I realize you have probably seen the tips and techniques that
follow, but perhaps there are some you have not tried. Following the
tips, I have included information on tackling the problem from within.
Realize that the excessive oiliness originates from hormones that
cause sebum production, and to inhibit sebum production you will need
to visit your doctor.
?For people with oily hair and/or skin, sebaceous glands are
working overtime and/or are in greater numbers, producing an excess of
Genetics, puberty, heat, and humidity also affect oil production.
People who have fine, straight hair texture and/or an abundance of
hair tend to have oilier hair than those with curlier locks and/or
To take care of oily hair
?Shampoo daily with a specially formulated cleanser for oily hair.
Finding one that works for you will take time, with a trial and error
?Gently massage the scalp while shampooing hair and leave the lather
on for at least five minutes before rinsing. Repeat right away if hair
is particularly oily, and again later in the day, if necessary.
?Skip the conditioner. Or, condition with an oil-free product; work a
minimal amount into the hair tips only, not the roots; and, apply it
only as needed.
?Brush/comb hair briefly and infrequently. When working the brush or
comb through the hair, avoid contact with the scalp. This helps
prevent or limit the transfer of oil from the scalp to the hair.
?If you have an oily scalp, use a shampoo that contains a detergent,
such as ammonium or sodium lauryl sulfate. (Detergent ingredients are
quite drying to skin and hair.)
?Apply a mild astringent directly to the scalp for extra oil-fighting power.
To minimize this effect, adopt some techniques to help manage stress,
such as meditation, massage, acupuncture, and/or yoga. And, if you're
using birth control pills, talk with your gynecologist or primary care
provider about other kinds of pills or contraceptive options that may
have less impact on the oilyness of your hair and/or skin.?
?To degrease your 'do and regulate oil buildup, wash every day for
a week with a shampoo formulated for oily hair. Try Clairol Herbal
Essences Fruit Fusions Purifying Shampoo, $3.49. After the seven-day
strand-stripping cycle, avoid cleaning your hair for two days so as
not to overactivate oil glands. Then start washing again with a
gentle, frequent-use formula. We like Paul Mitchell Shampoo One Gentle
Cleansing, $5.99. Try to suds up only every other day. If your bangs
get nasty again, repeat the weeklong degreasing process. Also, apply
conditioner only to the ends of your hair, and remember to rinse
?First, it is important to remember that the hair produces no
sebum, says Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos, clinical associate professor of
dermatology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. People
who complain of oily hair are actually complaining of an oily scalp.
The hair simply wicks the oil away from the scalp. Straight hair moves
the oil quickly away from the scalp while tightly kinked hair moves
the sebum very slowly away from the scalp. This explains why Oriental
persons with very straight hair note their hair is ?oily? while
African American persons more commonly note their hair is dry.?
?Excessively oily hair may require two applications to the scalp prior
to shampooing the hair. One way to tell if the oil has been removed
from the scalp is to note the foam produced by the shampoo. If the
shampoo is removing large amounts of sebum, it will not foam. One can
discontinue shampoo applications when the shampoo freely suds on
application to the scalp.?
?Try an astringent. A natural astringent such as witch hazel may
help slow down the oil production of the sebaceous glands in your
scalp. For a minty fresh feeling, mix witch hazel with mouthwash and
apply it to your scalp with a cottonball. If your hair is very oily,
you can apply this homemade astringent each time you shampoo.?
?Androgen, a male hormone, can activate the sebaceous glands.
Stress boosts bloodstream levels of androgen in women as well as in
Choose a see-through shampoo
Give yourself a scalp massage
Bubble double ? and leave shampoo on the scalp for 5 minutes!
Get out of condition ? skip conditioner
Apply astringent to the scalp
Please read the entire page for other tips and more information!
?Harsh shampoos will just cause the sebaceous gland to
overcompensate by producing more oil than necessary.?
Feed Your Head
?When I was in residency and suffering from stress, lack of sleep
and a shockingly poor diet, my hair became increasingly thin, dull and
lifeless. When I resolved to eat properly, the changes in my hair were
amazing! It?s essential to eat lots of good quality protein to provide
the building blocks for strong hair.
