Causes and Solutions for Oily Hair

Woman with oily hair
Oily-looking hair - Photo: Shutterstock
From all of the issues that we can have with our hair, the most challenging perhaps is overproduction of the natural hair oils, which can turn the hair into stringy, fatty, limp strands. The culprit sits right under your scalp at each hair follicle. The tiny oil production factories, called sebaceous glands, play an important role in keeping our skin and hair lubricated and protected.
Those glands are everywhere on our body except on the hands and the soles of the feet. The highest concentration, however, is in the face and on the scalp. The sebum is an oily, waxy substance that does many wonderful things for us, but at times it can get out of hand. Acne is one consequence of hyperactive sebaceous glands, and oily hair is another very visible and disturbing demonstration of their power.
So what is it that makes those glands lose their temper and begin to produce more sebum than needed?
The causes have various roots – genetics, diet, hygiene and in some cases there is an underlying illness.
Some people are more prone to get acne, and the same applies to oily hair. It is also said that fine haired men and women, who have more individual hairs per square inch. Therefore more follicles and sebaceous glands, tend to have oily hair more often. The reason for this might also be the fact that fine hair becomes limp much quicker than thick, bristly hair and every disorder of the scalp becomes visible much quicker.
One of the biggest mistakes that sufferers with oily hair often make is to wash their hair as often as they can to get rid of the oils and to clean the scalp. In fact it is a dry scalp that causes the little glands to produce more oil. A dry scalp, just like dry skin can be caused by harsh weather conditions like intense heat, much exposure to the sun, drying winds or to extreme cold.
Washing the hair not often enough is also damaging, since bacteria and toxins can build up and cause an irritation of the scalp, resulting in a higher production of sebum. Over time this can lead to more severe conditions, which may include fungi and infections.
When very greasy hair goes along with thick, dandruff like scales it could be a medical condition like seborrheic dermatitis, which should be looked at and treated by medical professionals since it can be a sign for an even more serious illness like Parkinson’s or even HIV.
How to get rid of oily hair?
First of all you have to make sure that the reason for your oily hair is not a medical condition. This out of the way, there are plenty of products and adjustments to your lifestyle that will help.
Nutrition is key
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Most people do not get enough of daily liquid. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep your skin and your scalp moisturized from the inside and to stay healthy. Remember: a dry scalp tends to produce more oil.
Eat your veggies. A balanced diet with lots of vegetables and whole grains will give you all the vitamins and minerals that you need for your body to work and look perfect.
Studies have shown that eating much greasy and junk foods will increase the development of oily hair. The other extreme to stay away from all oils and fats is not a solution. Our bodies need essential fatty acids to properly function and balance is the key once again. Include those healthy fats in your diet. Nuts, olive oil, certain fishes and fruits are full of them.
Exercise! Loose your breath every now and then and get that heart rate up. Regular exercise increases circulation and with that more oxygen reaches the cells of your body which benefits your general health and also the health of your scalp.