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Hair acting very strangely
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TheBaroness
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Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:44 pm      Reply with quote
I haven't posted here in awhile, and I'm sorry about that. This board is my last internet hope for trying to figure out this very annoying and worrying problem I'm having.

My hair is fine but there's a lot of it and straight with a subtle wave that's easily blown out. It's now growing in weird patterns, like the fine hairs around my hairline are curling and I am finding triangular-shaped hairs growing out of my head, ones with a loop-de-loop like a fish hook, squiggly ones, zig-zag ones and ones of basically any shape other than a trapezoid. Even after a haircut, once I wash it, my ends will have knots and it has a very different texture now when wet.

Everything started in December after I went to a different stylist who highlighted my hair and was very rough when blowing it dry, pulling at it like it was strong horse hair. She even joked about it and it hurt. Afterward, I noticed my hair had a different texture and started finding the squigglies and hair with bent pieces and ends.

After that I got a good haircut and figured it would take time, but the problem would be remedied as I kept growing it out and getting regular cuts.

But no! Obviously that was maybe the catalyst, but now it's growing in like that and apparently had nothing to do with the rough treatment it received.

Here's the rundown:

-I'm 36
-I have been having panic attacks again which started in August of last year. They were under control for years prior to this. They come and go, but I would say I'm in a state of high anxiety a good portion of the time these days.
-As a result of the anxiety, my diet is not good. My appetite is sometimes poor and other times OK, but I know I'm not eating enough protein, fruits or vegetables.
-Bloodwork for protein, hormone and thyroid levels came back normal. I was told to keep eating protein though, as my previous bloodwork a year ago showed a deficiency.
-Never have had children and never will be having any
-Am on low dose birth control and have been for a good eight years
-Any changes in my anxiety medication have occurred well after this problem started
-Have been getting my hair highlighted every 1.5-2 months for around 16 years. I rarely heat style, deep condition twice a week with Kerastase, use sulfate-free, gentle shampoos and right now use Moroccanoil, Ojon's Rare Oil or Sojourn's serum to smooth everything down. My hair seems to like silicone and I have tried not using it, but it just makes things worse.
-Added in a Nexxus Emergencee protein treatment every two weeks
-Use a good shower filter as we have hard water
-Have used coconut oil hair masks and the Ojon mask
-Have been taking hair supplements like biotin, Viviscal and fish oil
-My stylist says my hair is healthy despite these odd texture issues, and it is. It doesn't break. The loose hairs I find are all straight from the root.
-I tried the "elasticity test" and it seems my hair has not lost elasticity.
-It's not shedding more than usual.
-While I do have a few white hairs that are squiggly, the hairs that are affected by this have not gone white yet.

I saw a dermatologist and asked my regular stylist and primary care physician about it and no one has answers. I even took in samples of the hair. They've vaguely suggested hormones or aging.

I have an appointment with a dermatologist who specializes in hair transplants in September, but am not very hopeful he'll be of help.

The only other thing I can think of is to pay mucho dollars and get saliva and urine hormonal testing to see if there is an imbalance and then try bioidentical hormones if there is.

Any suggestions or ideas? I can post a picture of the hair tomorrow when I'm on my PC if that would help.

It's just the most odd thing I've ever seen and I am driving myself crazy over it. It's beginning to be an obsession and is causing me a lot of anxiety that pretty soon I will be a brillo pad head. Sad

Thanks in advance for reading this encyclopedia I wrote, but I wanted to provide all the info I could.
bethany
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Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:16 pm      Reply with quote
I had a huge change in hair texture when I started taking a progesterone supplement for hot flashes. My hair went from straight to frizzy with curl in some areas. Definitely check the hormones...saliva did show different results than blood for me, but there are different viewpoints on the validity.

Btw, you can order your own saliva tests online...this is the same lab my hormone doctor uses:

http://www.zrtlab.com/test-kits/saliva-testing-kits.html

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TheBaroness
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Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:04 am      Reply with quote
Thanks for replying, Bethany! I was given the kits by a local place that my former boss works at. I was really impressed with everything, but when I looked at the prices for the testing (it was a lab in California - I need to get the kits out and see what the name is), it would come out to $450 or so. Whew, that is a load of cash to spend, especially if things come out normal and I don't need any hormonal balancing.

