Oily hair or hair is a condition that occurs when the sebaceous glands of the scalp produce too much oil.
It is one of the most common forms of hair, along with “normal”, dry or mixed. Here we will see why it happens and what natural options can help to combat it.
It is common for oily hair to occur together with other similar dermatological conditions, such as oily skin or acne. Risk factors for oily hair are:
- Diets rich in carbohydrates, starch or fat, such as sausages, fried foods, processed foods, and fast food.
- Hormonal changes.
- Poor hygiene, especially not washing your hair for long periods of time.
- Use of certain medications, such as birth control pills.
What products to use for oily hair
The best shampoos for oily hair are those that are sulfate-free. These compounds are usually used to add softness and shine to the hair, although they often kill the natural oils of the scalp. This forces the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, which results in oily hair.
Other harmful substances are silicones, such as amodimethicone, cyclomethicone or dimethicone, as they can accumulate in the hair and make it look dirty and weighed down.
You can consult a dermatologist to evaluate your hair and recommend shampoos without sulfates or silicones.
Another determining factor is the use of conditioners, since these products can favor the accumulation of oils in the scalp. If you usually use them, decrease the frequency and make sure you apply them only to the ends of the hair, never from the root.
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It is also advised to avoid the use of hair waxes, hair gels or lacquers and allow your hair to dry naturally instead of using dryers.
Hair washing frequency
Although the type of hair can be classified into fixed categories, the care it needs is different for each person, since we all have different habits, diets and genetic factors.
For example, how often you wash your hair is one aspect that can vary. In some cases it is necessary to wash it up to once a day, as this helps remove excess oil and dirt, as well as the remains of other products from the scalp.
However, if you already wash it once a day, that may be the problem and it is necessary to “stretch” the frequency of washing.
Experts explain that in some cases, excessive washing can strip the scalp of its natural oils, causing it to produce excess sebum to prevent dehydration and dryness.
how to wash hair
For many it is a daily action, but it is very common to wash your hair badly. For example, rough friction causes damage, and it’s common to use too much or too little shampoo.
The ideal is to use two teaspoons, although this measure will depend on the thickness, quantity and length of the hair. When applying, focus on the scalp and not the ends.
Regarding friction, you should not only be careful when rinsing and washing, but also in everyday life. Rough scratching, brushing, or combing can cause hair irritation, damage, and greasiness.
Finally, the hygiene of the comb or brush is just as important as that of the hair. Try to clean them with hot water after use to remove excess dirt, traces of dead cells, soap or shampoo.
In addition to care and the use of specific products when washing hair, traditional medicine has practical and simple options to provide protection against oily scalp.
Here are the most popular options and how to use them:
Aloe vera or aloe vera
Aloe vera or aloe vera is a plant that belongs to the family Xanthorrhoeaceae. It is characterized by its gray-green triangular leaves with small teeth and a shiny gel inside.
The latter is the one that can be used for medicinal purposes, specifically to treat oily hair.
This is because it has a significant content of vitamins A, C and E, as well as compounds with antioxidant properties. This combination allows to regulate the pH of the hair and reduce the production of sebum.
We can make a mixture for the hair by mixing its gel with essential oils of mint or orange (this will enhance the astringent and exfoliating effects).
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To apply the preparation, you just have to wet the hair and apply from the scalp to the ends, then cover the head with a shower cap and leave for 20 to 30 minutes. Finish by gently rinsing with warm water.
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is a shrub belonging to the equisetaceae family. From traditional medicine, its infusion is usually used to treat baldness (since it strengthens hair follicles), although it is also very popular to combat oily hair, thanks to its astringent properties.
You can prepare an infusion of horsetail by boiling it in water (the ratio is one tablespoon per half cup of water). After letting it sit, you can pour it into a spray bottle and apply it directly to the hair roots.
Then perform gentle massages to enhance absorption and once it dries, leave it to act for a couple of hours or, if possible, overnight. After that time, rinse with warm water.
Lemon is not only a popular citrus fruit to accompany and flavor many desserts and dishes, it is also an excellent ingredient with medicinal properties.
To treat oily hair, it stands out for its pH-regulating, exfoliating, and astringent effects. There is even evidence linking it to greater control of sebum production.
You can take advantage of lemon to treat oily hair, but it is very important that you do not apply it directly, since its acidity can cause side effects such as irritation or itching.
Try to combine it with water (half a lemon per glass of water) or honey (until you get a consistent preparation).
Spread the mixture, mainly on the scalp, and leave it to act for between 30 and 45 minutes. Then rinse with warm water.
Until there is meaningful scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should be very careful.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, but first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted: American Academy of Dermatology, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.