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Castor Oil for Scalp P
from Abbi L.

Hey everyone.  I've had P for over half my life, and I've tried many treatments, but none as simple (or as cheap!) as this.  You can get a 16-oz. bottle of castor oil for between $10 and $15 at a number of health stores and websites or natural foods stores.  I've had great luck with castor oil in the past.

My scalp would flare badly in the winter when I was a kid, and my mother (bless her heart!) would try everything she could to ease my itching and flaking.  She had heard that castor oil would help scalp P, even if it only moisturized and little else, so we gave it a try.

Mom put some in a little squeeze bottle and coated my head in castor oil every night, and I wore a shower cap to bed to keep it from staining my pillow.  After only a few treatments, I noticed a marked improvement in scaling and itchiness.  A few months of regular use and my scalp was at least 70% better than before.  It's ooey gooey and messy as anything, but who cares if it works?  I recommend it to anyone; at least give it a try.  It may not work as well for others, but you never know.  And it's not nearly as strange as some of the other treatments I've tried.  Good Luck!  -Abbi L.

*****

Ed’s Response:  I don’t find this so far-fetched, Abbi.  Isn’t castor oil good for everything that ails us?

Kidding aside, by occluding this oil (which should be rich in fish fatty acids?) on the scalp overnight, at the very least by the next morning the crusty scale should comb out easily.  And it is this thick, crusty scale buildup that causes the severest itching.  It tends to crust solid around individual hairs, which also complicates its removal.  No one who suffers from bad scalp P can forget the feeling of breaking loose one of these “crusties” and having to lift it off a hair like taking a bead off a string.

One must be careful, though.  The same oil-action that softens the crusties over night also softens the rest of the scalp.  Rough combing or brushing the morning after can result in damage to healthy skin which, in the long run, will only exacerbate the P.  I know from personal experience that damaging the scalp when its most vulnerable is easy to do.  At the moment you are doing it, it may actually feel good!  My derm once said, upon examining my scalp, “I can tell just how far apart the tines on your comb are....  You’ve combed so hard you’ve left furrows as though you were tilling a garden.”

Warning aside, you’re right: occluding castor oil on one’s scalp overnight can’t be any worse than some of the other things we wear to bed to help our P!

Thanks, Abbi.  -Ed

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