Sunday, April 28, 2013

New Ideas For Itchy Scalp

Two of my new favorite shampoo-free or gentle-shampoo-only itchy scalp treatments and one more tentative idea. If you have itchy scalp, itchy or sore little bumps on your scalp or hairline or dandruff, some of these might work for you. I prefer shampoo-free treatments because most dandruff shampoos are very irritating to skin that is already quite irritated and can be drying -which just causes more problems.
©Science-y Hair Blog 2013
-Sulfur: 1/4 teaspoon colloidal sulfur (liquid) mixed into 1 tablespoon water or whatever liquid you choose yields a  2% solution - approximately. (1.25 grams in 14 grams). If this is too strong, use half the amount of sulfur. Apply to dry scalp with an eye dropper, or a bottle with a dropper-type opening (like an eyedrop bottle) leave on for about 5 minutes, then cleanse scalp and hair.  Do not leave this on, it needs to be washed off. 

  • Lately I mix this into a pre-made plain gel base instead of water and dip my fingers in it to apply to my scalp. It's a little quicker and easier.

-If you use a powdered (sublimed) sulfur, you need 1-2% sublimed sulfur. For example, 1 or 2 grams sulfur in 100 grams liquid. Apply with an eye dropper or dropper bottle directly to the scalp. If you make this much, boil the liquid (water, for example) first and store any extra in a sterilized bottle or jar. Apply as above.
©Science-y Hair Blog 2013
Sulfur is a multitasker! It is anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial - even antiparasitic. It is mildly exfoliating to help remove scales (flakes). Sulfur treatment should be used with a gentle or diluted shampoo or a non-shampoo cleanser which is non-irritating because it can leave skin feeling a bit dry as it exfoliates, and a full-strength shampoo will make that sensation more intense. I buy liquid colloidal sulfur from my local pharmacy (it's sold as a dietary supplement). Sulfur isn't commonly used for skin diseases because of the sulfur smell. But it works quite well, the smell lasts only about 1 day and cannot be smelled within about 1 inch of your head. You can reduce the lingering "top of a match" scent by applying this treatment to your scalp - not your hair - and rinsing well.
©Science-y Hair Blog 2013
-Psoriasin gel + your favorite gentle shampoo: 1 part Psoriasin (coal tar) gel, 1 part gentle shampoo of your choice. Most tar shampoos irritate my scalp, but this mixture does not. Massage scalp for about 2 minutes, then rinse well. Tar makes your skin more sensitive to UV light - so best not to use this on a day when you'll be out in the sun a lot.
©Science-y Hair Blog 2013
If you find that coal tar shampoos make your scalp greasy - try this before you write off coal tar forever. 

Tar helps regulate skin cell turnover rate, which is usually too high when skin is irritated due to external, ingested or inhaled allergens. Tar is also somewhat antifungal and antibacterial which is helpful because fungi and bacteria tend to grow differently (more) on irritated skin, causing oiliness, irritation, funky odor and itch. I buy Psoriasin from my local pharmacy.
©Science-y Hair Blog 2013
Both of these treatments need to be repeated every 2-3 days at first, then weekly, then as needed. It's good to have as many itchy scalp remedies as possible because we usually end up needing to rotate treatments. Some treatments will work beautifully for you on some occasions and terribly on other occasions.
©Science-y Hair Blog 2013
-Terbinafine (tolnaftate, Lamisil): I bought a tiny dropper bottle of liquid (it is sold for athlete's foot) and have experimented with using it on my scalp, leaving it on for about 10 minutes before showering because it gets itchy if left on longer. This antifungal ingredient penetrates the sebum and stays on the skin for a day or more as long as it is not washed vigorously off.  This treatment seems to work quite well with no odor, though it is annoying to apply. It is a good treatment to rotate with others.

-Herbal oils: Add 3 drops of tea tree oil or rosemary essential oil or thyme essential oil to a tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil. Apply to dry scalp and leave on from 10-30 minutes. Then shampoo out thoroughly. These herbal oils have antibacterial and antifungal effects to address the microbial aspect of itchy scalp. The olive oil can soothe and soften your scalp - but if you left it on it would become an irritant because of the higher oleic acid content and because itchy scalp fungi like excess oils. It is possible to develop a sensitivity or allergy to these oils, so be wary.
My experience is that rosemary and thyme work very well as long as your skin isn't overly sensitive to the essential oils. Tea tree oil helps some, but the scent aggravates my asthma.

No comments:

Post a Comment