Healthy Scalp, Healthy Hair!

Well after 2 weeks (fifteen days to be exact) I had my “twist takedown” and my flat twists on natural hair are gone. I’m kind of sad and part of me misses the cute styles and the convenience of ready-to-wear hair. But another part of me is ready to be done with the flat twists and let my curls run free.

On an extremely hot July day, I found myself at a rooftop pool party in desperate need of a cool down. As I fully submerged my head in the perfect-temperature water, I thought “There is no way I’m missing this for hair.” Even island girls need some much-needed relief from the heat. I must speak to the way this weather affected my do. As I mentioned in last week’s video, my hairs get loose pretty quickly, even from fairly secure styles. The weather did not help with the frizz factor, but neither did all the head scratching I was doing. I have a confessions to make and it’s not pretty: My name is Daria and I have dandruff... *gasp!*

I’ve suffered with itching and flakes for more than half of my life. I tried all the shampoos: Neutrogena, Head and Shoulders, Selsun-- with no luck. The problem with those shampoos is that they are only really effective if used almost daily and all of those shampoos contain damaging sulphates. Daily shampooing and sulphates are a sure way to strip my hair of moisture, and with the amount of hair I have, daily washing, drying and detangling would be impossible.

There was a time I thought my itching and flaking might be due to dry scalp, which is different from dandruff (more on that soon). So I tried different home remedies for both. At this point, I’m pretty sure it’s dandruff and not dryness I have, but I want to have a medical professional confirm. Dandruff, as I explain in this week’s video, is caused by an excess of oil on the scalp, which feeds the yeast that naturally lives on our skin. Dry scalp is, well, pretty self-explanatory. So you might use oil to treat a dry scalp but using it to treat dandruff can prove counterproductive. Similarly, using apple cider vinegar, which has antifungal properties, is great for controlling yeast. However, apple cider vinegar also contains acetic acid (the key ingredient in all vinegars), which can dry out the scalp. Therefore, it is very important to know what you have so you can treat it accordingly.

At this point, I think what I have is dandruff as it seems to get worse as my scalp becomes oilier throughout the week, or if I apply oil to an otherwise clean scalp. For this reason, after taking down my twists, I used apple cider vinegar and witch hazel-- another antifungal-- to soak my scalp before washing with Selsun. My usual shampoo of choice is a sulphate-free black soap shampoo from Shea Moisture, but I was out of that and this felt like a Selsun job anyway, what with all the buildup I had. To prepare for the moisture-stripping sulphates, I made sure to prep my hair by deep conditioning with banana, honey and olive oil before washing. I also put conditioner in my hair before diving into the pool. Now my curls feel clean and revived.

All of this to say, I realised how important it is to have a healthy scalp if I really want to commit to wearing these different natural looks from Zamora Natural Hair Salon. I don’t want to have a hot, itchy scalp in this DC summer humidity and not be able to scratch or wash out the buildup. Next time I go to Zamora’s natural hair salon, I will be sure to get some good advice on safe, effective dandruff treatments. Also I want to speak to a medical professional. Side note--my doctor pointed out I also suffer from a harmless skin condition, also caused by yeast, known as Tinea Versicolor. It just causes a bit of splotchiness and discoloration on your skin and she told me to rub my skin in selsun and let it sit for 20 minutes before bathing. So far, I’ve been inconsistent with this routine and my skin is about the same. She did also mention, however, that there is a pill you can take to treat it and, depending on the cost, and whether it can help with dandruff as well, I may take that prescription from her.

I’ve got a lot to learn on this natural hair journey. Zamora is certainly teaching me a lot, but sometimes clients have to take the reins and give themselves a healthy foundation.

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