“My scalp is itchy and always flaky.”
At nearly every market, young men visit our stall complaining of itchy, red, flaky scalps. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I spot it on people and wish to ask them a few questions, but I don’t want to be known as the “itchy scalp guy.”
Most of these young men have already visited their GP, and when they approach us are just fed up with dealing with the problem. Often it’s their girlfriend or mother who is insistent that they “sort that out.”
I had psoriasis for much of my life. Constantly scratching or covering up inflamed skin does not boost young men’s confidence.
We can assess what could be causing a problem with one simple question.
“What Shampoo and Soap Do You Use?”
Health is Deeper than the Skin
Skin health can be related to diet, water, sleep, stress, etc. Often the steroid or topical creams prescribed by the GP try to give a quick fix without addressing the underlying problem.
It’s a complicated problem; solving it may be as simple as switching to a natural product.
Using a chemical shampoo or conditioner is wrong because you can’t determine what is causing the problem when it may just be the shampoo.
Irritated skin will continue if we never give our skin a chance to recover from chemical abuse and never nourish it with vitamins and minerals for optimum health.
It could be stress, sleep, diet, detergent, an allergy, or lack of sun, but it is impossible to determine the effect of changing any of those things when the chemicals are causing inflammation.
Many young people with dandruff or sensitive scalp switch to a sensitive liquid shampoo, but when they’re at the gym, they opt for an all-in-one shampoo and shower gel. Convenient, perhaps, but many chemicals wreak havoc on sensitive skin.
Chemicals to Watch out For in Shampoos
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): SLS in any form (sodium laureth sulfate, etc.) is an emulsifier and foaming agent commonly used in cosmetic products and industrial cleaners. It’s in many soaps, shampoos, and body washes because it makes a nice foam. Chemical foam.
- Parfum or Fragrance: It sounds fancy, almost French, but it’s a catch-all term disguising any of 4000 chemicals. The skincare companies want to keep their cocktail of chemical scents a secret from their competitors and you because many are known to aggravate sensitive skin and sometimes cause hormone disruption.
- Methylisothiazolinone: a biocide preservative found in Head and Shoulders and known to cause nerve damage.
There are so many more, but these three are very common in the all-in-one shampoo and body washes that men of any age need to be aware of because of skin and internal issues. EWG’s Skin Deep is a decent place to get information on what chemicals are bad for our skin and why.
Sensitive Skin Beware
Sensitive skin is prone to water loss and can lack vitamins or minerals that keep the skin healthy. Chemical shampoos often strip away some of the skin’s natural oil protection. Maybe this is so you buy another moisturizer after leaving the shower.
Chemicals in shampoos can cause redness or irritation in the scalp and skin because sensitive skin is already low on protection and easily irritated. Some skin can become sensitive to chemicals after long-term use.
Beef Tallow & Goat’s Milk are What to Look For
NAMAWE’s philosophy is soothing skin ailments through simple, natural, organic materials. We source our beef tallow from Mayo butchers and get Goat’s milk from Glenisk or local raw, organic suppliers when Goat milking is in season.
Animal products like tallow and goat’s milk contain vitamins and minerals suitable for even the most sensitive skin.
Our bodies absorb these animal products better than synthetic or vegetable oils because they are similar to our skin. So they deliver nutrients deeper and lock in moisture.