I was kind of hoping it might be a combination of my severe anxiety/panic and poor appetite, and if I could get those under control, maybe the hair would start behaving again. But it does sound like what happened to your hair, so perhaps it is hormonal.

If you don't mind me asking, how much did you have to spend? Also, did you find it rather difficult to follow the directions? The ones for mine were so detailed and made it sound like if you didn't get it exactly right, the results would be skewed. Shock
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Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:52 am      Reply with quote
TheBaronness,

What kind of doctors have you seen thus far?
Firefox7275
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Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:10 am      Reply with quote
Firstly (((hugs))

There are two different 'types' of damage to hair, firstly that to the structural core and secondly that to the protective cuticle. How damaged hair behaves is a function of which damage has been incurred, or the ratio of one type of damage to another. Any hair that has been damaged by the highlighting and rough heat styling enough to lose its natural straightness/ curl pattern and tangle easily may have to be cut off. Sad Unfortunately hair cannot be repaired because it is dead. As to the new growth I wonder if your follicles have been damaged, perhaps this is taking longer to resolve because of your health issues? Your hair must be damaged - bleaches strip the protective fatty f-layer from the surface, destroys a certain amount of structural keratin alongside the melanin. This will significantly increase porosity and is basic cosmetic science your hairdresser should be aware of. As you have been highlighting so frequently many hairs will have had multiple processes: it would be gentler to switch to a full head colour and only then touch the roots up each time.

If not required or used too often, protein treatments can dry your hair out. The fatty acids in natural oils will not penetrate hair that is coated in silicones which I suspect feature in most of your conditioning products (suffix -cone, -conol, -xane). Silicones do not improve the condition of hair, they simply form a coating that locks moisture out and gives faux softness and shine. You may find you have a build up of protein 'glued' into the oils and silicones you have been using: some sulphate-free shampoos are insufficient to remove this. Have you tried a double chelating/ clarifying wash with a sulphate shampoo followed by a series of coconut oil soaks? Have you tried diluted vinegar rinses after shampoo but before conditioner? How are you styling/ controlling your hair if not with heat?

How gentle are you being on your hair generally? I learned the hard way how easy it is to mechanically damage hair - in my case brushing when wet, brushing hairspray in, using no-snag ponytail bands constantly, twirling my hair around my fingers, using regular terry cloth towels. Like you I very rarely heat styled but do use permanent colour. Over a year after I overhauled every aspect of the way I cared for my hair I stripped all the colour out with chemicals and started over. For the first time in many months I saw my hair naked, stripped of all silicones, oils and other conditioning agents. I now have two completely different hair types - the part nearest the scalp which is shiny and manageable, and the lower portion which is fluffy, porous and unmanageable. Confused

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TheBaroness
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Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:51 pm      Reply with quote
Hi Firefox,

I definitely had some damage to my hair that I had cut off. I got a fairly short bob to get rid of a lot of it and it did do the trick, but there are still hairs growing in strange patterns and the weirdest thing is that the baby hairs around my hairline are forming curls now. It's not a horrible thing, but odd because it was never like this prior to that hair appointment.

Yeah, I know the bleach is not good for it, but my hair pulls so much red that color has never been a good option. When it's white or gray, then it will be, but any time someone attempts color on my hair, it turns orangey. If they try to tone it down with ash, it takes on a green hue. My hair is the most frustrating thing and as irritating as these weird hairs are, I will still get it highlighted to help blend out the few whites I have and also because my natural color is so unbecoming.

One thing my stylist and I are doing is cutting down on the amount of highlights. She added in a few lowlights that aren't *too* red and I plan on just continuing to get more widely spaced highlights at the roots until with growth my natural color starts to get blended in more, if that makes sense.

I was reading on various hair forums how silicones are not ideal. I don't like using them, but they are the only things that smooth my hair down. My latest purchase, the Ojon Rare Oil, has less in there and more oil because it has a very different feel in my hands when I apply it. I used it for the first time last night and was surprised that my hands felt oily rather than slick. It did just as good a job as Moroccanoil, so I'm hoping this is a slight improvement, despite it having a silicone in there with the other ingredients.

