Greasy Hair Causes, Hair Types, Treatments and Remedies for Oily Hair

Greasy Hair Causes, Hair Types, Treatments and Remedies for Oily Hair

What causes greasy hair and what are the greasy hair remedy you can apply? Greasy or oily hair is as a result of excess sebum, a natural oil produced by sebaceous glands in the scalp. The causes of oily or greasy scalp may have various roots-diet, genetics, hygiene, weather, underlying illness or something else. If you are scrolling this page, then read about to explore more on oily hair causes, types, complications, treatments and applauded products for greasy hair.

Having certain amount of oil or grease in your hair or scalp is healthy, and in fact very essential for your hair to remain in optimal condition, but we must bear in mind that too much oil can cause our hair to look dirty and floppy and can lead to certain irritating complications. Oily hair can affect anyone but some people are more prone to this condition than others. We will explore the causes and risk factors shortly after understanding the major types of greasy hair.

Types of greasy hair

Greasy hair can be grouped in two major categories as follows:

Greasy all over (greasy hair and scalp)

This is when you are experiencing hair that is oily from the root to the tips. In other words, the hair is greasy from the scalp towards the end.

Greasy hair from the roots

This is the most common type of greasy hair. It is also known as greasy scalp and dry hair. Usually persons with oily scalp will have oily hair at the base or roots. This will imply that the scalp is oily and hence the oil may spread to the ends of the scalp hair.

Causes of greasy hair

Greasy hair can be due to numerous reasons. Some causes may involve our lifestyle habits, these can be easily avoided though there are also those causes that one cannot avoid. Above all, the core cause of greasy hair is the overproduction of sebum. The factor influencing over production of sebum will vary for different people. If you clearly understand the primary cause for your greasy scalp, then you find very fast and easy solutions for the same. Here are the causes of greasy hair you never imagined:

Seborrheic dermatitis

This is a common known skin condition affecting many people. It may start in infancy as cradle cap. It presents as yellowish, flaking, itching, skin or reddish patches. It usually occur on the scalp, face, neck among other body parts having hair follicles and sebaceous glands. It is believed that seborrheic dermatitis is due to combination of overproduction of sebum and irritation from yeast malassezia leading to fatty hair and scalp. “Causes for Oily Scalp or excess sebum (the natural oil produced by your scalp) can include genes, hormonal imbalances, humidity, your diet, or even a disease known as seborrheic dermatitis.” []. From this sentiment, we wish to make it clear that anything causing oily scalp can also lead to lubricious hair and therefore seborrheic dermatitis is to blame for the greasy hair syndrome.

Hormonal imbalance

For a critical outlook of overproduction of sebum, a natural skin oil, hormonal imbalances can play a greater role. There is this hormonal called androgen. It controls the production of sebum, therefore any imbalance in the level of this hormone can lead to overproduction of sebum and hence greasy hair when it occurs in the scalp. Such hormonal imbalance are more prevalent in puberty or in teenagers more so the boys since they are the ones associated with the hormone androgen. Though oily scalp tend to affect men than women, it can also be adverse during pregnancy and menopause and also linked to thyroid problems. According to medical experts, men are much more vulnerable to extreme effects of greasy hair or scalp and scalp dandruff.

Weather Changes

The environment will also actually define a lot to do with greasy scalp. It is believed that the more humidity, the more the oil your scalp will produce and then leading to oily hair. Summer weather also can also bring another problem altogether.  The rise in temperatures during summer time will lead to increased sweating that in the mix with scalp oil and lead to very greasy hair. Some of the protective wear on the head during summer weathers may also aggravate the lubricious hair.

Dry scalp

All the factors leading dry scalp can also be blamed for greasy hair. When the scalp skin becomes dry, the sebaceous glands will react by producing more sebum but it can be unfortunately when the sebum are produced in excess as your skin tries to compensate. Factors leading to dry scalp include hot and humid weather, raised temperatures, frequent shampooing, certain medications and some medical conditions (such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis) among others.

Improper hair care products (and over application)

Utilization of improper hair care products or using wrong application methods can also lead to glossy strands in the scalp. Picking wrong shampoo for instance may wreak havoc with your scalp`s sebum secretion. Always make sure you pick shampoos corresponding to your hair or skin problem. Be aware not to choose styling products that are not compatible with your hair. “Look for lightweight formulas and avoid ones that promise ‘shine’ and ‘moisture’ which would be better suited to dry or dull hair types,” advises

Another issue with hair products that can lead to oily hair is over-applications of these hair products for instance shampoos. Remember over application of shampoo can lead to build-ups on the scalp. This is when the over washing of the scalp hair lead to counter balance of glossy strands leading to even more oil production

“Using too many haircare products leads to a buildup of the yucky chemicals in these products (which do not wash away) thus leading to greasy hair.” []

Stress and depression

Stress and depression are the beginning of many conditions especially skin conditions and also scalp problems i.e. scalp oily hair. Stress usually affect the functionality of hormones and make your scalp more greasy. It may trigger the surge in the level of some hormone which make the oil glands to be over active and increasing the amount of oil your skin produces. Talk to your doctor on how to limit stress levels and leave a stress-less life.

