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My TnR timeline - update at 25 months

Sissemor
@sissemor
6 years ago
54 posts

Sooo... I've been thinking a lot about whether I should write this, because I know it will freak some of you out. However, I'm sure you'd like to know to prevent something similar happening to you, so here goes:

5 days ago I noticed how one of my dreads was just a big dangling lump when I tied my hair back. You can see what I mean here:

Now, I've never been crazy about the lumps most of my dreads formed, and some of them were just so uncomfortable during sleep that I cut them a few months back, just above the lumps. Above the lumps all dreads are small/medium and look like, well, like real dreads, with bumps and everything, but no lumps.

So I decided to cut this lump too. And then I looked at it and noticed that it had a gray-greenish hue where the cut was made. Horrified I immediately cut the lump in half to see what it looked like on the inside, and here it is:

Mold!!!Now, I should stress that there was NO odour from my hair at all - I could only smell the mold faintly when I scratched at the green areas you see. This freaked me out - I would have thought that you'd be able to smell if there was mold in your dreads :-/

So I talked with my dreaded friend about what to do. As I said, most of my dreads have these lumps at the end, and as far as I can tell they are made up of loops folding up over themselves, instead of knotted hair. They are hard and inflexible and feel nothing like the rest of the dread, and they are around 3-4 times larger in diameter than the dread itself, with rounded tips. Maybe I would have been able to dry them out somehow, but I think it would have been very difficult to get rid of the mold itself, and impossible to be sure it wouldn't reoccur. To me, mold is not just something that smells or is gross. It's a health hazard. It's allergenic and may cause many different symptoms. I know - we had mold in our basement a few years ago, and the kids were affected constantly - the youngest with colds and the eldest with headaches. Not something you'd like in your house, and particularly not something you'd like on your head 24/7!

So I cut them. At first just a few, which I also cut through the lump to look for mold, and they all looked exactly like the one above. Then the rest. I had actually been thinking about cutting them some day, when they'd grown, because I really didn't care for those lumps, but it still felt like shit :-(

So instead of having shorties, I now have ultra-shorties :-/ But at least they're healthy shorties!!

I know I've done some things that would increase the risk of mold. For a short while I washed before bedtime. During the winter months I wore tams after washing when I went out. I put my hair up when wet sometimes to get it out of my face. But as far as I can tell, there was only mold in the dreads that had lumps. The ones without lumps were also rounded at the tips, and I cut a little but of the tips on them too, to open them up - no mold.

So why did I have lumps? Was it because I washed everyday for the first month and had super fast looping progress? Because the loops didn' t have time between washing to work into the dread? Were the giant loops a result of too much rubbing because I washed with shampoo instead of bs/vinegar most of the time? That's a topic for another post, i think, because I'd really like to know if there are others with similar problems.

I want to emphasize that I don't think these lumps were like real knotted dreads. So if someone with phatties were to read this and be alarmed, I just want to say that I'm sure there's nothing concerning about normal phatties! The way dreads knot up should let water drain from them without problems - and this is precisely what I think was the problem with these lumps: they were formed by layers and layers of loops as far as I could tell. That is, loops that weren't sucked in but just stuck in layers. No wonder they didn't drain well :-/

By now I'm used to my ultra shorties and okay about posting pictures so you can see it's not all bad - at least they're healthy and feel wonderful, and as a bonus I can now wear all the beads that wouldn't fit over the lumps!


updated by @sissemor: 07/22/15 05:21:54AM
kris
@kris
6 years ago
39 posts

Wow! It's better that you found it now and took care of it. I think they still look beautiful :)

Mine are very similar to yours with the big lumps at the ends. I cut a small section off of one about 2 months ago because I found what I believe was a little chuck of soap stuck in there and I couldn't pick it out. It seems to me too that the lumps aren't really dreaded like the upper parts above the lumps. I was thinking that maybe when I did the t&r I did it too tight and the hair couldn't really move and just folded up on itself.

Sissemor
@sissemor
6 years ago
54 posts

Thanks, both of you :-) I cried at first, actually (because it's not 'just' hair for us, is it), but you know, it's just length - it's not like I had to cut the dreads completely. I still have dreads - better ones at that, seeing they're mold-free ;-) - and time has a cure for the length issue :-)

Kristy, you might be on to something. Maybe it is because of tight TnR. What I'd like to know is if this has happened to anyone who went natural from the start. But I'll put that in another post. Did you see any evidence of mold in the piece you cut?

grittyjane, it might be residue but I'm not sure. I have used bs/vinegar throughout the process, so in theory is should have dissolved any residue - lately I've done only bs and no shampoos. But on the other hand, the nature of the lumps may make it impossible to really get in there and dissolve anything. So residue and drainage problems could have resulted in mold. The green thing here is definitely not 'just' residue - there was a little cloud of dust (spores) released when I scratched at it, and a distinct but faint moldy smell. Yuck.

kris
@kris
6 years ago
39 posts
I didn't see anything that looked like mold and there was no smell. The hair looked normal but there was some white stuff in there - very fine specks. Not sure if it was residue. They only things I've used since I've started are the bs/acv with tea tree, rosemary and lavender oils and maylee's bar. For the last 7 months I've mostly been using the maylee's bar though.
Sissemor
@sissemor
6 years ago
54 posts

Oh good!! Could the white stuff be lint?

Are your lumps also very rounded at the tips? How often do you wash?

kris
@kris
6 years ago
39 posts
It wasn't lint. Maybe skin from my scalp. Some of them are rounded and but many of them still have the big flat ends. The ones that are more round are also more compact. I usually wash every 2 to 3 days and I always try to wash in the morning or least early afternoon since it seems like it takes all day for them to dry.
Sissemor
@sissemor
6 years ago
54 posts

Yeah, mine take all day to dry, even now, so with the lumps it must have been more than a day.

And the lumps are pretty inflexible? That's how mine were. I can't remember - do you live in a warmer climate than me?

kris
@kris
6 years ago
39 posts

For the most part they are pretty flexible but there are a few small areas on couple of them that are harder than the others.

It is warmer here summers on average are in the 80's and winters average in the 30's (F). During the winter sometimes I would use a blow dryer just to help dry them a little. After I wash them I usually keep them wrapped in a thick towel for about 5 minutes or so to help soak up some of the water.

Sissemor
@sissemor
6 years ago
54 posts

I think they're not as bad as mine, then. They were pretty inflexible, I think.

A little warmer than here, but not much. I think blow dryers could be a really good idea, especially if the alternative is being outside with wet dreads in a tam all day :-/

Heather
@heather
6 years ago
1,294 posts

i have the same lumps of hair on some of my locks. my hair naturally just starts knotting from the bottom up. i had one wad of hair that was flat and quite thick and about 3" wide. it was driving me nuts. it pulled weird on my hair and it took forever to dry. after a failed attempt at undoing it i ended up cutting it on either side to make it more in line with the locked hair above it. it looked like my lock had gotten a buzz cut. lol. i noticed in the cut hair a powdery residue like you had mentioned. dust? or maybe baking soda that didn't fully get rinsed out? hard water sucks. i don't know. i went ahead and wrapped that part with some hemp and hopefully it will bind back together. i don't have the pulling on that section anymore which i'm really happy about. i've started to put beads on the ends of hair that starts to lock to prevent any future dread wads.

thanks so much for sharing your experience. i think you look adorable with your short dreadies:)

 
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