I have used Kinky-Curly's sulfate-free "Come Clean" shampoo that has a chelating agent in it to rid my hair of buildup. It works well, and I had read about the vinegar rinses, but vinegar's odor makes me nauseous so I looked for alternatives. The girls on the long hair forum recommended a weak citric acid rinse. I did that several times after finishing conditioning my hair but didn't try a coconut oil soak. What is that, BTW?

Usually with just air drying my hair is decent enough, as long as I run a comb through it as it's drying. Sometimes I will get my T3 out and use the low heat setting to bend the ends under a bit. Once in a blue moon I will use a flat iron on low heat if I'm in a hurry or desperate, but that is a rarity. Like maybe once or twice a month max. It's a Sedu, so it isn't a cheap iron, although I know it's not good to use one of these at all. I even instruct my stylist after a cut to not use the flat iron and she's good about that.

I also apply a heat protectant if I'm going to do any sort of blow-dry.

About being gentle on my hair - yes! I learned this the hard way *before* my hair started getting weird. I noticed my hair on one side (the side that got the most tangles) looked rough, so I got a good leave-in conditioner and a wide tooth comb and now am super careful with it when wet. I use the comb to completely detangle it and then when it's dry, I use either a Mason Pearson or a ball-tipped paddle brush to gently smooth it out. I'm very slow and deliberate now when working with it wet.

As for drying it - I do what my regular stylist (the good one - not the one who damaged my hair) does, which is just take the towel and gently press the excess moisture out. No rubbing.

Can you see this photo? This is what it looked like after a recent haircut:

http://i47.tinypic.com/2vdmgbn.jpg

Thanks for your advice. Maybe I will try going without silicones and see what happens. It's just odd that I've been using them for years and suddenly in December after my hair has been handled roughly, that's when the trouble starts. Question

PS: Two things - the derm said anxiety can definitely cause changes to hair, but as of right now, I can only do so much to control it. Panic attacks have a mind of their own and once they start, it's kind of like trying to stop a runaway train.

Secondly, I plucked a bleached strand from my head to see how easily it would break and it really took a good tug to get it to break. It seems like it's not horribly damaged.
kmrmv8
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Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:26 pm      Reply with quote
Hello! Sorry about the trouble you are having. I am a cosmetologist but it is hard to say exactly what is causing this problem. Your post have been very detailed, but I wanted to ask if you have dandruff or a flaky scalp? Also, how exactly is the new hair growing in? Squiggly like over processed hair or just curly? When you look at a single strand of hair, can you differentiate between the supposed stylist induced damage and your new growth?

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Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:28 pm      Reply with quote
Hi Kristin!

Yes, I do have dandruff and sometimes tend to get an oily buildup on my scalp despite using the Kinky-Curly clarifying shampoo. My hair's oily and I try to extend shampoos by using a little bit of Lulu Organics loose hair powder only at the roots and try to avoid brushing it through my hair since it's drying. I just sort of rub it in with my fingers.

It's weird - some hairs that come straight from the root are straight. Others have a hook shape or bend to them. Some have what I call "chinks" because they look straight but there's a dent in it that looks like a chink in the armor. It does seem as if most of the problem is occurring at the ends and midway point of my hair. My hair is shorter and I would say the hair at the midway point is new growth since the disastrous, painful blowout I had in December. So something might be causing it to grow in weird, or grow in straight and then start to kink up.

Here's a couple of pics of individual strands I took to send to my stylist. The first is hard to see, but if you look at the shadow, you can see how it kind of grows in shriveled (this photo is of a hair at the root, not the end):

http://i49.tinypic.com/2hrmnv8.jpg

Here's one of an end:

http://i47.tinypic.com/2cr8qb6.jpg

And another of a root hair:

http://i50.tinypic.com/168v9t0.jpg

And of one at the midway point:

http://i45.tinypic.com/4hseau.jpg

It's like they're multiplying like rabbits.

