Natural Hair and Seborrhoeic Dermatitis
Hello lovelies. So I haven't written a post in a while because I didn't really feel like I had much to say. Yes, there have been changes to my regimen but nothing significant enough to write a whole post about. Or maybe I'm just getting lazy. Lazy with my hair and lazy about documenting what I'm doing with it. Either way I'm back and I'd like to talk about a condition that has affected the way I care for my hair and skin.
What is it?
When I was about 17 I was diagnosed with seborrhoeic dermatitis. It affected my face, chest and scalp. On my face it looked like a rash but it caused severe dandruff and a very sensitive scalp. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a type of skin rash (scaly, flaky, itchy, red skin) that can affect the scalp, face, neck and torso. It is a chronic skin condition which means it can reoccur. The cause is still unknown. It is not a simple skin infection and therefore cannot be passed on to other (it isn't contagious).
I was prescribed Nizoral shampoo for my scalp (ketaconazole as the active agent) which is an anti fungal shampoo. Eventually, the condition improved and I forgot all about it. Over the years the rash has come and gone, as have the issues with my scalp. I found that hot oil treatments helped a little with my scalp but nothing helped with my face.
The rash creates scales on the skin particularly in oily spots (my t-zone for me) and dryness and flaking around the eyebrows and nose. The rash appears red, it is itchy and sore. Sometimes it appears inflamed and can appear as white heads dotted around the face. I've found that heat, humidity and certain body lotions and creams make the symptoms worse. I also experience some hair loss when it's really bad.
This time around I'd been struggling trying all kinds of home remedies and eventually went to see a dermatologist who confirmed that it was once again seborrhoeic dermatitis. I was prescribed the Nizoral shampoo once again for my scalp, face and chest this time to be used twice a week.
I was also put on a 30 day course of doxycycline antibiotics as well as hydrocortisone 1% cream and ketoconazole cream to be applied twice a day to my face and chest.
How this affects my hair care regimen and products
While the shampoo works wonders for my scalp, face and chest, it is extremely drying on the hair. It contains sulphates and leaves the hair dry, brittle and frizzy. My hair always feels completely stripped after using it and since I have to shampoo twice a week this is highly problematic. To combat the drying effects of the shampoo, I either pre-poo with olive and coconut oil, or I coat my hair in conditioner before applying the shampoo to my scalp. I still wash my hair in sections and de tangle my hair under running water Denman brush.
I'm sorry to say that deep conditions have been abandoned simply because I don't have the time or patience right now to do that after the shampooing process which is already time consuming (because I have to leave the lather on my face, neck and scalp for at least 15 mins before rinsing it out and this naturally has to be followed by conditioning and de-tangling). To compensate for this I pile on the conditioner and take extra time to moisturise my hair in between shampoos. Nevertheless it is tedious and even with all of this I still find my scalp is tender, dry and flaky sometimes. Dealing with the needs of skin, scalp and hair when they require different things is challenging but not impossible. Another side effect perhaps of the humidity here in Nigeria, is that I now also have very oily skin. Which means I have to try my best to avoid letting my hair get all over my face. So my hair is up and out of the way most of the time now.
Right now my hair is in braids. I've had them in for about 3 weeks and I've washed my hair twice. My scalp has been super duper itchy, and I've been using a mixture of oils to try to combat the dryness and flaking in between washes. Thankfully the weather is so hot now that my hair is normally dry within a day. I pile on the conditioner and let it sit on my hair for about 10 mins in the shower before I rinse it out. I try not to rinse everything out, and I spray my hair every other night with the Shea Moisture Hold and Shine spray to moisturise it a little.
Making sure your face and scalp are clean all the time is really important. Antihistamines help with itching and irritation. Staying hydrated, well-rested and relaxed also help, as the symptoms seem to be exacerbated by stress. I'm still figuring out what works/helps and what doesn't. So I can't really say much more about it right now. But I will try to add short updates to my normal posts for anyone interested.
Do you have seborrhoeic dermatitis and natural hair? How are you dealing with it? Any tips or tricks? Feel free to share advice in the comments.
Until next time,
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay blessed