Touching your hair too often

Remember to watch out on how often you touch your hair. Your hands too produce oil and when you touch your hair too often, you may be smearing some oil strains on your hair. Alternatively, your hands may have come into contact with oily parts of the body such as nose, so when you touch your hair using the same hand, then you will be transferring oil from the oily area to your hair. So once you are done with styling your hair, you should leave it alone!

Poor diet

“A lot of conditions including oily hair are because your diet is not right and something in your diet is causing the sebaceous glands to produce more oil than it should,” says In efforts to avoid greasy scalp, there are certain ingredients you will need to include in your diet and at the same time, there are those ones you limit in your diet as well. For a proper diet, the following foods should be included in your diet-foods rich in vitamin B and E and zinc supplement. Many people also think that just because one is suffering from oily hair, he/she should avoid fats completely. No, this is not true. Remember oily hair also needs some fats too. It is only saturated fats and trans fats that are harmful for the skin and the whole body. Therefore allow good fats but avoid harmful fats in your diet.


You must be very careful with your conditioner, it too can cause greasy hair. You should bear in mind that using too heavy conditioner for your hair type can weigh it down. Improper washing after conditioning may also lead to the same problem, greasy scalp. You also need to avoid placing your conditioner on all the hair, just dwell on the ends to avoid causing oily roots as well as dull lengths.

Excessive brushing/combing

If you are brushing your hair too often, then this can also lead to oily hair. Brushing or combing your hair too much can stimulate oil production leading to glossy hair or oily scalp. Avoid obsessive hair brushing habit if possible. Just brush wisely as recommended, not too often.

It also important to use clean brushes and combs since all these tools can harbor nasty products on the scalp and hence clogging the scalp hence contributing to oily hair and scalp.

Your hair type

The type of hair you are having can also determine your vulnerability towards greasy hair. If you have fine hair, then you must understand that you will be prone to oily hair. Fine hair looks greasier than coarse hair since there is less surface on fine hair. There best shampoo for fine oily hair can be of greater help.

Thick or coily hair will also be greasier at the roots. Remember the curls will prevent or slow the sebum from moving to the hair shaft and hence oily scalp and hair roots.

Persons with thicker hair also have got many follicles and it is true that the more the follicles the more the sebaceous glands and more glands equals to more oil and hence greasy hair.

Having an oily skin

Those persons with natural oily skin are also prone to this menace. It is believed that if a person has a naturally oily skin, he/she is vulnerable to greasy hair since the body natural system will produce excessive sebum. In such cases, mild trigger of oily hair can lead to dreadful symptom of greasy hair. If you suspect you are having oily skin, then you should visit your dermatologist for more advice on how manage the oily disorder.

Genetic predispositions

Greasy hair can also be a genetic cause. It is believed that many greasy hair are due to genetic causes. This means that when your relative or parent had a greasy hair then you are also likely to experience the same. Actually, this is the reason why fatty scalp runs in many families.

Not regularly and consistently cleansing your hair

You are also at higher risk of developing greasy hair if you don’t wash or cleanse your hair regular. Imagine what can happen if you cleanse or wash your hair consistently and yet you are influenced with environmental factors such as smoke, smog or too much makeups. Greasy hair due to inconsistent cleansing or washing is temporary, it will vanish as soon as you will change you hygiene habits.

Remember you are also even likely to experience greasy hair after washing if all other factors are not contained!

Complications from greasy hair

Greasy hair will give hard times than usual. With oily hair, you hair will feel dirty and also look unhealthy. You should note that if you are suffering from greasy hair you can be prone to more problems. If this condition is not well controlled, it can bring about more couples of problems!

Problems or complications linked to greasy hair are dandruff and all sorts of acne including blackheads, whiteheads, nodules, pimples, cysts, and pustules among others. All these may be accompanied by more conditions such as hair loss, very painful sore, itchiness among other severe symptoms.

Therefore, for those suffering from greasy scalps, immediate medical response should be employed at the right time to prevent the symptoms from developing to their severity. When the symptoms cannot be handled at home, you should book appointment with your medical service provider.

Treatments for oily hair

Treatments for oily hair will involve the prior knowledge on the underlying causes and severity of greasiness. Here are some of the effective treatments for greasy hair.

