Dandruff is the common skin condition that leaves us with an itchy, irritated scalp and small flakes that gather on our clothing, often causing us frustration and embarrassment. It can get worse in the winter as our skin dries out due to the dry, cold weather. While it may be a great photo opp to have flecks of snow in your hair, dandruff is’t the snow we are looking for. So what to do?
Well, it can help to investigate the reasons why we may have this condition and what makes it better or worse for us personally. Are you getting lots of fats in your diet? How often and with what are you washing your hair? Are you using hair care products that dry your scalp or cause it to be excessively oily? Is your home to dry? Do you blow dry your hair? Are you experiencing hormonal changes? Answering some of these questions may help you figure out what might be causing your problem.
The skin on your scalp is an extension of the skin on your face and needs to be treated with the same care and yet the typical person probably uses shampoo and other products with some potentially nasty ingredients. SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is one such ingredient to be avoided as it can greatly irritate skin and it is found in most shampoos. In fact when companies have healing cremes or products they need to test on irritated skin, SLS is the irritant they choose to rub on the skin of humans and animals to see if they then “heal” it with their new product. Does that sound like something you want to be bathing your skin with each day?
Dandruff is also thought to be caused in part by excessive oil production on the scalp. This is yet another side effect of using conventional shampoos, which strip our hair of their natural oils causing us to produce them with a vengeance . This is why the hair of shampoo users gets crazy oily when they go even a day or two without washing. Excessive oil production becomes standard so looking into a no poo method may be helpful if you have dandruff because it may be a fungal variety of dandruff that feeds on that excessive oil.
Sensitivity to certain products may also be playing a role. SLS, fragrance, and chemicals from hair dye can all be bad news for your scalp. They cause irritation and excess oil production. I know personally that I will get dandruff if I use hair bleach or dye and I usually don’t have a problem with flakes. These products are bad news for the health of your scalp.
If your dandruff is related to eczema or psoriasis then you may need to look into triggers and deficiencies like stress, weather, sleep, diet, and allergies. Make sure to get sufficient sleep and include in your diet lots of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant fruits and veggies as well as proteins rich in zinc and B vitamins like oysters, beef, and lamb. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important so take your fish and krill oils and eat your sardines. The fatty acids from these sources are much better for your skin than those found in plant based sources like flaxseed and nuts. Eating sugar and refined carbs will increase inflammation in the body so stay away from those.
Use homemade shampoos with tea tree oil or peppermint for itching and irritation. Coconut oil and tea tree are also great anti-fungals. For dryness use lavender, aloe, or chamomile. Shampooing less will help your scalp rebalance oil production. The acidity in vinegar can help kill any bacteria that may be contributing to the problem and it can also reduce buildup that occurs from overusing hair care products. Combining cooked oatmeal with mashed bananas and spreading on damp hair can also be used to treat dry scalp/dandruff.
Hopefully with these tips you can find out why you may be getting the flakes and you will have a few ideas on what you can try to combat them. Good luck!
This week I got a great question from one of the Natural Family Living Facebook fans. I just love how everyone in that community is so helpful and quick to guide newbies who need a little assistance. It can be daunting when you decide that you want to go greener and more natural because there are so many things to consider and so many companies who like to greenwash and make their products look safer and more natural than they actually are. I have been trying to live greener and more natural for eight years now and I still have questions all the time. That is why it is so important to be able to draw upon the experiences and knowledge of other moms/women who have done the research, questioned the companies, and found the diamonds hiding among the shards of broken glass.
This was the question posed to the community:
I am slowly trying to convert to all organic and natural……up next is skin care and makeup. Does anyone have any suggestions that aren’t too outrageous in price? – Markie
I am not poised to answer this question very well because I am not a big consumer of cosmetics and skin care products. I wear makeup about five times per year and use very few skin care products with any regularity. I also like to make my own products when I get the hankering for some. I highly recommend the book GREEN BEAUTY RECIPES: Easy Homemade Recipes to Make Your Own Organic and Natural Skincare, Hair Care and Body Care Products and Organic Body Care Recipes.
If you want my personal answer to this question though I do have a few suggestions. For makeup I use two different brands…Style Essentials Mineral Makeup and the Juice Beauty line by Alicia Silverstone. Below are some of my Style Essential products.
The eye makeup (mascara and shadow pots) was a real score for me because every other brand I have tried irritates my eyes and ends up making me want to leave parties and events early so I can wash my face and rest my eyes. The lip colors and lip liners are also the perfect colors for me and the finishing powder and blush powder are on my must have list. They also sell a bar soap for makeup removal that makes your skin feel like silk. Great stuff!
