Health and Fitness

How Not To Have An Oily Scalp

How Not To Have An Oily Scalp

From causes, treatments, hair care, to products you should avoid, here’s a run down on everything you need to know about how not to have an oily scalp.

PHOTO: Pixabay

Even though beauty commercials and ads are always talking about dry hair and dry scalp, usually with patients, men and especially women, actually see the opposite problem. So, I’m going to give you some tips on how not to have an oily scalp.

Oily Scalp Causes

Your body produces a natural oil called sebum from your sebaceous glands and those are on every pore of your body. So, your hair gets its oil from the sebaceous glands on your scalp and that’s why you tend to have an oily scalp than the ends of your hair. Sebum is designed to lubricate and keep your skin healthy. But some people produce too much oil or too little oil, and that’s when things kind of get out of whack.

Any hormonal changes things like pregnancy, menopause, and hormonal replacement therapy –all of those things can affect your oil production and make your skin more oily. So, sometimes you might find that if you’re using a birth control pill to help regulate your acne, it might control your acne and your oil production. But sometimes, it does the opposite. So if you find that you’re getting some side effects that you don’t really like, make sure that you follow up with your medical provider. They can see if they can put you in a different type of medication to help control those symptoms.

Hair Care

There’s a school of thought where people think that the more you wash your hair, the drier it makes your scalp and then your oil glands are overcompensating to produce more oil. But that’s not really how it works. When you wash your hair, you’re going to take out all the dead hair that’s stuck in there.

If you’re not washing your hair as often, the dead hair can get stuck and clog the glands which will then result to creating more problems for your scalp. So, typically washing your hair every day or every other day is usually pretty good with people with oily scalp.

Damage Control

Luckily, your hair doesn’t grow from the ends. You really don’t need to shampoo the ends. But if you’re concerned with getting tangles or really keeping the ends of your hair moisturized, choose a conditioner and just put it on the ends of your hair.

Conversely, you don’t have to put conditioner on your scalp because that’s where the oil is. Conditioners can only make your scalp more oily. But if you can’t leave the house without your straightener, make sure you just straight the ends of your hair versus up closer to the roots. Doing that will damage your hair less make your hair look less oily too.

When you brush your hair and you’re brushing from your roots down to your ends, it’s distributing the oil and spreading the oil through your hair. That’s what’s going to make your hair even more healthy. But, you don’t want to brush too much because that can overstimulate the oil glands making your scalp more oily than you want.


When you are choosing a shampoo, make sure you are choosing one that is targeted towards sebum production. Choose something that will break up the oil and something that’s really gentle for your hair. Let’s face it –dry shampoo is amazing when you just want to get out of the door and you don’t want to wash your hair.

What dry shampoos do is they actually absorb the oil as your body is producing it. Dry shampoo is great but you don’t want to use it every day because it can dry out your scalp a little bit more than you want. So if you don’t have any dry shampoo at home or maybe you’re on a budget, a baby powder also works amazing. It soaks up the oil and can help improve the oily scalp too.

Products To Avoid

You want to make sure you are choosing agents that don’t have silicone, parabens, lipid agents, or other harsh chemicals. As much as possible, try to avoid really thick sprays or gels because those can really build up on your scalp causing more problems.

As with texturizing sprays and leave-in conditioners, the spray versions tend to be better than the gels and the creams that you would apply with your hands. They tend to weigh down your hair less and they are a little bit more friendly to an oily scalp. When you spray on those products, you definitely don’t want to spray on your scalp, you want to spray towards the ends where the problems typically are anyways.

Other Remedies

So, some people will combat oil versus oil. What the theory is –is that lighter weight oils are going to come back heavier oils. Just like tea tree oil can be really helpful for acne-prone skin and oily skin, peppermint oil can actually help an oily scalp as well.

Before making any decisions to your hair, make sure that you think about it carefully. Dyeing your hair with a darker shade might make it look more oily because it has a sleeker appearance whereas a blonder hair can look a little bit drier.

If your hair is on the oily side, getting a few highlights can make it look a little bit less oily. Even though dyes can dry and damage your hair in the long run, if you’ve experienced something like going through puberty or pregnancy, you can dye your hair and dry it out temporarily when you’re going through all those hormonal changes which could be spiking your hormones causing an increase in oil production.

If you have layered or highlighted hair, a sea salt spray is great because it can bring out those natural highlights or texture in the hair. It tends to be a little bit sticky but the upside is that it can take away some of that shine.

The Bottom Line

Since our skin and our oil production is caused by internal and external factors, there’s no one-sized fits all regimen for an oily scalp. So, see to it that you’re following up with your doctor or your dermatologist and make sure that they are really asking you on what’s going on with your other medical conditions. Ensure that they get a full all-around picture about your medical health and history to determine the right treatment for you. For all things hair, you may also want to know more proper care tips for a beautiful and healthy hair.

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