As someone with a long history of dry, itchy scalp, believe me, I’ve tried it all — shampoos, ointments, pills, anything that offered a vague promise of a life with “normal” hair.
Physiologically, what’s happening to your body is a combination of one or more of these things:
- Fungus – usually non-contagious, but it can infect the skin on certain individuals, especially if you live in a damp climate
- Allergic reactions – typically a histamine response impacting the Liver, could be a food-based allergy
- Vitamin deficiency (A, B, C, D, E, iron, zinc) – deficiencies make your body more vulnerable to fungus, allergies, toxins, and just overall dryness and poor elasticity of the skin
- Toxic overload – all these perfumed, chemically-based lab experiments that call themselves “beauty care items” do your body no long-term favors
- Stress – will make all the symptoms worse
The best solutions that I’ve found are natural and topical treatments with oil and clay.
Internal treatments, for example, taking herbal anti-fungals or a food-based vitamin supplement, do help, but it’s limited to how healthy your whole body is. If your body’s health is compromised in some way, the absorption of the internal supplements will not be as good. For the cells of your scalp to receive the optimal benefit, it’s best to just put the healing stuff right up on there.
So what do we need to heal the scalp? It depends, but for most people, you’ll need to alternate between clay and oil. Clay has been used in indigenous cultures across the world for who knows how long for different purposes: to heal skin wounds, to take internally for digestive issues, and even to perform ceremonies. Bentonite clay has been shown to be anti-bacterial, and to absorb heavy metals and toxins.
Hair oiling is a technique used for over 4,000 years (another site says 5,000, so who knows) in India and Africa for promoting healthy hair and scalp. The oils flush the scalp with vitamins E and F for moisture and resilience, and some are even anti-microbial.
Here’s what I do:
I use the lunar hair calendar to see what days of the month are more beneficial for oil (water element) and what are more beneficial for clay (fire element). This is not an essential step; you can also just alternate them whenever you feel like it.
Using the Oil:
Before you wash your hair, put a little oil in the palm of your hand. The amount should be the size of a large coin. You can use this oil that I recommend, or just some olive, almond, coconut, grapeseed, jojoba, or sesame oil. Massage it for a few minutes into your whole scalp. Then, brush your hair so you massage the roots of the hair and extend the oil through the entire strand. You can leave the oil in for a few minutes, hours, or overnight with a cap on to protect your sheets. When you’re ready, wash your hair as usual. You will find your need for conditioner is much less if not altogether gone.
Using the clay:
I use this brand for clay as well. I also use their shampoos and conditioners. It’s all very natural and organic. If there’s another brand of bentonite clay or healing clay you prefer, go ahead and use it.
Mix 1-2 Tablespoons of clay with some water until you have a paste. In the shower, after shampooing, rinse your hair, then apply the paste by massaging it into your scalp. Leave it in for at least 3 minutes, and up to 10 minutes. Rinse out. You don’t need to use conditioner after this, but you can if you like. Surprisingly, the clay makes your hair very soft.
Another way I use clay to calm my scalp is with henna. Henna can be like a natural hair dye or it can also be just a non-coloring conditioning treatment. If you’re trying to get away from toxic hair care and beauty products, using a natural hair dye as opposed to a toxic, chemical-laden one is a good step.
A nice side-effect to all this natural stuff is that I think over time, as the health of your scalp and hair improve, you spend a lot less money on expensive beauty store and salon quick-fixes that leave you not-so-fixed after all.