What Causes Oily Scalp and Hair?

in Hair

This is a question many people with oily scalp ask themselves. They may even question their personal hygiene despite showering and washing their hair daily. What causes oily scalp and hair is not unacceptable hygiene, generally, but over-secretion of sebum by the oil glands in the scalp. Some people have naturally more secretions from their glands. That in itself is not harmful; it is like the difference between someone with dry skin and another person with oily skin. The problem is only when production of sebum is so high to make normal hygiene and day-to-day living difficult (besides making your hair look stringy and oily).

What Causes The Oil Glands To Secrete Excessive Amounts Of Sebum?

Sebaceous glands can be "over-activated" by several factors – heat, environment, chemicals, sensitive skin, and even the hair products you use.  However, high oil secretion is frequently due to some change in the hormonal balance.

What causes oily scalp and hair in pregnancy is a turbulent change in hormones in women. This can manifest itself in the extra oil being produced and discharged from glands in the scalp. Living or working in a smoke-filled environment; like a night club, a bar or a restaurant kitchen will also add much oil to hair externally. In addition, it will increase endogenous oil production in response to the environment, thus creating a cycle of "oil producing oil". Stress has been known to cause many organs to succumb to illness over certain periods of time. Hair follicles and sebaceous glands are no exception. They fight back by producing more oil. Finally, there is nature itself. High humidity and hot temperatures are enemies of hair. Many have had bad hair days and sometimes the reason is just the weather and the reaction it elicits from the oil glands in the scalp.

How Can You Keep Glands From Producing Too Much Sebum?

Topically, oil production in the hair and scalp can be controlled and regulated with Zinc or Zinc PCA.  Zinc PCA acts as a "governor" and will slow and inhibit excess sebaceous activity. It is most often used as a primary ingredient in shampoos and conditioners that target dandruff, oily hair and some scalp diseases such as psoriasis, dermatitis and some forms of alopecia (hair loss).

Additionally, you can manage your environment (or manage your exposure) – to the extent you can.  Frequent washing and staying out of smoke-filled rooms is a good start. If you need to wash your hair daily in order not to look unwashed because your hair is greasy, buy a good Zinc PCA shampoo that is designed to use daily. These shampoos are milder than regular shampoos and won't strip the hair of the amount of natural oils it needs. To wash your hair with a harsher shampoo would be overkill and you end up getting dry, frizzy hair that has no elasticity left and will break off easily. Medicated shampoos such as a ZINC PCA shampoo may be indicated if daily washing with mild shampoo produces no results. You should also try to reduce the stress in your life, exercise and eat a healthy diet.

What Is The Result Of Excess Oil In Hair?

Aside from looking unappealing, oily hair can be the cause of infection, bumps, scaling, and even sores. The oil deposited onto your scalp will mix with normal amounts of skin and yeast that becomes itchy. When you scratch, you may inadvertently introduce bacteria or fungi into your epidermis. No matter how clean your hands are, when you scratch and open a microscopic area of skin, bacteria and fungi will enter because they live on your scalp just as they live anywhere else on your body and on everything and everyone around you. This little abrasion may progress to infection which will result in hair loss and skin disease, such as dermatitis. Medicated shampoos contain selenium and zinc and other ingredients with healing properties for the skin.

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This article was published on 2012/03/11