When my little natural was born she was just like other babies, straight to curly strands of hair all over her head. A sensitive spot on top of her head that we were careful around when we washed her up. Slight cradle cap that we would monitor but it never was a major concern.
Her scalp was never to a point where it is now. A simple shampoo, condition and styling of twists and braids would last a week sometimes two weeks before the need to wash her hair again. The joys of simplicity missed when, now her scalp needs to be tended to multiple time a week. Stylish cornrows have now been replaced with 2-3 cornrows or ponytails that don’t pull the hair. Very loose styles that doesn’t allow the scalp to be exposed for long periods of time, usually about 2-3 days until the dandruff resurfaces and flakes.
I often wondered why she is experiencing the changes to her skin and her scalp all of a sudden. At her last wellness visit, we were advised to start looking for changes. Lawd, it’s coming, I don’t think neither her father or I were even focused on ‘it’ and anything associated with that. We just wanted her to wear cute hairstyles and stop scratching her head like she was a dog with fleas. Apparently, hormones is on the horizon and with her already diagnosed eczema, we are in for the next chapter of this little natural’s life.
What is Eczema?
So when the doctor first diagnosed her with eczema, I started looking up the images and definitions and how to manage it at home naturally. The definition of eczema is dry, red itchy rash that appears on the skin. Although our daughter is of a lighter complexion than us, she is no where near the complexion to have a visible red itchy rash on her skin or scalp. Her rashes can be dark on her skin and who wants to have dark patches on their child’s skin at such a young age?
According to the National Eczema Association, “those who repeatedly rub and scratch the eczema-prone areas may develop skin thickening and firm, raised bumps on the skin called prurigo nodules. This itchy feeling, especially with children, will have them scratching away causing discoloration to their skin. We try to avoid it getting to this point but using products like Aquaphor Healing Ointment on her skin directly after getting out of warm showers.
Triggers for eczema flare ups can be a number of factors and not limited to allergens, stress, climate, perfumes, cleaning products, the air (lol) and hormones. We are mindful that our little girl is transitioning to a young lady and with that realization, hormones and attitude (UGH!!) comes with the irritation. <— see what I did there? lol
But what about her scalp though?
Dandruff is essentially scalp flaking caused by inflammation. The dryness of her scalp is a connection to the eczema she has over her whole body. Unlike her elbows and knees that can be covered, her scalp is exposed and can be embarrassing as she becomes older.
Shampoo the scalp effectively and follow up with a condition with similar products to continue the anti-dandruff ingredients working on the scalp. I tend to look at ingredients for hair products that say they are specifically for the dry, itchy scalp such as:
Salicylic acid – reduces swelling, redness and unplugs pores.
Tea Tree Oil – Fights mild to moderate acne outbreaks
Charcoal - meant to attract impurities, whether they're clogged pores, dirt, stains, or product buildup
Here are a couple of products that I’ve used to help with the dry itchy scalp:
Tea Tree & Activated Charcoal Detox Shampoo - $10
“This shampoo is uniquely formulated to help cleanse, stimulate and detox your scalp.
“Natural Sisters is a brand founded in New York City. It all started in the Natural Sisters Hair Salon in the heart of Harlem, where our talented professional team strives every day to make every client feel confident, empowered, and ecstatic with their hair. Being part of the hair styling world, we have had the opportunity to test hundreds of hair products, and hear and comprehend the needs and wants of our clients. It wasn’t hard to understand that what most people look for in a good hair product is natural and safe ingredients, quality, efficiency, and reasonable prices – all at the same time. However, finding a product that has it all is not easy. That’s when we decided to create our very own hair products!”
Tea Tree & Rosemary Deep Conditioner - $10
“Natural Sister's Tea Tree & Rosemary Deep Conditioner is a great Conditioning / Hair treatment for your hair and scalp. We've formulated a very complex Formula with Tea Tree, Rosemary, Peppermint, Nettle, and multiple extracts to ensure the maximum scalp and hair penetration.”
The shampoo works well to tackle her dandruff and the conditioner is okay. The conditioner does not allow for easy detangle process. She definitely does not like the smell of either of the products – which for me lets me know there’s no sweet nonsense with the ingredients.
T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo - $7.99
“This original formula helps control itching and flaking caused by chronic scalp psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and even common dandruff. Scientific tests prove that coal tar extract, the active ingredient in T/Gel Shampoo Original, continues to work for hours even after the shampoo is rinsed off. This dandruff treatment starts working after just one use and you can use this therapeutic shampoo just once a week to reduce dandruff for an entire week. From a dermatologist-recommended brand, this shampoo helps maintain a healthy scalp and leaves hair clean and manageable.”
While using this product, you then have to follow up with a moisturizing shampoo and detangling conditioner. If either of the products are not along the same line of preventing dandruff, the use of the T/Sal is negated.
Olive & Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
“Itchy flakes are no more! Cleanse and moisturize your scalp leaving your hair refreshed.”
Olive & Tea Tree Oil Conditioner
“This conditioner soothes dry and itchy scalp while adding the properties needed help detangle and moisturize hair.”
Olive & Tea Tree Oil Leave-In Conditioner
“Eases wet combing. Add leave-in conditioner that will add moisture and shine. A must for avoiding future flakes.”
Olive & Tea Tree Oil Treatment
“Nourish and add extra moisture to the scalp. Give your hair what it needs to fight off dandruff from within.”
Olive & Tea Tree Oil CoWash
“Help prevent itchiness and soothe the scalp with Olive Oil and Tea Tree Oil. Hydrate dry hair for more vibrant, manageable coils and curls.”
Familiar with the As I Am brand, I thought this product would be great for her scalp and hair. It did help cleanse her scalp however, her hair was a mess. I had to use another type of conditioner to untangle her strands. The smell of the product is not perfumy which is a good thing when it comes to eczema.
Here is a new product that I’ve come across to help with the dry itchy scalp:
Scalp Revival Scalp Therapy Essentials Kit - $85.00
“This kit includes everything you need to help soothe scalp discomforts, and hydrate the scalp on-the-go. The Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo removes impurities, flakiness and build up, while the Cooling Jelly Conditioner restores scalp hydration and the Scalp Treatment provides immediate relief from itchiness.”
8 oz. Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo - $42.00
8 oz. Scalp Revival Charcoal + Peppermint Oil Cooling Jelly Conditioner - $36.00
1 oz. Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment - $32.00
1 Scalp Revival Stimulating Therapy Massager - $16.00
100% cruelty-free. No harsh sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, DEA or artificial dyes.
I’m kinda stuck on the price point for this kit. I understand that some good products require you to dish out some cash. With consultation with my stylist, she says that it’s a good line, so I may try it out.