Search Results: Sophia Emmanuel

How to Prevent Hair Loss When Wearing a Wig, According to a Trichologist
How to Prevent Hair Loss When Wearing a Wig, According to a Trichologist
Image Source: @bossyhair.molly

Sophia Emmanuel is an IAT Certified Trichologist and licensed cosmetologist. As a hairstylist, Sophia realized that she had to have a deeper understanding of the hair and scalp because some of her clients had trouble with hair loss, and she had no idea how to help them. She became a certified trichologist after reading Barry Fletcher’s book, Why Are Black Women Losing Their Hair?

How to Prevent Hair Loss When Wearing a Wig, According to a Trichologist

Here at NaturallyCurly, she advises women on healthy hair and scalp care. 

Wearing a wig is a great option to switch up your look without making permanent changes to your hair, but if you are not careful, it can damage your hair and scalp and lead to or cause hair loss or damage. Even though you may wear wigs as a protective style, it is important to maintain a healthy hair routine while wearing wigs. Here are seven ways you can improve your hair health while wearing wigs.

1. Don’t wear an incorrect size

Wigs that fit too tightly can cause hair loss and breakage around the perimeter of the head.

Insider tip: Have your head measured by a professional who specializes in styling different types of wig products.

2. Don’t skip wash day

It may be tempting to skip out on wash day, but be sure to shampoo and condition your hair as you would normally to remove dirt, and bacteria off the hair and scalp.

3. Avoid wigs that don’t breathe

Make sure you invest in products that allow your scalp to breathe. Capless wigs are lightweight and allow more airflow to the scalp. Capless products do not make you feel as hot as traditional wig caps because they have open wefts at the back and sides.

4. Don’t neglect your hairline

Stocking caps protect your hair under wigs and keep your hair flat so that the wig does not look bulky, but they can cause breakage or dryness along the hairline. To prevent damage to your edges, slide the stocking cap behind the ear. Your hairline will be exposed, and you can use a Milano WiGrip to prevent damage in this area. The Milano WiGrip is an adjustable velvet wig band that protects the hair line, and keeps wigs secure on your head. It allows you to reduce the use of combs, and clips sewn onto the base of the wig, used for supporting the product on your head.

5. Avoid adhesives if possible

If you have to use adhesive for a particular style, try to minimize how often you use the adhesive in order to prevent hair loss or breakage around the hairline.

6. Don’t use materials that cause scalp irritation

If you have a sensitive scalp, you may want to stay away from products made with synthetic hair. Sensitivities to wig materials can cause excessive itching, burning, and scalp tenderness.

7. Don’t forget to take breaks

Although wigs are convenient, they can make us forget to take care of our own hair. Take time in between wearing your wigs to get regular trims and deep condition your hair.

What are some ways you protect your scalp while wearing a wig?

Read next: 8 Protective Styles That Are Gentler on Your Edges

This article was published in 2017 and has been updated.

4 Types of Scalp Flakes and How to Get Rid of Them

A flaking scalp is a natural process of old skin cells falling off as new skin cells form. Sometimes, this natural process takes place faster than it should because of an excess amount of bacteria or fungi living on the skin.

Some flakes can be hard to remove from the scalp because of certain scalp conditions. If you have stubborn flakes that are not easy to remove with anti-dandruff shampoo, you may need to see a board-certified dermatologist or a trichologist. You do not want to spend money on products that may not work for your scalp condition. Get diagnosed first before you try to treat the problem.

Read More: Does an Itchy Scalp Equal Hair Growth

scalp flakes
Photo by Patanasak — Getty Images

Easy to remove flakes

When the scalp flakes off dead skin cells, it is called dandruff. All of us experience dandruff of the scalp. Normal dandruff is easy to remove by cleansing consistently. Once the scalp is cleansed properly the flakes should wash away and you will know when it is time to shampoo again when old skin cells start to fall again. Your scalp may itch and feel tight. These symptoms can be treated by using a cleanser like Nioxin Scalp Recovery Cleanser. This shampoo has 1% pyrithione zinc to help fight fungus and bacteria and green tea polyphenols for added moisture and soothing properties. Nioxin Scalp Recovery Cleanser has peppermint oil, which reduces itch and soothes tender, dry scalp.

Hard to remove flakes

4 Types of Scalp Flakes and How to Get Rid of Them

Flakes like those that result from scalp psoriasis can be harder to remove. Sometimes, flakes associated with scalp psoriasis tend to pile up on the scalp, forming hard, dry patches on the scalp. The flakes are gray or silver in color. You may feel the need to pick the flakes off the patches, but picking the patches can cause hair loss, bleeding, tender scalp, and more scaling. According to, “Psoriasis can range from mild with slight fine scaling, or severe with thick crusted plaques covering the whole scalp.” If your flakes are stubborn, you can try softening your flakes and alleviating the symptoms associated with psoriasis with a pre-shampoo treatment:

  • 1 Tbsp. of jojoba oil to reduce inflammation
  • 3 drops of tea tree oil for anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties
  • 3 drops of clary sage to exfoliate the scalp
  • 3 drops of lavender for regulating oily and dry scalp conditions

Mix all the ingredients in a dark, glass spray bottle, spray directly on dry, patchy, and flaky areas of your scalp, and gently massage the oil mixture into your scalp. Leave on for 30 min. using a hot towel wrapped around your head or sit under a steamer for 30 min. After the scalp treatment, you can rinse your hair and shampoo with Essations Tea Tree Solutions Dry & Itchy Scalp Shampoo, which has calendula, hops, and sage extracts to soothe the scalp and combat itchiness and tight skin. After shampooing your hair, you can condition and style as normal.

4 Types of Scalp Flakes and How to Get Rid of Them

Dry scalp flakes

A dry scalp is caused by the scalp’s pH being off balance due to the weather, product buildup, and an allergic reaction to ingredients in hair products. A dry scalp is the shedding of the epidermis and causes the scalp to feel tight, irritated, and dry. Here is a pre-shampoo for dry scalps:

  • 1 tsp. avocado oil aids in softening the skin
  • 2 -3 drops of sandalwood oil helps to moisturize the scalp.

Oily scalp flakes

Flakes from an oily scalp are present when you have a scalp condition called seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the scalp and skin. The flakes are greasy, yellow, and not as thick as the scales of psoriasis. Here is a pre-shampoo scalp treatment for oily scalp:

  • 1 tsp. of aloe vera oil to heal the skin and can help with scalp irritation
  • 3 drops of lemon oil to help control sebum production, balancing the pH of the scalp

Read more: How to Care for Your Scalp While Wearing Braids & Twists

What type of scalp treatment have you used for your scalp condition?  Did the scalp treatment help?

Does Co-Washing Cause Hair Loss? A Trichologist Weighs In

Cleansing conditioners are beneficial for curls because they do not strip moisture or sebum, the natural oil of the hair. However, when it comes to scalp care, co-washing can be detrimental, especially if you have a flaky scalp condition or are experiencing hair loss.

What is hair loss?

Hair thinning and hair loss are synonymous terms used to describe bald spots, loss of density, loss of hair with a noticeable scalp, and excessive shedding.

