If you want to learn how to reduce excess sebum production in your hair, read on to know some tips to control oily hair.
Most of us have different hair types with different hair textures, from dry hair to oily hair, to well-moisturized hair.
But some people have excessively oily hair types. If you are one of them, do you often wonder why? Is this something normal?
Well, the root cause of this excessive oiliness of hair could be due to excessive sebum production.
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This makes your hair look greasy all the time and inhibits you from styling it the way you want to. Overactive sebaceous glands can also be a reason one has oily skin types.
If you are a victim of greasy hair, then this article’s for you!
It will tell you all about sebum production, how much sebum is actually required for the hair, what it can do to your hair and how to get rid of the excess sebum production in your scalp and hair.
What is sebum and why do we have it?
Our body has sebaceous glands which are present in almost all areas of our skin, which are usually attached to a hair follicle but can also function independently.
These glands secrete a substance called sebum which is oily and wax-like in nature and contains fat, cell remnants, and a protein called keratin.
Sebum is required in order to protect the skin and keep it moisturized.
How to Reduce Excess Sebum Production in Your Hair 2021
Use bentonite clay hair masks
Bentonite clay is one of the best clay masks to use for the hair, as it is an effective remedy for the reduction of sebum in the scalp and the removal of excess oil in oily hair types.
Bentonite clay is naturally negatively charged and can help draw out the excess oil, which can otherwise lead to clogged pores and dandruff formation.
Avoid oiling your hair too often
For those with excessively oily hair types, oiling your hair too often is not recommended as it will make the situation get worse.
Oiling of hair is required when the hair lacks hydration and moisture (maybe because of lack of sebum production in the scalp) and begins to look dry, dull, and lifeless.
Therefore, external sources of oil are required, by oiling your hair.
But if your hair’s natural oil is sufficient to keep the hair hydrated and free from dryness, then oiling of hair on a regular basis is not required.
Related: How To Oil Your Hair
Avoid having head showers with hot water
When hot water touches the scalp the sebaceous glands get activated and begin to produce more sebum.
This will make your scalp and hair more oily. Therefore, using lukewarm or cold water in the shower is recommended.
Avoid washing your hair regularly
Washing your hair once in two to three days is sufficient. Avoid washing your hair on a daily basis, as this can be a reason for the scalp to produce more sebum.
How does that happen, you may ask? Well, when the hair is washed using shampoo, it strips the hair off all the hair’s natural oils along with the dirt and grime.
This is when the scalp and hair become drier and therefore, the sebaceous glands tend to secrete more sebum in order to keep the scalp and hair moisturized.
Also, this can result in excessive sebum production and oily greasy hair.
Do not brush your hair too often
Are you someone who likes to keep combing or brushing their hair multiple times a day?
Well, this can be another cause for the scalp to produce more sebum, because every time you brush your hair, the oil from the scalp comes down all the way through your hair strand making it look oily and greasy.
When the oil from the scalp lessens, the sebaceous glands begin to secrete more oil in order to replenish the lost oil.
Avoid using heat styling tools
Two things can happen when you use heat on your hair.
For tools like straighteners and curling irons, you need to pass the styling tool right from the hair closest to the scalp, up to the tip of your hair strand.
This will mean that you are carrying the oil from the scalp right to the tip of your hair, lessening the oil on the scalp, stimulating the sebaceous glands to produce more oil.
Another thing that can happen with heat styling tools (including hair dryers) is that they strip the oils away from the hair strand making it dry.
Therefore, the sebaceous glands need to produce more oil in order to coat the hair strands and keep them intact and free from damage.
For those who use blow-dryers to dry their hair out after a shower, this practice can be avoided and natural drying of hair is recommended.
Is sebum beneficial to the hair?
Yes, sebum is required and is beneficial to the hair.
Sebum helps keep the scalp and hair hydrated and moisturized while it can also provide nourishment to the hair because it contains the protein keratin, which makes up the hair.
Sebum is like the hair’s natural oil and if your hair lacks sebum, then the hair will begin to dry out and succumb to hair damage.
If there is sufficient sebum in the hair, then it acts like a protective layer over the hair shaft and protects the hair from damage, giving it a smooth and shiny look.
The sebum on your scalp helps keep the scalp lubricated and can help maintain the pH levels of your skin.
This is essential because it keeps the skin’s pH acidic in nature thereby protecting the skin from developing bacterial infections on the scalp, which can in turn cause damage to the hair.
Hair type and sebum production – Is there a connection?
The amount of sebum your sebaceous glands secrete will vary from person to person, but hair type does play a role in how the sebum spreads out onto your hair.
If you are confused about what this means, let’s get into the details.
People with straight hair types are likely to have an easy coating of sebum all over their hair, right from the root to the ends of the strands.
This is because the sebum can flow easily on the straight hair strand, coating it along the way.
When a person has wavy or curly hair types, the flow of sebum isn’t smooth and may not spread easily or coat the hair all the way till the tip of the hair strand.
What does this have to do with oily and greasy hair you may ask?
Well, if you have straight hair, it is more likely that your hair can get easily greasy as compared to those with wavy or curly hair.
The natural oils will take longer and find it harder to coat the entire hair strand.
Therefore, people with wavy or curly hair may find the hair drying out at the ends of their hair strands, but not near the roots.
Does excess sebum affect our hair?
The answer is yes, it can! Even though sebum on our scalp and hair is very important, excessive sebum production can be detrimental to the hair and inhibit proper hair growth.
How does this happen, you may ask?
Well, when the sebum production is more, it comes in contact with the dead skin cells, product buildup, dirt, grime, etc on the scalp and enters into the pores, clogging them.
Clogged pores can lead to hair fall and inhibit the proper growth of hair because the nutrients to the hair root pass through the hair follicle (the pores on your scalp).
When the pore is blocked, the nutrient supply too will get blocked. The blood flow to the hair root too will reduce and cause reduced hair growth and increased hair fall.
The combination of excessive sebum, along with dead skin cells and product buildup can lead to the formation of dandruff in the long run.
This can cause scalp infections, hair fall or both, in the long run.
It is important to note that having a certain amount of sebum on the scalp is very essential for hair health.
And completely getting rid of all the sebum on the scalp is not recommended, because scalp dryness can also stimulate the sebaceous glands towards over-secretion.
Therefore, using products with harsh chemicals (like clarifying shampoos) that strip away all the hair’s natural oil on a regular basis is not recommended.
That being said, if you have over-secretion of sebum and the regular remedies to get rid of this problem aren’t working, then there could be chances of a more serious and underlying problem.
One of the common problems of over-secretion of sebum is hormonal imbalances in the body.
Hormonal changes occur due to puberty, menopause, andropause, stress, etc, and can lead to stimulating the sebaceous glands towards overproduction of sebum.
Also, it is important to be watchful of the food you eat. The oilier the food you intake, the more chances of over-secretion of sebum from the sebaceous glands.
If your excessively oily scalp and hair condition persist for extended periods, then consulting a doctor is always recommended.