Oily Scalp: What Triggers It and How to Cure It?

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Who doesn’t want silky, shiny hair? Yet, for many, it’s just a dream, especially for people with oily scalp. The regular and continuous efforts to keep their hair oil-free are a challenge. But an excessively oily scalp is more than a cosmetic concern. Let’s take a look at what causes it and what are the common oily scalp treatments. 

What Triggers Oily Scalp?

Oil glands are naturally present beneath the skin’s surface (in the dermis of the skin). They are responsible for the normal sebum production that hydrates and nourishes the scalp and hair from within. But people with an oily scalp have overproductive sebum glands, secreting more than the required levels of sebum. This makes the hair excessively oily and greasy. The most common oily scalp causes are:

  • Age – As people age the activity of oil-producing glands decreases under the influence of hormones, making young adults more prone to an oily scalp. 
  • Gender – The oil-producing glands are more active in men than in women. 
  • Skin Conditions – Certain skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis trigger an immune dysfunction, leading to excessive production of sebum.
  • Scalp Infections – Fungal and bacterial growth in the scalp leads to an oily scalp.
  • High Fat Diet – Excessive intake of dietary lipids in the blood can cause the oil-producing glands to turn overactive. 
  • Seasonal Changes – Rise in temperature and humidity are directly linked to increased oil secretion in the scalp. 
  • Stress – Increased levels of stress hormones in the body stimulate the sebaceous gland leading to an increased oil secretion.

Signs Of Oily Scalp

An oily and greasy-looking hair is the telltale sign of an oily scalp. But if an oily scalp is triggered due to a skin or scalp condition, the symptoms are severe. They include hair loss, itchy scalp, and dandruff.

Easy Oily Scalp Treatment

While a small oil level in the scalp is considered healthy, an excessively oily scalp can be bothersome. Here are a few easy tips to manage one:

  • Wash Your Hair Everyday – Use a mild shampoo to get rid of excess oil. But make sure you do not strip the hair of its natural oils. 
  • Shampoo Properly – Use a chemical-free shampoo. Lather it up properly and rinse it off completely. The residue of shampoo on the scalp can irritate the scalp, aggravating oil production. 
  • Condition Properly – Be careful when applying conditioner. Apply conditioner only on the hair strands. Do not apply conditioner on the scalp. 
  • Avoid Heat Styling Tools – Using heat-styling tools for people with oily scalp can aggravate the problem.
  • Wash Your Comb Regularly – Cleaning the comb regularly is important for people with an oily scalp as it prevents the accumulation of bacteria and dirt. 

Known Remedies For Oily Scalp

While managing an oily scalp can be quite a challenge, here are some easy and effective home remedies:

Egg Yolk Hair Mask 

The high sulfur and protein content in egg yolk works like magic for an oily scalp. An egg yolk hair mask prepared by adding a few drops of coconut oil and lemon juice helps regulate the pH balance of the scalp. This reduces excessive oil secretion.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil packs great antiseptic properties. It is a great oily scalp treatment for people suffering from itchy scalp conditions. The best way to use tea tree oil is to mix a few drops with a carrier oil and massage it well.

Fresh Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is naturally acidic and helps correct oily scalp conditions. Simply massage the scalp with fresh lemon juice. Let it stay for a few minutes before washing your hair as usual.


An oily scalp can be a concern, especially if things seem unmanageable. Understanding the oily scalp causes and adopting proper hair care practices can help manage the condition well. Incorporating natural home remedies can provide quick and effective relief. However, medical intervention may be required for skin and scalp-related conditions.

HK Vitals


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