I'm editing this post to reflect the results, so no-one is operating under any illusions here. This regime did not end up working for me. I suspect a few things: perhaps the clogged follicles are not actually an issue for me; the salicylic acid may have caused my hair to become brittle and fall out and break easier; the soapnuts shampoo damaged my hair.
I'm not sure what it is, but here's a link to the conclusions.
With that caveat, please feel free to read this entire post! This regime may help you if you are indeed suffering from clogged scalp follicles.
Y'all, I write a lot about my hair. It's always been thin, but after I had the baby, it's been really unbearably thin. Compared to a lot of women, my hair issues may seem petty, but it's driving me crazy! I am going into full-on HAIR THICKENING MODE!
According to my research, there are several factors that can cause women's hair to get thinner. Since my problem appears to be scalp-wide (v. in certain areas, like male-pattern baldness), and given my propensity for clogged pores on my face, I'm inclined to think the problem is an overproduction of oleic acid in my scalp hair follicles. Too much or too-thick sebum can cause the follicles to become clogged. This will cause the hairs to become thinner, and eventually to stop growing in that follicle. The linoleic acid content in sebum is what gives it its viscosity, allowing it to behave in a healthy way (lubricating the follicle, scalp, and hair). A deficiency in linoleic acid is compensated for by an increase in oleic acid in the sebum. Oleic acid is thicker and dryer than linoleic acid and clogs the follicles much more readily. This is the concept behind my facial regime for clogged pores.
So hemp oil contributes linoleic acid to the sebum when applied topically to the skin, and balances the body's oleic/linoleic acid content when taken internally. Could this work on my scalp? I'm going to try it! And what about salicylic acid to dissolve the clogs that are already there? I can't feel any clogs, but I don't know if that means there are none... more research to be done.
Hemp also contains ceramides, which strengthen the cuticle, supporting the hair shaft.
The Journal of Investigative Dermatology reports that Gamma-linolenic acid inhibits 5-alpha-reductase. This is the enzyme that causes the follicles to shut down in male pattern baldness and many females all-over thinning and eventual baldness. Hemp oil is a good source of gamma-linolenic acid as well as linoleic acid, and is a good choice for this type of thinning hair as well.
Hemp is high in arachidonic acid. A deficiency of this fatty acid is implicated in hair loss.
Also, I want to focus on pH. Like your facial skin, there is an acid mantle on your scalp. This should be slightly acidic, at between 4.5 and 5.5. This level of acidity closely matches that of the sebum (usually at 5), and creates an atmosphere that discourages bacteria and fungi from proliferating. When something alkaline is applied to the hair, it causes the cuticle to lift. When something acidic is applied, it causes the cuticles to close, protecting the hair from damage and insurgents. Soap is alkaline. It should not be used on the hair or face in my opinion, as it disrupts and can destroy the acid mantle. Maintaining the proper pH on your scalp will be vital to its health. Hemp oil has a pH of approximately 6.14, and SA has a pH of 2.97 or so. It will be important to make sure the SA products are tempered with a pH balancer.
THIS IS GOING TO WORK! You are all welcome to come on this journey with me. I will post embarrassing photos! It'll be fun!
Topical:Scalp massage with hemp oil (twice a week)
Salicylic acid scalp toner (daily?)
Salicylic acid hair mask (once a month)
Hemp hot oil treatment (once a month)
Dietary:1 tblsp hemp oil every day
1 tblsp blackstrap molasses every day
Salicylic Acid Scalp Toner1/2 tsp salicylic acid dissolved in 1 tsp alcohol
3 drops rosemary essential oil
1 drop Triethanolamine (the pH balancer)
spritz onto scalp, distribute gently with fingers, leave on.
Salicylic Acid Scalp Treatment1/4 tsp salicylic acid dissolved in 1/2 tsp alcohol
3 tablespoons honey or molasses
Apply to scalp, massage gently, leave on for 40 minutes, rinse off and shampoo
Ingredients/Why it's GOING TO WORK!Hemp oil to make the sebum thinner, hopefully preventing clogs
Salicylic acid to get rid of the clogs that are already there or that may form in the future
Blackstrap molasses to increase the body's copper and trace mineral content, which is beneficial for the hair.
The Journey!We're going to do this all scientific.
DAY 1, March 23, 2013
Morning, unwashed hair.
The strands at the very front of my head measure 11 inches from hairline to tip.
The temples are fairly well covered with very fine baby hairs. This area measures 1.5 inches from front to back and 4 inches from top (part) to bottom. This section was almost empty for many months, maybe even two years after my baby was born. He's 4 now.
|My Left Temple|
|My Right Temple|
|My Left Side|
|My Right Side|
The back looks pretty darn dismal.