Re-vamping My Hair Care with Seborrheic Dermatitis

Last month I finally broke down and went to my doctor about my excessively itchy scalp. Since December of 2016, I had been rotating through all sorts of different shampoos and other treatments, desperately trying to make my scalp less itchy. The keyword here: trying. Finally, I gave in and went to my doctor after my dad offhandedly mentioned that he uses a prescription cream for his scalp issues. Now, I know he had dandruff but I had no idea he actually had a prescription treatment. Knowing that most of my more annoying traits were inherited from him (extreme nearsightedness, chronic migraine, and extremely thick and curly hair), I figured I probably also inherited the lovely scalp condition from him (thanks, Dad…).

So off to the doctor I went and after a two minute examination to my head (those latex gloves he had on pulled so badly!), my doctor declared that I needed a medicated shampoo and that was that. Now, since I had been expecting to be sent of to the dermatologist based on the research I had done while looking for non-prescription options, I was left pleased but surprised filling my new prescription. Happily, the prescription shampoo takes care of most of the issues when I use it 2-3 times a week. I find that I need to increase my use every 3 or 4 weeks as the itch increases and then go back to the normal 2 times a week.

At this point, everything was looking up until I realized that the prescription was FRYING my hair! Having never been one to use heat on my hair much, this was a little disconcerting but the case nevertheless. After going to get my hair trimmed because I simply could not stand how dry it was anymore, my hairstylist and I worked out a new plan: Only shampoo with the medicated shampoo and use conditioner every day. While I had been avoiding putting anything on my hair on the medicated shampoo days, we agreed I should try conditioning just the ends on those days to help prevent the damage. I also found myself buying a bristle boar brush and brushing my hair for the first time in ages. As a curly haired girl, this advice went against everything I had learned, but as long as I wash my hair it seems to be ok and does seem to be helping with my scalp a bit (bonus!).

It’s now been three weeks and I’m already starting to notice the ends are drying out AND I’m out of my old conditioner, so off to Ulta I went. I’ve recently become an Ulta convert, as it’s close to my house, has everything I want in a single store, and their rewards program is great since I get points on my salon appointments AND my makeup purchases AND my skincare purchases. Anyways, wading through products one of the hair stylists (not the one I’ve been seeing – sadly she was with a customer) came over to help me out as I tried to decide between Ouidad and DevaCurl. To my surprise, she pointed me to Redken. Now, I know that Ulta salons are Redken salons but she even admitted that she uses Ouidad on her EXTREMELY curly hair. The problem, I was told, is those products aren’t designed to counter the impact of chemicals because they have very few or none, depending on your formulation. This makes sense to me so I decided to take her word for it and try it.

Therefore, starting this weekend, I have THREE new hair products to add to my routine that will hopefully help! The Redken Extreme Conditioner and Anti-Snap for every day use and the Redken Extreme MegaMask for use 1-2 times a week. I don’t know if it will help but I’m willing to try because I’m tired of feeling my hair be terribly dry but the medicated shampoo is NOT going anywhere!

Just to be clear, this is not a paid post – just me writing about my journey to try to have an itch-free head and hair that isn’t completely fried in the process.

My plan is to keep track of how things go and update here. We’ll see if I manage that since I’ve had this site over a year and only posted a handful of times. To that end, I’m going to document my new routine below and document changes as I sort through various products. Wish me luck!

Hair regimen:

Shampoo – Ketoconazole 2% shampoo 2-3x/week, Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo (until I run out – I don’t really like the shampoo) 1x/week maximum

Conditioner – Redken Extreme Conditioner 5-6 days a week, Redken Exterme MegaMask 1-2 days a week

Leave-in conditioner: Pureology Colour Fanatic Multi-Tasking Hair Beautifier

Other daily products: Redken Extreme Anti-Snap, Moraccanoil Treatment Original, Moraccanoil Intense Curl Cream (non-work days)

 

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Computer Trouble and Blog Re-discovery

I had forgotten about this blog in between the craziness that was my year from June – December. I moved, my fiance came back from a year of working in another country, we both started a new job, we got married, and had our first holiday season as a married couple. Plus, on the small end of importance in  addition to that list I re-started a new grad school program. My best friend asks me when I sleep – recently I’m not sure that I actually do.

Anyway, in the middle of that I finally got my computer back running from where it went to crap during the move. Only took, what 7 months? Of course, the house isn’t entirely unpacked either from the move and the many generous wedding gifts we’ve received. Mostly just empty boxes in piles around the house but still some boxes that need to get unpacked, pictures that need to be hung, etc, etc. It’s so crazy!

Dealing with all of this has been terribly overwhelming but my husband (can’t believe that’s my life now!) is certainly helping a ton but there’s still things that I have to take care of, things that he has to take care of, things that we both need to do that just aren’t making it to the top of  the list.