So as you see, very limited personal experience here. Thanks goodness the Facebook community had some recommendations. Some of the highlights are below. Just keep in mind that everyone has a different standard when choosing products and they have to go with works for them and their price point. We have lots of options though and that is encouraging!
Just remember that when researching cosmetics and personal care products, that we have a great free tool at our disposal. The Skin Deep Cosmetics Database by EWG allows you to search by product and by brand and it rates them based upon their ingredients. It should be your go-to source when trying to establish the safety of any product you want to put on your skin or on your children’s skin…
Angie – Make your own! Cheap and easy! Just Google what you want–deodorant, mascara, blush, chapstick, toothpaste, etc. Most use similar ingredients so that saves you money too.
Sara – I use Dr. Bronner’s for cleansing and coconut oil for moisturizing. I don’t wear makeup often but use Rejuva Minerals.
Linda – For skin care I highly recommend organic virgin coconut oil…I use it on my skin and face….love, love, love it…and it has antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties…read up on it ….it’s incredible…you can find it online or in a health food store…
Olivia – Natural Joy Beauty is awesome. You can get samples before trying full sized. I searched for a while before finding a foundation and mascara that was organic and worked as well as my previous brand. LOVE this site!
Cookie – Burt’s Bees has an entire line for beauty..and it’s organic! I don’t wear make up but do indulge in coconut oils daily!
Laura – I use 100% Pure! They have amazing products from soap and moisturizers to fruit pigmented makeup! (3+ people recommended this one)
Lisa – Jane Iredale is amazing and has great ratings on EWG!
Annie – Zum sugar scrub for face wash. Use every 3 days. The tub will last a long time.
Terri – I use baking soda as a shampoo and to exfoliate my skin with ACV as a detangler. Cornstarch and coconut oil are my deodorant.
Karissa – I wear Ferro cosmetics. Absolutely love it. As far as skin care though, I make my own moisturizer etc.
Kimberlee – I love Andalou!
Wendy – For makeup I use Earth Naturals mineral makeup. The foundation is about $13 and lasts me about 6 months using it every day. My skin loves it!
What do YOU use and recommend?
I am sure that you are very familiar with the loads of lip balms and chapsticks that frequently appear near grocery check out lines. There are lots of choices in theory but none that are all that healthy for us unless you are at a health food store. The leading brand is full of parabans, petroleum, and chemical dyes and fragrance. Not something we should be rubbing on our lips. Sadly this is the case for most lip balms found in conventional stores.
There is also a market for these products year round. Our lips get chapped, dry, and cracked in the summer from the sun and the same in the winter from the dry air and wind. I know that ever since winter weather made its arrival here in Ohio I have been using lip balm non-stop on myself and on my kids. My hubby is also a big user, as is evident from the all the plastic tubes I find in the wash, after he forgot to take them out of his work pants pockets.
I recently tried four alternative products to the mainstream and all are effective as well as safe and healthy…all from Eco Lips. They came to us just in the nick of time. All Eco Lips products are petroleum free and most are organic or nearly organic and fair trade.
I also read online that Eco Lips has in the past had a recycling program where they take back their lip balm tubes though I could find nothing on the site currently to verify this…I have sent a long a question about that and hope to post the response when I hear back. I really don’t like using metal tins and applying lip balm with my finger so using a plastic tube is preferred, provided you can recycle the tubes.
Update 11/28/12: Eco Lips no longer has a recycling program. Bummer.
My fave is the Eco Lips Restore One World Lip Balm. It comes in three exotic blends and all are fair trade and organic. Restore is Coconut Ginger, Relax is Lavender Lemon, and Renew is Orange Spice (I have this one). I absolutely love the more mature flavors as opposed to the sickly sweet cherry that is so popular among the leading brand. This balm smells good and tastes good. It has become my go-to lip balm and I carry it in my purse. When I run out, I am soooo buying this one again…
Another favorite is the Eco Lips – Eco Tints lip moisturizer in Rose Quartz. I love it! Not only does it work and last a long time it gives my lips just a hint of color. It is more than appropriate to wear to the gym for just a hint of color that doesn’t make me looking like I am trying to glam up and wear makeup to lift weights in. I am not a big lipstick wearer actually because I so unused to wearing any that I feel like a clown when I do. The Eco Tints balm is perfect for me…subdued color. 90% organic.
The Eco Lips Gold Balm is the softest and most luxurious of the bunch. It feels like liquid silk going on your lips. It’s just the finest organic ingredients and no scent for no frills lip protection. No GMOs.
Last up is the Eco Lips Dagoba Chocolate Lip Balm line. It is an organically tasty treat in three flavors – Lavender, Mint and Roseberry. I have the mint flavor. Yummy! This one is also silky soft and I love the mint and chocolate combo. Who wouldn’t???