If you notice hair loss after using a cleansing conditioner several times, you might have a sensitivity ingredients in the product. Burning, itching, and flaking may also occur.  This is called scalp contact dermatitis.

Does co-washing cause hair loss?

Co-washing itself does not cause hair loss. Rather, it is the sensitivity to ingredients found in any hair care product.

If you are experiencing hair loss prior to co-washing, keep the scalp free from excess buildup. Co-washing limits your ability to eliminate buildup and will not create a healthy environment for the hair to grow back in.

What cleansing products can be used?

To help clean and invigorate the scalp, try Taliah Waajid Stimulating Herbal Cleanser. It can be used before you shampoo for a gentle deep cleansing that will not dry out your curls or scalp. It is sulfate-free and removes dirt with the mild surfactant Cocamidopropyl Betaine.

Taliah Waajid Stimulating Herbal Cleanser has camphor and menthol in it, which leaves a cool sensation on the scalp. It helps stimulate the scalp with the use of green tea extract.

Does Co-Washing Cause Hair Loss? A Trichologist Weighs In

What if you have dandruff?

If you have a scalp condition that causes dandruff, co-washing will not help remove flakes, excess oil, or dirt from the scalp. When buildup is not removed from the scalp properly, itching of the scalp and dandruff get worse. Dirt, oil, and flakes need to be removed by cleansing with shampoo. Using a pH balanced sulfate-free shampoo will help remove flakes, soothe your scalp, and control itch without stripping your curls of moisture.

Try PURA D’OR Scalp & Dandruff Premium Organic Argan Oil Treatment Shampoo. This shampoo has tea tree oil and peppermint oil to reduce bacteria on the scalp that causes dandruff, leaving the skin feeling cool and refreshed. PURA D’OR Scalp & Dandruff Premium Organic Argan Oil Treatment Shampoo also contains lemon oil that naturally cleanses and purifies the scalp.

Does Co-Washing Cause Hair Loss? A Trichologist Weighs In

What if you need more moisture?

If you want to use a product that has the consistency of conditioner, but the cleansing capabilities of shampoo, try Kera Care Natural Textures Cleansing Cream. It lathers enough for your hair to feel clean, but will not tangle the hair or disturb your curl pattern.

Does Co-Washing Cause Hair Loss? A Trichologist Weighs In

See a dermatologist or trichologist for a proper diagnosis if you are experiencing hair loss or think you may have a scalp condition. Until then, try finding the right shampoo to replace your co-wash by reading these 3 Reasons You Need a pH Balancing Shampoo


Do you co-wash your thinning hair? What has your experience been like?

This article has been updated with additional resources.

Have a Flaky Scalp? Try a pH Balancing Shampoo
Photo: Moyo Studio / Getty Images

Do you think it is necessary to use a shampoo that is pH balanced? The answer is yes. Shampoos that are pH balanced are the optimal cleansers to use, because they do not strip too much of the natural oil sebum from the hair and scalp. Other reasons why you want to use pH-balanced shampoo include:

  • preventing tangling
  • reducing frizz
  • reducing dryness
  • maintaining the hair’s natural shine
  • preventing breakage
  • keeping the hair’s cuticle sealed

What is pH?

The pH represents how acidic, alkaline, or neutral a solution is.  It is measured on a scale between 0 and 14. A solution is acidic when it is between 0 and 6.9, alkaline is between 7.1 and 14, and 7 is considered neutral.

What does pH-balanced shampoo do to hair?

It is important to use a pH-balanced shampoo because of the effects alkaline shampoos have on human hair and sebum. Sebum is a natural oil secreted by the sebaceous glands that is responsible for decreasing water loss from the epidermis and helps prevent infection by protecting the skin from fungus and bacteria.

What should your shampoo’s pH level be? 

It is best to use a shampoo that has a pH between 5 and 7 so that sebum is at the right balance on the hair and scalp.

Reasons to use a pH-balanced shampoo

1. For a flaky scalp

Sebum has a pH of 4.5 and 5.5. Alkaline shampoos are on the higher end of the pH scale and can strip too much sebum from the scalp, causing dandruff and itching. Over-the-counter dandruff shampoos tend to be more alkaline and are prescribed because they thoroughly remove scales, dirt, and bacteria off the scalp, but using more alkaline shampoos can make your scalp disorder worse.

If you have a flaky scalp problem, try to use a shampoo with a pH between 6 or 7. Kera Care Dry & Itchy Anti-Dandruff Moisturizing Shampoo has a pH of 6.0. This shampoo will combat flakes and cleanses the scalp without stripping too much sebum. If you want a sulfate-free formula try Malibu Scalp Wellness Shampoo, which has a pH range between 6 and 7.

2. For frizzy, stripped hair

According to the Journal of Trichology“Alkaline pH may increase the negative electrical charge of the hair fiber surface and, therefore, increase friction between the fibers. This may lead to cuticle damage and fiber breakage. It is a reality and not a myth that lower pH of shampoos may cause less frizz for generating less negative static electricity on the fiber surface.” If you are looking for a clarifying shampoo that will cleanse without stripping your hair, try Affirm MoisturRight Clarifying Shampoo, which has a pH of 5.5. 

3. For color-treated hair

Our hair’s cuticle layer opens when touched by solutions such as water or alkaline-based hair products, such as permanent hair color.  When the cuticle is open, it exposes the interior layers of the hair to damage if the cuticle is not closed back down. You have to use an acidic shampoo, which helps to seal the cuticle and retain proper moisture balance in the hair. A pH balanced color-treated shampoo I recommend is Joico K-PAK Color Therapy.  This shampoo has a range between 4.5 and 5.5, which will keep prevent your color treated hair from drying out, tangling and lacking shine. 

This article has been updated for grammar and clarity.

Repairing Hair Damage: Olaplex vs. Protein Treatments
Photo Courtesy of west86thhair

Olaplex is a hair rebonding treatment designed to reduce breakage on chemically-treated or heat-styled hair. It relinks the bonds responsible for giving your hair strength, shape, and elasticity. These bonds are called disulphide bonds and they break during the use of chemical treatments. Some of these chemicals include demi-permanent color, permanent color, perms, relaxers, texturizers, colors that use bleach, keratin, and amino acid treatments.

