Monthly Archives: November 2015

Did Protective Styling Cause More Breakage?

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Purple question mark2

Ok guys, I’m clearly thinking out loud as I try to figure out this whole bald spot/breakage thing. As I examined the area where the bald spot is, it looks as though there is more breakage happening around that area although it’s very small. (Any breakage is bad breakage in my opinion!) I’m trying my best not to go into panic mode, but I want this breakage to STOP! Losing hair at the front of your head is one of the worst areas to have this happen in my opinion. I’m just glad that there is plenty of hair there to camouflage the affected area right now. Anyhoo, I’m still reading and looking things up on the internet regarding all the possible reasons and causes of breakage and hair loss. Now granted, I know all of the basic causes, but I just want to make sure I’m not overlooking something. Then the light bulb went off in my head. Yes, I had another EUREKA moment. 😉

Just a few weeks ago I took out my kinky twist braids. I had them in for almost 3 months, and I blogged about how upset I was that my new growth caused me to take them out sooner. Remember how I talk about I’m “team save the edges” and how I didn’t put my braids into cute buns on top of my head or any other up-dos that would put stress on my edges? Well while I didn’t do any of those things, I did have the (bad) habit of flipping the braids in the front to the back to keep them out of my face. My husband even told me I needed to stop doing that because it was  pulling on my roots. The one time I should have listened to him…

You know where I’m going with this, right? Where is this new breakage that I’ve found? In the front, in those same areas where I was flipping back my braids. The stress I was putting on my fragile roots for almost three months of constantly flipping my hair back was clearly too much. Now that the braids are out and my hair has had a chance to breathe, I’m seeing the effects of my rough treatment of my hair. AND, I might add, my braids were more than likely done too tight even though I’m not tender headed. It’s sad when you expect your braids to hurt because that’s how most hair braiders braid hair – tightly. They catch every edge and every nap so tightly that if the wind blows on your scalp, you’re in tears afterwards. Braids should never hurt. NEVER. Now I’m not saying that I’ll never get braids again, because I will. I think from now on I’ll lean more towards crochet braids, and even with those you have to be careful of how tightly your cornrows are braided and the type of hair you use for your braids as certain synthetic hair can cause irritation and breakage to your hair.

In the end, I think I figured out where I went wrong you guys. I’m dealing with two issues here:

  1. The unexplained scalp pain that comes and goes and the small bald spot that occurred in that area BEFORE I got my braids
  2. Breakage in the area where I continuously flipped my braids to the back

Reading other blogs and surfing through YouTube and other places on the internet on this subject has helped me to figure out a solid game plan of how to attack these issues. I’m going to stick to a regular hair care routine that consists of deep conditioning and hot oil treatments, and I’m going to start back taking my biotin supplements. I’m also going to continue to be gentle with my hair and not manipulate it (comb, touch, pull, etc.) too much. I know in time I will see the results that I’m looking for, which is healthier hair, but being patient is key. Good things come to those who wait. 🙂

Dear Naturalistas…

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Stop touching your hair

This is a much needed reminder to myself and anyone else out there who likes to finger fluff their natural, kinky hair throughout the day. STOP IT!!!!!!!! When you sit back and wonder why you have breakage, shedding, etc. think back to all the times you’ve had your fingers in your hair BESIDES the time you were styling it. This is a hard one for me, but I’m truly making a conscious effort to stop. 🙂

That is all.

Painful Scalp & Hair Loss

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scalp-massage

It wasn’t until I decided to go natural two and half years ago that I experienced pain in my scalp towards the front of my head. I immediately attributed it to my scalp going through the healing process of not using chemicals on it anymore. Seems logical, right? Well, the pain would come and go, and sometimes it would be so painful that it would keep me up at night. From time to time I would experience itching there, but for the most part it would even be painful to the touch. Sometimes it would last for a few hours or a few minutes while other times it would last for days.

Over time I became used to it, even though in the back of my mind I kept wondering what was causing it. Fast forward to today and I now have a small bald spot in that same area of my scalp where the pain would occur. One day recently I was putzing around on the internet and I began to look up painful scalp, and what I found was A M A Z I N G! Not only is this something that is very common (unfortunately), but it’s something that men and women alike experience regardless of race. The vast majority experienced hair loss with the pain while some did not experience hair loss, just the intense scalp pain. There are various terms to explain the condition:

  • Trichodynia is a condition where the patient experiences a painful sensation on their scalp. The pain sometimes is described as burning. Trichodynia often is associated with hair loss, but some studies show it has no connection to hair loss. Often there is an underlying psycho-somatic cause, such as stress, depression or anxiety.
  • Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. There are several patterns of natural and disease related hair loss. Hair loss may also be caused by several drugs and medications.

    Types of Hair Loss and Symptoms

    • The commonest type of hair loss is male-pattern baldness. This type of hair loss is typically caused by the effects of hormones. This is also termed androgenic or androgenetic alopecia as the cause lies in androgens of male sex hormones. There is a pattern of receding hairline along with thinning of hair over the crown.
    • Female pattern baldness – there is thinning of hair over the top of the head.
    • Alopecia areata – this is also termed patchy baldness as there are patches of baldness that come and go. This may commonly affect teenagers and young adults but may affect a person of any age. Alopecia areata is commonly caused due to a problem in the immune system. The condition may sometimes run in families.
    • Scarring alopecia – this is mainly caused after a scar over the skin. This type of alopecia is called cicatricial alopecia. The hair follicles that hold the roots of the hair may be completely destroyed. This means that the hair would not grow back at the areas affected. Some diseases and disorders also cause scarring alopecia. These include lichen planus, injury, discoid lupus etc.
    • Anagen effluvium is a more widespread hair loss that may affect the whole body apart from the scalp. This is caused most commonly due to cancer chemotherapy.
    • Telogen effluvium – leads to thinning of hair all over the body rather than baldness in patches. This may be the result of stress of some medications.