I just bought Philip Kingsley's Elasticizer and am loathe to use it because of the parabens, but I've kind of just accepted parabens in my hair products for now because a couple of them make such a difference. :\

ETA: I'm really questioning my diet. Lately I've been skipping breakfast and lunch because I'm worried about panic. Eating sometimes triggers panic attacks. I try to eat some Greek yogurt every day along with another protein source and some vegetables, but I know I'm not getting nearly the amount I need.
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Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:02 pm      Reply with quote
It would be interesting to see your natural curl pattern. The 'test' often used on hair forums is a double clarify, no conditioner, no brushing or combing, no towel turban, just drip dry without touching. If you can't stand the dripping, squeeze the water out of your hair with a scrunching motion NOT making a 'ponytail' shape and squeezing the water down the lengths. But only scrunch at the start, then don't touch until completely dry. You may find you have more wurl than you realise - curlier hair tends to be drier and more porous so this might be feeding into the issues you report.

IMO it is very easy to get into a cycle of treating the negative side effects of one product or technique with another product or technique that also has negative side effects ... Maybe try a Tangle Teezer brush? Bobble ended ones and natural bristles are supposed to be damaging. Not sure what you mean about being slow and deliberate, are you detangling wet hair? If this is necessary do so when you are still in the shower, with a ton of conditioner slathered onto sopping hair. Why is one side getting more tangled, is that the side you sleep? If so you might consider a satin pillowcase or 50% silk one (eBay).

What has your dermatologist said about the dandruff? The most common cause is the inflammatory condition seborrhoeic dermatitis. An overgrowth of yeast on the scalp which feeds on fatty acids in sebum, releases irritant fatty acids which cause the scalp to produce more sebum ... vicious cycle. In advanced cases this can damage the follicles and is worsened by stress so best to nip it in the bud. Sad Stretching washes is not the best way to address it because you are leaving oils there for the yeast to feed off. IMO get a firm diagnosis and then using an anti-fungal shampoo or liquid for two weeks. An anti-inflammatory diet can be beneficial, especially looking at the balance of fats in your diet and glycaemic index of meals. Avoid using oils on your hair that are rich in oleic acid because this fatty acid has been implicated in SD. Be sure your colourist is using a bleach product free of sulphate surfactants.

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TheBaroness
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Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:02 pm      Reply with quote
Oh my word, I tried that once - just washed it, patted it dry and left it all tangly and let it dry that way. It was a true rat's nest. It does have a wave to it that's always been there. It's just never been all of these sproingy, slinky-type pieces sprouting all over.

I tried the Tangle Teezer and that was rougher on my hair than my wide tooth comb. I'm finding it really easy to detangle now that I leave a conditioner in for a good 15 minutes and have a shorter cut. When it's sopping wet and the conditioner is still in, I gently comb it through. Then I rinse, pat dry, spray a leave-in on and comb once more and the comb goes through like butter.

Before, one side was more tangly because my hair was quite a bit longer and harder to get through and I have a deep side part, thus there was more hair on the one side to comb out. I use silk pillowcases now too. I also wasn't deep conditioning back then and just leaving any old conditioner on in the shower for a minute which was never enough, so when I got out of the shower it was a rat's nest. Now it's easy.

I live in a city with a severe shortage of good doctors. I'm talking everything from psychiatrists to GYNs to endocrinologists to dermatologists. I've only been able to get three dermatologist recommendations and I asked multiple doctors for someone they knew. I went to each one and the same answer was given - "here, try this 3% ketoconazole shampoo." All that did was dry my hair out. The scalp issue remained and it's been that way for years.

I've considered moving to Los Angeles so many times because we have family there and not only would it be ten times better than this city, but I would have my pick of providers out there. It's fear that's holding me back, plus my parents.

My mom also has a similar scalp/dandruff problem, but she has itchiness. She's also at her wit's end because the same old dermatologists have given her the brush off treatment. She is driven mad by her symptoms, so I'm wondering if it's genetic to have these scalp issues. I certainly inherited my dad, uncle and grandmother's acne-prone skin.

