Tag Archives: Environment

Agony From a Shampoo Bottle – Allergies Due to Hair Care Products – a Long Term Solution

A few years ago I effectively eliminated allergy problems I had been having caused by washing detergent products. My symptoms varied from allergic contact dermatitis to recurring headaches and sinus pains (different symptoms caused by different products). The solution was simple – I started washing everything in pure water. I do have a water softener because where I live has very hard water.

Washing Powder Allergic Contact Dermatitis

From the responses to my article about this topic I discovered that many people also worry that they are allergic to their hair care products like shampoo and conditioner.  This made me wonder whether a similar solution to these allergies might also work. Is it possible to go through life without using shampoo?

Allergy area – One month after eliminating washing powder

Based on my washing powder allergy solution I decided the only way to answer this question would be to use myself as a guinea pig.

For many years I have had very short hair and regularly in the summer I would go bald and shave my head for a couple of months (see pic).  Basically this was just a style thing – it was much cooler in summer without hair (and of course I saved money on hair care products).

As autumn arrived I let my hair grow back again and usually didn’t  use shampoo again until it was about half a centimetre long. The reason I started to use shampoo each Autumn was because as my hair grew longer it seemed to get more greasy.

About 3 years ago I decided to stop using the shampoo and simply washed my hair everyday in water under the shower. By strictly washing my hair with water each morning (but no shampoo etc) the greasy feel did not arise during the winter period of growth. I shaved my head the next spring and the cycle started again.

When I explained to my lady friends that I did not need any shampoo they pointed out that this was fine for a man but they could not follow this approach as their hair was much longer. However, none of my long haired friends had actually tried to go without shampoo.

Not using shampoo (no poo) is easier with short hair

So I decided to let my hair grow long and continue not to use shampoo  to see if I turned into a grease ball. After a couple of years my hair is now shoulder length (pic lower down – cheap model!) and quite frankly I believe it is in a better condition than it has ever been.

No poo with long hair is fine if you thoroughly wash your hair with pure warm water every day

Since my teenage dandruff days I had been a committed user of Head and Shoulders shampoo. Interestingly after 3 years of not using the shampoo there is not a spec of dandruff in sight – it is almost as if the shampoo was feeding the microbes that cause flaking of the scalp.

One of my cheaper models – after 2 years growth without shampoo (just water)

In addition I no longer get those little scalp spots that would arise from time to time. I suspect these were also a reaction to the chemicals in the shampoo (not necessarily an allergic reaction – it could just be sensitivity or irritation caused by chemicals on the hair follicle).

Very importantly, from a comfort and aesthetic point of view my hair is not greasy. I found that it is important to give it a thorough rub in the shower and use warm water (I suspect the warm temperature helps the water to remove excess volatile oils that build up). Shampoo is designed to also remove such oils but it does such a good job that the scalp becomes depleted in its natural oils. The scalp responds by overproducing these oils which makes your hair more greasy – so the shampoo becomes even more necessary. A rather vicious ‘greasy’ cycle.

Same cheap model – prepared for a windy day

So I can now safely say that it is possible to go without shampoo on a long term basis even if you have long hair. You do, however, need to thoroughly wash your hair with water every day to avoid a greasy build up. I have heard of people going without washing their hair at all – they claim it adjusts and comes into balance. I have not been able to go without any washing at all for more than 2 weeks – the greasy build up simply became unpleasant. Perhaps I wasn’t patient enough – but as I normally get a shower every day I might as well wash my hair too.

By the way I also do not use any soap in the shower – the formulation of my favourite soap changed and I became allergic to it (itches under the armpits and crotch). I stopped using the soap and all problems disappeared (see my article using the link below).

Prime crotch itch Suspect -Reformulated Pears Soap

In conclusion – if you think you are allergic to hair care products you could simply try replacing them with other products which perhaps  do not have the particular agent causing the allergy. Alternatively try and eliminate hair care products from your life completely and simply wash your hair regularly (and thoroughly) with pure water.