Olaplex is not a protein treatment. Protein treatments, such as the Aphogee Two Step Protein Treatment, work to temporarily fill in cracks along the outer layer of the hair called the cuticle. You can use a protein treatment similar to Aphogee’s, like Dudley DRC Hair Treatment and Fortifier or Nexxus Emergency Polymedic Reconstructor, once every 4-6 weeks to help strengthen hair that is over processed by bleach, permanent color, or other chemical treatments. These treatments can also work to help if your hair has mild breakage, sticks together like wet spaghetti, or will not hold a curl.  Olaplex works on the inside of the hair, penetrating the hair’s cortex. The hair’s cortex is responsible for giving the hair its strength, color, and texture. The cortex is also affected by chemicals and the overuse of hot tools. Dryness, breakage, and split ends can result when chemicals are applied to your hair. says the treatment “finds single sulfur hydrogen bonds and cross links them back together to form disulfide bonds before, during and after services.” What does this mean? Cystine is the main amino acid found in hair. It is created when two of the amino acids cysteine convert into one cystine. When cysteine converts to cystine, each cysteine loses a hydrogen atom, and what is left is two sulphur atoms that link together to create a very strong disulfide bond.   When a chemical is applied to your hair, cystine converts back to cysteine and the hair becomes weaker. Every time you apply a chemical to your hair, it weakens. Olaplex eliminates this weakness by bringing the hair back to a cystine state. The Olaplex process works while the chemical sits on your hair, because the treatment can be mixed into color. As your hair goes through the chemical change, the disulphide bonds are reformed faster and less breakage occurs. Protein treatments can be used in between your Olaplex treatments. With protein treatments that harden, you have to make sure you use a moisturizing conditioner after the treatment is rinsed from the hair, otherwise your hair will feel extremely dry, brittle, and potentially break if you do not put moisture back into your hair. Olaplex does not harden the hair and you are free to follow up with any conditioner of your choice after you rinse out Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector, which is to be used at home. Your stylist also has the option of using any conditioner of his or her choice based on what your hair needs after a Olaplex standalone treatment at the salon. If you use color, thermal tools, or use other chemical treatments on a regular basis, it is recommended that you use a bond realignment treatment like Olaplex. If you do not color or heat style your hair, you can still benefit from an Olaplex treatment or you can use a protein treatment like one of the treatments mentioned above. Everyone’s hair needs to be occasionally strengthened from everyday manipulation such as combing, brushing and styling, some more or less than others. It all depends on your hair’s specific needs.  

Have you tried Aphogee or Olaplex treatment before? Did you notice a difference from using one over the other? 

This article has been updated since it originally published in 2016.

Look for These Anti-Hair Loss Ingredients in Your Products

When you purchase products to help with hair loss there are specific ingredients you need to look for in order to know if the product will encourage hair growth. It is important to be realistic about the results you will get from the products.  Nutrition, genetics, and the type of hair loss you have, play a role with how well the products work.

If you are experiencing hair loss, before you purchase any products see a dermatologist, or trichologist for help. Going to a specialist, will help you learn if you need products at all, or which products will work best for your condition. Look for the following ingredients when you are shopping for hair loss products.


If you have androgenetic alopecia, make sure the shampoo has ingredients that block Dihydrotestosterone (DHT”>. Dihydrotestosterone is responsible for follicle shrinkage. When follicles shrink, healthy hair strands, turn into fine thin hair- blocking dihydrotestosterone prevents this from happening.

What are some dihydrotestosterone inhibitors to look for in shampoo?

  • Saw palmetto

  • Pumpkin seed oil

  • Stinging nettle

You will find these ingredients in HLCC Scripts DHT Shampoo and  Lipogaine The Big 3 Shampoo.

Using a shampoo with dihydrotestosterone blockers will enhance how topical treatments like Minoxidil work. Shampoos by themselves will not be enough to reverse androgenetic alopecia.

If you are looking for a shampoo for hair loss, but you do not have androgentic alopecia, you can look for ingredients like peppermint oil, which can help stimulate hair growth and control dandruff. Try Malibu C Scalp Wellness Shampoo. Shampoos with ketoconazole like Nizoral, combat fungus and can help with hair loss related to scalp infections.

Topical Treatments

If you are looking for an alternative to Minoxidil for help with hair loss, you look for products with green tea extract and Rendensyl. Topical treatments stay on the scalp and have to be shampooed off. This is why it is important to look for quality ingredients.

  • Green tea extract prevents hair loss and stimulates hair growth.

  • Rendensyl is an active ingredient that increases hair growth by activating your hair follicles stem cells, helping them produce stronger healthier hair.

You can find both of these ingredients in Skinfab Hair Regrowth Serum and Green tea extract can be found in EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Hair Oil.


Exfoliating can help soothe a dry, itchy scalp. When you scratch your scalp excessively, you can cause hair loss and scalp irritation. Make sure to use products that gently remove impurities.

Look for ingredients like tea tree, found in Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Scalp Treatment. Apply the mask to your scalp, and massage it in. Let it sit on the scalp for three to five minutes and rinse it. Try to sit under a steamer for added rejuvenation for your scalp.

Rene Furterer Complexe 5 Regenerating Plant Extract is another scalp exfoliator you can use to remove build up off your scalp and has to be used before you shampoo. This product has lavender, which has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.

When it comes to using products for hair loss, be sure to know the type of hair loss you have before investing in products you do not need or that may not solve your problem. Keep in mind shampoos and conditioners get rinsed off the scalp, it will lessen how well the products work. This is why you need to pay close attention to the ingredients, and take in to consideration how much of the ingredients are being absorbed into the follicles to make a change.

Have you found a product that helps with hair loss? Share them in the comments.

This is Why You Need to Exfoliate Your Scalp

Do you have stubborn dandruff that does not rinse away after you shampoo your hair? This could be a sign that you need to exfoliate your scalp for a deeper cleaning.

Why do you need to exfoliate your scalp?

Exfoliating your scalp will help remove impurities and dead skin cells that build up on the scalp’s surface. Although your scalp sheds dead skin through a natural process called keratinization, using exfoliants can help balance sebum production, remove sticky flakes, and create a healthy environment for your hair to grow to its full potential.

Try calcium bentonite clay instead of shampoo

Clay masks gently pull out dirt, bacteria, and oil on the surface of the scalp while reducing excessive hair loss. Instead of shampoo, I recommend clay masks to my clients, because the mask is designed to gently lift buildup and it can be used as often as often as every other day for scalp conditions that require frequent cleansing. Clay will not cause dry hair or a dry scalp, making it a great alternative to shampoo since shampoo can be drying when used too often, especially multiple times a week. I also recommend the clay masks to clients who have sensitivities to the cleansing ingredients in shampoos as well.

Calcium bentonite is a clay with antibiotic properties. When applied to your scalp, the clay helps to treat skin infections and decrease the healing time of bruises caused by scratching the scalp. I tell clients to use it in place of a co-wash product, because it will not leave product build-up on the hair or scalp. Product buildup can also cause the scalp to flake, but the flakes from the ingredients in the co-wash product should not be confused with dandruff.

If you have an oily scalp, using Trichopure is better than using shampoo. It contains cedarwood oil to help balance sebum production and the tea tree oil in it which has antibacterial and antifungal properties to reduce flakes.

How to cleanse your scalp

If you use a clay mask, there is no need to use a scalp brush, as this can be irritating to the scalp if the brush is used to agitate the scalp. A scalp brush works better when using shampoo to cleanse the hair and scalp, because the brush helps remove flakes thoroughly.

To apply a clay mask, wet your hair and scalp and apply the mask to your entire scalp and hair. Allow the mask and allow it to sit on the head for 20-30 minutes. You will notice that the clay gets hard as it sits on your scalp. This is normal. Gently rinse the product off and proceed to condition your hair. There is no need to use shampoo after the mask is rinsed out.

You may want to use the mask once a month if your hair and scalp is healthy. Use the mask to detox your scalp and for the overall health of your hair.

If you suffer from dandruff or another scalp problem, use the mask two times a week or every other day until your flakes are under control.

Have you ever used a scalp exfoliator? What was your experience? Share with us in the comments below!