So tell me about coconut oil soaks. When I have used oils, I only use them from midway down and never touch my scalp. The last thing it needs is oil. Confused

I think when going over all of this info, the only thing I can do is try to eat better and possibly consider doing the hormonal testing. But I do have a feel I'm SOL and it might just be aging and beyond my control. The lack of good doctors has given me such grief, particularly in the psychiatric field. The only one I can count on is my primary care, but she's not knowledgeable enough to treat the hair and anxiety issues.
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Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:37 pm      Reply with quote
I am posting from my phone so I will elaborate more tomorrow when I get on my laptop and try to cover anything I don't address in this post and elaborate. I have the same type of scalp condition as you I suspect. I went to the dermatologist when I was about 13 (I'm 21 now)and he said I had some type of eczema on my scalp. I also have another type of eczema on my upper arms.
Disclaimer: Some of this is largely just my own personal theory. Please take this with a grain of salt as I am certainly not a doctor or scalp expert.
I think that the damage to your hair is starting at your scalp. If the scalp has a buildup of that dead skin/ yeast or whatever your growing hair has to find a way to grow around the flakes stuck to your scalp, which can cause your hair to curl or change its growth pattern, explaining the new growth being curly and oddly shaped. People who have naturally curly hair have different shaped follicles than people with straight hair. The shape of the follicle is actually what determines your natural hair texture, which can then be altered by physical and chemical factors.
Sadly, I have not found a cure, but I have been using one product that really helps. The only cat his that it is not for humans. I originally stumbled upon this product for fast hair growth, and was shocked my dandruff was no where to be seen by my second or third application. It is called Shapley's MTG and it is for horses. It has been mentioned on EDS a couple times but not recently. I will post in how I use it tomorrow. It is basically mineral oil, sulfur, and cade oil and SMELLS like burn hair and BBQ sauce. The company that makes it even made a version for humans that apparently stinks less but in review I've read it sounds like it still stunk and it is more expensive. I have also seen threads about people making DIY .
I will post more tomorrow, but if you have any questions post and I will *try* to give a better answer.

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Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:41 am      Reply with quote
TheBaroness wrote:
Oh my word, I tried that once - just washed it, patted it dry and left it all tangly and let it dry that way. It was a true rat's nest. It does have a wave to it that's always been there. It's just never been all of these sproingy, slinky-type pieces sprouting all over.

I tried the Tangle Teezer and that was rougher on my hair than my wide tooth comb. I'm finding it really easy to detangle now that I leave a conditioner in for a good 15 minutes and have a shorter cut. When it's sopping wet and the conditioner is still in, I gently comb it through. Then I rinse, pat dry, spray a leave-in on and comb once more and the comb goes through like butter.

Before, one side was more tangly because my hair was quite a bit longer and harder to get through and I have a deep side part, thus there was more hair on the one side to comb out. I use silk pillowcases now too. I also wasn't deep conditioning back then and just leaving any old conditioner on in the shower for a minute which was never enough, so when I got out of the shower it was a rat's nest. Now it's easy.

I live in a city with a severe shortage of good doctors. I'm talking everything from psychiatrists to GYNs to endocrinologists to dermatologists. I've only been able to get three dermatologist recommendations and I asked multiple doctors for someone they knew. I went to each one and the same answer was given - "here, try this 3% ketoconazole shampoo." All that did was dry my hair out. The scalp issue remained and it's been that way for years.

My mom also has a similar scalp/dandruff problem, but she has itchiness. She's also at her wit's end because the same old dermatologists have given her the brush off treatment. She is driven mad by her symptoms, so I'm wondering if it's genetic to have these scalp issues. I certainly inherited my dad, uncle and grandmother's acne-prone skin.

So tell me about coconut oil soaks. When I have used oils, I only use them from midway down and never touch my scalp. The last thing it needs is oil. Confused

I think when going over all of this info, the only thing I can do is try to eat better and possibly consider doing the hormonal testing. But I do have a feel I'm SOL and it might just be aging and beyond my control. The lack of good doctors has given me such grief, particularly in the psychiatric field. The only one I can count on is my primary care, but she's not knowledgeable enough to treat the hair and anxiety issues.


I don't mean to be rude but is it possible you are mildly depressed as well as suffering with anxiety/ stress? From personal experience some of your phraseology is familiar. You really do have a LOT of options here, natural healthcare always requires detective work and a few false leads along the way but I know everyone here will help you for as long as it takes. Wink Many times a 'cure' down to attacking the issue from a number of sides - topicals are ineffective without diet and vice versa.

I think it would be interesting to see your curl pattern now because you report changes, but that is up to you. Curly hair doesn't respond well to the same treatment as straight hair. This test should not leave your hair tangly because you will have detangled whilst under the shower but your hair certainly won't be presentable in polite company, the point is to see what's there, without towels and combs to flatten out your curl pattern.

