I’ve been reviewing studies the past week about carcinogens in black hair care products, and was shocked to find that the hair care industry is unregulated by the FDA. Black women are especially prone to risks of chemically induced cancers due to the prevalence and long-term use of hair relaxers.
However, as I’ve traveled through natural hair care blogs and forums, I’ve discovered another eyebrow-raising trend… the off-label use of prescription and over the counter drugs to grow longer hair. Though hair growth is dictated by many factors including time of year, pregnancy, aging, heat damage from styling tools, chemical over-processing, genetics and nutritional deficiencies, many black women remain obsessed with finding “the thing” that will give them long, flowing locks.
My concern is that these women, in their haste to try the latest fad thing that everyone else is using are putting an amazing number of strange chemicals on their scalps. The scalp is rich with blood vessels which lie close to the surface of the skin, providing fast and easy absorption into the body.
Application of these drugs, being used in a manner not studied or recommended by the drug manufacturer, places a wide variety of chemicals with unknown risks dangerously close to vital organs like the brain and eyes.
- Monistat 7 vaginal yeast infection cream being used among naturals to grow longer hair. The active ingredient in Monistat 7 (miconazole), was deregulated by the FDA in 1991. Before that, Monistat was available only with a doctor’s prescription. Yes, it is highly effective against most strains of yeast. However, if used frequently or when you do not have a yeast infection, you might be creating a strain of drug-resistant yeast in your crotch, which means the next time you have a yeast infection, the drug won’t work.
- Though there are no guarantees or scientific proof that the Monistat treatment works, anecdotal reports state that healthy hair will begin to grow back within six weeks. There are side effects associated with the use of miconazole nitrate, including allergic reactions. According to WebMD, headaches, hives and skin rashes have all been reported by users of this medicine in its topical form. Though it is rumored to assist in hair growth by dilating blood vessels in the scalp, this drug is so powerful that it breaks down latex.
Lotrimin Athlete’s Foot Cream for Hair Growth and Dandruff
- Athlete’s foot is a very common skin infection, especially in teens and anyone that practices sports which leave their feet enclosed, hot and sweaty. It usually starts off between the toes, but can quickly spread to the rest of the foot. If it spreads to the toenails they’ll become thick, hard and yellowed. The infection easily spread to your fingernails and hands, particularly when these touch the skin between your toes as you apply cream. Ringworm is caused by the same type of fungal infection, which is transmitted to the abdominal region, the arms/hands, and the scalp. Like athlete’s foot, the rash of ringworm is itchy and scaly, usually in circular patches with a raised edge and flat in the middle. If your scalp is affected, you may notice a patch of hair loss as well as the scaly rash.
- Using an over the counter treatment for ringworm may be appropriate; however, naturalistas who promote use of Lotrimin on the scalp are doing so primarily to alleviate dandruff and to help the hair grow. Though one of the causes of dandruff is the scalp-dwelling fungus Malassezia globosa (M. globosa), use of anti-fungals has proven to be less than effective. Study results released in April 2012 showed that “sulfonamides, a family of existing antibiotic medicines, were more effective in preventing the fungus’s growth than ketoconazole, a widely used anti-fungal medicine that is an ingredient in certain dandruff treatments.”
Using Over the Counter Fungal Creams on the Scalp
I’m wondering if its really worth it to play Russian Roulette with your health in a quest to look cute or have long hair. There are so many 100% natural things that can be used to treat fungus, dandruff, Seborrheic dermatitis, and to cure and prevent yeast infections which eliminate unsettling potential risks.
Aloe Vera, garlic oil, oil of oregano, rosemary essential oil and Neem oil will produce the same bacterial and fungus killing results without the risks to your health of using foot or vaginal cream on your scalp. As these chemicals soak into your bloodstream and organs, you have no idea what it is doing to your body long-term, or may do to the bodies of future unborn children. (Remember the drug Thalidomide? It was an over the counter drug too.)
Really, if the purpose of going natural is to get AWAY from dosing your hair and body with dozens of chemicals , why would you then turn around and do the same thing using something like this? Sounds like someone wearing natural hair as a fad, because everyone else is doing it – not because they are concerned with their physical and hair HEALTH.
Ladies, just because someone else does some risky nonsense does not mean you should follow suit. Just because someone reports they “grew their hair using XYZ” doesn’t mean it’s true or that ingredient was the ONE THING they did differently that made the difference.
Hair growth is impacted by many different things including your health, medications, genetics, municipal water supply, physical exercise, nutrition and water intake. There are so many variables in hair growth and so many risks with using products (even over the counter) in off-label ways. I don’t understand the push to think this is okay just because other people said they use it on some You Tube video or Facebook/blog post.
Black women really should NOT use this stuff just to get some hair.
The unquestioning, unresearched willingness to embrace off-label uses of powerful drugs just because everyone else is doing it is very dangerous, high risk behavior. Do we really need to use products designed to treat our feet or vagina on our scalps?
About the Author (Author Profile)Blogger, writer, relationships/dating expert, fitness trainer and natural hair enthusiast since 1997. Sharing information from grandmomma, books and scientific journals, as well as my personal discoveries and experiences with natural hair as we journey from relaxers, flat irons and weaves together.
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