Oily hair: why, how to understand and what can be done

Hair is not all the same and there are those who have to deal with greasy, dull, greasy hair, sometimes in association with itching and dandruff. Let's see why it happens and the strategies to remedy it

by Valeria Ghitti

Hair is one of the many tools we have available for non-verbal communication, perhaps one of the most versatile: depending on how we style, cut, color, we can say a lot about ourselves. They are, in fact, one of our business cards and, if healthy and strong, they can also be a weapon of seduction. But if your hair appears greasy, heavy, gets dirty easily, maybe even itchy, it can become a source of discomfort and annoyance. This is why living with oily hair is not always easy. Fortunately, however, there is no shortage of solutions to restore cleanliness and lightness to the hair.

How to recognize them?

Oily hair is such, as we will discuss later, essentially due to an excess of sebum that is naturally produced in the scalp. They are easily recognizable because:

  • they appear greasy (sometimes even sticky) and dull;
  • they are flattened and weighted, so much so that they hardly hold the fold or hairstyle for long;
  • they get dirty easily and very quickly after washing;
  • bad odor and / or itching may be present.


At the origin of oily hair there is what experts call seborrhea, or an overproduction of sebum by the sebaceous glands found in the scalp.

The sebum is naturally produced for protective purposes: it lubricates the skin and hair, protecting them from external aggressions. As the experts of AIDECO, the Italian Association of Dermatology and Cosmetology explain, the activity of the sebaceous glands is influenced by androgens and in particular by testosterone transformed into dihydrotestosterone by the action of an enzyme (5-alpha-reductase). Hormonal imbalances that lead to a high concentration of dihydrotestosterone and / or a marked sensitivity of the sebaceous glands to the stimulation of hormones can make the production of sebum excessive, leading to an accumulation of the substance in the scalp and along the hair.

Other factors can contribute to worsening the condition of oily hair, most notably:

  • infrequent washing and / or with inappropriate products: if the hair is not thoroughly cleansed regularly, the excess sebum accumulates further and, with it, the impurities it traps, with the risk of altering the scalp ecosystem;
  • the hot-humid climate: sweating increases in summer and this promotes greater fluidification of the sebum which, if in excess, thus slides more easily along the hair, increasing the greasy appearance of the hair. It is also valid in other seasons, if the warm-humid microclimate is recreated at the scalp level by the use of hats or helmets and by using a hairdryer at close range and at high temperatures;
  • sporting activity: physical exercise in general makes you sweat more, thus helping to thin the excess sebum;
  • frequent and excessive use of styling products: lacquers, gels & Co leave residues on the head which, if not removed regularly, help to weigh down the hair and make it dull;
  • pollution: greasy hair more easily trap dirt and impurities, so exposure to a polluted environment contributes to worsening the appearance of the hair;
  • pass your hands through your hair often or brush it frequently: these habits help distribute excess sebum on the hair.


Against oily hair it is important to use shampoos suitable for frequent use, because to remove excess sebum it is good to wash your hair regularly, at least three times a week or, depending on personal needs, even every day (for example in summer or if you play sports and sweat often).

The shampoos expressly indicated for oily hair contain skin-purifying, astringent and sebum-normalizing substances (capable of regulating sebum secretion); they also make use of sebum-related cleansers, that is capable of deep cleansing without altering the protective hydrolipidic film of skin and hair, and moisturizing substances.

In addition to the type of shampoo, the method of use also counts. In fact, it is important not to exceed the quantities, dilute it with water, avoiding overly energetic massages and rinse carefully. The hair must then be gently dabbed with a towel: if you dry with a hairdryer, it is better to use it at a medium temperature and keep it away from the scalp.

Oily hair and dandruff

Oily hair can be associated (although this is not the rule) with the appearance of dandruff. An increased and / or altered production of sebum, in fact, is one of the factors underlying this disorder: a yeast normally present on the scalp (a fungus of the genus Malassezia) feeds on this sebum and produces substances that can irritate the skin of the head and accelerate the flaking at the base of the characteristic flakes of dandruff.

In these cases, anti-dandruff shampoos with antifungal active ingredients (such as, for example, piroctone olamine, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulphide) specific for oily hair come in handy, to be used according to the instructions on the package.

Click here to discover the shampoo that fights itching, dry skin, dandruff and oily hair

Oily and itchy hair

It is not uncommon for oily hair to be associated with itching. The accumulation of sebum and impurities can, in fact, irritate the skin of the head, with an itchy effect: in this case, careful and correct washing of the hair is sufficient, therefore, to make the itching disappear.

Let's not forget, however, that itching can be one of the very first symptoms with which dandruff occurs (sometimes it appears even before the scales), a problem that, as we have already seen, can affect those with seborrhea problems in the scalp. . In these cases, specific anti-dandruff shampoos for oily hair enriched with refreshing substances are useful that help to find immediate relief from itching, avoiding that, scratching, you can hurt the scalp, worsening the situation. However, if the itching does not resolve, especially if in the absence of dandruff, it is advisable to contact the dermatologist to evaluate the possible underlying causes.

Leave a Reply