Shampoo // Dry Irritated Sensitive Eczema-Prone Scalps

shampoo for dry sensitive irritated eczema scalp rottenotter rotten otter blog
Although I've written quite a lot about eczema and the products I use to try and stop the flare ups, especially the eczema on my scalp, I haven't written a proper post on all the different shampoos I use or have used. A bit of a background story: the eczema on my scalp started towards the end of 2009 and I had to switch up what I was using straight away. Despite suffering with eczema my whole life, apart from when I was little, I luckily hadn't had any patches flare up on my scalp until then. For all my teenage years I just used herbal essence and my scalp was normal, it wasn't greasy, just normal. The first time a patch flared up on my scalp and I washed my hair with HE I knew I had to change what I was using as it made it a million times worse. I started to look at the ingredients in shampoos, conditioners I'm fine with and can use pretty much anything as long as I don't apply it near my scalp, and experimenting with how often I wash my hair.

My scalp was incredibly dry and flaky, it looked like I had extremely bad dandruff when it was eczema. My scalp was so dry that I started to loose hair especially around my hair line and had open sores where I had scratched my scalp in my sleep.

Before 2009 I was washing my hair perhaps twice a week but I quickly learnt that the less I washed it, the happier my scalp wash so it took a while to get used to but I now only wash my hair once a week. This may seem unthinkable to some but I have an extremely dry scalp and hair and it doesn't get greasy quickly or easily. If you get eczema on your scalp and wash your hair more often then try giving your scalp a bit of a break and you might see a difference like I did.

Over the years I've tried so many different shampoos and unfortunately pretty much all of them are more expensive than say Herbal Essence or Tresemme etc. Suffering from eczema for such a long time I've learned that, at least for me, spending a bit more money on certain products really does help. The main thing for me was cutting out sodium lauryl sulfate and parabens from the shampoos I was using. I'm not saying all of the shampoos I use or have used are SLS free but the majority are.

Going back to 2009-2012 I started using Bedhead ShampoosTara Smith C Curls ShampooLiz Earle Botanical Shine Treatment Shampoo and Barefoot SOS Dry Scalp Treatment Shampoo. All of these really helped with my scalp and along with a steroid cream, really helped to reduce the amount of eczema flare ups I was having. The shampoo I noticed the biggest difference whilst using was Barefoot SOS Dry Scalp Treatment Shampoo and I finished the bottle pretty quickly. I will say that I bought a second bottle about a year ago as the eczema had flared up again and I remember how quickly this shampoo made it go away. I started using it and it was going well but after a while it was starting to irritate my scalp. I don't know if they reformulated it, my scalp had become immune to it or it was a coincidence my scalp reacted to it this time I'm not sure but just be wary about it. 

More recently, 2013 to present, my scalp is a million times better than it was. I still get flare up occasionally but my scalp isn't flaky and dry anymore and I'm putting that down to discovering Philip Kingsley products. Mainly the Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo and Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner. The combination of these two products has completely turned my scalp around.

Other shampoos I have used and gotten on fine with are Ojon Volume Advance ShampooOjon Restorative Shampoo, Phyto Phytoprogenium Intelligent Frequent Use Shampoo, Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydration Brilliance Shampoo and Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo. Recently I have been double shampooing which has been quite beneficial to my scalp especially if I curl my hair and am adding more product to it than usual. I will use one of the shampoos I've just mentioned first and then follow up with the Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo second. If I don't follow up with the Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo then my scalp gets really itchy.

Another shampoo I've used but didn't get on with was Philip Kingsley No Scent No Colour Shampoo. You'd think from the name it would be perfect for someone like me with a sensitive scalp but the first time I used this my scalp reacted really badly to it. After plucking up the courage I did use it again but only as my first shampoo and I would also follow up the Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo. Luckily I didn't have any other problems with it but I'd recommend trying a sample size first before buying the full size which is what I didn't do. 

Finally a shampoo that I haven't used in a while but used to love is Boots Expert Build Up Shampoo. If you apply a lot of products to your hair or find that even after washing your hair just doesn't feel clean then give this a go. It's a clarifying shampoo so it'll strip all of the product build up out of your hair. It doesn't damage your hair in anyway but I always used to use a heavy conditioner as I didn't like the squeaky clean feel. A quick look on the Boots website and I can't find this anywhere. Bumble & Bumble Sunday shampoo is pretty similar but more expensive. 

If anyone has any clarifying shampoo recommendations please let me know!

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  1. My scalp reacted to no scent, no colour too - bizarre, as I thought it would be gentle too! I'm on the fence about Itchy/Flaky - it dried my scalp out more than usual! Have you tried the Naked Detox 2in1? It's pretty lovely and sls free, and ofc clarifies! Great post, Katy! I tried going down to washing less frequently but it made my eczema worse, sadly x

    1. I've tried a shampoo from Naked but I don't think it was Detox, will have a look at it! Thanks :)

      Definitely just shows how each person is so different to how they react with products etc! xx


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