The root cause of an oily scalp is the excessive secretion of a natural oil ‘sebum’ that is secreted by the scalp. Normally, sebum is secreted to retain moisture in the hair and prevent dryness.
Shampooing hair very frequently causes the scalp to become dry due to which the release of sebum increases thus making the scalp very greasy.
Some of the other causes of an oily scalp are:
- Hormonal changes: The onset of puberty, menstruation and menopause bring about hormonal changes in the body which trigger oil secretion.
- Diet: A diet that lacks vitamin B or has excessive sugar or fat.
- Hairstyling products: Frequent use of these products causes the scalp and strands to become clogged up.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the size of sebaceous glands increases and thus production of sebum also increases.
- Humidity and pollution: As the pollutants come in contact with hair, the sebaceous glands release more oil as a protection against the dirt and hence contribute towards an oily scalp.
20 EASY HOME REMEDIES TO GET RID OF AN OILY SCALP
So now we know that even petty things like inefficient diet or exposure to pollution can lead to an oily scalp. But that does not mean there are no solutions to get rid of it. Here are a few ways to prevent hair from getting greasy.
This is probably the most effective and easy solution for our problem. Drink plenty of water regularly. The key point here is that you should not stop eating carbohydrates and fats altogether but choose the right ones. It will be beneficial to include only healthy fats such as ghee and coconut oil in your diet. Olive oil, nuts, fishes and seafood have all the right fatty acids that you need for a healthy diet.
Sprinkling a bit of dry shampoo on your hair and then running a comb through it makes your hair look less oily.
Dry shampoo can be easily made from two easily available ingredients: arrowroot or cornstarch and a few drops of essential oil. Just mix the two, store in a container and you are good to go.
Henna has a drying effect on your hair and helps remove greasiness. But you might want to avoid its regular use as it can give your hair a distinct brown colour as it is also used for colouring hair.
Aloe Vera gel nourishes hair, gives moisture to the cuticles and prevents dryness.
This will ensure less secretion of sebum and will not make hair oily.
- MAKE AN EGG YOLK HAIR MASK
Egg yolk has sulphur and protein which not only deals with greasy hair but also makes it softer and shinier.
Making the hair mask is simple:
- Just beat the egg yolk, apply on your hair and let it be for about 15 minutes.
- Wash and rinse your hair properly after that.
Essential oils such as tea tree oil or olive oil can be added to the mask to provide the necessary lustre
Astringents block the pores of the scalp which in turn prevents the release of excess natural oils and can make the oil less greasy.
Apply an astringent such as witch hazel on your hair before washing so as to eliminate the excessive oil from the scalp.
Lemon juice is acidic and hence maintains a balanced pH level which reduces the secretion of oil.
- Just take a few drops of lemon juice and massage your hair with it for a few minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly and you will feel the difference. You can also add honey or curd for softer hair.
Baking soda is alkaline in nature and balances the pH level of your scalp.
- Simply make a paste by adding a few drops of water in baking soda and apply on the hair before a hair wash.
Baking soda can also act as an effective dry shampoo
Apple cider vinegar has acetic acid which also balances the pH level of your scalp and is used to rinse hair after washing to decrease the secretion of sebum in hair.
- Soak a few methi seeds overnight and make a paste out of it the next day.
- Apply the paste on your hair, keep for a few minutes and then rinse it off for oil-free, soft and shiny hair.
- STRAWBERRY AND MAYONNAISE MASK
- Make a paste of crushed strawberries and mayonnaise and apply it on your hair for about 15 minutes before rinsing your hair.
Vitamin C in strawberries regulates the oil content in the scalp and mayonnaise provides the necessary nourishment.
You might be wondering how exercising is related to curing hair problems but yoga and exercising helps the body in more ways than you can think of.
Exercising helps in digestion and enhances the effect of our balanced diet. Also, exercising relieves stress which is a major factor responsible for that oily scalp of yours.
A hot oil treatment works for both oily and dry hair. It gives the necessary nourishment to hair and makes them livelier. It can be done by following these simple steps
- Heat a few drops of your oil in a double boiler
- Apply it only on the roots of your hair using your fingertips
- Wrap a hot towel around your head so that the steam carries and circulates the oil in every strand of hair.
- Apply for about half an hour or 1 hour according to your hair type and then rinse.
Vodka acts as a hair tonic as it is acidic and blocks the cuticles of our scalp.
- Just mix vodka and water in the ratio of 1:3 and apply it on your scalp before rinsing and it will definitely reduce the secretion of oil.
An astringent called tannic acid is present in black tea which closes the oil follicles of our scalp, thus making it less greasy
- All you have to do is apply lukewarm black tea on your scalp, leave for 15 minutes and wash your hair thoroughly.
It is a natural absorbent and absorbs all the excess oil in the scalp; it also maintains a balanced pH and improves the circulation of blood in our scalp.
Tomato juice has citric acid which also balances the pH of the scalp and absorbs extra oil.
