[UPDATE:Another link for some health tips for your scalp added towards the end.See below.]
Itchy scalp, is nobody’s friend. Whatever’s the cause: breastfeeding or not. The irritating and constant need to relieve the embarrassing itchiness with a quick scratch here and there. The unflattering flakiness that sprinkles it’s joy anytime you even just slightly touch your hair..urghhhh! Dry flaky scalp, with or without the itch is universally uncool in the highest factor. And for a long time, I suffered from it, thanks to the side effects of breastfeeding hormones.
I mean like, for my choices in nourishing my child, Mother Nature couldn’t be more rewarding, right?! (I have a few choice words for her about that- read that here.)
But such is life, and such is the human body. Particularly so for the female human body, who seems to endure so much throughout her entire life. Gotta love them hormones right? However, for every mud pie nature slings your way, there is also am equally opposing little ray of sunshine she has on offer too. So I’d like to share with you what natural methods I used to help keep my embarrassing scalp at bay.(No, seriously, read here to see how highly conscious I was about it.)
Now, lets be straight up first, and get this straight: unfortunately for you if you’re one of those unlucky breastfeeding mama’s who’s breastfeeding hormones have now decided to lace your scalp or bit of it with non-glittering white glitter, well, Im sad to say that you may very well have to wait till your hormones even out. As in, till you start weaning baby off the breastmilk. Ya. Not the answer you nor I were looking for, right. But tis true.
In fact, about a month after my 11.5 month old baby refused the breast and my milk dried up, it was pretty much gone. And by month three, it was a long forgotten problem. However, till then, this is what I used to help with the relief of the itchiness and general dryness:
•Exfoliation for your scalp: Before washing, give your scalp a good brushing, and light scratching (like an exfoliation for your scalp, just using your fingers) – This was a tip given to me by two different hair dressers. The one, who is stillto this day the absolute hair genius in my books. So what he says is like freakin hair gospel! And this doesn’t just have to be done by dry scal sufferers only– anyone can do with a good exfoliation. Please note: never on wet hair/scalp. That’s too much friction that can cause damage.(as told to me by the experts)
• Moisturise: Then I used about a teaspoon of coconut oil that I melted in the palm of my hands and rubbed into the troublesome areas. Once rubbed in, take a towel soak in hot water and wrap it around your head for about 10 minutes. The heat helps the oils soak into your scalp.( You may have to reheat your towel in the hot water a few times here- if you have the energy) After the 10 minutes, wash hair.
• Give it a good rinse: Make usre you no more residual product left on your scalp. This could cause build up, not helping your cause, or your plight for shiny hair(if you had that). A good rinse that I sometimes used, which helped ensure no buildup was an apple cider vinegar, kills fungus or yeasts that may be causing the dryness.
You can either dab apple cider vinegar straight onto the scalp using a cottonwool ball. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with several cold water washes.
Take ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, mixed with 1 cup water.
Apply this to your scalp (by slowly pouring or using a squeeze bottle), and apply to your hair.
Leave for 10- 15 minutes and rinse with several cold washes.
You could leave as such, or reapply conditioner just to your ends if you so desire, but not to your scalp.
Note: white vinegar can also help, but it has quite a pungent smell, so that’s your choice. And the method of use would be different.
• Take your vitamins: Really mommas. I know you’ve been told this so many times, but do you really do it? Like regularly? I mean, I know when the kids come earthside, the last thing Im thinking of is vitamins(even though I should). This is especially so, if its not your first child, because you’re so insanely busy. But with breastfeeding, your own vitamin stores are being depleted and being given to your baby. So baby will never ever suffer, but you? You , momma, are going to feel and see the effects of your ill nutrition or lack of vitamins very quickly if you don’t look after yourself.(like oh, say, your scalp?) So keep those prenatal vites coming! This can only help your scalp situation.
Now keep in mind, you’re going to have to wash your hair, and use these methods regularly. Urggh..I know, right…Now, I don’t know about you, but as a mother of a small baby back then, therein lies the rub: I could just about fit in a shower on most days..hair washing once a week was all I could manage. Nevermind have the time to “ give it a good exfoliation”. And with a super-sayan level cling-on baby, this added loads of fun for me trying to figure this one out. ..So yeah, there’s that dilemma. I don’t have the answers for that one. Good luck to you.
Also if you can’t fit in all of these tips in one session, that’s also ok. Do what you can and don’t fret too much. But if you’re not having much success, and you have the energy, then perhaps give all of it bash, and keep it regularly for at least a month.
For more tips on scalp and general mom health, go check out this post here.
Also, it should go without saying that the type of shampoo and conditioner you use is also very important. So make sure you get a moisturising one that treats your scalp with kindness. Ask your professional hairdresser for advice on this.
And that’s it for me. Just remember hormones have such a strong role in this, and all these treatments are more just on the superficial side. Its what’s on the inside that counts. And it doesnt get more “inside” than hormones! To read my take on hormones, and links about breastfeeding hormones, see this post here.
Also mommas, just remember breastfeeding is not a permanent state. Its only for a short time in the grand scheme of things. And in my opinion, the uncoolness of my scalp is a tiny price to pay for the continuous and wide spectrum advantages and effects that breastfeeding has on my children. That was my choice. And it remains your choice too.
Here’s healthy hair we can whip back and forth…without the snowfall. x