?Essential fatty acids seem to benefit every organ of the body and can
do wonderful things for hair. Flax oil, for example, has been shown to
decrease dandruff, balance an oily scalp and keep hair soft and shiny.
These fatty acids are found in fish, flax, nuts and seeds and are
critical components of your diet.
Other important nutrients include beta-carotene from orange vegetables
and fruits and green leafy vegetables, and the B-complex vitamins
plentiful in whole grains.?
Attacking sebum from the inside out
You?ll need to discuss the following with your doctor, as
retinoids, including Accutane, corticosteroids and oral contraceptives
all come with side effects. You and your doctor will have to weigh the
pros and cons of oily hair versus the following ?degreasers?.
?Decreasing Androgenic Effects
Ortho Tri-Cyclen, the first oral contraceptive FDA-approved for use as
acne therapy, contains ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate. Other
estrogens/oral contraceptives containing progestins with low
androgenic potential, such as norethindrone, ethynodiol diacetate and
norgestimate, are also useful in acne therapy. Spironolactone has
potent antiandrogenic effects as well.
III. Reducing Sebum Production
Isotretinoin and antiandrogens/estrogens are the only acne medications
available that reduce sebum production.?
A group of agents that includes retinol (Vitamin A) and related
compounds with potential antineoplastic and/or chemopreventive
activities. A retinoic acid agent binds to and/or activates specific
nuclear retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors
(RXRs), thereby modulating transcription of genes responsible for cell
differentiation and proliferation. A retinoic acid agent may exhibit
immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties and may inhibit
ornithine decarboxylase, resulting in a decrease in polyamine
synthesis and keratinization.(NCI04)?
?Sebum production and skin surface lipid composition have been
measured during the oral treatment with 13cis-retinoic acid of a group
of patients with severe cystic acne. Two hundred and thirty-eight
paired samples have been analyzed and compared. A marked, drug-induced
decrease in sebum production was accompanied by a decrease in the
concentration of wax esters, a slight decrease in the squalene
concentration and an increase in the cholesterol concentration in the
skin surface lipids. These changes were consonant with changes in the
relative contributions of sebum and epidermal lipid to the surface
film, except that at very low levels of sebum production there might
be preferential preservation of squalene synthesis.?
?Since isotretinoin causes birth defects in developing fetuses, it
is very important that women of childbearing age are not pregnant or
do not become pregnant during treatment. Women must use two forms of
birth control at the same time for a minimum of one month before
treatment, during treatment, and for at least one month after
treatment. In addition, pharmacists must register to prescribe and
dispense iso tretinoin to ensure that it is not given during
pregnancy. Both male and female patients who are prescribed
isotretinoin must be registered to fill their prescriptions.
Prescriptions must contain an authorization number, which is acquired
by the physician when registering a patient; the number is then
reported to the manufacturer by the pharmacist when the medication is
Other possible side effects of isotretinoin include dry eyes, lips,
nose, and skin, itching, nosebleeds, muscle aches, sensitivity to
sunlight, poor night vision, increased blood triglycerides and
cholesterol, and changes in liver function. Side effects usually
resolve after treatment is completed.1?
Spironolactone has antiadrenergic properties. Spironolactone is a
17-lactone steroid that binds to androgen steroid receptors, thus
blocking the effects of these androgens. Side effects of
antiadrenergic medications include breast tenderness, irregular
menstruation, headaches, and fatigue.?
?Topical corticosteroids are widely used in cutaneous diseases.
Although their mode of action on different skin compartments has been
documented, little is known about their effects on the human sebaceous
gland. We investigated the effects of two corticosteroids of differing
potency on the excretion of sebum by means of two validated
techniques: the Sebutape and the Lipometre. This study was conducted
on the forehead skin of normal healthy subjects. The results obtained
with both techniques correlated well. The application of both
corticosteroids during a 4-week period led to a significant decrease
in sebum excretion. This decrease was more pronounced with the more
potent corticosteroid (Dermovate). In the light of these findings, it
is likely that topical corticosteroÏds exert an anti-proliferative
action upon the sebaceous cells in a similar manner to their effect in
other skin compartments?