This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.
Curly Hair, Scalp Inflammation, and Alopecia: What You Need to Know This Hair Loss Awareness Month
hair loss awareness month

Photo Courtesy of Poike — Getty Images

Inflammation of the scalp is triggered by infection, irritation, or an allergic reaction that occurs on the skin. Inflammation is the body’s way of correcting problems.

According to Livingstrong “[inflamed scalp] tends to localize to certain parts of the scalp, but it may cause widespread breakouts. Typically, an inflamed scalp forms with other signs and symptoms such as dry skin, scaling, rashes and itchiness. A health care provider can assist in diagnosing and treating individual causes of an inflamed scalp.”

If inflammation exists in the skin for too long, it can cause an autoimmune response and by mistake the immune system attacks healthy cells mistaking them as harmful. This could result in scarring alopecia like folliculitis decalvans or non-scarring alopecias like alopecia aerate.

What is folliculitis decalvans?

Folliculitis decalvans is a scarring type of hair loss that occurs when inflammation is present within the hair follicle. This type of hair loss leads to destroyed follicles, and the hair that has fallen out will not grow back because the openings to the hair follicles close permanently. The scalp may look red and feel swollen.

“There are usually round or oval patches of hair loss in which there are pustules surrounding the hair follicles (perifollicular pustules”>” according to Dermnetnz. Characteristically, several or many hairs can be seen coming out of a single follicle, so the scalp looks ‘tufted’ like a toothbrush. Eventually the hairs are shed as the follicle is completely destroyed and leaves behind a scar.

Is there a treatment you can use to stop folliculitis decalvans?

Dermnetnz, makes a point to say that “there is no permanent cure for the condition but it can be controlled to some degree by using medications.” These medications have to be prescribed by a doctor. A trichologist may recommend L-tyrosine, an amino acid you can take orally that helps reverse the auto-immune response in the skin.

What is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss where follicles are present. The hair loss is shaped like circular or oval patches and can form anywhere on the body. The most common areas on the body affected by this type of hair loss are the scalp and beard. The hair loss falls sporadically on the scalp. 

There are two other types of alopecia areata. When the alopecia progresses to total hair loss of the scalp, it is called alopecia totalis. Loss of all body hair is called alopecia universalis. Alopecia areata may be triggered by an autoimmune response in the skin.

What is an autoimmune response in the skin?

An autoimmune response takes place when a group of white blood cells attack other healthy cells of the skin or hair follicle. It is the responsibility of white blood cells to destroy infectious and abnormal cells.

“It is histologically characterized by T lymphocytes around the hair follicles. These CD8(+”>NK group 2D-positive (NKG2D(+”>”> T cells release pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that reject the hair,” according to

The cause of this autoimmune response around the follicle is unknown but genetics, stress, trauma to the head, viral and bacterial infections, and vaccinations may be a trigger.

Treatment for alopecia areata

Alopecia areata corrects itself, but the hair may take weeks or even years to grow back. This type of hair loss, depending on how severe, needs to be treated by a doctor.

Have you ever experienced an inflammatory condition of the scalp? What method of treatment worked best for you?

Share your experiences in the comments below.

How Scalp Injections are Being Used to Reverse Hair Loss
scalp injection for hair loss

Getty Images

Did you know that growth factors from your blood cells can stimulate hair growth if you are experiencing hair loss or thinning? A treatment called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP”> Therapy is a non-surgical technique performed by a doctor who injects your own blood into the scalp where hair loss occurs.

What is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?

According to Dr. Naana Boakye, “Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy contains a rich source of growth factors that enhance blood vessel formation and promote cell proliferation. Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy regenerative potential is dependent on twenty growth factors, such as platelet derived growth factor (PDGF”>, transforming growth factor-b (TGF-b”>, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VGEF”>.

The growth factors bind to the bulge areas of the follicle and potentially promote hair growth and offer potential treatment for certain alopecias.”

The hair bulge encompassing the hair follicles stem cells is responsible for creating new hair and healing wounds on the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis.

How is your blood used to stimulate hair growth?

“The blood is drawn and spun down to separate and enrich the platelet portion. Platelets are blood components that help to stop bleeding. They also contain very powerful growth, and anti-inflammatory factors when activated, and their contents released. The enriched platelets are then injected into an area of hair loss,” says Dr. Achiamah Oseitutu

Can PRP help with any type of hair loss?

Boakye says, “PRP has assisted patients with alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia. Currently, there are no studies on PRP and cicatricial alopecias. However, it is being addressed.” Cicatricial alopecia destroys the hair follicles, which can lead to permanent hair loss of the affected area.

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy can also be used in some cases of eyebrow thinning, and traction alopecia, which is hair loss caused by tension on the scalp. “We also use PRP as an adjunctive treatment in hair transplants,” notes Oseitutu.

How is PRP different from topical treatments like minoxidil and other drugs used to reverse hair loss?

“Minoxidil is a drug that possibly promotes hair growth by causing vasodilation (dilatation of blood vessels to decrease blood pressure”>. The exact mechanism of action is not widely understood, whereas PRP is autologous (derived from you”> and contains over twenty growth factors that nourish the cellular matrix,” according to Dr. Boakye.

Dr. Oseitutu says, “Think of PRP as an organic way of treating hair loss. You are using the power of your own body to treat. Minoxidil is a topical medication that is used to elongate the growth phase of the hair cycle. It has a very specific action and there is scientific evidence proving its efficacy.”

She also adds in that “PRP and minoxidil are both ‘non-specific’ growth stimulators, which means they can be used in multiple types of hair loss conditions.”

Are there any side effects?

There could be tenderness at the site of injection, which can be minimized with the proper precautions, explains Dr. Naana Boakye. Other side effects, according to Dr. Oseitutu, include soreness, tightness of the scalp, small areas of bleeding, and redness.

How soon can patients see results?

Dr. Boakye advises to give the therapy at least six months before you start seeing results.

How often do patients have to get PRP?

Dr. Oseitutu says, “PRP is typically done once every three to four months for a year with a booster every 6 months.  Some doctors use Acell Matristem (”>, which is a protein complex FDA approved for wound care to help to prolong the PRP and help to stimulate dormant hair follicles. When PRP is used with Acell, it can be injections once every 12-24 months. Please note that Acell is not FDA approved for use in hair loss.”

What are some other benefits of PRP?

Dr. Boakye points out that PRP can be used for an array of conditions such as skin rejuvenation, acne scars, wound ulcers, striae (stretch marks”>, lichen sclerosus, and scars.

Are there any special products or services you need to use or stay away from?

There are no specific at-home or salon products. The patient should partner with a stylist who will take meticulous care of their hair and scalp in order to maintain the health of the hair notes.

Dr. Boakye adds, “We always advise gentle hair care practices for a healthy scalp and hair. However, there are no restrictions as far as products or services.”

How is PRP different from hair transplants?

Dr. Oseitutu clarifies how the two services differ.

“PRP is a type of non-surgical hair restoration. We do not move any hairs in this procedure. We stimulate existing hairs. In hair transplant we use or borrow hairs from more stable hairs on the back of the head and put them in areas of thinning. PRP can be used with hair transplant surgery. Some hair transplant surgeons have found that it may increase the survival of the transplanted hairs and may improve the scars left from moving the hairs. There is increasing evidence that PRP can be beneficial and is quite promising in treating some types of hair loss, but it has not been proven given the current scientific date.”