My approach – daily thorough rubbing in the shower, comb when wet (comb cleaned under hot water each day – removes excess oils) and if possible – allow to dry naturally

After a month or two you may find. like me, that you are quite pleased with the result. The hair actually appears to be able to condition itself – I guess that is why  the scalp evolved to produce natural oils. If your hair is greasy at first I recommend you persist because the greasiness may actually be your body’s way of responding to the excessive soapiness from many years of shampoo use.

Please do not hesitate to share your experiences with other readers using the comments box (P.S. In the interest of scientific transparency – My ‘expensive’ models still use rather expensive hair care products – they are included to add glamour to the article!)

Chris Duggleby

Don’t panic – if you replace shampoo with water you wont need to cover up !

If you are interested in reading my other health focused articles try the following

Torture In The Shower – Face and Body Soap Allergies – Main Suspect: Pears Transparent Soap

Poison in your Washing Machine: Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Laundry Detergents, Softeners, Conditioners and Whiteners

Is Alzheimer’s caused by the Gum Disease Bacterium P. Gingivalis – A Dementia Prevention/Treatment Breakthrough?

My T-shirt Made Me Sick – Textile Allergies – Sinusitis From Your Underwear

Recycling in Style!

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STOP PRESS!! Have you tried the YouTube Playlist featuring all of my compositions for the TRANSFORMATES? Here it is:

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Although this is only my second weekend in the mountains the recycling waste builds up quickly (helped by five months of junk mail in the post box). So on Sunday I made one of my regular trips to the local recycling centre. This is not any old waste centre – in fact I think this is one of the most scenic trips to the rubbish dump you can imagine. It is probably best to describe it using pictures so I made sure I took my camera – a bit of a challenge as it had to travel in the same rucksack as the rubbish.

Heidi Country on the way back from the Rubbish Dump!
Heidi Country – part of my extended but scenic trip to the local recycling centre.

My weekend alpine retreat is surrounded by mountains on three sides and is traversed by numerous mountain streams accompanied by their associated waterfalls. It is, in fact, a Spa resort and is well known for its ‘Wellness’ Clinics – we get many health tourists, especially in the summer. The local Authorities have gone to a lot of trouble to create lots of pleasant and interesting walks for visitors and residents. Many of these follow the streams. You guessed it: one of these walks happens to go from my house to the recycling centre!

Alpine Stream on the Way to Rubbish Dump
Alpine Stream which makes my trip to the Bad Feilnbach rubbish dump a pleasant experience

I normally follow the stream downhill to the ‘dump’ with my rucksack of rubbish (and camera) and then follow a more strenuous route home. The walk is important because on my less energetic weekends this, and a walk to the local supermarket, may be my only exercise (I will talk about the more energetic weekends in another blog entry).

Waterfall on the Way Back from Rubbish Dump
Cascade of waterfalls on the journey to the local recycling centre

On the return route I take a stroll up the hill through ‘Heidi’ country walking past the grazing cows with their rather noisy cowbells around their necks. This is not a bad idea as it is very easy for the cows to stray into the woods and get lost. My journey also takes me through a mountain forest rising gradually until I reach the mountain stream I followed earlier but higher up the mountain. I can then follow this all the way back down to my house. The many waterfalls along this mountain stream or ‘Bach’, together with the oxygen from the trees, create a very refreshing atmosphere.

Lake and Waterfall on Way Back from Rubbish Dump
Lake and waterfall on way back from the rubbish dump in Bad Feilnbach, Bavaria

The round trip to the waste centre takes about 90 minutes and in addition to doing my bit for the environment I feel that the mountain walk has ensured the environment has also done its bit for me. After this peace and tranquillity I am ready for another week of excitement with the RiskBusters in London pushing forward the frontiers of risk management in big business.

Not bad for a trip to the rubbish dump eh?

Until next time….

Author after doing his 'bit' for the Environment
Chris Duggleby (Author) after doing his ‘bit’ for the environment (and his ageing body!)