In continuing with this series on eczema relief, it only makes sense to discuss other forms of moisture through the use of essential hair oils. As mentioned in my last post, a great moisturizer is everything, and for many people who suffer from eczema (and for many curlies with porous hair), coconut oil is a staple moisturizer in the home. This light-weight oil is compact with antioxidants and proteins for total hair (and skin) restoration. It’s also known to promote optimal health, while boosting brain function. And just when you think that’s all, coconut oil is also great for cooking, keeping up to three years unrefrigerated! It’s pretty much the answer for everything, right? Before you say, “Yes!” you might want to consult your doctor. To my dismay, a recent flare up after a wash routine has proved that topical application of coconut oil (although widely used to remedy eczema flare-ups) can sometimes trigger eczema flare-ups, due to undetected skin allergies.
(And the walk of shame begins…now.) Prior to the aloe vera treatment, my daughter and I took a break from coconut oil to fully observe and experience the benefits of lavender and black castor oils. We loved it, so I decided to add coconut oil and all of its awesomeness to the mix during baby girl’s wash routine. I also rubbed her body down with it. Well, after applying the coconut oil, the itch-scratch cycle went from 0-10 in about 5 minutes and she became very irritable. I 100% regret doing that. Smh. It’s a terrible sight (and feeling) when you are the cause of your child’s suffering. The idea that coconut oil could be as beneficial as it is harmful was unbelievable to me, so I had to figure this out.
Through my research, I discovered the rare possibility that my daughter could have allergic contact dermatitis. These allergy symptoms are almost identical to that of eczema and the only way to be sure of this possibility is through a skin patch test arranged by the dermatologist. One might experience severe itching, skin irritation and inflammation upon contact. This reaction can range anywhere from immediate to 48 hours depending on the amount of applications to the skin per day. Needless to say, I have no plans of repeating that horrible experience, so there will be no more coconut scalp therapy sessions or coconut body rubs for my little one. And to be honest, I’m okay with that because there are other great oils out there. Actually, there’s a plethora of essential oils that provide eczema relief. Here is a list of my five favorites.
1. ($$) Rosemary – stimulates hair growth and controls dandruff; best for dark hair restoration
2. ($$$) Roman Chamomile – anti-inflammatory, anti-fungicidal and antibacterial properties, soothes pain and irritation of the skin
3. ($$) Safflower – moisturizes rough skin and heals skin wounds; contains vitamin E
4. ($$) Lavender – anti-inflammatory, anti-fungicidal and antibacterial properties; relieves itchy scalp and stimulates hair growth.
(This oil does not need to be diluted with other oils and can be applied directly to the scalp.)
5. ($$$) Calendula-heals rashes and bruises; repairs damaged skin
Any one of these oils will work well as a pre-poo, hot oil treatment, or conditioner. You can also try mixing these oils with castor oil–another great eczema symptom reliever with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties–or blend them altogether to meet your specific needs. Personally speaking, hormonal changes throughout my pregnancy have decreased the health of my hair despite the influx of prenatal vitamins. I have experienced dry/itchy scalp, alopecia, and extreme hair breakage. For these reasons, I’ve been contemplating a 7-month trial of my DIY pre-poo, below. I’ll keep you posted!
Rosemary and Lavender Pre-poo
Ingredients: (Oils) lavender (tea tree and calendula are good supplements), rosemary, jojoba (for buildup removal) and grapeseed (base/carrier)
1. Heat mixture in microwavable glass (or on the stove). Careful not to burn.
2. Massage mixture into scalp
3. Comb through hair with wide-toothed comb
4. Condition with shower cap/warm towel for one hour
5. Rinse and begin your regular wash routine
Be sure to check with your doctor about using these oils for preventative medical complications. Especially during pregnancy. If none of the above applies to you, and if your heart cannot part from coconut oil, it will be in your best interest to stock up on one of the following three types of coconut oil: unrefined, virgin, and cold-pressed. These oils maintain their most natural form as they are made from fresh coconut and are unexposed to high heat levels. Refined coconut oil, on the other hand, is made from dried coconut. Bleach is added as an enhancement, and all scent and flavor is completely removed. In addition, this oil loses proteins and other beneficial properties during the (higher) heating process through which it is made. Don’t make the mistake of picking up the wrong oil, ladies.
Happy label reading!
What oils, aside from coconut, are you invested in that treat your eczema (or itchy scalp)?