Wavy daughter has smelly scalp! help!

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  • 1 Post By Starmie
  • 1 Post By brownsock
  • 1 Post By Morgan_Adcock
  • 1 Post By PomegranateCurl
  • 1 Post By KinkyChic
  • 1 Post By Chloe_s_Mom

Hi there,

I have two daughters, and my youngest (5) has very smooth/straight hair on top, ringlets underneath. My eldest (8.5 years) has a huge amount of medium thickness hair, and it is wavy.

When I went CG, I sought out silcone free products for them as well as sulfate free shampoo. I did read that wavies may need to wash more often, but I am at a lost for my eldest daughter. Even after washing with the sulfate free shampoo, her scalp retains a sweaty type of smell and looks a bit dirty (but in reality, it is really just more natural oils). She's in love with her hair finally, as it is more weighed down, less puffy, smoother.

But I can't handle the smell. Her skin is changing (oily on her nose), and she is very active with athletics.

Any suggestions? I tried shampoo free at first, with both and it was a disaster.
The first thing is to make sure you are washing her hair properly. This thread is about a similar issue: Help: Rinsing my hair

If she is washing her own hair my bet is she's not rubbing her scalp anywhere near enough, it might help if she bends over so the bulk of the hair falls away from her scalp. You may need to low-poo daily for a while till its under control or you could try alternating low-poo with co-wash every-other-day. The most important thing is to manually clean the scalp, no shampoo alone will do it.
2A / F / MD / LP / ?E / BSL --- CG since Dec. 2012

This is what I'm happiest with right now.
Co-wash: CJ DailyFix
Lo-poo: DermOrganic low-poo
RO: SS Caitlin's co
Leave-in: SheScentIt Okra Repair condish
PT: SS Caitlin's + SS PT
Stylers: Volumax Mega Gel, Max Green Styling Gel, DermOrganics Spray Gel
Techniques: Plopping & Pixie Diffusing.
glycerin, honey, oils & butters Protein!
She is definitely a bit quick on anything to do with cleaning (if her teeth are any example ha!). Funny that she developed this problem, I believe even before switching, while her younger is fine. I think that maturing oil glands might have something to do with it.

I will have to wrestle her into the shower and supervise the scalp cleansing. I bought a scalp massager/brush to help.

I also bought a dry shampoo yesterday, which is more about masking the smell, but since it smells so wonderful, I thought that I'd give it a go on her scalp.
My youngest son is 15 and it was only last year that I stopped washing his hair for him. He has very thick and very tightly curled hair which he insists on keeping long but wouldn't look after it properly so I made him lean over the bath while I scrubbed his scalp, then he would shower. Worked fine, scalp was clear (his was a dandruffy problem rather then a smelly problem) and he eventually got sick of it and started doing it properly himself.
Chloe_s_Mom likes this.
3b in South Australia.
My wife used to have problems with very smelly scalp (quite a sickening smell) and she read that a sulfur shampoo would fix it, which it did, but that shampoo left a nearly equally awful sulfur smell. So we looked for a non-smelly sulfur option and FOUND THE SOLUTION in MSM. We buy POWDERED MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), in the form of capsules intended as a dietary supplement. It is key that it has to be capsules with powder inside (some stores sell MSM in tablet form, but you would have to crush them—capsules are simpler). I buy NSI brand (Nutraceutical Sciences Institute) from Vitacost dot com. I break open the capsules (just lick your fingers for traction and twist and they come right open) and empty the powder from 2 or 3 capsules into a half-full pint water bottle of warm water. After she washes her hair, she shakes up this potion and pours/rubs it into her hair/scalp and then doesn’t rinse. It has no odor and you can’t see it. Poof. Problem solved. If she forgets to do this for a while, the scalp odor comes back but if she uses it every couple of days, problem solved. I have no idea why this works, but tried it after reading on a message board that a guy had this problem and then it went away when he moved to an area where the water had high sulfur content, and then it came back when he moved again. Try it! Cheap, easy, odorless.
Chloe_s_Mom likes this.
I suspect it's a combination of thing causing the problem. Transitioning to CG, both because of buildup left over, and not being used to the amount of scalp massage needed could be one part. Increased oil gland production due to puberty another. Sweat, and a frequently damp scalp could be another couple of factors.