If you are interested in having PRP to treat hair loss, seek the advice of a dermatologist to find out if the treatment is right for you.

The Must-See Guide to the Best Protein Treatment for Your Hair

protein treatments for damaged hair

Why do you need a protein treatment?

Protein treatments can be used to maintain healthy hair and as a temporary filler to fill in cracks along the hair shaft. Hair breakage can be caused by combing, brushing, tight ponytails or braids, improper use of chemicals, nutrient deficiencies, waiting too long trim your hair, wearing heavy extensions, hair accessories, and pH imbalance.

Hair breakage occurs when there is a fracture along the hair shaft. This is not the same as hair shedding. Hair shedding occurs when you see long strands of hair falling from the scalp with a white hair bulb attached to the top of the hair strand. Although breakage tends to be shorter strands, hair can break from the roots.

What’s causing your breakage?

It is important to know the cause of the hair breakage in order to make the best decision about treatments. Protein treatments no matter how strong cannot fix hair breakage caused by a nutrient deficiency. Iron deficiency can cause your hair to feel brittle, break off along the sides and nape of the head, and cause temporary hair loss. Your hair will look limp, lack shine, snap off when you run your fingers through your scalp, and you hair may look less dense. This is a separate issue and has to be addressed by your primary doctor.

Do you color or bleach your hair?

Hair breakage takes place anytime the cuticle is raised and the cortex is exposed.  The cortex is responsible for the strength, elasticity, shape, and density of our hair. When the cortex is exposed, your hair will break off easily and look brittle. Hair that is over processed by permanent dye or bleach or damaged by heat tools may feel weak, excessively dry, clump up like spaghetti when wet, contain white specks along the hair shaft, snap when touched with your fingers, and break off at the area where artificial hair color and new growth/virgin hair meet, leaving short and long pieces of hair around the head. You may want to consider a haircut to get rid of as much damage as possible.

To best maintain your hair along your hair care journey, try these products.

Strong hair repair

If you dye or bleach your hair or use heat tools like straighteners, curling wands, or blow dryers regularly, we recommend a strong protein treatment.

  • Nexxus Emergencee has protein, collagen and elastin to help repair damage and restore the hairs elasticity. Emergency is a liquid solution that has a sticky consistency. Before you apply Emergencee make sure your hair is detangled thoroughly.
  • Joico K-PAK Reconstructor can be used twice a month. This product is infused with high amounts of Joico’s Quadramine Complex.  Quadramine Complex is a protein ingredient, which repairs hair that is damaged by chemical or heat damage.
  • Tigi Dumb Blond Reconstructor can be used on highlighted hair, bleach blond hair, or hair that is over processed. Use every 4 to 6 weeks alternating with a moisturizing or a lighter hair repair treatment.
  • ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment is a salon service product unlike any product available for at-home use. This unique treatment is formulated with magnesium and modified proteins, which fuse into the hair with the application of heat. For best results a hooded dryer is required. 

Medium hair repair

If you experience breakage regularly, then you can benefit from a medium strength protein treatment.

  • ORS Hair Mayonnaise has hydrolyzed collagen, soybeans, wheat germ oil that aid in strengthening damaged hair. Infused with olive oil for adding moisture while it strengthens and nettle oil can help prevent hair shedding. Use every 4 to 6 weeks.
  • CHI Keratin Conditioner restores softness as shine with argan oil and jojoba oil.  Keratin amino acids smooth and repair the hair strands. Use CHI Keratin Shampoo followed by CHI Keratin Conditioner. You can use this conditioner 1 to 2 times a month .
  • Curl Junkie Repair Me! Reconstructive Hair Treatment helps fill in cracks in the hair shaft to give strength and prevent further breakage. Also great for general maintenance of the hair. Makes a great once-a-month protein treatment to help keep your hair in top shape.
  • Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask is fortified with ultra‐hydrating avocado, sweet almond & argan oils, strengthening keratin protein, power-conditioning rosehip oil, soothing aloe, and super hair-essential vitamins B5, D, A, E. This unique complex of targeted ingredients helps increase hair elasticity and moisture to prevent breakage, promotes healthy shine and luster, and replenishes strength.

Lighter hair repair

If you do not dye, heat style, or experience much breakage then you should just focus on using light protein treatments to balance out your moisture.

Why a Scalp Infection May Be Causing Your Breakage

Do you struggle with hair breakage and find that certain areas of your scalp itch, and hair won’t grow back? The hair breakage may have started off in one spot, but now different parts of your scalp are experiencing the same issues. You may have noticed hair in these areas feels extremely dry and tends to break off easily.  If you have been experiencing months or years of hair breakage, a scalp infection may be the cause.

Ringworm of the scalp, also known as Tinea Capitis, is an infection caused by fungi. The type of fungi that causes Tinea Capitis is mold, which multiplies on Keratin. Fungi that causes problems on the skin in animals and humans are called dermatophytes. This type of fungi is able to infect the outermost layer of the skin and causes temporary hair loss, breakage, scaling and excessive itching of the scalp.

How do you know if you have Tinea Capitis?

Some people get the carrier form of the infection, which means that there are no symptoms of the scalp infection and mild flaking of the scalp . This is why it is important to have a doctor take skin scrapings of your scalp to diagnose Tinea Capitis. You can contact Tinea Capitis from a person or animal.

To avoid getting a scalp infection do not share the following items:
  • combs
  • brushes
  • hats
  • pillows scarves
  • any items that come in contact with another person’s scalp

Tinea Capitis can live on the skin for a long time. If you have experienced consistent itching of the scalp, you may have used a dandruff shampoo in an effort to stop the flakes and soothe itching. This is another reason why your scalp may look normal and not infected. The fungus could still be causing your hair breakage because it is already settled into the scalp.

Dandruff shampoos have active ingredients such as Ketoconazole, such as  Nizoral. It is a strong anti – fungal medication that can combat some of the fungi causing the problem, but not enough to get rid of the entire scalp infection. This is the reason why your hair in the infected areas of the scalp continues to grow and consistently break off.

How to get rid of the fungus

The only way to get rid of the fungus is to take oral antifungal medication prescribed by a doctor. You will have to take the medication for three months and the doctor may also recommend you use an antifungal shampoo as well.  Once you start taking the medication as directed by your doctor, you will notice more hair growth.

At home, make sure that you remove and do not reuse anything that came in contact with your scalp. You will also need to wash your sheets and pillow cases every day to prevent reinfection until the infection clears up.

Have you ever had a scalp infection? How did you treat it?

How to Take Down Your Finger Coils – According to an Expert
Sophia Emmanuel is a licensed cosmetologist and certified IAT trichologist.

Taking down finger coils and avoiding tangles and breakage is possible. With some patience while detangling, and using the right conditioners, you can prevent hair damage each time you remove finger coils.

Start by unraveling your finger coils before you shampoo and condition your hair. Separate all the finger coils until they are all loose.

Use a Shampoo that Will Not Strip Your Hair

Use a sulfate-free shampoo that will cleanse curls, removing buildup gently. I like Joico Curl Cleansing Shampoo. I recommend this shampoo, because it will not dry out your curls, and prepares the hair for conditioning and easy detangling.