Birth Control Pills
?Birth control pills reduce the amount of androgens, reduce the
sensitivity of oil-producing glans and slows down oils production,
which in turns, helps reduce the above symptoms.?
?People with oily skin and hair have an oily sheen to their skin or
hair, sometimes within minutes of washing.
What is going on in the body?
Androgens, or male hormones, control the production of oil by the
sebaceous glands in the skin. Higher relative levels of androgens can
make the skin more oily. For example, this can occur during puberty
and when taking performance-enhancing steroids. Some people have
oilier skin because they have larger numbers of oil glands that
produce more oil.?
?Oily skin and hair are treated with the same measures that are used
for prevention, including daily shampoos and frequent facial
cleansing. Birth control pills, or oral contraceptives, may be helpful
for some women in reducing the amount of oil produced.?
?For treating signs of androgenisation (seborrhoea, acne,
hirsutism, alopecia) ethinylestradiol in combination with an
antiandrogenic progestin is the treatment of choice in adolescents and
females throughout the reproductive years, since these combinations
are also highly suitable for contraception. Under long-term treatment
a favourable effect on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism can be seen
due to the antiandrogenic properties of the progestins. These
combinations also correct menstrual cycle disturbances and thus reduce
the incidence of anaemia. In addition, the frequency of dysmenorrhoea
and pelvic inflammatory disease will be lowered and there is a
reduction in the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer.?
?Aldactone: Brand name for spironolactone, a prescription high blood
pressure medication that is also prescribed to treat women's hair
?Spironolactone inhibits the action of aldosterone causing the kidneys
to excrete salt and fluid while retaining potassium. Therefore,
spironolactone is classified as a potassium-sparing medication that
promotes the output of urine (diuretic).?
?Excessive sebum often accompanying thinning hair is attributed to
an enlargement of the sebaceous gland. They believed excessive sebum
causes an high level of 5-alpha reductase and pore clogging, thus
malnutrition of the hair root.
Although this condition could be hereditary, they believe diet is a
more prominent cause. The researchers note that Japanese hair was
thick and healthy, with a small gland and little scalp oil, until the
occidental habit of consuming animal fat crept into their diet after
World War II. This change has led to a significant height increase in
the Japanese population, but it has also resulted in more Japanese men
losing hair. To some extent, their observation makes sense since
problems with greasy hair have often been noted as much as six months
to a year prior to when thinning hair becomes noticeable, but this
might be just one of the symptoms, not underlying cause, more research
Most doctors agree that if you have a oily scalp with thinning hair,
frequent shampooing is advised. shampooing can reduce surface sebum,
which contains high levels of testosterone and DHT that may reenter
the skin and affect the hair follicle.
?If DHT is blocked at other sites around the body, a male will lose
his sex drive and develop a vocal delivery that resembles a teenage
girl's. Blocking the activities of DHT in female who have hair loss
is, of course, less problematic. Spironolactone or Aldactone does just
that, and very effectively.
One anti-androgenic drug now being used as a baldness remedy is oral
finasteride. It inhibits the 5-alpha reductase (enzyme) that
transforms testosterone into the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) form
responsible for hair loss.?
?Researchers have recently discovered that men who suffer from male
pattern hair loss have increased levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT is produced from testosterone through the activity of an enzyme
called 5-alpha-reductase. Biochemical analysis reveals elevated levels
of 5-alpha-reductase in the scalp of balding men and the lack of the
hair loss in men with 5-alpha-reductase deficiencies. Propecia
inhibits 5-alpha-reductase, thus blocking the formation of DHT. This
appears to interrupt a key element in the development of male pattern
?The sebum flow dynamics at the skin surface results from a
multistep process starting with sebocyte proliferation, intracellular
lipid synthesis, cell lysis in the sebaceous duct, storage of sebum in
the follicular reservoir, discharge through the follicular opening and
spreading over the stratum corneum. A handful of topical products may
decrease the sebum output, most of them acting at the level of the
follicular reservoir function. Among them, elubiol exhibits a
clinically relevant effect on oily skin.?
