Oct 20, 2011

READER QUESTION: Shedding, Dermatitis, and Self Image - OH MY!.

So, we have another reader question. This one is several questions in one and it's all about starting your journey as a natural.
I have some hair issues that I am hoping you guys can assist me with. I am seriously starting my natural hair exhibition and I am dealing with some things. First, I have only been without a perm for 5 weeks but my hair is short so I have a lot of new growth. I do not know how to rock my hair while the perm is growing out. I am a freelance designer and PT stylist so people look for me portray a certain image (or maybe I look for that in myself) but my hair is the important part about how I dress and feel. My other issue is moisture. I have seborreic dermatitis and I am allergic to coconut oil and alcohol so what can I use or make to keep it hydrated. My hair sheds a lot too! - Q from Nashville

Hey Q! Thanks for asking this question. The questions you've asked are quite important and need to be addressed. Believe me, there are so many ladies with at least one or all of these issues. The fastest answer to all your questions is one simple word: PATIENCE. Many of the issues you've discussed will end in time. However, don't let this distract you from the journey. Let's get to your questions so that we can ease your way:





1. I have only been without a perm for 5 weeks but my hair is short so I have a lot of new growth. - This is the main reason some naturals decide to big chop rather than transition. The new growth you are feeling is you natural, un-relaxed hair, growing to the surface. Depending on how long you've had a relaxer, you are not gonna be used to this new feeling. Your curls may be tight and coily, loose and wavey, or a mixture of the two. For the time you choose to transition, you are going to be fighting with two different textures of hair.

My advice, start experimenting with styles that will disguise the two textures. Rod Sets,wearing headbands, getting a weave/braids, wigs/falls all will help ease you through this transition. Don't be afriad to experiment! You will look different, but you are still YOU, nothing is changing but your hair. This leads me to your next question:


2. I am a freelance designer and PT stylist so people look for me portray a certain image (or maybe I look for that in myself) but my hair is the important part about how I dress and feel. - As women, our hair is a big definition of who we are. Going natural is not just about having healthy hair, it's about having a healthy self-image. Ladies who tell me they are going natural, I tell them it's not easy. The person in the mirror will start to look different. You have to find your comfort zone.

I'm a fashion blogger/wardrobe stylist, but I'll be the first to tell you, I've had some WACKY hair adventures since going natural. My hair styles have went from HOTMESS to AWESOME goodness. Even being 2 years in the game, I still have days when I'm not too happy with my hair outcomes.

For me, wearing weaves eased my struggle. For you, it may be having an arsenal of cool hats or funky earrings and accessories. No matter what, I guarantee that you will get past the feeling that you have to "portray a certain image". Don't let others define you, define yourself!


3. My other issue is moisture. I have Seborreic Dermatitis and I am allergic to coconut oil and alcohol so what can I use or make to keep it hydrated. - Now, for this question, I had to go to the medical sites - I'm no doctor!! This is what PubMed Health tells us about Seborreic Dermatitis -
Seborrheic dermatitis is thought to be due to a combination of an over production of skin oil and irritation from a yeast called malessizia.
Seborrheic dermatitis appears to run in families. Stress, fatigue, weather extremes, oily skin, infrequent shampoos or skin cleaning, use of lotions that contain alcohol, skin disorders (such as acne), or obesity may increase the risk.
The best way to combat the symptoms of Seborreic Dermatitis is to become the supreme label reader! You are gonna have to be more proactive in you journey, using lots of natural, in the cabinet, remedies.

When you have this issue, you have to loosen and remove those flaky patches before you style your hair. You must wash your hair at leat once per week to remove excess oil from your scalp. In addition, you need to use a shampoo that is alchool free and has medicines that will help your dermatitis: Johnson's Baby Shampoo, Neutrogena T-Gel Shampoo, or Jason Naturals Dandruff Relief Shampoo.

So you can't use coconut oil? There are so many more out there to try: Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil, Argan Oil, Almond Oil, and Black Castor Oil, are all oils that would aid in helping your hair. These oils need to be applied to the HAIR, not the scalp. Clearly, your scalp has no problem creating oil, but this excess is not traveling up the hair shaft where you need it to go. CLICK HERE for a post on "sealing in the moisture" of your hair.


4. My hair sheds a lot too! - Being newly natural, your head is going shed and break alot! The area where the new growth meets the relaxed hair is called the demarcation point. The curly new growth is the strongest part of your hair follicle, the relaxed ends are the weakest part. Naturally, the relaxed part is going to break off if you don't keep your hair moisturized. The best way to do this is to stick a deep conditioning treatment. Of course, keeping in mind, your dermatitis, find a deep conditioner that has no alcohol.

In addition, wearing protective styles will aid in retaining moisture and reducing shed. Trying a braided or cornrowed style will help this process.

I hope this helps! There's lots of info here, but feel free to refer to post to help you in the journey! Keep us posted!
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