Topical treatments

Many of the topical treatments will aim at relieving oily scalp skin. Recommended oily scalp treatments should be simple solutions of surfactant having no waxes, oil or fatty ingredient that can worsen the greasy condition. All the moisturizers for oily hair and scalp should be noncomedogenic, nonocclusive or oil-free. Common astringent such as alcohol, and witch hazel can help to get rid of greasy hair. More treatments include salicylic acid peels and polyphenol-rich products and best shampoo for oily scalp and hair

Oral therapies

Among the oral treatments include isotretinoin which is a very effective drug for extreme oily skin as well as acne. It reduces sebum production by reducing the size of the sebaceous glands. It is a strong medication that may owe some side effects. It is very effective in men but in women, this treatments should be followed by oral anti-androgens which has also been proved to affect the sebaceous glands too. Contraceptives can also be used to improve greasy scalp condition and thus combating greasy hair.

New or recent treatments

Recently, there are new treatments that has been targeting the sebaceous glands. They also target acne problems as well. New treatments for oily skin or acne that have proved to be very effective according to many medical researches include photodynamic therapies,13 diode laser devices,14 and nonablative radio frequency devices. They are stronger therapies which we should be keen with since they can sprung very dreadful side effects.

Apart from over the counter and prescribed treatments, greasy hair can also be controlled using natural home remedies. Some of these home products for greasy hair are discussed below.

Greasy hair remedies – natural home remedies

Here are the top 5 home remedies for oily hair.

A)   Baking soda

This natural product has oil-absorbing property that makes it excellent oily scalp treatment. The alkaline nature of baking soda also helps to balance the scalp pH level and also do away with foul smell.

  • Prepare baking soda paste by mixing one cup of baking soda with three cups of water
  • Apply the paste on a damp hair and then leave it for some minutes before washing off using warm water. This one should be done once or twice in a week
  • You can alternatively use baking soda as a very effective dry shampoo for oily hair. All you need is to put some baking soda on your hands and then rub it through your hair. You can then brush your hair thoroughly with clean brush. The baking soda will absorb all the grease in the hair.

B)   Apple Cider Vinegar

This is another wonderful home remedy for oily hair and scalp. It has acetic acid in it that helps in balancing the pH level of the scalp. This will then help in controlling the production of excess oil and then reduces oil build-up on the scalp. It will also make your hair soft and shiny.

  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water
  • Wash your hair using mild shampoo and then rinse it using this solution
  • Sit back for a few minutes then rinse off using cold water
  • This remedy should be repeated 2 or 3 times a week

C)   Aloe Vera gel

Aloe Vera gel has got vitamins, mineral and enzymes that are very helpful for controlling greasy hair. It also detoxify the scalp of impurities and determine the production of sebum and also nourishes the hair roots. It also has cooling and soothing nature that will keep your hair more healthy.

  • Start by mixing one tablespoon of aloe vera gel and one tablespoon of lemon juice in one cup of any mild shampoo for oily scalp.
  • Rinse your scalp and let the shampoo sit on your hair for about 15 minutes before washing off
  • Make sure to use this homemade shampoo anytime you shampoo to improve your scalp condition

D)   Black tea

This is effective natural shampoo for oily hair which has got astringent known as tannic acid that prevent the build-up of excess sebum on the scalp by tightening the skin pores. To apply black tea remedy, follow the procedure below:

  • Add one teaspoon of black tea leaves to one cup of water
  • You should then boil it for about 10 minutes
  • Pressure the leaves and the allow the solution to cool to a room temperature
  • You then pour the lukewarm solution on your scalp and hair
  • Leave it there for 5 minutes before rinsing off using best oily hair shampoo

E)    Lemon juice

This is a very effective natural product for many skin conditions and hair problems including greasy hair. It has in it vital vitamins and mineral that enhance healthy scalp and hair. Its acidic property also balances the pH levels of the scalp and hence regulates the production of sebum.

  • Cut two lemon and squeeze their juice in two cups of distilled water. Add three spoons of honey for effective result
  • Massage the mixture on your scalp and hair for around 10 minutes
  • You can then leave it to sit for 5 minutes before washing off using lukewarm water
  • Repeat this remedy 3 times a week until your scalp or hair condition relieves.

There are more than 30 more natural home products that can be used in treating greasy hair. More products include; Fuller`s Earth, egg yolk, oatmeal, rosemary, witch hazel, table salt, snake gourd juice and more.

Greasy hair may be temporary or may persist depending on the causes. If your oily hair cannot be managed using over the counter oily hair products or home remedies then, see you doctor for further treatments. In such cases, greasy hair may be due to chronic underlying medical condition that it is only the doctor who can diagnose it.


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