If you've been prescribed ketoconazole you have SD. Yes the shampoos are very drying because they are based on sulphate surfactants, I only know of one sulphate-free version (Regenepure). But you don't use them all the time, an initial course of two weeks then once weekly use thereafter. You must always leave the shampoo sat on your scalp - it's fine to use a nozzle bottle to avoid the lengths of your hair, or you can pre-coat them in conditioner. You may be able to get an anti-fungal lotion from a pharmacy, depends on your country what is available over the counter. A good pharmacist is an excellent resources, they know more about drugs than most GPs and even many hospital doctors. Is it possible your current shampoo is contributing to the underlying irritation? What surfactants are utilised?

Yes there absolutely is an inherited component to dermatitis in any form, and your acne could well be related to a dysfunctional skin barrier. Hayfever and asthma are also interlinked. Even if you don't allow oils or silicones to directly contact your scalp they will transfer off your hair as you sleep and as you wash your hair. If you have a sensitivity to these those few molecules can be enough. My elbow eczema was triggered by shampoo bubbles running down my arm! Like you both my parents have skin issues and there is asthma and hayfever in my family.

Coconut oil soaks need to be done on hair that is fully clarified, which may take two or more washes and might well mean your hair feels like straw initially. Use conditioner-only washing not shampoo to remove the excess. I posted my method and some theory here
http://www.hairdyeforum.com/index.php?topic=6606.0
I conditioner-only wash full time and it was the single best thing I have ever done for my hair, I noticed an improvement within a week. Some with SD have great results with CO-washing, some report a worsening of symptoms so it's not for everyone. Confused

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TheBaroness
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Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:49 pm      Reply with quote
Kristin, it really makes sense that my scalp would be the problem, but I don't understand why this would all just start happening in December after the rough styling. My scalp has been oily, flaky and has had that buildup for years. I remember being a kid and noticing it. If it was going to start affecting my growth patterns, I would think at least it would have started subtly rather than a whole head full of weird hair at once.

I just wish a derm would look at my scalp and consider other things before writing everything off to stress, age and hormones. My mom gets the same treatment wherever she goes, to the point that she's given up on going to a dermatologist for her scalp. They just tell her it's dermatitis, give her prescriptions that don't work and then tell her there's nothing more they can do.

Firefox, you weren't rude at all and I appreciate you trying to help me. Depression is definitely a part of my problems. It's mixed in with a variety of things actually. It used to be worse, so I'm grateful it's on the milder side now. It gets worse with PMS, which I've just had. :P

OK, maybe the next time I shampoo, I'll give it a try and let my hair just dry naturally with no products in it to smooth it down. I think you'll find it very similar to this, which was taken a few years back (not the best image, but you can see the natural wave):

http://tinypic.com/r/29e4xg7/6

I used the ketoconazole shampoo as directed despite the drying nature and it didn't do anything for the scalp buildup and dandruff. In fact the white, dandruff-y flakes got worse and it's like my head had those scales you get on your upper arms at times. I also tried Nizoral which has less of it in there with the same results. Heck, I was even giving T-Sal a try about a year ago with no luck.

I think I'll go Googling for anti-fungals. I'm pretty sure my mom might even have some that didn't work for her since she has tried so many things to get her scalp issues resolved. But she has severe itchiness, so it's much worse for her. (I'm in the US, BTW.)

I have my shampoos on rotation. I've been using the sulfate-free and now discontinued Gary Null's Heavenly Hair Wash, the sulfate-free Sojourn (developed by Sassoon's son and a seriously nice shampoo), the Kinky-Curly clarifying and a Kerastase one with heat protection, but it has a sulfate.

Here's one other thing I forgot to mention. Have you guys heard of that Braun Satin Hair brush? This is the one:

http://www.braun.com/global/news/satin-hair-brush.html

I used that shortly after the great hair disaster in December and I don't think it was a great idea. I smelled ozone and it made zapping sounds as it went through my hair. I know it's supposed to be the ions and all of that jazz, but I do wonder if it did something. I returned it to Ulta after three uses.

PS - thanks for posting the info on the coconut oil soak and conditioner-only washing. Maybe I'll give it a go. What do you think of Wen products?
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Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:24 am
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