Your Scalp Needs Love Too
Okay, I’m about to be extremely transparent with you all and share my scary experience with dermatitis.
I am someone who changes my hairstyles up quite often and I love my wigs! My dandruff started to get out of hand and like most of you, I have been trying to figure out a good hair care routine that would end my battle with the embarrassing white flakes.
Then, one night, I looked in the mirror and I had crusty flakes that had basically taken over my entire hairline. I figure it must be the lace wigs, so I have decided to stop wearing them. I then started using Sulfur 8 shampoo because it is recommended to help with dry, itchy scalps. My hairline is a whole lot better and I don’t have dandruff nearly as bad anymore.
When I visited my dermatologist, I was diagnosed with dermatitis and was given a shampoo to use.
Don’t think you’re alone when it comes to scalp conditions I know they can be extremely embarrassing but with an understanding of what is going on with your scalp as well as a consistent hair care routine, you will be fine.
I mention scalp conditions because a lot of scalp damage comes from us ignoring signs and symptoms of pre-existing issues. Then, when you put in extensions or weaves, braids, or even wigs you may notice even more serious issues. If ignored, conditions such as dermatitis can lead to hair loss as well as irreversible baldness.
In this article, I and going to share some of the pre-existing conditions which can lead to scalp damage. I also will share some solutions to help you start loving yourself and your hair all over again.
So, you know what to do! Let’s turn up our Cardi B playlist and get rid of this itchy mess!
Conditions That Lead to Scalp Damage
1. Eczema or seborrheic dermatitis
These two terms are often used interchangeably. This skin condition is redness and itching on the scalp. It’s thick and dry with large flaky scales.
You can suffer from redness, heat, pain, and inflammation especially during season change. If you are constantly scratching your scalp and/or you have some flakiness you may have it. Your dry and itchy scalp may be eczema.
You may notice that you suffer a lot of breakage and hair loss in areas where the eczema is present. It seems to be most prevalent in the nape area and the back of your neck. Flakiness, itchiness, redness, and extreme flare-ups. Heat and perspiration can cause outbreaks as well.
Some people go to a doctor to get a prescription for eczema and there are some home remedies you can use. Use cold water to shampoo and rinse your hair. Hot water will only intensify the symptoms. Factors which can cause a flare-up are stress and your diet.
Make sure you keep your routine simple and reduce the number of products you use on your scalp.
Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar scalp rinse is a great product for your scalp because it seals your hair’s cuticles, has fantastic antibacterial and antifungal properties, and balances the ph of your hair and scalp. Make sure you use an ACV diluted to 5% acidity.
Mix one cup of distilled water with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle
Shake the bottle to mix well
Part your hair and press the saturated paper towel on your scalp
Once you have treated your scalp put on a shower cap
Leave the shower cap on for about 30 minutes
Shampoo your hair with a sulfate-free product that has peppermint in it (it soothes the scalp)
Rinse your hair with cold water and apply a leave-in conditioner
Some other options are below:
- Put a few drops of tea tree oil to your scalp before going to bed
- Apply castor oil, sparingly, and massage into your scalp
- Apply coconut oil and massage into your scalp
- Purchase Entwine Couture Detox & Grow Cleanser which has great reviews
Do not use the apple cider vinegar too often. It does dry your hair out if you use it too often.
Folliculitis can cause hair loss. It is an infection of the scalp which is accompanied by itching and soreness.
Hair loss occurs because it affects the hair follicles as well as your scalp. Due to it affecting the scalp you will notice spots on it that resemble acne bumps. The bumps will be red and inflamed around the base of the hair follicle.
Remember the hair follicle regulates hair growth and is the sheath of cells that surrounds the root of a hair. Therefore, as folliculitis gets worse, the hair will fall out or, even in more severe cases, the hair follicle will be destroyed which will result in bald spots. Swimming in water improperly chlorinated can cause folliculitis.
Although folliculitis is not contagious, be careful of close skin to skin contact and sharing of items such as brushes or combs.
Shampoo your hair with a shampoo which contains ketoconazole
Use a topical antibiotic which can be purchased at your local drugstore or Walmart
If you have a more severe case, see a doctor to get an antibiotic or antifungal prescription
Do not share razors
Maintain good skin hygiene
If it does not resolve see a doctor!
This scalp condition is very common. Normally, the skin replaces itself by shedding dandruff is the flaking of skin, red patches, greasy patches and itchiness are symptoms you may experience.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a more severe form of dandruff. Dandruff can be worse during the winter time due to the cold and dry weather.
As the skin layers continually replace itself, the old cells die and flake off which is about a month process. When dandruff occurs it is because the cell turnover is happening too rapidly which is about every seven days. Therefore, the dead skin cells present as large clumps which are gray or white in color.