Last but not least, a healthy diet including lots of fruits and
veggies, and plenty of water helps everything! Please see your doctor
to discuss the above internal ?degreasers?. Untill then, shampoo
daily, with a clear shampoo, leaving it on your scalp for 5 minutes,
rinse with tepid, not hot water, and skip using conditioners! Washing
your hair brushes and combs daily will help avoid ?spreading? oil to
your freshly washed hair!
I hope this helps! If not, please ask for an Answer Clarification, and
allow me to respond, before you rate.
Overactive sebaceous glands
Excessively oily scalp
Spironolactone + oily scalp
Oral contraceptives + sebum
Clarification of Answer by
23 Sep 2006 20:26 PDT
I have gathered resources on herbal/homeopathic and natural remedies
for oily hair and sebum. Thank you for your patience.
"Saw palmetto berry extract helps to balance hormones in boys and
chaste tree berry (vitex) helps restore female balance. Seaweed
(hizike, kelp, arame) is exceptionally high in minerals and is
considered one of the best foods for nourishing the endocrine glands.
Herbs that can strengthen and cleanse the liver include burdock root,
dandelion root, nettle leaf, oregon grape root, and yellow dock root.
Consult a qualified herbalist for specific use of these herbs. Herbs
work gently and build up in your system over time so allow at least
3-4 weeks of consistent use."
"Studies suggest that people eating a Mediterranean diet, low in
animal fat (saturated fats) and high in olive oil have a lower risk of
acne. Foods that are important to add to the diet are fresh fruits and
vegetables, particularly those rich in vitamin A carotene - dark green
leafy vegetables, and yellow-orange vegetables and fruits (apricots,
mangoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams and squash). Cod liver oil is
important and also contains a lot of vitamin A. It?s also beneficial
to drink plenty of purified water (up to 4 quarts of water a day) to
flush out toxins and transport nutrients."
ZENMED herbal produects are advertised on this page, which are inteded
for acne, but the theory is the same - decreasing sebum production.
Properties: the two types of cedarwood (Atlas and Virginian) are
antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, sedative (to nervous system) and
tonic (to circulatory system).
Usage What it's good for Massage, added to bathwater or a
vaporiser/burner, steam inhalation, Eczema, oily skin and acne,
coughs, bronchitis, catarrh, cystitis, stress and tension.
Hair tonic , Hair loss and dandruff."
Properties: antidepressant and soothing, which makes it ideal in
treating stress-related disorders and depression. Also antiseptic,
antibacterial, astringent, deodorant, digestive and an aphrodisiac.
Good for Hair loss, dandruff and oily scalp"
This site is uncopyable, but scroll down to "Home Remedies for Oily
Hair" to find home remedies, such as aloe vera and pureed carrots.
"The PHYTO Solution
To help combat oily scalp problems, PHYTO offers products targeting
several different factors:
* Minimizing the size of pores in order to reduce sebum production
with astringent plant decoctions (Nettle, Tormentil, Comfrey, Burdock,
* Slowing down sebum migration along the hair shaft by coating it
with an amino acid (Lysine)
* Helping regulate sebaceous glands with essential oils and
All our shampoos contain a mild washing base (Saponaria and Panama
Bark decoction) intended to prevent excess stimulation of the
To optimize the action of our treatments, avoid excessively energetic
massaging, scorching hot water or violent blow-drying.
Remember to use only mild products that will not cause further
"Dandruff can cause hair loss. Actually, dandruff occurs on an oily
scalp. Once the pores of the scalp get blocked with hardened oil and
dandruff flakes, the hair becomes dry. So, it is a case of oily scalp
and dry hair. Twice a week, heat pure coconut oil, apply on the scalp
using cotton wool and rub gently, in order to remove the dandruff
flakes. Leave the oil on overnight. Next morning, apply the juice of a
lemon on the scalp and wash your hair after half an hour. Use a mild
shampoo and use less shampoo. Rinse thoroughly. Henna also helps
control dandruff. To the henna powder, add 4 teaspoons each of lemon
juice and coffee. Add enough curd to make a thick paste. Apply on the
hair and wash after an hour. You should include fresh fruits, salads,
sprouts and yoghurt in your daily diet. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water.
Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements."
