Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Natural Ways to Treat Scalp Conditions

I know as well as the next person that healthy skin is a very important barrier for your immune system.  Many of us slather layers of lotions and oils on our skin on a daily basis as well as exfoliate at least once weekly to keep our skin looking silky and smooth. However, many of us completely ignore our scalp which has the largest amount of blood flow and direct access to the rest of our body's blood system. Your scalp is a haven for healthy follicles and gorgeous healthy hair so you have to take care of it. I've got some great scalp treatment recipes below, so read on!

Before I get on with the recipes, let's talk about the different types of scalp conditions and natural home remedies that can help aid in healing and restoring a healthy scalp.

Eczema is a non infection skin condition characterized by red, inflammed skin that is rough and itchy and can worsen into bloody or oozing sores that can scab over to create thickened dark skin. This skin condition can also be found on other areas of the body and can be aggravated by allergens in foods or hair products.

Psoriasis is another type of skin condition characterized by red and inflammed skin with the presence of white or silvery patches of skin referred to as scales. It is most commonly seen near the elbows, knee, or trunk but can be found anywhere on the body.

Dandruff is a very common scalp condition that causes buildup of dry flakes on the scalp that can be loosened into the rest of the hair or even fall down on clothing.

Seborrheic dermatitis is a more severe form of dandruff that has larger and greasy flakes that are commonly yellow in color. In babies it is referred to as cradle cap.

Alopecia is a form of hair loss that can be related to an underlying immune condition where the hair or the hair follicles are being attached by your own immune system. Alopecia areata is a form of hair loss that is usually more rapid and on one side of the head more than the other. However there are some causes of alopecia that can be related to age and genetics as well as those that can be related to hormone imbalance.

In order to have a great scalp treatment, you really need to make sure you have the right tools and natural ingredients so you don't increase the toxic load on your body. One essential piece of equipment is a bristle brush that can help to exfoliate and massage the scalp during the treatment. I prefer a natural or boar's hair brush but nylon can work as well as long as the bristles are flat or slightly rounded on the top. You'll also need an application brush or cotton balls to help apply the scalp treatment and a great recipe for a treatment.

A great recipe has few ingredients and the most essential is a great moisturizing base that you can add different essential herb or healing oils to for added benefits. My personal favorite is coconut oil since it absorbs nicely into the skin and has a moisturizing and smoothing effect, but olive oil can also be used for a more inexpensive option. i usually use about 3-4 tablespoons of softened coconut or olive oil followed by 3-5 drops of one or multiple essential oils to help achieve max) imum benefit.

One great essential oil that I prefer to add is tea tree oil because it has great cleansing properties, however I'd recommend only 2-3 drops be added since tea tree oil can tend to be very strong and large quantities can actually lead to skin irritation. 2 tablespoons of fresh citrus juice from lemon or grapefruit can also be added for purifying and cleansing properties. Chamomile can be added for soothing qualities and peppermint for a refreshing and cooling sensations for irritated skin. Lavender oil can also be used for refreshing and cooling but has also been shown in clinical trials to help regrow hair. 70% of people involved in the trials that massaged lavender oil into the scalp three times a week had significant hair regrowth.

If you're looking for hair regrowth then I'd recommend exfoliating the scalp for about 5 to 10 minutes before the lavender treatment. For a great hair regrowth mixture, try mixing the lavender oil with one cup of warm purified water and a few drops of almond oil and massage into the scalp.

If you're worried your scalp or hair condition might be due to hormone imbalance or possibly an auto immune condition that I've described above, I'd highly recommend setting up a consultation in my office to talk about natural treatment options that would be available to you or further testing that may be required to uncover the root cause of your condition. Give us a call at (309) 689-6200 to set up your appointment today.