What Causes Oily Scalp And Greasy Hair? If you have noticed that your hair and scalp become greasy even after shampooing, you might have a condition called seborrhea. This condition is usually caused by hormonal imbalances or a poor diet. There are other factors that may lead to an oily scalp and oily hair but they are just some of the main causes that can contribute to the problem.
Causes Of Oily Scalp And Hair
An oily scalp is the result of overactive sebaceous glands. Your scalp contains tiny pores beneath which lie the sebaceous glands. They produce a natural oil called sebum.
Sebum is vital to maintain a healthy scalp and hair. But sometimes, certain factors may contribute to an overproduction of sebum in your skin/scalp, making your hair greasy. These factors may be internal or external.
Let’s take a look at what can possibly contribute to an oily scalp:
Your genes play a major role in determining whether or not you will have an oily scalp. If your immediate family members have oily scalps/skin, there is a possibility that you may have it as well.
- Washing your hair too often/scrubbing hard
Washing your hair too hard/often can contribute to the eradication of your protective barrier. This may result in an overproduction of oil by your sebaceous glands in an attempt to keep your scalp hydrated.
If your stress levels are high, chances are that your sebaceous-gland activity may increase. This may cause your scalp to get oily.
- Haircare products
Using harsh hair care products may damage your scalp’s protective barrier. This may result in the loss of essential oils, causing your sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum.
- Keep a track of how frequently you wash your hair
The frequency at which you wash your hair is a key factor in determining how oily your scalp can get.
- If you don’t wash/clean your scalp regularly
Keeping your scalp clean and removing excess oil is important to get rid of that grease. Shampooing your hair helps remove excess oil and debris. It keeps your scalp clean and promotes healthy hair. Wash your hair at least 3 times a week to keep it clean and oil-free.
- If you wash your hair too often
If you’re somebody who washes your hair too often, there is a possibility that over-washing is causing your scalp to feel oily. Shampooing your hair too often can strip away essential oils and moisture from your scalp. This may cause your sebaceous glands to overproduce oil to make up for a dehydrated scalp.
Sometimes we may take washing our hair for granted. Just rubbing in some shampoo isn’t enough. Shampoo removes unwanted dirt and debris from your hair. It also takes out excess oil from your scalp.
What Are the Sebaceous Glands?
Every pore on your skin has a sebaceous gland to include the pores on your scalp. These glands often referred to as oil glands, are responsible for maintaining proper hydration levels through the sebum or the oil that they produce. It’s the sebum the gives your luscious locks a healthy shine. So we need those sebaceous glands, but when producing oil in excess, it can make your hair greasy.
The sebaceous glands are pretty important, beginning their work immediately at birth. Ever notice how infants sometimes appear to have greasy hair? It may be because there is a strong increase in sebum excretion just a few hours after birth and during the first week. A new rise in sebum excretion takes place at about age 9 and continues up to age 17.
Does oily scalp cause hair loss?
Yes, the oily scalp can definitely lead to hair loss in a lot of cases. This is because oiliness attracts a lot of dirt, sweat, impurities, and dandruff, all of which end up settling on your scalp and clogging your pores over time. Clogged pores prevent the follicles from functioning optimally, leading to hair fall and stunted hair growth.
How to get rid of oily hair naturally: Washing tips and more
1. Wash less frequently
Some people who do cleanse their hair once a day may be washing it too much. Washing too often can strip the hair of its natural oils, causing the hair to produce even more oil.
People who find their hair becomes greasy very quickly after washing it and have an itchy or irritated scalp might want to experiment with washing their hair less frequently. Doing so could help to balance out oil production and reduce greasiness.
2. Improve washing technique
It is easy for people to get into bad hair-washing habits that cause their hair to become oily and damage their scalp.
The correct way to wash the hair is to massage a small amount of shampoo into the roots and scalp.
Do this thoroughly but carefully, taking care not to scratch the scalp or hair. Scrubbing too aggressively could cause irritation and more oil production.
As most people find their hair is oiliest near the hairline, it is best to focus on washing the scalp and hair roots, rather than the ends of the hair. Rinsing the shampoo through the hair will be sufficient to clean the ends.
Rinse hair thoroughly to ensure that debris from the shampoo does not build up and weigh the hair down.
3. Use conditioner sparingly
Conditioner can cause oils to build up more quickly, contributing to the greasy look of a person’s hair.
Instead of conditioning all over, try just applying to on the ends of the hair to keep them from drying out. Make sure to rinse thoroughly after application.
4. Use dry shampoo
Some people may not want to wash their hair every day or find that even if they do it is greasy by the afternoon. In these cases, dry shampoo may help, as its effects occur instantly.
Dry shampoo works by soaking up excess oil from the hair. Cornstarch or baby powder can also have a similar effect, for those looking for a homemade alternative.
It is important to note that using too much dry shampoo can leave the hair feeling gritty and dirty. It should not be considered a substitute for using shampoo and water as it does not help with removing dirt and debris from the scalp.
Home Remedies to treat Oily and Greasy Hair
Essential oil mixte
15 drops of tea tree oil
30 mL of any carrier oil (coconut or jojoba oil)
Add 15 drops of tea tree oil to 30 mL of any carrier oil and mix well.
Apply this mixture to your scalp and spread it evenly through the length of your hair.
Leave it on for at least an hour before washing it off.
You can also apply tea tree oil directly to your scalp if you are not sensitive to it.
