flaky white stuff

I think of three things when I hear the phrase 'flaky white stuff,' and in the following order:

1. Snow.  Incidentally, it snowed here on Saturday and that made me extremely happy.  Now will somebody please tell me what to do with this 70+ degree weather?

2. That deodorant commercial (Right Guard?) with some NBA star (Charles Barkley?) poking around some ruins (Pyramids of Egypt?) and talking about how important it is to him that his deodorant go on clear so that he can get it on with the hot explorer chick in the crypt. In this commercial, he bellows enthusiastically about this product leaving 'NO flaky white stuff.'

Incidentally, ever since that commercial, I have been obsessed with noticing people's underarms and their FWS status.

3. Dandruff. This is related to #1.

When I was younger, I had a really bad scalp. Actually, I had really bad everything. Hair, earwax, scalp, teeth, you name it. I had a bridge of freckles across my nose, tho, so it was all good. But my mom spent hours trying to improve all my issues, or at least contain them. Loads of goopy q-tips to solve the ear problems (this was back before q-tips were bad) and countless hours sitting on the floor with a fine-tooth comb trying to dig up all the crap off my scalp. Seriously. No seven-year-old wants to sit still for that long. I hated those times, and they were frequent. Mom would try to ameliorate the situation by showing me some of the giant clumps, but it didn't really help.

At some point, I grew up. Or at least I grew out of the bad scalp and hair issues. (The ears are under control too, by the way. No comment on the teeth thing, it's been shamefully long since I've been to a dentist.) I haven't thought about flaky scalps in years.

Until recently.

When the weather turned cold, I noticed all the moisture was sucked out of my face and hands pretty much immediately. Hand lotion came back in the primetime spotlight. This is the first year, though, that I've had a super-itchy scalp. I was sitting at work the other day and my whole head was itchy, itchy, itchy. And there's no easy way to scratch your head when you're on the phone with church ladies taking down notes about the church hierarchy without them knowing. Even on the phone, they know.

In one particularly agonizing moment, my hairline went crazy. And that's when I noticed.

Heavy, thick showers of flaky white stuff, falling right before my eyes.

I flew to the bathroom to check out the damage, and sure enough, my whole head was covered in specks of dead skin. I wanted to barf. I still kinda do.

It looks like the dry skin fairies hit me extra hard this year. I have a few tricks up my sleeve to keep the dandruff at bay, but there's not a whole lot I can do about the sense of dread I feel every time I think about my problem. My mind takes me straight back to the house I grew up in, with me sitting on the floor watching tv sideways, my mom scraping my scalp until I couldn't take it any longer.

Do you have any childhood experiences that still affect your feelings about something today, even though those situations are far removed from today's reality?


  1. Whoa, your mom's gotta be a creep! ;) I bet she had no clue it was a bad thing and I bet she doesn't think it happened all THAT often, either. And I feel pretty sure she meant it for good. But ya never know!

    (I love you sweet girl and I PROMISE to never do that again, no matter what!)

  2. It's gone now? Wow! I've been struggling with this for years. What did you find to control it?

  3. a bottle of head'n'shoulders, and lots of light scraping.scratching, especially around the hairline.


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