- DON’T TIE YOUR HAIR ALL-DAY
Tying up your hair, again and again, causes stress in the roots which may further increase oiliness. So you should refrain from tying up your hair many times a day and for too long.
Beer has proteins that provide nourishment to the already dried roots of your hair and thus rejuvenates the scalp, making your hair healthier
Table salt absorbs excess oil from the roots and hence lessens the oil
CAN THESE REMEDIES BE USED ON CHILDREN?
Yes! All the remedies mentioned above are completely natural and safe for children. In fact, if an oily scalp is treated during childhood itself there are chances it will be gone for good. Also, it is easier to treat an oily scalp in its early stages as it may lead to severe damage later on and might cause dandruff or even inhibit hair growth.
ARE THESE REMEDIES SAFE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN
Although these remedies are completely safe for pregnant women, during the initial stages of pregnancy one must take extra care and consider a dermatologist before using or eating any product. This is because the initial few days are very critical and one might get an allergic reaction by using any product
Pregnant women can always go for a hot oil treatment as it not only makes their hair strong but also makes the whole body stress free and gives comfort in pregnancy.
OVER THE COUNTER MEDICINES AVAILABLE
If any of the natural remedies don’t work for you, you could try the following products:
- For an oil-free scalp choose a shampoo which has the following ingredients: salicylic acid, coal tar or selenium sulphide. You might have to rinse your hair twice as the sebum generated by sebaceous glands finishes off the much-needed lather that is made by these shampoos.
- There are certain ointments or gels available for the treatment of an oily scalp which contain ketoconazole and sulfacetamide or ciclopirox
- Oiliness can be caused by fungus on the scalp which can be treated by shampoos which contain selenium sulphide or zinc pyrithione
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT HAIR AND SCALP YOU SHOULD KNOW
Myth: Avoid using conditioner for oily hair
Fact: Conditioner is not needed for short hair. It should not be applied to the roots but is essential for the strands whether your scalp is oily or dry.
Myth: You should brush your hair 100 times a day
Fact: Over-brushing your hair can cause harm to your hair’s follicles and hence you should only brush your hair when needed
Myth: Dandruff implies dry scalp and hair
Fact: It’s not a dry scalp but an oily one which causes dandruff. A type of yeast grows in response to an oily environment and results in dandruff.
Myth: You should not oil your hair if you have an oily scalp
Fact: Oils are necessary for nourishment and moisturizing your hair’s cuticles. If you do not wish to apply oil to your scalp at least apply it to the strands to make them stronger and shinier.
Myth: You should shampoo your hair every day
Fact: washing hair every day might not make them shine every day but will definitely make the scalp oilier due to frequent secretion of sebum and hence should be avoided.
Myth: To get clean hair you should lather and rinse twice
Fact: washing hair once will be enough to clean it effectively. Rinsing again can often lead to dull and dry hair.
PRECAUTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO AVOID OILY SCALP
- Do not bleach your hair if you have an oily scalp as it further increases the problem of secretion of excessive sebum.
- Always wash your hair after a workout as the sweat may cause the scalp to become oily very easily
- Do not make the use of dry shampoo a habit because it is only an alternative to hair wash but not a replacement. Oil and dirt will eventually accumulate in your hair and it will only go away if you wash your hair. Dry shampoo, if not applied evenly throughout the strands and roots will leave a white coloured residue which not only looks bad but can also trigger the secretion of oil.
- Baking soda should also be applied on hair judiciously as is a chemical which is too alkaline and can deprive hair of natural oils and even it’s colour. Similarly, substances which contain acids such as tomatoes, vodka, lemon, strawberries and vinegar should also be applied in a calculated quantity as the acid can cause drying of hair.
- An oily scalp can also be a side effect of consuming birth control pills and you should consult a dermatologist for the same.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How many times should I wash my hair?
Answer: That depends on your hair type. If you have dry or normal hair you can wash your hair once or a maximum of twice a week but you might have to wash your hair on alternate days if you have an oily scalp.
How can I avoid oily hair during my periods?
Answer: The most important thing you should do is not to take any stress. Stress triggers the release of oils and thus intensifies the problem. Also, maintain a balanced diet and drink water regularly. Exercises and meditation can do wonders to reduce stress and also help in balancing hormones.
Does hair become oily due to ageing?
Answer: Yes, after menopause the hair follicles become weak and results in greasy hair.
Does oily scalp cause hair fall?
Answer: Unfortunately, yes. An oily scalp promotes dandruff which further triggers hair loss. In extreme cases, the follicles might also get blocked which also inhibits hair growth.
Can dry shampoo be used for dandruff infected hair?
Answer: No. Using a dry shampoo if you have dandruff may further aggravate your problem and cause more oil to be secreted.
Does oily hair also cause acne?
Answer: Yes. Oily hair is a result of an imbalance of natural oils secreted by the scalp and this imbalance can also cause acne breakouts easily.