12 April 2012

Dealing with Itchy "Hot Spots" on the Scalp

After investing a bunch of time last week doing Boo's hair for Easter, with the intention of having her wear it for two weeks, including this weekend for a Fancy Nancy birthday party, we've had to take the whole thing out. As luck would have it, Boo was complaining of an itchy "hot spot" (a few actually) underneath the cornrows in the back of her head. Removing those few cornrows to investigate would require removing the entire style, and as much as it was inconvenient for us, that's exactly what we did.

Dry Patches

Generally, if Boo is having issues with her scalp along her part lines it's very easy to tell if there is a dry patch, stress bumps, or clogged pores. We can usually address dry patches fairly easily by dabbing jojoba oil along the part lines with a Q-tip. Some moms have even recommended children's paint brushes to "paint" it along the row, which I think is a very clever idea!

Clogged Pores

Clogged pores, like stress bumps, are an entirely different ballgame. If there is any sign of clogged pores, the style comes out immediately and we do a good clarifying wash (i.e., we use a sulfate free shampoo to wash instead of co-washing). Clogged pores (like stress bumps) can lead to infection, and possible damage to the hair follicle. Worst-case scenario is that it will scar, leading to permanent hair loss in that area. It's just not something we mess around with. So, no matter how inconvenient it might be, even if she has to wear quick pinch part twists for the next week or so, we take the style out.

As usual, I was completely incapable of snapping photos of the clogged pores. One of these days I will learn how to snap scalp photos in a place other than our dimly lit bathroom. In some ways, the clogged pores look a little like stress bumps; however, stress bumps usually happen along the hair line and/or part lines; Boo's bumps where actually underneath the cornrow (not where the hair was being pulled). Clogged pores on the head are just like pimples on the face; they can be mildly noticeable, or large white-heads. Boo's part lines looked fine, but when I took the rows out I could definitely see the "hot spot" that was bugging her. Poor thing!

New Products and Sensitivies

Slapping myself on the forehead, I remembered that I tried a new styling product to help hold the cornrows in better. Silly me. I know that I should always spot-check for sensitivity! I didn't even use that much on the rows, just enough to start the rows and along the sides of the part lines. However, considering the fact that she only had an issue with clogged pores on a few of the back cornrows, I'm not sure if it was the product; it could have been that that area of her scalp just didn't get cleansed enough from the last wash. However, it could also have been that more of the product got worked into her skin, since it occurred on the back of her head, on the side upon which she normally sleeps. At this point, I'm not really sure. But I did make a mental note that next time I use the product, I will use it on one row, and use our regular product on the rest. That should give me a better indication as to the true cause of this hot spot.

How We Responded to the Clogged Pores

We did a clarifying wash (with the style in), took the style out, did a light co-wash just to make sure any offending culprit was out of the hair, and then we sealed her cuticles with an ACV rinse, followed by leave-in conditioner, detangler, and moisturizer for styling.

Thankfully, with the weather tossing in expected rain tomorrow, we shifted a few things around today and tomorrow in order to still do something "fancy" for the birthday party on Saturday.