Are you plagued with greasy hair? An overly oily scalp is a sign that something is wrong with your hair health — Yes, this is one of those situations that calls for an intervention. So, what causes an oily scalp and how do you fix it? Read on to find out!
What Causes Oily Scalp
An oily scalp results from an overproduction of sebum. One reason some people have oilier scalps is because of genetics (totally unfair, we know). It’s also a deciding factor in the number of hair follicles you will have — yes, your parents or ancestors can affect the texture and how thin or thick your hair will be.
But how do genetics really come into play? The easiest explanation is that people with fine hair have more hair follicles than those with thick hair, thus, more oils are produced when you have fine hair. But this is not the only reason you are experiencing oily hair. Here are other contributing causes:
- Hormonal imbalance: Hormones can either stimulate oil production or cause dry scalp. So, the scalp tends to be oilier on days before and during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
- Diet and lifestyle: Dairy, sugar, and spicy foods are some of the most common dietary triggers for an oily scalp.
- Medication: Some medications such as oral contraceptives can cause your sebaceous glands to work overtime and produce more sebum.
- Scalp or skin condition: Seborrhea can make the sebaceous glands go on overdrive and excrete more oil
- Hair washing schedule: How often you wash your hair can also contribute to oil production.
What Happens When You Have Oily Scalp
Our scalp naturally produces oil to keep our hair healthy. However, overproduction can be a sign that something is wrong. So, what can happen when your scalp overproduces sebum?
- It can clog the hair follicles and pores, leading to dandruff or a nest for fungus and bacteria.
- It can weigh down your hair.
- It can give you a greasy unkempt look.
- It can contribute to hair loss.
- It can lead to other hair and scalp issues.
8 Ways to Fix an Oily Scalp
#1. Make a Hair Washing Schedule
How often do you wash your hair? There is a decade-long debate on whether you should wash your hair often or less frequently for healthier hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (ADD), people with oily hair need to wash it once a day. Shampooing can help clean and clarify the scalp from excess oil, dirt, and sebum that may cause dandruff. You may want to try Pure Biology’s Premium Shampoo which is formulated with biotin and rosemary that helps gently remove oil buildup for a fresh and squeaky-clean scalp.
If you wash your hair every day and notice that it’s still greasy after the end of the day, then you might want to change the frequency of your hair-washing schedule. Over-washing can strip off natural oils, making your glands go on overdrive and produce more oil. How often you need to wash your hair can be tricky and would depend on varied factors such as the type of hair, its texture, or age. Read more about how often you should wash your hair based on your hair type here.
#2. Give Chemical Exfoliation a Try
Chemical exfoliants such as glycolic acids or salicylic acids can be used as scalp exfoliants. Social media is swarming with creators sharing their method of scalp cleaning. Massaging glycolic or salicylic acid 1-2 times a week on your scalp (for 10 minutes) can help balance oil production and increase cell turnover. If you have oily scalp that tends to turn into crusty dandruff, you may want to try this out!
Check out this video from TikTok user @ottieelle on how she does it:
@ottieelle For all my oily girls out there ✌️ @The Ordinary. Glycolic acid solition does wonders ✨ #hairtok #hairhack #hairtutorial #hairtransformation ♬ on & on - piri & tommy
#3. Use a Massage Brush
Using a scalp brush can help evenly distribute the oils to your strands so that it will not lay stagnant on your scalp. This multi-functional hair tool can also help reverse oil overproduction and increase blood flow on the scalp. We recommend this silicone brush from M3 Naturals which acts as an anti-cellulite brush and a scalp brush.
#4. Should You Use a Conditioner?
Conditioner shouldn’t be skipped even if you have an oily scalp. Cleansing conditioners such as our Pure Biology ACV Conditioner and Premium Hair Growth Conditioner help clarify the scalp from excess oil and dirt buildup. However, if you are using a different conditioner or if your hair is excessively oily, you should apply conditioners only on the strands and not on your scalp and remember to rinse thoroughly.
#5. Get a Quick Fix with Dry Shampoo
A temporary quick fix for oily hair would be to use dry shampoo! Just sprinkle it on your scalp and watch the greasiness be gone. However, be careful not to get addicted to it — this is not an alternative to shampoo. Experts recommend using it no more than 2 days a week to avoid scalp damage and hair loss.
#6. Avoid Touching Your Hair
This one might surprise you: Touching your hair and scalp frequently can cause oily hair. Oils and dirt from your hands can easily transfer to your scalp and hair. Don’t make a habit of touching your hair and scalp to avoid a greasy hair mishap.
#7. Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Consume fewer foods that are high in carbohydrates and fat to tone down the overproduction of oil. For sebum control, add B vitamins such as B2 and B6 into your diet. Here are a few good examples:
- Sweet potatoes
- Chicken breast
- Lean beef
Simple lifestyle habits like regularly washing your pillowcases can also help reduce hair oil. Try to change pillowcases at least once or twice a week.
#8. Try Supplements
B Vitamins help regulate sebum production and combat greasy scalp. Supplementing with B2, B6, or B7 (Biotin) is a must-try if you are experiencing hair and scalp problems. Biotin can also help with maintaining healthy hair follicles and stimulate hair growth. Try these LxH Biotin + Collagen gummies for the ultimate hair, skin, and nail protection.
When to Consult a Doctor
If over-the-counter treatments don’t help or you’re developing uncontrollable dandruff or itchy scalp, consider booking an appointment with your dermatologist so they can properly assess your scalp health and treat the underlying issue.
Tips for healthy hair. (2022). Aad.org. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/hair-scalp-care/hair/healthy-hair-tips
https://www.facebook.com/WebMD. (2021, May 12). What Is Dry Shampoo? WebMD; WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/what-is-dry-shampoo#:~:text=Experts%20recommend%20using%20it%20no,avoid%20scalp%20and%20hair%20damage.