I’m on a mission, a quest to conquer the flakes – or at least alleviate them……..I’ve declared war on the little white snowflakes that show up uninvited on my scalp.
Embarking on a healthy hair journey can mean many things, maybe you want soft, shiny hair, maybe you want bra strap or waist length hair, maybe you just want obedient hair or maybe like me you just want a healthy flake free scalp that will in turn result in good hair growth and length retention.
I currently have Sengelese twists as a protective style and while I’ve been better with it by spritzing and sealing every 2-3 days *I was one of those that braided and left it alone for whatever length of time* I am still suffering from the little flakes that have been the bane of my existence for a while. I’ve tried aloe vera, apple cider vinegar rinses, tea tree and rosemary oil with a little more improvement than usual but it got me thinking……..perhaps it is time to investigate this problem further.
So I’ve spent the greater part of this week reading up and finding out a little more about what causes it and how to remedy it. The myth I’ve heard my entire life is I have a dandruff and this here is the reason for the thickness, length and growth my hair experiences. Step one to resolving this problem is to bust all myths by finding out what causes the problem in the first place. Is it a case of dandruff or merely dry scalp?
What is dandruff?
The scalp is skin and like skin on any other part of the body it has cells that shed and renew themselves regularly. The skin produces sebum to lubricate the scalp and hair follicles. A scalp disorder like dandruff is caused by an imbalance or dsyfunction of the production of sebum which then results in large oily flakes being produced. Where there is low production of sebum large dry flakes appear and this is merely a dry scalp. If the scalp is not kept clean an overgrowth of a harmless yeast occurs producing greasy, yellowish white flakes that are itchy and will usually have an odour.
I generally have oily skin on the rest of my body so I’m pretty sure I’m falling more on the dandruff than dry scalp side. So problem number one identified 🙂
To start off while in the braids I have cleaned my scalp with an apple cider vinegar scalp swab using 1/4 teaspoon ACV in 120 mls of water. To do this make the solution and use a cotton ball to swipe your scalp clean ( I’m pretty sure some of us have done this only with methylated spirit) The concept is the same just safer!!!
Once the braids come out I will be doing the following to ensure I have a healthy scalp and therefore healthy hair;
1. Not greasing my scalp
I can bet my bottom ngwee that for years and years we were taught that the way to combat dandruff or dry scalp is to grease, grease and grease it some more. I am pretty sure all of us have had blue magic or dax on the base of our head and diligently repeated the process every few days!!!!
Stay away from pomades or any product that has petroleum, mineral oil or lanolin as one of the first five ingredients. If your scalp needs some help with moisture try to stick to light oils that are closer in characteristics to the sebum your scalp produces naturally.
The oils that mimic your natural sebum are Grapeseed oil, Jojoba oil, Avocado oil or Olive oil. I got some tea tree and rosemary oil which are both great for the scalp but I made the mistake of using it with castor oil * you should not put pure essential oils directly onto your scalp but dilute it with a carrier oil like castor or olive oil* which is a heavy oil and I was not helping myself in that regard.
2. Wash my hair more regularly
I am one of those people that does not enjoy washing my hair and I now see the error of my ways. Prior to being better with my hair I would wash twice a month sometimes only once a month *hides face in shame* My hair would be dirty not only from the extra sebum produced but also from product bulid up as a result of merely piling on the products in a bid to maintain the shine.
I now wash my hair once or twice a week, alternating between co-washing and shampooing with a sulfate free or clarifying shampoo. I will also be adding a few drops of tea tree or peppermint oil to my shampoo to increase scalp health by balancing pH levels, unclogging pores and keeping the scalp and hair follicles clean.
3. Massage my scalp
A scalp massage stimulates circulation which sends blood to the hair follicles and stimulate hair growth. Using a natural oil like Jojoba, Olive or Avocado oil. After my scalp swab with ACV I will be massaging my scalp with a Rosemary oil that I have made at home. You can do this by adding 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary to 1/2 a cup of Olive or Avocado oil, heating in the microwave for 2 mins and leaving it to stand for 2-3 days * if you ain’t gat time for that you can buy rosemary infused olive oil from Food Lovers Market* Rosemary is a natural circulatory stimulant and used in conjunction with the scalp massage can promote hair growth. The idea when doing a scalp massage is to use a little oil (1 tablespoon) and massage using the pads of your fingers to make small circular motions. This can be done everyday or every other day.
4. Stay away from heat and aggressive styling.
I am currently on a no heat focus for my hair and I will not blow dry or straighten my hair. The heat will soak up the moisture on the hair and scalp and exacerbate the problem. If I am braiding my hair I am always sure to let the hair dresser know when she is pulling too tight on the hair or using the wrong comb.
5. Be healthy from the inside out
Eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more water is not only good for your insides but is great for your hair too and it will show. I have added more fruit to my diet, drink more water and I am finding ways to relax as your well-being or lack of it will tend to show up in different ways in your body.
So here’s to a healthy scalp, I hope some of you will join me on this journey and we can all have awesome,healthy scalps that lead healthy hair growth!!!!
If these simple changes and methods fail it may be necessary to investigate further as skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis could be the cause of the snowflakes.