Having read all of this and how common it is, it made me feel a lot better. For one, I know I’m not alone, and for two, I now know what to look for in myself to figure out the causes. One of the biggest causes for hair loss besides heredity is STRESS. Thinking back when I first noticed the pain in my scalp, I can’t remember being stressed, but I also have a tendency to internalize my feelings too. Because the pain would come and go so randomly, I began to ignore it over time. I have a high pain tolerance as it is and I think I became used to it.

In addition to seeking medical attention by visiting a dermatologist, there are natural hair treatments for painful scalp and hair loss such as gentle scalp massages, being gentle with your hair and not pulling it or styling it too tightly, being mindful of the products you use such as your shampoos and the ingredients used in them. Pumpkin seed oil is a good natural oil that is known to help with growing hair and healing the skin, Finger detangling instead of using a comb will cause less friction damage to your hair. Protective styling as much as possible and keeping your hands out of your hair will help too.

Another key thing I need to do is keep my dandruff under control. I’ve always had a problem with dandruff since I was little, and mom used Sulfur 8 shampoo and scalp conditioner. I think I will go back to that as well as use rosemary and tea tree natural oils, and stick to a natural hair care routine. The information is out there people and research is KEY! Now that I know what I’m working with I’m going to keep a careful eye on my condition. If it worsens (the bald spot gets bigger or other symptoms develop) my next step will definitely be a trip to the dermatologist. Most importantly, you’re not alone!

Have you experienced painful scalp and or hair loss? What did you do for it? Please leave a comment below!

The Benefits of Using Red Palm Oil

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Red Palm Oil

As I take on the battle of breakage, bald spots, and very dry natural hair, I’ve gone back into research mode. I’ve stumbled upon Red Palm oil. There are so many benefits of using this rich oil from cooking with it, using it on your skin, or what I’m more interested in, using it on your hair. It contains the hard to find toctrienols, which are members of the vitamin E family. The common form of vitamin E, tocopherol, has long been used to treat many skin ailments and is found in many anti-aging products. Here are some of the many benefits of Red Palm Oil:

Red Palm Oil is loaded with the following phytonutrients:

  • Carotenoids (alpha-,beta-,and gamma-carotenes)
  • Sterols (sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol)
  • Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols)
  • Water-soluble powerful antioxidants, phenolic acids and flavonoids

Subsequently, the health benefits of palm oil include reduced risk of a variety of disease processes including:

What about the benefits for the hair, you ask? Well, it is a wonderful moisturizer especially since it’s loaded with vitamin E and other healthy vitamins. Red Palm Oil can be used as a pre-poo, deep conditioner, or a daily moisturizer. To use as a pre-poo, wet your hair with water from a spray bottle. Make sure you wear an old t-shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty because Red Palm Oil will stain. You do not need to use a lot of the oil unless you have really long hair. A little of this oil goes a long way. Section off your hair and work the oil through from root to tip, finger detangling as you go along. Make sure to massage the oil into your scalp as well. Continue this process until your entire head is done and then put on a plastic shower cap and let it set for 30 minutes to an hour. Shampoo with warm water 2-3 times to ensure that you get all of oil out and then proceed with conditioning.

Others use it as a daily moisturizer, some mix it with their favorite shampoo, while others mix it with their favorite conditioner. Either way your hair will reap the benefits of being very moisturized, soft and have a lot of body. Your hair will stay this way for at least a week or until your next wash.

I plan on incorporating the regular use of red palm oil in my pre-wash routine and then following up with the L.O.C. method every night. Consistency is key! No more being the lazy natural that I used to be. I’ll keep you posted on my results.

If you’re interested in purchasing Red Palm Oil, it’s available on Amazon and in most health food stores.

A Change in Plans

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Change is

With the current state of my hair, I’ve decided not to have crochet braids installed. Instead I’m going to focus on getting my hair healthy again. I don’t think the tension and pulling of my hair is the best idea right now. One of the top things on my to-do list is to find a natural hair stylist who can give my hair the full treatment it really needs. If it means cutting off more hair than expected to get rid of the damage, then so be it. Next I have to find a really good moisturizer that is specifically good for the 4c hair that I have. If any of you have any suggestions please let a sista know in the comment section!

I have a funny story to share! Well, I can laugh about it now, but at the time it scared me to death! Last week I dreamed that I went to a shop and got a relaxer put in my hair. *GASP* The horror, right? There was no rhyme or reason for me doing it. All I remember from the dream is looking at myself in the mirror with all this hair on my head that was straightened and styled, and I was so upset because my afro, kinks, and coils were all gone. When I woke up I felt so upset and stressed as if this really happened!

If that dream isn’t proof that I’m in this natural hair journey for the long haul, I don’t know what is. Just as in life, there will be bumps in the road. There will be highs and lows, but they don’t last forever. My hair woes are of my doing, but they are fixable. It’s simply going to take time. So while I won’t be having another protective hairstyle installed just yet, I’m going to work hard at getting my hair healthy again.

Thank you to my fellow naturalista’s who have reached out to me with your encouraging words here on my blog or via Facebook! Thank you for your positivity and support. That is so needed in our community, especially for the newer naturalista’s like myself. Let’s keep encouraging one another and lifting each other up ladies. 🙂

xoxo