The entire line was created by a mom who wanted a better product and started crafting them in her kitchen for her family and friends. The right person got a sample and the rest is history…it is now an ethical and healthy line of lip balms that I am happy to use in my own household.
Interested in trying them out yourself? I am able to give away an Eco Lips Lip Care Kit to one of my readers. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
I am off to the Big Apple tomorrow for the BlogHer 12 conference. I have been blogging for eight years and this is my very first time attending this amazing event. My oldest is now six and about to start real school this fall. I think it is time for mom to get out more, don’t ya think? Well, I do and I am over the moon excited. If you are going then I cannot wait to meet you. If not then you can follow my adventures on Facebook or read about it here later.
In June I blogged about the wonderful products at Style Essentials and the owner Lisa Liguori graciously offered to sponsor my makeup for the conference. This week I got a box of goodies making it a fantastical Christmas in July!!!
Among the goodies are…
Truly Natural Mascara, Nude Lip Pencil, Soft Shimmer Lipstick, Berry Sweet Lip Gloss, a Turquoise Glitter Pot, a Copper Glitter Pot, Silver Lavender Eye Shadow Powder, Dream Eye Shadow, Hibiscus Flower Facial Exfoliator, and Pomegranate Balancing Lotion.
Excited to try all this stuff out at the dozen or so parties I plan to attend! I am especially excited to see how more natural eye makeup options work out for me because conventional eye makeup bugs the crap out of my eyes and I am ready to leave parties and events early just because my eyes hurt so bad. Let’s see how those late nights go. ;)
The beauty/makeup/skincare industry is a major multi-billion dollar industry. These companies rake in so much money that they can afford so spend many millions of dollars bombarding us with ads in magazines and on TV that tell us beauty comes neatly packaged in a bottle. They make moula hand over fist selling products to us that are “supposed” to make us look ten years younger, give us soft, glowing skin, and hide all our imperfections. The ads want us to believe that if only we buy their products we too can look like a supermodel. But they are not nearly so forthright in telling us that their products are full of nasty chemical ingredients that can do more harm to us than good. When you do your homework you may come to realize that looking younger in the moment is just not worth the price. For beautiful skin and good health on the inside as well we need to rediscover natural skincare ingredients and products. Your skin is your biggest organ and it needs to be treated with tender loving care.
We moms often go to great lengths to make sure everything we put on our baby’s skin is safe and natural but often times we forget this wisdom when it comes to products for ourselves. Why is that? If you really care about your health then you must make a resolve to get rid of most conventional products and start using organic and natural ingredients in your beauty routines. Here are some easy ways to help you go more natural:
1. Healthy skin starts on the inside and it stems from a healthy, well balanced diet and plenty of fluids to flush out toxins. They say rockin abs are made in the kitchen right? Well, so is beautiful skin.
2. Use natural oils and natural moisturizers that won’t clog pores like olive oil or coconut oil. You usually only need a small bit around the nose and under their eyes. The stuff that hides out in the pantry for cooking can serve as double agents in the bathroom.
3. Use coconut oil as a moisturizer for your driest spots like lips, heels and elbows. My fave is the Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Moisturizing Cream from Tropical Traditions. Use tip #8 first for best results.
4. Skip washing your hair everyday as the soap can dry your skin (and your hair). When you do wash your hair use a shampoo bar with natural ingredients and healthy oils. Try these Coconut Bar Soaps and Shampoo Bars, both can be used as shampoo.
5. To wash make-up off just rub some olive oil onto your face and wipe off with a soft, dry rag that will exfoliate your face as well. Microfiber cloths are particularly nice for cleansing the face.
6. If beauty does come in a bottle it is more likely to be a in a bottle of fish oil pills or Vitamin D3 rather than an anti-aging miracle cream. Supplementation can help us get nutrients that our food is lacking.
7. Not sure what is in conventional beauty products? Well take matters into your own hands! Make your own skin care products with every day ingredients like salt, almond meal, oatmeal, milk, honey, coconut oil, or avocado oil. They are cost effective and you know exactly what you are putting on your skin. You don’t need a chemistry degree to create beauty products of your own.
8. Dry brush your body to exfoliate your skin and slough off dead skin cells. This is an ages old practice and it really helps with the appearance of your skin to get those dead cells off and showcase the new.
9. When purchasing new products read the ingredient listings carefully and only buy products with recognizable ingredients, organic if possible, without parabens or fragrance. Check the Skin Deep Database to find out how each product/ingredient rates for safety.
10. Get some sun every day but not too much. Your skin needs sunlight for optimum health but staying out too long and damaging your skin isn’t good either so strike a balance and wear protective clothes and a big sun hat if you can instead of using chemical sunscreens. See also: Natural Sunburn Remedies.
How you keep your skincare routine natural and safe?