Use a Conditioner that Combats Tangles

Please do not comb or brush your hair out after you take down your coils. Wet your hair down, shampoo, and apply a conditioner that gives the hair super slip. It is always easy to remove tangles when your hair is wet and conditioner is applied.

Please do not comb or brush your hair out after you take down your coils. Wet your hair down, shampoo, and apply a conditioner that gives the hair super slip. It is always easy to remove tangles when your hair is wet and conditioner is applied.

My go-to conditioners that help detangle and soften natural hair are:

1. Jane Carter Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner

I recommend the Jane Carter Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner if you need to remove tangles in Type 3c and Type 4 hair. I also recommend using this conditioner if you are going to blow-dry and flat iron your hair, because it does not weigh the hair down, and will leave your hair feeling soft.

Your hair can break if you try to manipulate it while it is dry. That is why I recommend saturating the hair with one of these conditioners before you remove any tangles.

2. Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm

The Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm can be used on Type 4 hair, and it is creamier and heavier than the Jane Carter Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner.  The Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm gives great slip, and if you do not have time to steam your hair or sit under a hooded dryer, your hair will still be as manageable and soft as if you applied heat for deeper penetration.

3. Avlon Keracare Humecto Cream Conditioner

The Avlon Keracare Humecto Cream Conditioner is not as heavy as the Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm, but is not as light as the Jane Carter Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner. You could use this conditioner if you have problems with your ends knotting up after twist outs or finger coils.


Control Your Hair While Detangling

If your hair has a tendency to knot up, especially on the ends, I recommend using a wide tooth comb to detangle.  Start at the nape of your neck, taking small sections and applying your conditioner on the ends, slowly working your way up to the roots. As you apply the conditioner and detangle a section, create an oversized Bantu knot or two-strand twist to keep conditioned and detangled hair out of the way, and in control. Follow this technique until the hair is completely detangled. Let the conditioner sit for twenty minutes, and rinse. Use a leave-in conditioner of your choice. I like It’s a Ten Miracle Leave in or CHI Keratin Leave In Conditioner Reconstructor Treatment.

Maintain A Proper Moisture Balance While Wearing Finger Coils

Prevent tangles and breakage before you take down finger coils by keeping your hair and ends moisturized, which can be done with a butter or cream-based product while finger coils are in.

Have a 3-Month Routine With Trims

It is also important to trim your hair every three months to help prevent dryness on the ends of the hair, and to make detangling a pleasant experience for you or your hairstylist. Trims help prevent breakage when taking down finger coils, because they help avoid the ends of the hair matting together.

Need a visual? Here is another way to remove finger coils.


Embedded content: Have a favorite technique of your own for taking down finger coils? Share it with us in the comments below! This article was originally published in 2016 and has been edited for clarity.
3 Things You Should Never Put On Your Scalp
Photo Courtesy of digitalskillet — Getty Images

Oils, greases, pomades, and other products that you use to maintain the health of your hair may be as beneficial for your scalp. It is important to remember that your scalp is skin and proper skin care such as cleansing regularly and not using comedogenic ingredients are essential for optimal scalp health. Although heavy ingredients will not affect hair growth, it can create an unhealthy environment for your scalp, causing problems like dandruff, dry scalp and scaling.

Castor oil

Castor oil has great moisturizing properties. The key to using castor oil is to mix it with other carrier oils that are not has heavy in consistency. Castor oil has a high viscosity. Viscosity is defined by as “the property of resistance to flow in a fluid or semifluid.” Its sticky and thick consistency can be hard to remove from both the hair and scalp. Greasing your scalp with castor oil will trap dirt on the skin, and if you are co-washing and not removing the oil with a pH balanced clarifying shampoo, you will create scalp buildup, dry scalp, and flakes. I recommend using castor oil as a pre-shampoo treatment for your hair. First, add shampoo to your hair, massage to lather, and then apply water; this will help to thoroughly remove the castor oil from your hair.

Shea butter

Shea butter is a great moisturizer for dry, cracked areas of the skin, such as elbows, feet, and lips. Shea butter is a great sealant and shine enhancer. The reason I do not recommend using shea butter on the scalp is because it can worsen oily dandruff, causing the flakes or dry scalp to clump together which will make the flakes harder to remove. You can try to alleviate the symptoms for dandruff by balancing the pH of the scalp with Philip Kingsley’s Flaky Scalp Toner.  This product is water based and has camphor to cool and soothe the scalp. There is no reason to add oils or other lubricants to the scalp because of sebum, a natural wax created by our sebaceous glands that protects and moisturizes the skin.

Using Monistat for hair growth or to treat ringworm

If you think have a fungal infection that results in hair loss, please do not try to treat this problem at home with an over-the-counter cream like Monistat. You need to see a dermatologist who can treat the fungal problem with the appropriate medication. The dermatologist will diagnose whether or not you have ringworm, another type of infection, or a separate hair loss problem. Hair re-growth is important but you need to make sure that the fungus is no longer present and a doctor would be able to tell you this. Permanent hair loss can result, as well as spreading the fungus to others through combs, brushes, pillowcases, and other materials you share.

Remember to be as mindful of your scalp as you are with your hair. Keep it clean, and if you must use oils or other scalp products, make sure they are lightweight. Always consult with your doctor for anything medicated.

Here’s a few scalp oils you CAN use on your scalp including argan, jojoba, olive, lavender, and rosemary oil to name a few.

Here’s our recommended NC picks:

Righteous Roots

As I Am Pure Oils Extra Virgin Olive Oil

EDEN BodyWorks Papaya Castor Scalp Massaging Serum

Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil

What are you using on your scalp to keep it healthy?

The Signs You Have a Propylene Glycol Allergy

What is propylene glycol?

Propylene glycol is an ingredient that acts as a humectant for hair. Humectants pull moisture from the environment into the hair. They soften the hair and prevent the hair from breaking off to help retain curls.

Although these are great benefits for the hair, some people experience an allergic reaction to propylene glycol on their scalps. It can be hard to find products that are propylene glycol free because it is an ingredient that is found in many different personal care items including shampoos, conditioners and styling products.

Beyond acting as a humectant in hair products, propylene glycol is also used in many personal care products as well as a preservative in food and tobacco products such as e-cigarettes. According to Curl Chemist Tonya McKay it is also used:

  • As a solvent for fragrances and preservatives

  • As an emulsifier or co-surfactant

  • As a solvent for pigments in cosmetics

  • As a preservative, due to its antifungal and antimicrobial properties

  • In deodorants and antiperspirants

  • In hand cleaners and disinfecting gels

  • As a common additive in shaving creams and gels

Signs you have a propylene glycol allergy

  1. Your skin will itch, burn, and feel tender 
  2. Your scalp may feel dry, and flake
  3. You can develop a red rash on your hairline, ear, or neck
  4. Your skin will feel swollen
  5. The symptoms appear one to two days after you come in contact with the allergen
Seek medical attention if you have a rash with severe swelling or burning of the skin. You will have to see a doctor if you have itching that prevents you from working, sleeping or doing everyday routines. Doctors can diagnose contact dermatitis based on your symptoms and physical examination. Ask your doctor for a patch test which can be used to help pinpoint what you are allergic too.

