I dread it every year. I know it’s coming, but I never know when. Sometimes it arrives when summer days wane and the first signs of fall are just one leaf away. Other times, the frigid winters of South Florida where most days are in the 70′s bring on this condition. My hair goes from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde and I hide my head under hats, headbands, and scarves.
I’ve come very close to cutting a few holes in a paper bag and putting it over my head. Dandruff is an annual adversary that I contend with without any reinforcements or relief. This summer was different, however.
My situation got worse. Actually, “worse” cannot even describe the turmoil I’ve experienced for the past three months. The problem began at the end of June. I was brushing my hair one day and realized how itchy my scalp was. I didn’t think anything of it, until the next day when I was plucking my eyebrows and I saw huge flakes that were coming from my scalp.
I gasped in shock — why me? Why now? How disgusting! I immediately started a daily regimen of Head and Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo, thinking this would help. I was wrong. I thought Head and Shoulders was supposed to help with dryness and flaking. Instead, I had unwanted results. My scalp was flaking even more and the problematic area seemed to be spreading.
Not only was the front part of my scalp effected, but now the back of my head was suffering. I threw a hat on and rushed out to the store, desperate for anything that could help me. I walked down the aisles of Target and was met with a slew of choices. I decided on using Head and Shoulders Intensive Solutions. This is exactly what I needed: 2 times stronger than regular Head and Shoulders, 2% pyrithione zinc.
Although I have no idea what pyrithione zinc is or what it does, I went home with a smile on my face, thinking I’d found the solution to my problem. I washed my hair with my new shampoo and could feel tingling on my scalp.
It had to be working, right? Wrong, so very, very wrong. A few hours after using this Intensive Solutions Shampoo, my problems were even more compounded by the fact that there were even more flakes than before and now my scalp was itchy. Dejected, I stood in the bathroom as I analyzed my hair. Okay, I told myself. I’ll give it one week. So for seven days, I lathered the shampoo into my hair and scalp, twice each day.
The tingling continued, but now there was a new symptom — a burning sensation that made me wince. I threw the bottle of shampoo against the shower stall. Darn you, Head and Shoulders! I felt stupid as I blamed the shampoo. Wasn’t I the idiot for trying the same brand of shampoo when the first shampoo had a disappointing outcome?
A few days later, with a colorful scarf around my head, I drove over to Whole Foods Market. Maybe I was going about this all wrong. Maybe I needed to avoid chemicals that I could hardly pronounce. As I walked into Whole Foods, I caught a glimpse of myself in the window. Besides my bright, multi-hued scarf that was draped drastically over my head, I had on my biggest pair of sunglasses. I needed to find a solution soon or else my family would not go out in public with me.
I strolled through the hair care section and was inundated with choice after choice. After half an hour of reading the tiny print of every shampoo label, I finally went to ask an associate for help.
“How bad is it?” A young man of no more than 25 asked me as he cocked his head to the side, probably trying not to laugh at my scarf. He smiled as he explained that a combination of jojoba oil, rosemary oil, and tea tree oil would improve the health of my scalp.
I bought everything he recommended. For weeks, I rubbed oil mixtures into my scalp. When that didn’t seem to work, I tried other remedies like olive oil and mayonnaise and emu oil.
I even tried other shampoos and hair care products that touted they would relieve itchiness and flaking, and the condition still persisted. I was about to make an appointment with a dermatologist when I found myself at an Aveda store.
As I looked around, my eyes immediately stopped at something called Scalp Remedy Dandruff Solution. I read the label. Hmm… 2% salicylic acid. Would this acid help me? Other ingredients listed are a mysterious blend of polysyllabic words like Echinacea Purpurea (Coneflower) Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Dimethethicone PEG-8 Meadowfoamate, and Hydroxyethylcellulose. I didn’t care what the label said. Tabasco sauce could have been listed and I would have bought it.
I was in despair and ready to try anything. You know the saying, “Hoping for the best, expecting the worst?” That was my attitude after I conditioned my hair and once again, grumbled in front the mirror with the bottle of Scalp Remedy in hand.
The directions state to apply the solution on the problem area, not rinse out and apply one to four times a day. With its unusual nozzle, Scalp Remedy went onto my scalp and I hoped that this would be my Shawshank Redemption.
The Scalp Remedy Solution is clear-looking (it looks like a more viscous version of water) and offers a subtle aroma reminiscent of flowers and spices. I squirted a little solution to my finger and brought it to my nose.
It seemed to open my nasal passages. I smirked and hoped that its scent wasn’t the only thing that was good about this product. I waited for an hour before looking at my scalp. Surprisingly, it wasn’t flaking… yet. I waited another four hours and applied more Scalp Remedy.
I’ve repeated this process three times a day, every day for three weeks. The first and second week, I was skeptical. My head was no longer itchy, but now my scalp felt, for lack of a better word, dirty. The hair where my problem areas on my scalp were felt heavy.
I looked and saw huge sections of flakes lifting from my scalp. Was this good or bad? I had the husband examine my head. I saw him squint, and as he shook his head he said, “Looks like it’s working.” I’m on my third week of Scalp Remedy and I’m happy to say that I will not be buying any other dandruff product except for this one.
The huge, scary flakes I saw two weeks ago have disappeared. I think the solution promoted this massive flaking. My scalp is still a little dry, but the flaking has stopped, finally. I have every reason to believe my scalp will be back to normal soon.
At $25, Scalp Remedy is on the pricey side, but I saved myself a trip to the dermatologist and a $50 specialist co-pay. If the doctor insisted on some prescription medication, who knows how much that would have set me back. Also, after spending just over $100 on products that I will never use, $25 is a bargain.
Aveda Scalp Remedy available at all Aveda stores, $25 for 4.2 fl. oz.
Pic of the Day: I found this at my local dog beach today