I would suggest trying a brown sugar scrub. Add about a tablespoon of brown sugar to the regular amount of conditioner you/she'd use for co-washing, then do a co-wash with it, with an especially thorough scalp massage. One brown sugar scrub might do the trick, she might need to repeat it once or twice, or even do one on a regular basis (some people do them weekly). Oftentimes, just doing one helps us get more used to, or become more aware of how much scalp massage is appropriate when co-washing.
Chloe_s_Mom likes this.
Peace,
Morgan

Baby Fine 3B, low porosity, normal density and elasticity
CGing since July 2008
It could be any of the issues above (not cleansing well enough, more oil from puberty, adjusting to CG, etc.) or it could be early sebhorric dermatitis. Oily and smelly scalp can mean that, especially if she starts getting oily, crusty flakes. In that case you'll have to visit the derm. You could also try a potent dandruff shampoo treatment (like Selsun Blue). If you use it for 3 times it should clear it up. Unfortunately I don't know of any dandruff poo that is sulfate-free. One thing you can do to help your daughter's hair is if you condition the hair first (not the scalp) and then use the dandruff poo only on the scalp. The conditioner on the hair should protect it from the dandruff poo as you rinse. There are some stickies on the boards here about dandruff/s. dermatitis issues. Of course, if the problem persists, a visit to the derm will be the best. Also, if she has recurring problems, CG may not be the best thing for her, but she could co-wash in between using medicated poos, or do what I described earlier or some other combination so you don't have to give up completely.

But before jumping to this conclusion, try to "oversee" her cleansing her hair w/ low-poos and see if that clears it up. Good luck!
Chloe_s_Mom likes this.
Thanks so much everyone, for the awesome suggestions and for taking the time to respond!

She tends to skin problems (as a toddler, had what I would call 'yeasty toes' - often looked like she had athlete's foot, and other bits (crooks of inner elbows etc) tend to get rashy easily too). Her dad has psoriasis (sp?).

Since she is in competitive cheerleading, I have had to use a flat iron on her hair, prior to competition. Gosh knows what is in the hair spray etc.

I picked up some more Live Clean shampoo and conditioners, including one of their sulfate free 'clarifying' shampoos (contains apple cider vinegar).

Wow, totally kicked the smell to the curb (this was on Wed afternoon). Her scalp smelt great and hair was so soft that it was hard to keep it in her ponytail for tumbling lesson.

The next morning, I carefully approached her head to try smelling it (without making her paranoid) and it smelt nice.

Lots of wind, playing outside the last two days. Still smells okay, as of this evening, tho it is looking like it needs a wash soon. She spritzes it every morning with a conditioner mixed with water that I have in a spray bottle, but has not washed it since Wed afternoon.

I have a feeling that the smell will be back tomorrow, so she plans to wash with that shampoo.

I checked her scalp, so far no build up, no dandruff, no craddle cap etc. She does have some odd red patches at the nape of her neck, but aren't rough to the touch, etc.

Now I am wondering how my own scalp smells??? I find that massaging vigourous HURTS a lot and have been avoiding it

I
Growing out a pixie (last big cut July 2012)
3a? 3b? Fine, dense. Porous.
Finally sulfate free. Avoiding silicones.
Sounds like she has undiagnosed skin complaints and needs to see a dermatologist TBH.
It could be any of the issues above (not cleansing well enough, more oil from puberty, adjusting to CG, etc.) or it could be early sebhorric dermatitis. Oily and smelly scalp can mean that, especially if she starts getting oily, crusty flakes. In that case you'll have to visit the derm. You could also try a potent dandruff shampoo treatment (like Selsun Blue). If you use it for 3 times it should clear it up. Unfortunately I don't know of any dandruff poo that is sulfate-free. One thing you can do to help your daughter's hair is if you condition the hair first (not the scalp) and then use the dandruff poo only on the scalp. The conditioner on the hair should protect it from the dandruff poo as you rinse. There are some stickies on the boards here about dandruff/s. dermatitis issues. Of course, if the problem persists, a visit to the derm will be the best. Also, if she has recurring problems, CG may not be the best thing for her, but she could co-wash in between using medicated poos, or do what I described earlier or some other combination so you don't have to give up completely.