"Nettles are rich in vitamins A and C, several key minerals and lipids
that can be beneficial to the hair. Nettle Root Extract has been used
successfully in Europe as an inhibitor of 5-alpha reductase in
treating BPH. As mentioned earlier, 5-alpha reductase is a key
component in turning testosterone into DHT, the substance that causes
the atrophy of hair follicles. Therefore there is great promise in its
use as a component in natural hair loss treatments. Nettle Root
Extract is available at health food stores over the counter, and has
few side effects."
Saw Palmetto: "For example, several animal studies[3, 4] suggest that
saw palmetto has a similar effect on competitively inhibiting the
binding of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and blocking the conversion of
testosterone to DHT, via its inhibition of 5-alpha reductase."
"Hair Restoration Products - Revivogen® DHT Blockers
Revivogen is a revolutionary, all-natural hair restoration solution
that specifically fights against hair loss and thinning using natural
DHT blockers. It can be used topically by both men and women and has
no known systemic side effects.
Unlike its competitors, Revivogen is dermatologist formulated
according to the latest medical breakthroughs into the cause and
treatment of hair loss and using scientifically proven natural
"Revivogen contains natural ingredients that have been scientifically
proven to reduce the production of DiHydro-Testosterone (DHT), block
the androgen receptors and stimulate hair growth by:
? Natural DHT Inhibitors block Type 1 and Type 2 forms of 5-Alpha
Reductase enzyme and reduce DHT production.
? Natural DHT Blockers shield the Androgen Receptors and prevent DHT
attachment and uptake by the follicle.
? Activating and maintaining the hair follicle's growth phase."
The above product is sold as a hair restorer, but is controls sebum
production by inhibiting DHT
"Quick Solution For Oily Hair
If your scalp is naturally oil, you probably have to shampoo your hair
daily to keep it from looking greasy or stringy. If, however, you are
running short on time or need a quick lift in the middle of the day,
grab a box of cornstarch and a large, clean blush brush.
Pour some cornstarch out onto a dish and dip the brush into it. Then,
with a comb, part your hair in the center and brush the cornstarch
onto your scalp and roots. Make another part 1/4 to ½ inch off-center
and repeat. Continue this method down one side of your head, then from
the center and down the other side.
Go about your business for about 10 minutes while the cornstarch soaks
up the excess oils in your hair. Then, take a brush and brush out your
hair, ridding it of the cornstarch flakes."
"Essential oils can also be used to care for oily hair, says San
Francisco herb alist Jeanne Rose, chairperson of the National Center
for Holistic Aroma therapy, in Aromatherapy: Applications and
Inhalations. To boost the cleaning power of your regular shampoo, she
recommends adding eight drops of rosegeranium essential oil and eight
drops of lemongrass essential oil to an eight-ounce bottle."
"?Oily hair and skin sometimes are the result of eating too many fats
in your diet?things such as doughnuts and potato chips. The heavy fats
in these foods work their way into the skin oils, contributing to
overly oily skin and acne. If it leaves a grease spot on a paper
towel, avoid it.?
"If you have greasy hair, Dr. Lockie suggests trying Bryonia first. If
that doesn?t work, he says you may need to try a more specific remedy
such as Mercurius, which helps people who have oily hair, a sweaty,
tight sensation in the scalp, excessive saliva and intolerance of heat
and cold. If you have oily, thinning hair, particularly after an
extended period of stress or grief, try Phosphoricum acidum, he says."
"I have Oily Hair what tips you got for me?
Oily hair comes with an oily skin. Since your oil secreting glands
(sebaceous) are more active your (fore head, nose-T zone ,scalp seems
to be oily all the time) due to this you have a greasy look. So do not
put more oil in your head, neither should you use a very strong
shampoo though it seems on the apparent side to give good results but
the damage it causes are long term.
You should Use a shampoo for oily hair (sunsilk, ultra doux
etc...)they are gentle and their use can be repeated often. Rinse your
hair thoroughly with cold water and dry them.
Avoid fatty foods go the veggie way it will help your cause, however
occasional indulgence in non veg food is no harm."
This previous Google Answer may be of interest and help to you:
Here are some products that may be of interest:
I hope this is more helpful. Please let me know if this was helpful;
if not, please ask for another clarification request.