Itching and flaking of the scalp are an unfortunately common problem. Probably not as common as the makers of dandruff shampoo would have us believe (that “social pariah” hard sell always irks me). Still, and particularly for young people experiencing that dismaying period in life known as puberty, it can be a hard-to-tackle issue. Not surprisingly, nature offers her own remedies for flakes and itch and they tend to be easier on the skin than store-bought products.
First, consider switching to Castile soap for shampooing. It does not have sodium lauryl sulphate which has been shown to dry out even oily skin. Eliminating contact with this ingredient, which is found in virtually all commercially made shampoos, may do the trick on its own. Try shampooing with just the Castile soap for two weeks as a test. If you find your symptoms have gone, you know what the problem is. If you’re still experiencing flaking, try this formula:
1 cup liquid Castile soap
30 drops tea-tree essential oil
20 drops rosemary essential oil
15 drops cedarwood essential oil
Put all these ingredients in a bowl and combine by stirring gently. Pour the mixture into a plastic bottle, either a squeeze bottle or one with a pump.
The tea-tree oil is antifungal and antiseptic. The rosemary and cedarwood oils are also antiseptic so this mixture should take care of any problems over and above dry scalp. To use, shampoo as normal but be sure to rinse thoroughly. Only one application is necessary (no shampoo; rinse; repeat). A vinegar rinse once a month can also help with flaking and add shine. Just pour a cup (or more for longer hair) of apple cider vinegar onto your hair and comb it through. For best results, don’t rinse and let your hair dry naturally.
A final word of caution: persistent dandruff should be looked at very closely. Unfortunately, lice eggs sometimes look virtually the same. Consult a specialist if you are unsure and consider seeing a dermatologist if your scalp peels or bleeds and scabs.
Header: Shampoo, a painting by Cynthia Westwood c 1969