in fact it felt really nice, but I'm sure it was something in the anti-dandruff shampoos causing my problems. Maybe the massive amounts of sulphates. I still use a sulphate shampoo but dandruff shampoos are soooo much stronger.

August 2nd, 2008, 01:45 AM
I have to agree with Anna...dandruff shampoos never, ever helped my severe dandruff; natural hair care has been much better! SD has also been part of it - itching, flaky, crusty buildup.

First I discovered vinegar rinses, which really did help, but didn't solve the problem. Oh, and I was using Nioxin shampoo/condish at the time = full of 'cones. On the recommendation of a longhaired friend, I started using Rhassoul as a hair wash, which also helped but seemed to make my hair drier.

The best thing was stretching my washes out and letting my hair and scalp adjust to the increased sebum production. You recently posted that your hair is frizzy, no matter what you do - could you be washing it too much?

The other big thing I am still retraining myself to do is not to touch my hair /scalp too much. This makes it greasy and, in the case of my scalp, makes it itch more.

Having more moisture (sebum as well as artificial moisture in the form of misting, conditioner, oil) has really helped both the frizz and the flakiness, though my hair is still frizzy.

So to answer your overall question, I would try to find something gentler than head and shoulders, and look into addressing the underling problem - food allergy? Fungus overgrowth? cosmetic allergy? Not enough 'good' fats in your diet? etc etc

August 2nd, 2008, 02:47 AM
I agree that head and shoulders might be aggrivating your frizz issue. I also agree with the suggestion that you try to find the cause of the flakes? Have you been diagnosed with dandruff? People often use the term to mean flakes when really it's a fungal condition of the scalp characterised with quite large yellowy flakes.
Vinegar is great as has been suggested because it helps to prevent the growth of the fungus that causes dandruff, and also helps to restablish the ph of the scalp after washing.
Have you tried scalp oiling? This can be great because if it's simply dry skin it helps correct that, and certain oils prevent the growth and even kill fungus if that's the cause, they often also have a calming effect if skin irritation is the cause. The other benefit is that scalp oiling helps to loosen the flakes so removal when cleaning the scalp is easier. Neem, jojoba and coconut are the oils that spring to mind as first choices. Jojoba is especially good if the flakes are quite waxy.
Another remedy that i've always found really effective whenever i've had scalp dodgyness is a rosemary rinse, i just pour just off boiling water over a bunch of fresh or dried rosemary, cover and leave till it's cooled down then use as a final rinse after washing, i'm thinking a drop of ACV added wouldn't be a bad idea either. But i found that always cleared my scalp completely and kept it happy.
You can also get rosemary in essential oil form but i've found that way less effective. Other essential oils that might help are lavender and tea tree.

HTH :)

ETA i noticed you are also suffering hairloss....of course you need to sort out the underlying cause, but rosemary is said to stimulate growth so it may even have an added bonus for you :flower:

August 2nd, 2008, 04:36 AM
I think that Head & Shoulders is quite drying for the hair, but the Nizoral would be even worse from my past experience. If I were you I would try some of the more natural remedies that others have recommended.:)

August 2nd, 2008, 06:08 AM
I dont think i was it too much i usually do it every third day, like wash on monday again on wed, sometimes thursday. Sometimes i'll co, and wait 4 days, it just depends on if i've been outside in the heat and gotten sweaty/nasty LOL, but i always wait at LEAST every 2 days at the soonest.

And oh yes do i oil! lol, i've got a whole collection of oils going. I do the length more often (because my scalp gets greasy quick), i use them off and on, sometimes hemp seed oil, or vitamin e, coconut oil, tea tree oil. But never much on the scalp, i'll have to do some massages with the tea tree oil, that might help too.

I think im going to try the ACV rinses. That sounds like a good idea to try.

And i know my underlying issues, its fixing them thats sooo hard, but im trying (my PCOS, extreme stress/panic disorder/meds/horrible diet eating all the wrong foods/no exercise/i dont drink ANY water), i need to change these things, and im really trying. Hopefully if i can ever get healthy it'll go back to the way it way, my hair was PERFECT up until i hit 18 or so, and started having these other problems.

August 2nd, 2008, 08:33 AM
I have head and shoulders/use it and it's ph balanced and has made my hair soft and shiny! If memory serves me right, it states on the bottle you can use it daily. However, I do find over time, it's good to switch shampoos for a change for your hair. I've been enjoying Suave's lavender shampoo. It's moisturizing and gentle on hair/scalp.

