How to Treat Your Oily Hair
Oily hair, simply stated, starts with too much sebum (another word for oil) on the scalp. The excess oil seeps into your hair’s roots, then flows down the shaft. If your hair is straight, the oil can travel quickly and coat the whole strand, leaving hair lank. If you have waves or curls, it’s trickier for the sebum to wind around and down your coils, so you may end up with greasy roots and drier ends.
In some cases, when sebum builds up on the scalp, it can also clog hair follicles, inhibit new growth, and create the perfect growing environment for the fungus that causes dandruff. (That’s right: Dandruff is typically a sign of oily scalp, not dry scalp.) So, how can you put the brakes on oil? First you have to get to the root cause (pun intended). We’ve identified the three most common causes of excess scalp sebum and what you can do.
Fight pollution for a healthy scalp
Yes, your environment can cause greasiness. Dirt and smog in the air can build up on the scalp, trapping oil and giving roots a greasy appearance. Pollution can also clog sebaceous glands, making it hard to properly remove excess oil when you wash. Using the right cleansing products is obviously important. The Pomegranate Peel we use in most of our oily-hair formulas will deep clean and remove dirt, grime and excess oil—without drying out the scalp or your hair. We may also add Horehound Extract, which defends against environmental assaults like pollution and helps prevent buildup. What you choose not to use is also key. Heavy styling products, such as pomades, hair spray, and finishing creams can attract—and cling to—dirt and grime in the air, contributing to the problematic buildup. If and when possible, swapping those heavy formulas for lighter, easily-absorbed options like serums or texturizing sprays can help minimize this issue.
Consider adjusting your diet
While what you eat won’t directly cause an oily scalp, it may exacerbate it—especially if you regularly consume oily, greasy foods. Although the results of clinical studies are mixed, some hair experts say they’ve seen enough anecdotal evidence to support the idea that diets high in refined carbohydrates, saturated fats and large amounts of dairy may cause an uptick in your skin’s oil production (and your scalp is, in fact, skin). On the flip side, there is also some evidence that consuming nutrient-rich foods may help regulate your sebum production. In particular, vitamin B6 (in seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products) has been cited as one that may help regulate hormones and, thus, oil production.
Your hormones may be in flux
When hormones are imbalanced (during puberty, pregnancy, while taking birth control pills, as a result of illness or medication), it can cause oil glands to become overactive. Talking to your doctor about ways to regulate your hormones is a good place to start, then you can complement those recommendations by using products at home that topically rebalance your scalp skin. At Prose, one of our favorite oily-scalp complexes is a combination of Spirulina and Dog Rose Fruits which help quell overactive oil glands. Oily scalp formulas are also often laced with Pomegranate Peel, a botanical that deep cleans scalp skin (without over-stripping), helping to minimize dandruff-causing fungus growth. Note: While thoroughly and regularly cleaning the scalp is helpful to oily types, over-washing (as in more than once a day) may exacerbate your problem by removing too much oil and tricking your sebaceous glands into thinking they need to produce even more sebum.
Need help now with oily strands? Allow us to create a custom hair care regimen that regulates sebum production, deep cleans, and gets your hair back into great health. Get started here.