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5 Signs We Were Allergic To Natural Hair Products

We had rashes on our face, neck, back, and in between our fingers. It took over a year to discover we were allergic to multiple natural hair products.

Here were the signs…

1. Burn On Hair Line

Every time, I washed my hair my hairline tingled. I had a white strip across my forehead. I thought I was sunburned. It took months for me to realize, our conditioner was burning my skin off.

2. Dark Rashes On Neck

Both my daughter and I developed dark rashes on the base of our necks with open sores. Our dermatologist dismissed it as eczema and prescribed steroids. I finally figured out our hair products were causing the problem. Since we wash our hair in the shower (instead of leaning over a sink), the conditioner that ran down my neck, irritated it.

3. Red Bumps In Between Our Fingers

I had itchy and painful red bumps in between my fingers. Since I was co-washing our hair daily, the sores never had a chance to heal. Our dermatologist insisted I apply the steroid cream liberally as much as possible. I did not want to be dependent on a harmful cream and was determined to figure out what was causing this painful reaction.

4. Ringworm-like Symptoms

I also broke out into circular rashes on my face, which looked like little ringworms. They weren’t. I assume the rashes on my face and neck looked different, because they are different types of skin. Nonetheless, they were both caused by the products we were using.

5. Rash On Back

Because I wash her hair in the tub, the product was also irritating the skin on her back. As soon as we stopped using the products, our symptoms cleared up.

Here is list of products that caused problems for our skin...

What Caused Your Flare Ups?

It's possible that we were using too much product. In the beginning of our natural hair journey, I was learning how to care for our curls and easily went through a bottle of conditioner a week (instead of a month). I can now see why our skin reacted the way that it did.

Another theory is that some products were just too exotic for our immune system. For example, Shea Moisture is known for using unfamiliar raw ingredients like gotu kola and neem oil. While I love this brand, some of their lines are just too potent for me and our family.

Other brands included common natural ingredients (like olive oil). But the other chemicals in their formula must have been too harsh for our sensitive skin.

Lastly, I didn't wash the product off. Over the years, I've learned that when using palmfuls of product, it's important to wash your hands and body to remove any excess.

How Long Did It Take Your Skin To Heal?

It took 2 days to 6 weeks.

The longer healing times were due to me not realizing that the product(s) were irritating our skin. At that time, I was using multiple products and did not know which one was the culprit. So if I stopped using a conditioner, our gel or leave-in continued to wreak havoc. Elbow crease allergy tests (when you put a little bit of product on the inside of your arm to see if there is a reaction) didn't seem to work. Meaning there wasn't a problem on my arm, but we clearly had a reaction on our face.

So if I used a product and noticed something strange (like a tingling sensation), I immediately stopped using it. Which is why, the first step in healing is identifying the problem.

If you have to do your hair daily (for example when you have a twa), try using one product at a time, until you can eliminate the culprit. For your little ones, put their hair in a protective style, so that you do not have to apply any product for a few days. This way their skin has time to heal and you can figure out the troublemaker.

What Are The Best Remedies?

I wrote a whole post on natural remedies. But in short, we avoided the irritants, did warm salt baths and applied shea butter or a salve.

Have you or your children ever experienced allergic reactions to certain hair products? How long did they take to heal? What natural remedies have you tried?

Until next time...

Love The Journey,

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