How Often You Should Do This 2 to 3 times a week.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The presence of acetic acid in apple cider vinegar imparts pH-balancing properties to it. Its acidity can balance the pH level of your scalp ( ). Since oily hair has a low pH, rinsing it with ACV may restore its pH balance and control the secretion of excess oil on your scalp.
2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 cup of water
Add two to three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water and mix well.
Wash your hair with a mild cleanser.
After washing the cleanser off, rinse your hair with the apple cider vinegar solution.
Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing off with cold water.
How Often You Should Do This 3 to 4 times a week.
Back To TOC
coconut oil prior to shampooing is a great way to condition your hair without making it greasy. Virgin coconut oil is light and has a lower molecular weight compared to many other oils, which helps give your hair the required shine ( ). Thus, it may also help prevent excess sebum production.
Take a little virgin coconut oil and rub it between your palms.
Apply the oil evenly to your scalp and hair.
Leave it on for an hour before washing it off with a mild shampoo.
How Often You Should Do This Once a week.
Back To TOC
Aloe vera exhibits significant astringent and nourishing properties due to its nutrient-rich composition ( ). Thus, it may help control sebum secretion and make your hair soft.
1-2 teaspoons of aloe vera gel
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 cup of water
Add one to two teaspoons of aloe vera gel to a tablespoon of lemon juice.
Add a cup of water to this mixture and mix well.
Use this to rinse your hair, preferably after shampooing.
Leave it on for a few minutes and wash off with cold water.
Baking soda works great as a dry shampoo as well as a rinse for oily hair. Anecdotal evidence suggests that its alkaline nature may help in balancing the pH of your scalp and absorbing excess oil.
Sprinkle baking soda all over your scalp and hair.
Brush your hair to spread it out.
Alternatively, you can mix a tablespoon of baking soda with three to four tablespoons of water and apply it to wet hair. You can rinse it off after a few minutes.
How Often You Should Do This Do this twice a week.
How often you wash your hair:
Are you the type of person who washes their hair every day or do you tend to go a day or two in-between washes? When dealing with greasy hair, it can feel necessary to wash your hair once a day (or more!) to get your oily scalp under control and improve your hair’s appearance. However, what you might not realize is that overwashing your hair strips the scalp of its natural oils. When the scalp is stripped, it overcompensates by producing even more oil, leaving you in a vicious cycle of oil production, greasy hair, and subsequent overwashing.
It might seem like an impossible thing to ask of those with oily hair, but try going 1-2 days in between washes. After a week or so, your hair should naturally begin to produce less oil as it returns to a healthier state.
“Did you know that the quality of your hair and scalp can be affected by your choice of pillowcase material?„
To moisturize or not to moisturize?
If you have oily hair, you might want to consider adding a lightweight conditioner.
The lightweight conditioner can help replenish and balance the moisture on your scalp without sending it into overproduction mode. Oily hair is often the result of the scalp having received messages to produce more oil because the hair is getting dried out from various products.
Oily hair may also be due to a poor rinse job after applying products during the hair-washing process.
You may want to try conditioning first and shampooing second to remove extra residue or just do away with your traditional conditioner and try a leave-in conditioning spray (on your ends only).
Don’t have dry shampoo and need some in a pinch? Cornstarch or baby powder are classic DIY substitutes. Adding cocoa powder can make it disappear into darker hair.
Don’t skip your scalp the next time you do a coconut oil treatment. This treatment can help lift oil off the scalp and roots while adding some much appreciated deep hydration.
Enlist the benefits of apple cider vinegar. When properly diluted, an apple cider vinegar rinse can help remove product buildup, balance scalp pH, and reduce frizz.
A 2002 study found that antibacterial tea tree oil improves dandruff, reduces itchiness, and improves greasiness. Look for a shampoo that includes tea tree oil as one of its active ingredients to get the full effect.
This probably goes without saying, but sweating spreads oils and can leave your hair looking less than fresh. Try to schedule your shampooing around your sweatiest workouts to get the most out of each wash.
Hats, helmets, scarves, and headbands can spread oils and trap heat. Undo the hat hair and its side effects with a quick wash. Or use head accessories to stretch out the timing of your next wash.
This potion is surprisingly handy for grimy hair. Witch hazel can relieve itching, close oil-producing pores, and reduce inflammation caused by dandruff, pH imbalance, or other scalp disorders. It’s also gentle enough to use on a sensitive scalp.
Constantly pulling back your hair can cause your scalp’s oils to spread faster and make your hair look greasier. Let your mane roam untamed now and then to stretch the time between washes.
This works especially well if you leave your hair down the first day post-wash and wear it up the day before you wash.
powerhouse beverage is also good for your hair. Green tea extract has been shown to reduce sebum production and nourish the skin when applied topically. Make it easy on yourself and pick up a shampoo that includes it.
Sometimes it’s easier to just not fight it. Use the oils in your hair to your advantage with a sleek topknot. Plus, the natural oils will help hydrate your hair and give you an even better hair day tomorrow.
If you’ve let the oil get really out of hand, a honey mask can help soothe your scalp and prevent or treat dandruff, thanks to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
A 2001 study found that a simple mixture of 90 percent raw honey and 10 percent water helped reduce symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis-like itching, redness, flakiness, and excessive oil production.
Oily hair can be the makings of a bad day. The good news is that there are plenty of remedies to help you get it under control.
It’s also important to note that the amount of oil you produce changes over time and generally goes down as you get older. The excessively greasy locks of your youth won’t haunt you forever, promise.