So it turns out that the super itchy and painful rash on my scalp neck and face is shingles. I really wasn’t expecting that when I went to the doctor.
She gave me meds to get rid of it and another pill for itch, which isn’t really working. Since the majority of the area is on my scalp, calamine lotion seemed like a bad (or at least unattractive) idea. I know chamomile and oatmeal are often used for itch and irritation so I figured I’d make some kind of soak.
Before I got started I did a little research online and found some helpful recipes, which I then combined and specialized for my somewhat specific need.
From what I read, many people use chamomile to lighten their hair. I’ve done it with lemon juice before and it was pretty effective- in case anyone is interested. The Internet also says that green tea seems to work better for hair and scalp health, so I used both.
As I read on I found other ingredients that seemed beneficial: either for itch relief, astringent properties (to dry out the sores and promote healing) or moisturizers. I ended up with a sort of manic solution to all my problems, which turned out to be more of a shampoo than rinse/treatment.
The result was quite good. I had instant relief on application and then as I massaged it in I started to feel a tingle from the astringents. I kept it in for a few minutes and rinsed when the stuff got in my eye (not fun). After rinsing my hair felt clean and to my surprise not tangled. From what I can tell that was the xantham gum, which I added to thicken and keep the solution mixed. Be warned, I sneezed and added too much xantham in the first batch and it turned into a goo that reminded me of the pink slime in Ghostbusters 2.
So here is the recipe for my anti itch shampoo with a description of the qualities of each ingredient:
*4 cups water (most recipes called for distilled, I just used regular tap)
*2 green tea bags (soothes and moisturizes – has natural Panthenol)
*2 chamomile tea bags (antiseptic and anti inflammatory)
*1/2 apple cider vinegar (antibacterial)
*1/2 cup oatmeal – non instant, just oats (anti itch)
*1/2 cup Dr. Bronners soap (very gentle Castile soap for lather)
*1/3 cup jojoba oil (moisturizer, could be replaced with olive or coconut oil)
*1 tablespoon tea tree oil (pretty intense astringent, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic)
*1 teaspoon xantham gum (thickener, detangler)
Boil water with tea bags. Once boiling reduce heat and add vinegar and oatmeal, simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and return to pot. I’m keeping the oatmeal to grind up and use as a paste for itchy spots.
On a very low flame and stirring constantly, add the rest of the ingredients xantham gum last. Stir until everything is incorporated, pour into a squeeze bottle and let cool.
I didn’t put the xantham gum in until after I took it off the flame and it ended up clotting a bit, I think the trick is to move quick while mixing.