We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day next weekend so I’m excited to see what comes from that. Hubby has planned it all and it’s going to be a surprise for me a week from today. Of course, putting a damper on that is the fact that I have five homework problems due next Sunday that have to get completed so no chance to just relax. On the positive, it’s the first time we’re going on a date since the Holidays so I’m also really excited about it!

On top of everything else, I’ve been dealing with migraines causing all sorts of chaos in the plans that I’ve made for getting things done in an orderly, timely manner. That’s certainly making life more interesting as well. Maybe some day everything will calm down but something tells me that we’ll leave this time of both of us working on school and working full time and transition to babies and working full time – it’s not like either of us are getting any younger!

At the end of the day though, I just keep reminding myself how blessed I am. I have a wonderful husband and two zany cats (one of which I can’t imagine living without – the other is my husband’s because he’s always getting into trouble). I have a job, medical insurance, I’m working on an advanced degree. My best friend from high school is getting married this year so I’ll get to spend extra time with her. My mom is going to be here for a week next month because I’m having ankle surgery.

Ultimately, regardless of how crazy things get, I just remind myself that I am blessed and have so many things to be grateful for that so many others don’t have. In the end, it’s all about perspective.

The Pieces Away

Sitting in the dark
Listen to the rain patter
It strikes like my heart
Thump… thump… crack
The pieces drift away
On the rivulets of pain

And still I sit and wait
For you to let me down again
To remind me once more
That I care and you never will
The pieces rip away
And catch me off guard

I just don’t know how you can
Make me feel so much pain again
When you’ve been gone for 920 days
I can’t push you from my life
Instead, the pieces float away
They try to drive me to stay

And I don’t know why I keep coming back
I don’t know why I’m looking back
But you still mean so much to me
Maybe one day you’ll finally see
The pieces in your bloody hands
As you leave me alone again

Just One Word

It’s been a long time since I watched One Tree Hill last. It’s one of those guilty pleasure things that I watch when I don’t feel like watching Gilmore Girls again. I started re-watching it last night but only into the first episode. I started watching episode 2 tonight and I was reminded of the power of words. One Tree Hill really does have an amazing amount of power and lessons when you watch around all the teen melodrama.

In episode 2 the English teacher asked the students to describe each other in one word. It resulted in a fist fight. Sometimes I wonder what others see in me. Sometimes I think I wonder too much. But if we asked everyone to describe us in just one word, what word would that be?

Would it be the same word that you would describe yourself with? Would the word you chose matter based on who asked you? Or who was in the room when you said it? Would the word change if you wrote it down or if you said it out loud? I like to think it wouldn’t but I suspect that it would.

Lately I think my word would be lonely if I was asked to describe myself. I suspect the words others would use are klutzy, distracted, or maybe even happy. It makes me wonder how we can be so different between what we show the world and who we actually are. Does the image we show the world change as we age? Does it change as our insides change? Or do both change and their are entirely unrelated.

I always try to keep everyone happy – I’m always the person that wants everyone to be together, to have fun. But I’m also the person that doesn’t show up when others organize things. It’s not that I want to control all of the social events. It’s simply that sometimes dealing with people is too much and I only deal with them when I pull people together out of obligation because I set it all up.

Maybe one of these days it will all make sense. Maybe one of these days I will feel more secure about what others think. Maybe one day all of the insecurities from growing up won’t matter. But somehow, I doubt it. Instead, I will continue to be myself. I will continue to show the happy to the world and keep the lonely inside. And maybe, just maybe when my fiance comes home, I can replace lonely with some other word.

Today my word is lonely. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. What’s your word? What would it take to change your word?

Au revoir,

SH

Dreams and Home

Dreams are a funny thing. Sometimes they’re the things that we aspire to achieve or become. Sometimes they’re the things that make our nights better. Sometimes they’re the things that keep us up night or cause us to wake up completely confused and with no idea what is wrong with our brains.

Last night I had the completely confused kind. Woke up with absolutely no idea what was going on and not sure why I was even where I was. Which is funny because for the first time in several weeks I was finally home. Maybe that was why my dreams were confused. I hadn’t been home in over 20 days and I feel like I’ve been hoping from place to place for the last year and half. I hope that my move in June brings a little more stability to my life. Or maybe it’s just that every time I come home without my fiance, everything feels a little worse. Too bad I’m not a dream analyzer or whatever they’re called.

I think that’s been the worst thing about him being gone – missing him so much and just wanting him to be back home, to be back with me. My mom keeps asking me why I’m not more excited about the wedding. I can’t be excited about the wedding because I miss him so much and all I can focus on is counting down until he’s coming home.

I’m getting my bridal portraits taken Wednesday (which is apparently a southern thing – who knew?) and I can’t even focus on those. I feel like they should be a very exciting thing and they’ve become just one more thing on my checklist. I really hope that it’s just that I miss him and not something worse that’s preventing me from being excited about this whole thing.