Once you have confirmation about your allergy, read labels carefully. When you are reading the labels, look for other names that are considered propylene glycol such as:

  • Methyl Glycol

  • Propane-1,2-Diol

  • 1,2 Propanediol

  • 1,2 Dihydroxypropane

  • 2 Hydroxypropyl

  • Trimethyl Glycol

Propylene glycol-free products

If you determine that you do have a propylene glycol allergy you may have to make some adjustments to your product arsenal. Don’t worry, you still have curly product options!Here are twelve products that are propylene glycol-free.


Styling Products

Co-wash Conditioning Cleansers

Propylene glycol in steroid creams

If you use steroid ointment to help alleviate the symptoms of eczema or other skin conditions, be sure to check and see if propylene glycol is in the steroid ointment. If propylene glycol is irritating for your skin, the ointment can make your skin condition worse.

If you have eczema and you are looking for a cream that can alleviate your irritated skin without the use of a steroid cream, try Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream. Always ask your doctor if it is okay to change your product to help soothe your eczema symptoms. Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream is oil based so it has manuka oil and manuka honey, both great ingredients for soothing and healing irritated skin.

Propylene glycol is a safe ingredient as long as it does not irritate or place discomfort on your skin. Be sure to pay close attention to product labels the next time you are shopping for products that are propylene glycol free. Not all products labeled as “natural” are free from propylene glycol.

Do you have a propylene glycol allergy? Tell us what you use in the comments.

What’s next? 

Here’s How to Find Out if You Have a Scalp Allergy

The Truth About Propylene Glycol, According to a Chemist

This article was written in 2017 and has been updated for clarity.

Here's How To Treat Eczema on The Scalp

Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that causes the skin to be red, and itch. Seborrheic dermatitis is a type of eczema that takes place on areas of the body that have a lot of oil producing glands. These glands are called sebaceous glands. Although seborrheic dermatitis can appear anywhere on the body, the most common areas affected is the scalp, hairline, back, and nose.

What are the causes?

The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown. The triggers of seborrheic dermatitis are:

  • Genetics

  • Stress

  • Hormones

  • Fragrance

  • Hot, and cold weather

  • Soaps that are drying and irritating to the skin

  • Diet

When there is an excess amount of fungi, called Malassezia, living on the skin, it contributes to seborrheic dermatitis flare ups. Shampoos with anti- fungal ingredients help kill Malassezia.

These ingredients include:

  • Ketoconazole

  • Selenium sulfide

  • Coal tar

  • Zinc pyrithione

  • Salicylic acid

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis vary from one person to the next. Seborrheic dermatitis can look like psoriasis or other flaky scalp conditions. Sometimes, you can have more than one flaky scalp condition on the scalp. A dermatologist will be able to diagnose, your condition, and design a treatment plan for you.

With seborrheic dermatitis, your scalp may feel dry, and flake. You may notice the skin peels around the hair line and other areas of the scalp. The flakes will be greasy, white, or yellow in color.

In more severe cases of seborrheic dermatitis, a doctor could prescribe topical corticosteroids which must be used as directed.

How to treat the symptoms

Be careful how often you use anti-fungal shampoos because they can be drying on the hair as well as the scalp. Use anti-fungal shampoos when you have a flare up, and in between, use a normal shampoo that will not dry out your hair such as Wild Naturals Eczema and Psoriasis Shampoo. It has aloe barbadensis gel, which helps sooth the skin, and Cocamidopropyl betaine which is a gentle cleansing ingredient.

Use a pre-shampoo treatment for your scalp to alleviate itching and dryness. Philip Kingsley’s Stimulating Scalp Mask, has menthol, camphor, and peppermint which will help soothe the scalp. Apply this mask on the scalp before you shampoo. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, rinse, and cleanse your hair with a shampoo of your choice.

Phillip Kingsley has a mask that can be used to gently exfoliate the scalp and control sebum. The Philip Kingsley Exfoliating Scalp Mask has zinc in it which helps combat flakes, as well as reduce sebum production. Betaine Salicylate is the ingredient that gently removes flakes without drying out the scalp. Betaine Salicylate moisturizes and leaves a cool feeling on the skin.

Sulfates can cause seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups for people who are sensitive to them. There are sulfate free anti – fungal shampoos. Help Hair Scalp Therapy Shampoo, is pH balanced, sulfate and paraben free. The active ingredient is 2% zinc pyrithione.

Try not to use oils to moisturize your scalp because seborrheic dermatitis flakes are greasy, using oils on your scalp will make the condition worse, and cause the scales to stick to the hair, making them harder to remove.

What products do you use to treat eczema of the scalp?

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How to Use Dandruff Shampoo – Without Drying Out Your Hair

Has your scalp ever felt really dry and itchy and you know have no idea what to use to treat it? If you’re not quite sure what to use to cure your dry and itchy scalp , first get an experts opinion to determine your scalp condition. We spoke with two professionals who can ensure the best products to use to alleviate the irritation and treat an itchy scalp.

Dr. Adebola Dele-Michael, a board-certified dermatologist, says “It is better to use a medicated shampoo that can alleviate the itchy symptoms. Conditioners should be applied to the length of the hair and not the scalp.” She explains, “itchy scalp could be a sign of inflammation and should be evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist. Some over-the-counter treatments commonly used are Head & Shoulders Shampoo, Selsun Blue Shampoo and Nizoral 1% Shampoo.”

How to use a dandruff shampoo

Over the counter dandruff shampoos can be drying on curls, but the ingredients are beneficial for reducing bacteria, and removing dandruff. To prevent stripping your curls of moisture, apply a conditioner to the ends of your hair prior to using the anti-dandruff shampoo. You can use Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm to coat your hair. Add the shampoo to a color applicator bottle to make it easier to apply. Part your hair into four sections, then section by section apply the shampoo directly on your scalp. Then, work the shampoo into a lather and let it sit on the scalp for two minutes. Rinse, shampoo again, follow up with a conditioner of your choice.

Diane C. Bailey, celebrity hair stylist and Shea Moisture brand ambassador, recommends using a sulfate-free shampoo, and exfoliating your scalp to help combat dry scalp and flakes.  According to Diane C. Bailey, doing so is key in order to have healthy hair, as well as doing regular deep conditioning treatments.

Bailey, recommends using Shea Moisture African Black Soap Purification Masque. “The masque hydrates and detoxifies strands, while exfoliating scalp of debris, as well as calming itching, and flaking due to inflammation. The masque contains tea tree oil, which provides anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial benefits. Coconut oil nourishes with fatty acids. African Black Soap gently exfoliates and soothes the scalp, while helping to detoxifying hair of impurities.”

How do you use the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Purification Masque?

Diane C. Bailey says, “Apply masque from root-to-ends. Massage into scalp for two to three minutes with pads of fingers in a circular motion to aid in stimulating the scalp, and dislodging dry skin. With a large tooth comb, begin at ends of hair and gently comb through to detangle and to evenly distribute. Cover hair with plastic cap and leave on for 10 or 15 minutes. Use a streamer, or moist heat, to open the cuticles and pores to increase hydration.  After the steam treatment, rinse with warm, cool water to close the cuticles and pores, sealing in moisture. Comb and style as usual.”


