|Photo: Courtesy of Tropic Isle Living
This month I am writing about some helpful products that I used while undergoing breast cancer treatment. Six months into my chemotherapy treatment, I suffered complete hair loss. As I discussed wigs with a neighbor, she mentioned that as my hair grew back in, my scalp would probably be itchy and tender. She learned about this from a friend who had also gone through chemotherapy and was using black castor oil to relieve the discomfort she was experiencing. I have written about black castor oil in the past, but never got around to actually trying it. It’s typically used as a hot oil treatment for hair and can be found as an ingredient in shampoos and hair treatments to treat dandruff and as a stimulus for hair growth. It has higher alkaline pH levels than regular castor oil, so it has more clarifying properties. It exfoliates the scalp and unclogs hair follicles and can treat certain scalp conditions.
I was in a beauty supply shop looking at wigs and asked about the black castor oil. The clerk handed me a bottle of Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Castor Oil and told me that it was a popular brand with the customers, so I bought it. I started using it and it did ease the sensitivity and itchiness in my scalp.
A few days after purchasing the black castor oil, I heard from a representative for Tropic Isle Living about the company. It was launched in 1992 by founders/husband and wife team Michael Hines and Lois Reid-Hines. The company sells natural hair, skin and body products made from oils, herbs and berries from Jamaica, the Caribbean and Africa. In addition to Jamaican black castor oil, the company also has products like red pimento oil and coconut oil. (I’ll write about these products in the future).
The Jamaican Black Castor Oil is hand processed from pure wild crafted and organic Jamaican castor seeds. Black Castor oil is popular for use on the hair and scalp because it
- stimulates hair growth
- cleanses the scalp of toxins and other substances that can damage hair and slow growth
- repairs dry, damaged hair and helps reduce breakage
- provides a protective covering that seals in moisture
I would massage the oil into my scalp at night and cover it with a satin scarf or bonnet. Black castor oil can stain, so you have to be sure to cover the hair if it’s going to be in contact with fabrics. I’m not crazy about the scent of castor oil, but the chemo drugs probably made my scalp super-sensitive, uncomfortable and at times, even painful to the touch. The Jamaican black castor oil soothed my scalp. The medical staff was also surprised at how fast my hair grew back in.