Why Does Hair Get Greasy? Find Out Causes and Remedies
Greasy Hair Is Common
An abundance of greasy, oily hair is a common condition of the scalp. Whether you have had greasy hair your entire life, or you are going through a time where it is unusually greasy, it is definitely not something you want to have. It can affect self-esteem, and cause your scalp to feel very uncomfortable.
There can be several causes for this condition, including the natural production of oils from our skin, as well as things we might be unintentionally doing that add to the oils. Becoming aware of the causes can help us understand how to properly cut down on the grease.
Understanding Our Biology
In order to understand the origins of greasy hair, first we need to have a brief overview of certain glands we have in our bodies, the sebaceous glands, which produce something called sebum.
Our skin contains glands called sebaceous glands, which are most abundant on our face and scalp. They naturally produce sebum, which is the oily substance you experience in your hair. Sebum is made up of fats and dead cells.
The purpose of sebum is to waterproof our skin, and to keep the right amount of water inside. It creates an acidic environment to make sure our hair and scalp are not irritated and dehydrated. It also prevents bacteria from entering. However, sometimes our scalp produces too much sebum. This is what people with consistently greasy, oily hair experience.
- Sebum production increases at puberty up to fivefold in men.
- Adult males produce slightly more sebum than adult females.
- Sebum production declines with age, particularly after menopause in females.
—The New Zealand Dermatological Society
What Causes the “Grease” or "Oil”?
Excess oily hair can be the result of age, hormones, and genetics. During adolescence, sebum production increases. Also, people can produce excess sebum because of certain types of hormones (androgens).
Using an abundance of product in your hair such as conditioner, hairspray, and mousse over a long period of time without cleaning it properly can build up and cause extra oil.
Though we can’t change aspects such as our genetics, we can take measures to decrease the excess oil in a healthy way.
According to The New Zealand Dermatological Society (NZDS), Parkinson’s disease increases the amount of sebum.
How to Get Rid of Greasy Hair: 8 Tips
1. Use the Right Shampoo
Try to find a shampoo that doesn’t have conditioner or extra moisturizing ingredients in it. These properties will only bring excess, unwanted oil to your scalp. If your shampoo has a pearly color, there is usually some sort of conditioner in it. Clear shampoo is the best for those with oily hair. When you use clear shampoo, make sure to really massage it well into your scalp. This will get rid of the oil and any dirt.
2. Use Less Conditioner
If you must use conditioner, only add it to the ends of your hair to prevent excess oil. This will target your dry split ends without affecting your oily roots.
3. Shampoo Less Frequently
Try not to wash your hair every day. Washing your hair every day can cause your scalp to become overly dry, causing it to produce even more oil than previously to compensate. Try to wash it about every 2-3 days. Eventually, this should “train” your scalp to produce less oil.
4. Use Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo can be used in between washes when your hair starts to become overly greasy. You can purchase dry shampoos from stores such as Ulta and Target. An alternative to dry shampoo is Baby Powder. I have found this to work even better than dry shampoo in many cases. Just massage a bit into your scalp and watch the grease hit the road!
5. Lemon Juice Remedy
Natural remedies can be used to reduce oily hair. One example includes the use of lemon juice from two lemons mixed with 2 cups of water. Use this as a rinse for your hair. Not only does this remedy reduce oil, but it also removes the build-up of hair product. Make sure to close your eyes if you try this method!
6. Don’t Touch Your Hair
Try to refrain from touching your hair or running your fingers through your roots. Your hands can transfer extra oil and dirt to your hair.
7. Don’t Over-Brush Your Hair
Brushing your hair too often can cause oil from your roots to distribute throughout your hair. When you brush your hair, try to avoid the roots as much as you can. Brushing your hair a couple of times a day should be sufficient. Also, a quick fact is that is easier for oil to cover straight hair as opposed to curly hair.
8. Stay Healthy in General
Make sure you are getting enough rest at night and make sure to try to reduce stress. Getting enough sleep and keeping down stress is very important in keeping your body healthy and balanced. Set up a schedule so that you are able to get as much sleep as possible.
Also, make sure you have time to relax and wind down during the day and throughout the week. Try different methods until you find what works best for you. Balance is important.
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Summing It Up
Sebum production from glands on the scalp is a natural process that keeps our hair healthy. However, when our glands produce more than we would like, it can be very frustrating. Greasy hair can be the result of genetics, age, hormones, and hygiene habits. Whatever the cause is, remedies such as the use of clear shampoo, dry shampoo, and homemade lemon rinses, can help cut down on the grease.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.