One of the main reasons to not put conditioner on your scalp is because it can leave build up on the scalp which can contribute to itching and flaking. Putting conditioner on the scalp will not reduce inflammation. In order to treat dry or itchy scalp use an exfoliator or medicated shampoo.

Have you ever used deep conditioner on your scalp? Tell us what products you use for dry and itchy scalp. 

What’s Next? Learn More about the Dry & Itchy Scalp Solution, LivSo. 

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Here's How to Know If You Have a Scalp Allergy
Source: iStock

Scalp contact dermatitis commonly takes place when there is an allergic response to the ingredients found in hair dye, straighteners, and topical drugs. Fragrances, preservatives, humectants, and emulsifiers in personal care items can cause reactions on the scalp as well.

How do you know that you have allergic scalp reaction?

  • Your skin will itch, burn, and feel tender

  • Your scalp may feel dry, and flake

  • You can develop a red rash on your hair line, ear, or neck

  • Your skin will feel swollen

  • The symptoms appear one to two days after you came in contact with the allergen

What can be done to heal an allergic reaction on the scalp?

Seek medical attention if you have a rash, with severe swelling or burning of the skin. You will have to see a doctor if you have itching, that prevents you from working, sleeping or doing everyday routines.

Doctors can diagnose contact dermatitis based on your symptoms, and physical examination. Ask your doctor for a patch test which can be used to help pinpoint what you are allergic too.

What is a patch test?

During patch testing, the following will happen:

  1. Substances that you may be allergic will be applied to your skin.

  2. You have to keep the substances on your skin for a certain amount of days. Usually 2 days.

  3. When you return to the doctor’s office, the doctor will check your skin for reactions.

Your doctor may also prescribe an antihistamine. Oral antihistamines can relieve itch, but beware of antihistamine lotions, which can make itching worse.

A dermatologist can help you learn what hair care products you can use to prevent your symptoms. They have databases that can help determine what products you can use based on ingredients.

Are there any treatments you can do at home?

Try using cool, wet compresses on the scalp at the site of irritation. You can do a process of elimination with products that have ingredients you think you may be allergic too.

Ingredients that can trigger scalp contact dermatitis:

  • Paraphenylendiamine (PPD”>

  • Propylene glycol (PPG”>

  • Thioglycolates (permanent wave solution”>

  • Preservatives: formaldehyde releasers, methyldibromo – glytaronitrile

  • Sulfates

  • Silicones

  • Petroleum Oils

  • Phthalates

  • Lanolin

  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine

  • Fragrances

  • Zinc pyrithione

  • Nickel

  • Adhesives used to attach prosthesis to the scalp.

  • Essential oils such as tea tree oil

  • Sodium Hydroxide

If the symptoms do not go away on their own, a doctor can prescribe oral, or topical corticosteroids. Be sure that the topical cream, or ointment does not contain ingredients that cause your itching, or rash, if you are aware of your triggers.

Sometimes you will not experience a rash, or itching the first time you use a product that has an ingredient you are allergic to. Your skin can become irritated to the ingredient when you use the product at another time. It will take a lot of detective work by you, and your doctor to figure out what is causing your scalp contact dermatitis.

Have you ever had an allergic reaction on your scalp? What did you do about it?

Read How to Care for Your Scalp with Seborrheic Dermatitis.

Here are 3 Ways I Combat a Dry and Itchy Scalp.

How to Find a Dandruff Shampoo That Actually Works for You
You may feel discouraged after purchasing shampoos that claim to stop dandruff, but do nothing to help your condition. It is important to read the labels and be aware of the ingredients that help remove flakes.

There are three common scalp conditions that cause dandruff. Here are the ingredients you need to look for based on your scalp condition when purchasing hair products.

Mild Dandruff

You will not see flakes on your clothes when you wear black if you have mild dandruff. Look for ingredients like peppermint and tea tree oil because they help the scalp feel cool and clean.

Glycerin is another essential ingredient. It will help the scalp stay moisturized without adding buildup which is important when using shampoos for dandruff or itchy scalp. Eden Bodyworks Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo is a great option.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

The most common areas on the scalp affected by seborrheic dermatitis is the hairline and the nape area. The flakes are oily, and yellow, or white in color. The cause of seborrheic dermatitis is still being researched. Stress, hormones, yeast that live on our bodies, and genetics are some triggers of seborrheic dermatitis.

Shampoos such as DHS Zinc Shampoo, with 2% zinc pyrithione helps reduce the growth of fungus. Fungus is responsible for the flakes seen with seborrheic dermatitis.

Kiehl’s Scalp Purifying Dandruff Shampoo, has a combination of zinc pyrithione, and salicylic acid. Salicylic acid exfoliates the scalp removing buildup. You can use the Kiehl’s Scalp Purifying Dandruff Shampoo for hard to remove dandruff.

If you are looking for a 2% zinc shampoo that is sulfate, and paraben free, try Help Hair Scalp Therapy 2 in 1 Dandruff Shampoo.

How often can you use a dandruff shampoo?

You want to use dandruff shampoos on a weekly basis. Dandruff shampoos can make your hair feel dry. To avoid dryness, alternate using a regular shampoo one week and a zinc shampoo the following week.

Is there a special way to use dandruff shampoos?

You can put the shampoo in a color applicator bottle and that will help you apply the dandruff shampoo directly to the scalp, not the hair. Once the shampoo is on the scalp, allow it to sit on for two to five minutes allowing the active ingredients to work. Then, rinse the shampoo and apply it a second time without letting sit on the scalp. Rinse again and proceed to condition.

If you are still having issues removing your flakes, try a scale softener. Scale softeners are creams that can be applied to your scalp before you shampoo to help remove, and break down scales. Phillip Kingsley Exfoliating Scalp Mask has a creamy texture, that helps to gently remove build up, and soothe the scalp. Apply the mask directly to your scalp, and let it sit for ten minutes. Rinse out the product, and proceed to a dandruff shampoo of your choice.

There is no need to oil or grease your scalp in an effort to alleviate dryness or itching. Petroleum and oil based products make seborrheic dermatitis worse, and cause flakes to stick together making them harder to remove.

Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis of the scalp can show up as red, raised scaly patches. This disorder is caused by rapid skin cell turnover, which causes the scales to stick on top of each other forming a hard patch.

The symptoms associated with psoriasis include:

  • Itching

  • Dry scalp

  • White, silvery scales

  • Sensitive scalp, that burns or feels sore

Look for salicylic acid, and coal tar in products for psoriasis. MG 217 PSORIASIS shampoo or Neutrogena T/Gel has 3% coal tar which helps reduce inflammation, cell turnover and scaling.

Other ingredients to look for in dandruff shampoos include Ketoconazole. Ketoconazole kills yeast, and fungus that triggers dandruff. This ingredient can be found in Nizoral shampoo.

It is important that you cleanse your scalp with shampoo, instead of a co-washing product. Removing build up, and flakes is vital in creating a healthy environment on your scalp for hair to grow. Co-washing works well for hair, but for the scalp, it will only make the dandruff worse.

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