Hope that helps :)

August 3rd, 2008, 11:27 PM
I use Nizoral on my scalp only--not on the hair--choose another product for the hair, as dandruff shampoos are for the scalp.

Also, you may not indeed have dandruff. Only about 5% of people do--others just have dry flaky scalps.

Oiling is a great solution both for dry scalp and for dandruff. Dandruff is essentially the same as cradle cap, and oiling works great for that.

If you do have seborrhea dermatitis (dandruff) you should switch dandruff shampoos frequently, as you build up immunity to the active ingredient, so if you've used Head and Shoulders for years, you should consider switching to Selsun Blue or Nizoral.

Again, don't just assume that you have dandruff. Dandruff involves scaling, irritation, redness, and itching, not just flakes. If you're sure you have seborrhea dermatitis, and you've tried a variety of over the counter dandruff shampoos, then there are prescription strength formulas you can try.

Best of luck with the scalp and the frizz issues.

August 3rd, 2008, 11:47 PM
I don't know much about Head and Shoulders, but I had very bad itchy scalp and flakes last year. Even the prescription stuff didn't work. Then I tried fenugreek hair mask before every wash. It's a bit messy and smelly, but really cheap and really worked, not to mention very conditioning. After a month my dandruff was mostly gone. The rest of them took a few more weeks but my scalp was totally normal by winter. So far the dandruff hasn't come back. I did switch to 100% natural stuff as well (shampoo bars and vinegar rinse).

August 4th, 2008, 03:18 AM
Head & Shoulders actually made my scalp worse. Before I used it, it was just flaky, but H&S made it terribly itchy. Never had a problem with drying though, I only use shampoos on my scalp and not my hair (unless it's somehow dirty).
I've been oiling for about a week now and the improvement is pretty dramatic :) I love my camellia oil.

August 4th, 2008, 09:08 AM
Using Henna is the only thing that helped my scalp

August 4th, 2008, 09:18 AM
My poor husband had horrible dandruff up until Christmas of last year when he was forced to use hair soap :smile:

I tried to tell him that his problem was with the sulfates and he probably didn't have dandruff, he was so afraid it would make the problem worse by ditching the dandruff shampoo. We went to his parents for Christmas and all they had for liquid shampoo was some Suave and he didn't want to use it so he grabbed my hair soap. He hasn't turned back.

I keep some ABBA (sulfate free shampoo) under the sink to use when I do a heavy hair oiling (the hair soap isn't harsh enough to cut through the oiling I do) and I've told him he can use that if he wants to on occasion. Now he's afraid to use anything other than hair soap and a citric acid rinse since his flakes are totally gone now he doesn't want to mess with it :grin:

August 4th, 2008, 10:00 AM
I think it mostly depends on what kind of dandruff you have. If it is because your skin is extremely dry (like I have if I use harsh shampoos), then the SLS and other harsh washing substances could actually cause the dandruff. In this case, it would be better to use a milder shampoo. If the dandruff is caused by a fungus (greasy dandruff), then it can indeed help. H&S contains a fungicide (I think it is piroctone olamine, but I am not so sure, for we don't have H&S here). But if the dandruff doesn't stop after using H&S, you should preferably use a shampoo with more / better fungicide, such as the ketoconazole-containing shampoos. Here, they are sold mostly by prescription, so I am not sure how you can get them...

August 4th, 2008, 12:22 PM
following on the idea of dry vs. oily, my dandruff is partially SD and oiling made it WORSE. Is your dandruff more dry or more greasy? Does it show up if you've recently washed (for example without head&shoulders) or if you haven't washed enough?

That, and taking care of the underlying health problems (start by drinking water and get some Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, too) will definitely help get to the bottom of this.

There was a long time when I had really bad, crusty buildup on my scalp and was picking at it too (I wasn't very emotionally healthy in my 20s) and would try vegetable oils with essential oils mixed in as a scalp massage. Uh uh. BIG mistake. It weighed down my fine, frizzy hair and just made my scalp worse.

Even now I have to be really careful with oil. I can oil my length IF I wash really thoroughly (with a detergent shampoo) but mostly I choose not to, as it doesn't seem to do anything at all for my hair.

Also, could it be you are washing too much?

August 4th, 2008, 05:42 PM
Using Henna is the only thing that helped my scalp

Same here. Rosemary helps a little, but henna has consistently been the only thing to stop the itchies and flakes completely.