The last couple of weeks have been especially hard. It seems like no matter what we do or how we try our schedules just won’t sync up for more than a couple of text messages. Am I not making the effort to talk to him enough? Is it my fault? Is it just a schedule thing or do I need to start spinning myself into a panic because we’re not talking enough. I miss him so much and just don’t know if there’s more I should be doing. Perhaps that means that there is?

Well, typing this only seems to be making me worry more so I think I’m going to go grab a glass of wine and attempt to unwind before I go even more crazy stressing about things that I don’t even know if they’re in my control or not.

Au revior,

Silencing Hate

 

A Time for New Perspective

I missed church this morning. I don’t know if I turned my alarm off or forgot to set it but either way, I missed church. On Easter Sunday that is particularly bad but such is life.

I find Easter to be such an interesting time. It’s not the official start of spring but I have always associated it with the start of spring. It is a symbol of hope, renewal, and rebirth. Sacrifice for all mankind and a promise for our eternal futures if we meet at the cross.

For me this Easter I find myself struggling with old demons and between Easter and some of the books and movies I’ve been watching these last two days, I know it’s time to make a change. When I return home on Thursday from the work trip I’m on, I will be seeking out some help. Good thing I have a couple of days to sort out who and how that help will come from.

I watched the To Write Love on Her Arms film this morning. Guess you could say that there has been a theme to my weekend. It such a wonderful combination of hope and sadness. If you have not watched it yet – I highly encourage you to do so. The film has so many moments of dark and light that reached straight to my heart. Although I have never been in as dark of a place as Renee, I still felt a connection to her struggles and pain mirrored in my own experiences. Again, go watch it. It is 100% worth the 2 hours of your time.

I started reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller this afternoon. It’s a book that has been on my reading list for several years but that I have not gotten around to reading until today. I haven’t made it very far in yet (Kindle tells me I’ve only read 9%) but so far I am enjoying the narrative and voice. The secondary title,  “Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality,” is what originally captured my attention and I look forward to reading the remainder of the book over the next several days/week. Perhaps there will even be some quotes out if to reflect upon as I read through the book. As silly as it sounds, that was always one of my favorite parts of Literature class in high school.

It’s time to go back to reading unless I find another movie to watch before that. Until next time,

Au revoir,

Silencing Hate

 

I never thought I’d blog…

I never thought I would create my own blog. I rarely post on Facebook and use Twitter just for monitoring the news but recently I’ve been needing to get thoughts out of my head and somewhere that those closest to me are least likely to know it’s me.

I have no idea if this will be interesting to anyone besides me. Honestly, I’m not sure that it matters. I’m starting this so that I can get me thoughts out on paper. In some ways, almost like a diary or a journal but I always lose those so hopefully this will be more successful.

Blogs are meant to share our lives with the rest of the world so I suppose I should start there. I’m in my mid-20s and I’m engaged to someone who I love deeply. I have a full-time job that I juggle with finishing my master’s degree. Part of me always wanted to be a writer. Sadly, so far the only thing I’ve managed to finish are 2000-3000 word fanfics from various fandoms that I’ve posted to FanFiction.net. They tend to be dark as writing is a way for me to purge my feelings. Maybe that’s why I’ve never managed anything longer to date.  This blog I suppose will be one more outlet for those words that I’ve been keeping inside.

Last night I started reading If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski, the founder of To Write Love On Her Arms. I finished it this morning. Recently I’ve been really struggling with dark thoughts re-surfacing for the first time in about 6 years. Reading the book was an interesting look into the mind of someone else who has gone through similar struggles and the way that he copes with those struggles. It spurred an intense couple of hours of watching Ted Talks on YouTube. Most of them on the subject of self-harm and suicide.

Before you ask, no I’m not suicidal. One of my best friends attempted suicide twice in high school and those memories have kept me well away from that edge. That doesn’t mean that my brain always stays in a happy place though. Some days it’s a constant struggle. Others everything is just fine. I know I’m not the only one with that particular sentiment. It’s something I’ve read and heard and watched in multiple books, movies, music, etc.

The book got me thinking though. It drove me to check in on a co-worker and friend who has been going through some really terrible times. The ironic thing is that as I’ve been there for him and pushed him to open up, I’ve been struggling in silence myself. No one at work ever notices because I always seem so happy. It’s a front. My fiance doesn’t notice because he’s overseas for a year. He’s been gone since July. When he finally returns home in July I’m not sure what I’m going to tell him. Maybe I’ll have worked all this out by then. Maybe not.

I have a homework assignment due tonight and then I think I’m going to rent the To Write Love on Her Arms movie from Amazon. Make it a thematic day, as it were.

To anyone who happens to stumble across this and read it, welcome. I hope my wandering thoughts are at least minimally interesting.

Au revoir, Silencing_Hate