Naturally Healthy 4 Life's Blog

A blog about health, nutrition, fitness and wellness

One step forward and a half step back…

Red wine

As I have posted in the last few weeks, I have been so excited with the possibility that I may be going back into remission – or at least that the handfuls of meds I take every day are working. I felt incredible.

Unfortunately, I am now experiencing another flare up. When I saw the first hives pop up on Friday morning, I thought it might have been the VERY small glass of red wine I consumed on Thanksgiving Day (sulfates – an immune system under duress does not like them). But the symptoms have increased every day and I am now wheezing with giant hives (fortunately, no angioedema). I really do not know what has triggered it this time.

So I am back on a Prednisone taper and will be trying another treatment called “Xolair.” Xolair was developed to treat asthma, but has also proven to be a good treatment for chronic idiopathic urticaria that is not responding to H1 antihistamine treatments.

I will go to the immunology clinic once a month to get an injection of Xolair. My only fear (and there is a real possibility that it could happen) is that I will have a reaction to the Xolair. So after the injection, they will monitor me for an hour or so to make sure I do not have a severe reaction (anaphylaxis).

If someone out there that has had Xolair injections stumbles on this blog, I would love to hear from you.

Angela

December 2, 2015 Posted by | Health, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stressed tresses

“Hair brings one’s self-image into focus; it is vanity’s proving ground.  Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices.”  ~Shana Alexander

I am ending week number two of no shampoo (this is an update to my June 19, 2011 blog post).  It has been a bumpy, but insightful, week and I think my hair is starting to like me again!

Updates and lessons learned

I used the baking soda/water mixture too often the first week (every other day).  I probably only needed to use it once or twice, and should have focused it on my scalp only.  It was very drying.

The pomades, serums and other products I had used prior to this experiment really masked the true condition of my hair.  I have stopped using them, but without them, the dryness and split ends became very obvious, so I had about two inches cut off of my hair.  It helped tremendously!

I perspire (on my head) quite heavily when I workout – especially during Hot Yoga (105 degrees!).  Sweat contains a lot of minerals and trace elements that are damaging to your hair (sodium, potassium, etc.), so I am rinsing my hair as soon as possible after any workout.

Because of the dry condition, I only used the baking soda mixture once this week (scalp only).  Also, I broke down and used a (non-sulfate) conditioner on the ends of my hair, after which it was very soft and manageable.  I blow-dried it and my style held all day (no other products used – not even hairspray).

My hair color has not faded at all (shampoo – even color-protecting shampoo – strips the color from your hair).

We had a lot of rain in Minnesota this week and interestingly (after cutting off the split ends), the rain and humidity had little effect on it; prior to stopping shampoo, any humidity made my hair fuzzy, frizzy and unmanageable.

Despite all of the information I had about the transition period having an “oily” stage, I have not experienced that at all.  Perhaps this is because my hair was so dry?

Modifications

Because of its parched state, I may need to use a conditioner on the ends of my hair for a few more weeks or months, at least until the natural oils (sebum) normalize.  I have, however, not used any product this week.  I put a very small amount of coconut oil on the ends of my hair to add a little shine to the ends (note – I used only a pea-sized amount, rubbed into my palms before applying to the hair).

Most of the blogs and articles I read before starting this experiment also recommended no styling tools (i.e., blow dryer, curling iron, flat iron).  However, I found that I am not quite ready to give up my hair dryer.  Perhaps I will at some point, but definitely not yet.

As I am writing this blog, my hair is shiny, smooth and actually looks pretty good!

So I will continue with no shampoo and will post another update soon.

Angela, Tress Transformer 🙂

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Health, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does she or doesn’t she?

Shampoo, that is.

Since I was a teenager, I have been at war with my hair.  For most of my life, I have had very fine, wimpy locks, with which I have never been happy.  You always want what you don’t have, eh?

