Oily scalp: Causes and How to Treat It

It’s not unusual for your hair to get greasy; it happens to a lot of people. This greasiness can be traced back to the sebum your scalp produces, which is essential as it protects your hair and keeps it healthy. However, if your hair feels abnormally oily and greasy, it can give rise to hair problems like dandruff. Contrary to what most people believe, the major reason for dandruff is an oily scalp, not a dry one. 

Here’s a quick science lesson for you: a microbe called Malassezia Globosa lives on your scalp and feeds on the sebum produced by it. It releases a substance called oleic acid in this process, and more than 50 per cent of the population is sensitive to it. To get rid of this allergen from your scalp, the body directs the scalp to shed the skin cells. These skin cells tend to be oily and sticky since they fall off an oily scalp. So, if your scalp produces more sebum, it gives the microbe more to feed on and produce oleic acid. This vicious cycle continues till the time your scalp is greasy.

What causes an oily scalp?

The reason your scalp becomes oily is due to the sebaceous glands that are present on your scalp. While they produce sebum to keep your scalp and hair hydrated, there are times when these glands go into overdrive and produce more sebum. This overproduction of sebum can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Your genetic predisposition
  • Not washing your hair enough or washing your hair too often
  • Consuming a diet high in carbs, spicy and oily food
  • Certain hair care products
  • Stress

Now that you know what causes and oily, let’s look at some effective measures to bring oily scalp under control to prevent hair dandruff from occurring. 

How to treat an oily scalp?

There are certain effective home remedies to control an oily scalp. Here are some treatments you can try out at home.

  • Don’t wash your hair too often or too less

The key to keeping your hair grease-free is to wash your hair just enough. Consider washing your hair at least thrice a week will unclog the pores and prevent oil from accumulating on your scalp, causing a build-up. Dirt, grime, and other impurities can get stuck in your hair and scalp and add to your hair care woes. So, wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner at least thrice a week. 

  • Use an anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner
    Anti-dandruff shampoos like Head & Shoulders are formulated using zinc pyrithione, which is an active dandruff-fighting agent. In addition to getting rid of flakes and keeping your scalp clean and healthy, it also controls the production of sebum on your scalp. So, there’s less sebum for the fungus to feed on, which implies that you won’t have to deal with dandruff.
  •  Do not apply conditioner to your scalp
    The conditioner is not to be applied to your scalp, especially if you have an oily scalp. The conditioner can make your scalp greasy, promotes bacterial growth, and even cause hair fall. You should apply the conditioner to your tresses and not your scalp; apply it to the tips of your hair and work it upwards and just stop two inches away from your scalp.
  •  Watch your diet

You need to watch what you eat; avoid consuming fried or oily food. Instead, replace saturated fats with a balanced diet that includes healthy carbs and fats. Add omega-3 to your diet as it reduces scalp secretion and keeps your scalp healthy. 

An oily scalp can trigger several hair care issues, and you need to follow these effective tips to bring the condition under control. 

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