The scalp contains many sebaceous glands that naturally secrete a substance called sebum otherwise known as oil. This oil can lie on the scalp and around the roots of the hair and make it look greasy.
Causes of Greasy Hair
Some people simply secrete more oils than others and can suffer from an oily scalp frequently. This can cause social embarrassment as others may judge that the sufferer has poor hygiene and does not wash their hair frequently enough, even if they actually wash it every day. However, a build-up of grease can also occur due to washing the hair too often.
Hormones can play a role in the production of sebum, as levels can alter depending on monthly cycle, menopause, pregnancy and during puberty. Hair and scalp can often need more attention during these times.
Environmental factors can cause hair to look greasy, as everyday pollutants can increase the dull and lifeless appearance of hair.
Over washing the hair can cause increase sebum production as frequent washing can strip the hair and scalp of all oils causing the glands to excrete more to combat this; touching the hair can also increase the glands to over-stimulate.
The over use of hair styling products can make hair seem greasy as the products build-up at the roots and can cause hair to look flat and heavy.
Those with fine hair often find they suffer from excessive greasiness as they have more hair and follicles therefore there are more glands on the scalp each producing sebum.
It is thought by experts that a diet high in fatty foods and oils will add to the greasiness of the hair and scalp.
Traditional Treatments for Greasy Hair
- If you use oil based hair styling products, make sure a suitable shampoo that is designed to emulsify the oils is used.
- If hair seems greasy after washing, try washing it less to allow the natural balance of hair to return.
- If hair is washed once a week and seems greasy, try using a mild shampoo and wash more frequently to find a good balance of washing and oil production.
- Buy products formulated for greasy hair and use as directed, these often have a built in conditioner as a separate conditioner can add to the greasiness of hair.
If you are in a hurry, try sprinkling talcum powder onto the scalp, leaving for a few minutes then brushing through with a fine toothed comb; this is not advised if wearing dark clothing as powder may be mistaken for dandruff.
Many natural remedies include the use of vinegar and lemon used as a rinse, as their acidic qualities remove the oils. Though these solutions may work, it should be noted that too much acidity in the hair can strip the hair shaft also causing the hair to look lifeless and dull and that vinegar may leave a strange aroma in the hair.
If hair continues to appear greasy after trying all of these methods, visit your GP or a Trichologist to determine the cause and find a suitable treatment.
Preventing Greasy Hair
- Maintaining a diet low in oils and fat can help reduce the greasiness of hair.
- Always wash hair after exercising to remove a build-up of sweaty based oils on the scalp.
- Avoid playing with your hair as the glands will produce extra oils due to the stimulation.
- Do not wear hats all of the time as the sweat produced will lie on the scalp and not be able to evaporate.
- Choose a suitable shampoo for your hair type and an individual washing regime that is right for your hair type.
- Limit the use of treatments and styling products to allow your hair to find its natural balance.
Greasy hair is not always an indication of poor personal hygiene. It can be caused by health reasons or from washing too frequently. Everyone should find their own system of washing and choose products that suit them.