I came into the world as a blonde, my hair started to darken as I entered my teens, and by the time I was in high school, I was lightening it to keep it blonde.  Since that time, I alternated between blonde, auburn and brunette shades.  My hair has been both very long and very short.  I have used hair dryers, curling irons and flat irons.

Over the last few years, I have noticed many changes in the texture of my hair; I now have gray strands here and there, and it has become very dry, wavy and frizzy.  I am sure that aging, the many years of processing, use of appliances, sweating while working out, as well as stress all play roles in its current condition.

I have been curious for a few years now about the “no shampoo” movement.  I started researching the use of shampoo – its benefits and drawbacks.  What I discovered is that there really is no great benefit to using shampoo.  In fact, it is not good for your hair.

The quick and dirty on shampoo

Shampoo has really only been prevalent since the 1970s. Before then, either regular soap was used (just a few times a month) or, just after the early 20th century, shampoo was used only a few times a year!

Shampoo is a detergent.  It contains ingredients like ammonium chloride, glycol, mineral oil, polysorbate, ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) – sometimes even formaldehyde!  SLS and its cousin ALS are used because they are inexpensive detergents.  There are many studies underway to determine the safety of these ingredients, but the jury is still out on the results.  Keeping up with the public’s desire to move away from sulfates, companies like L’Oreal have formulated shampoos and conditioners that are now “sulfate-free.”  It is clever marketing for this current trend, but these products still contain other detergents.

Using shampoo (especially if used daily) removes sebum (the oil produced by the scalp).  To compensate for this loss, the sebaceous glands produce oil at a higher rate.  This basically creates a shampoo addiction.  It takes some time after you stop using the shampoo for the oil to produce at a normal rate.

Dirty hair?

Keep in mind that “no shampoo” does not mean that you are not cleaning your hair.  Some people use a baking soda and/or vinegar solution and some simply use warm water to thoroughly rinse their hair.

If one doesn’t use much product (gel, pomades, hair sprays), then they may be able to get by with just thoroughly rinsing the hair with warm water.

Baking soda is the weakest of all alkali of sodium compounds and can be used to help remove product build-up.  Mix one tablespoon baking soda per one cup of water.  Put the mixture into a squeeze bottle that you can keep in the shower.  Once applied, massage into scalp and leave it in hair for one minute, then rinse.  It can be very drying, so unless the hair is really oily, this should not be used more than a few times a week.

Apple cider vinegar is a mild acidic made from fermenting apples.  You can find it at any grocery store.  On the hair, it helps to clarify, detangle, seal the cuticle and balance the hair’s pH level.  The solution is two tablespoons apple cider vinegar per one cup of water.  As with the baking soda mixture, put it into a squeeze bottle or spray bottle, apply to wet hair, massage into scalp and rinse with cool water.  This also does not need to be done more than a few times a week.

Check out Babyslime’s Journal at http://babyslime.livejournal.com/174054.html#bad for additional information and more “recipes” for shampoo-free hair.

Time to experiment – Week One

So I am going to give it a go!  I have already gone one week completely shampoo-free.  As I enter week two, I am definitely seeing changes.

After washing (either just rinsing with warm water or using baking soda), my hair is incredibly soft, fluffy and wavy.  However, I have noticed that by the end of the day, it feels a little heavy and my scalp looks a little oily.  But based on everything that I have read thus far, this is normal for the “transition period” (first 1-2 weeks).  I also noticed that using pomades or serums (to smooth frizzies) is not such a good thing; it builds up very quickly and does not rinse out well.  A nice alternative is coconut oil (just to smooth out the ends), but use very little or your hair will look greasy.

My hair does not look very pretty right now and I am feeling very tempted to just wash with shampoo!  However, I have resisted thus far and I hope that by making my experiment public (via my blog), I will stay motivated to carry on.

Until next week, please wish me luck.

Angela, Soon-to-be Former Product Junkie 🙂

References:

  1. Babyslime’s Journal (http://babyslime.livejournal.com/174054.html#bad)
  2. Wikipedia.org, “Shampoo”

June 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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