But before jumping to this conclusion, try to "oversee" her cleansing her hair w/ low-poos and see if that clears it up. Good luck!
Originally Posted by PomegranateCurl
If it is dandruff adding a small amount of tea tree oil to a sulfate-free shampoo may help so she remains CG.

Sent from my SGH-T989 using CurlTalk App
3C, CG Method, Low porosity, Low density, Medium Width






Thanks so much everyone, for the awesome suggestions and for taking the time to respond!

She tends to skin problems (as a toddler, had what I would call 'yeasty toes' - often looked like she had athlete's foot, and other bits (crooks of inner elbows etc) tend to get rashy easily too). Her dad has psoriasis (sp?).

Since she is in competitive cheerleading, I have had to use a flat iron on her hair, prior to competition. Gosh knows what is in the hair spray etc.

I picked up some more Live Clean shampoo and conditioners, including one of their sulfate free 'clarifying' shampoos (contains apple cider vinegar).

Wow, totally kicked the smell to the curb (this was on Wed afternoon). Her scalp smelt great and hair was so soft that it was hard to keep it in her ponytail for tumbling lesson.

The next morning, I carefully approached her head to try smelling it (without making her paranoid) and it smelt nice.

Lots of wind, playing outside the last two days. Still smells okay, as of this evening, tho it is looking like it needs a wash soon. She spritzes it every morning with a conditioner mixed with water that I have in a spray bottle, but has not washed it since Wed afternoon.

I have a feeling that the smell will be back tomorrow, so she plans to wash with that shampoo.

I checked her scalp, so far no build up, no dandruff, no craddle cap etc. She does have some odd red patches at the nape of her neck, but aren't rough to the touch, etc.

Now I am wondering how my own scalp smells??? I find that massaging vigourous HURTS a lot and have been avoiding it

I
Originally Posted by Chloe_s_Mom
Dry/Crusty patches at the crook of the elbow, behind knees, and other places are usually a type of eczema. Items in diet, allergies, and other things can exacerbate it. I would visit either a dermatologist or your primary care physician to get a good diagnosis so that she can control it as much as possible especially going into puberty where your hormones are all over the place. Perfumes and dyes can also make it worse.
Chloe_s_Mom likes this.
I had a big problem with smelly scalp as well. It was also extremely greasy and often itchy. I had to wash my hair every day because it smelled so bad and was visibly very greasy. I'm not sure exactly when this started, but it lasted for several years. I tried sulfur soap, switching shampoos, using bar soaps which dried my hair out and made it look dull. I finally decided to try something that I have read many times on curly hair sites. I stopped shampooing! I know that sounds crazy and very counter intuitive. Instead of using shampoo, I now only use conditioner. I use a large amount, massage it into my scalp and run it through the lengths with my fingers and a wide tooth comb. I rinse it out, towel dry and style as usual. Not only does my scalp no longer smell bad, it is also much less greasy. I can easily go 3 days without "washing" my hair, and you truly cannot tell. I have been doing this for 4 months now, and I'm so happy with the condition of my hair and scalp. I don't know why this works, or why shampoo seems to stink up my scalp. All I can think is that it dries the scalp out so much that it fights to gain some oil balance, but goes way overboard. I also stopped using any products with silicone. It can be really hard to find conditioner and styling products without it, but it can be done! Avoid anything with ingredients ending in "cone", "conol" or "xane". I think my hair is also much thicker and I seem to have a lot of baby hairs growing in. Good luck, everyone. I know how frustrating the smelly scalp problem is.
Seems to have worked super well for both of my daughters - my eldest sweats (activity) more and is showing greasier skin, but ditching the naughty shampoos and other products really seems to help. I'm using Live Clean products, esp the Apple Cider clarifying shampoo, and it has killed the scalp smell in its tracks!

The girls had a trim recently, and the stylist used a detangling spray which obviously contained silicones as their hair looked dirty and sticky the next day. Took two bouts of washing to get it out, but they are back to soft, lovely hair!
wavydaze likes this.
Growing out a pixie (last big cut July 2012)
3a? 3b? Fine, dense. Porous.
Finally sulfate free. Avoiding silicones.

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