Causes of dandruff can be:
- Dry and cold weather
Keep a balanced regular diet
Massage oil into your scalp
Keep clean bedding by washing once per month and replace towels often
Keep your scalp clean by shampooing your hair preferably at night
Select a deep cleansing and mild shampoo
Rub your shampoo in your palms and then massage onto your scalp using your fingertips
Wash all of the shampoo out of your hair
Rinse your hair with cool or cold water
Dry hair completely
Don’t place your hair dryer directly on your scalp
4. Fungal infection
If you notice any type of black dots on your scalp, it is more than likely a fungus. The black dots are actually broken off hair follicles. Another sign of a fungal infection are boils that form on the scalp. Usually, these boils form after infected scalp lesions have gone untreated.
Take prescribed medication for the entire duration per your physician
Apply a cream or other topical medication as prescribed
Have a physician correctly diagnose you to ensure it’s not another health-related issue
Damage Caused By Weaves and Extensions
Weaves and extensions can make a current scalp condition worse.
The conditions I share above Are some of the conditions that can really irritate the scalp and cause a client or yourself some extreme issues. I recommend that you get your scalp conditions under control before you actually install any kind of weave or extensions.
Remember the scalp is going to be covered by the extension or the wig which makes it difficult for the scalp to breathe the way that it needs to. Also, the natural shedding of the old skin cells on the scalp will be limited because of the net or cap that covers the scalp and natural hair.
1. Improperly Installed In Extensions
Scalp damage can occur when a weave or extensions are installed improperly. If you want to see how severe the damage can be go check out C&D Journey’s Youtube video entitled “How Weaves Severely Damaged My Hair.”
There are some telltale signs that your extensions are not in correctly:
- Pulling or tugging due to sew-in being sewn in too tight
- Any pain during or after installation
- Loose wefts
- Buckling wefts
- Braids falling out with hair follicles attached
2. Hairline Alopecia
Alopecia is the loss of hair. Most of the time alopecia occurs when you either have in braids that are pulling really tightly on your hairline, or you have a sew-in that is doing the same thing.
You’ve seen all of these liquid drops that have been created to help you grow your edges back. But if you take the right precautions, in the beginning, you won’t have to worry about your thinning edges. Even if you’re someone who really likes to rock your sew-in weaves even wigs or braids is always a good idea to just let your hair breathe every now and then.
So in between styles give your hair a break wear it out where it in its natural state and allow your hairline to rest. This type of hair loss is considered traction alopecia.
Another reason for a thinning or bald hairline is the use of glue to keep wigs on. We all love our Got 2 B or Bold Hold glue as well as tape to keep them in place. Repeated use of adhesives can pull your hair and can cause irritation. Blisters, bumps, and rashes are common. Remember any irritation to the hair follicle can lead to hair loss.
Although there are symptoms that may be apparent signs and symptoms of scalp irritation, there are times when you may not notice any change.
- Change hairstylist if your stylist is not educating you nor addressing the issue
- See a physician to get correctly diagnosed and treated
- Communicate with your hairstylist on styling options
- Sewing wefts onto braids to reduce tension on the scalp
- Use a cap to protect your scalp from glue
Scalp Damage Caused By Relaxers
I haven’t used a relaxer in almost a year, and I can tell you I don’t miss the burning scalp nor the scabs visible once I rinse my relaxer out.
I hear my hairstylists rebuking me right now and telling me all the things I did wrong but you know I’m hardheaded.
Relaxers whether lye based or not can burn your scalp. You can experience pain, redness, and oozing from the scalp.
Relaxers can cause chemical burns due to the following reasons:
- Manipulation of the scalp or hair follicles before relaxing your hair
- Manipulation of the scalp while the relaxer is on your hair
- Applying the relaxer to your scalp versus your new growth
- Leaving the relaxer on longer than recommended
- An adverse reaction to the relaxer
- Applying relaxer to hair whereas your scalp already has a condition which needs treatment
Apply aloe vera gel to your scalp using the following process:
Part your hair into four sections
Apply the gel to your scalp
Your scalp will tingle due to the chemical burn
Put a bonnet on your hair
Continue to apply as your scalp heals
Apply coconut oil to your scalp:
Repeat the same procedure as above for the aloe vera
The coconut oil will soften any scabs on your scalp
Continue to apply as your scalp heals
Pay Attention and Take Care of Your Scalp
Look there’s nothing cute about having to take pain pills after a sew-in or braids.
I know we may laugh about it but seriously if you have to do that you will need to get a new stylist. Getting a cute style is one thing but losing hair is a price no one should ever want to pay.
No one wants to deal with hair loss or permanent bald spots. You should take care of your scalp and hair just like you do your body. It starts with you realizing what does and does not work on your scalp. Health and medications can play a huge part in the way your skin reacts to stress or manipulation.
Comment below with any questions or share your story about your scalp damage. Here at PLE we appreciate your support and always seek to give you valuable information you can use in your daily life.