How to solve the problem of excess sebum on the scalp?

Portrait of a young guy with long dirty hair and problematic scalp. With disbelief looks at a bottle of shampoo. Not an effective oily hair care product.

Sebum is absolutely necessary for a healthy scalp and hair. Excess sebum, however, can cause problems such as dandruff and in some cases even hair loss.

Trying to find the right balance regarding the sebum present on the scalp is vital for healthy hair.

What is sebum?

Sebum is an oily substance produced by hair follicles and sebaceous glands. It is a combination of lipids such as fatty acids and cholesterol. Sebum, which can appear, at times, as a waxy substanceis necessary to maintain proper hydration of the hair and scalp. Keeping the skin and hair hydrated is essential to prevent breakouts and flaking as well as possible infections.

What is sebum accumulation?

In some cases and especially in people who have a certain predisposition, an overproduction of sebum can occur. Excess sebum can cause some problems.

Thesebum deposits are usually a combination of various elements, among which you can mention:

  • Sebum
  • Sweat
  • Dead skin cells
  • Residues of skin and hair products, such as shampoos, creams, waxes especially if they have not been rinsed properly

The excess sebum may appear white, yellowish and have a lumpy appearance. Sometimes it can be confused with other skin and scalp conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dandruff.

What are the signs that indicate that there is a buildup of sebum?

Some of these signs may indicate that you are suffering from a sebum buildup:

  • Desquamation
  • Presence of scales on the scalp
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Miniaturization of hair

There are several factors that can lead to excessive sebum production. Often this is due to a hormonal imbalance that causes the problem. It is common that this situation also occurs in people who suffer from metabolic disorder and digestive problems..

A diet rich in saturated fat is often related to the overproduction of sebum.

Most often, however, the problem of excess sebum is related to poor scalp hygiene. People who wash their hair infrequently (such as once every 3 days) are more likely to experience accumulations of sebum.

Sebum buildup: what problems does it mean for scalp and hair?

It is important to try to have a healthy amount of sebum on the scalp.

An excess of the same, in fact, can lead to numerous problems, some of which could be permanent.

The most common and obvious complication of excess sebum is acne. When the scalp becomes excessively oily especially in the area around the hairline, you can have acne problems that can be so serious as to produce inflammation and discomfort in that specific area.

The seborrheic dermatitis is another possible complication related to the excess of sebum, resulting in desquamation of the scalp.

Sometimes the seborrheic dermatitis can be confused with dandruff but the difference lies in the fact that the scales of seborrheic dermatitis are caused by excess sebum produced by the sebaceous glands that make the scalp excessively oily while the dandruff is usually due to the presence of dry skin.

The most serious problem related to the excessive production of sebum is probably the hair loss. If not kept under control theexcess sebum can damage the hair follicles.

Once these suffer damage it is particularly complex to remedy the problem.

How to solve the problem of excess scalp sebum

Those who experience a problem of overproduction of sebum should first try to answer some questions to understand what the problem is due to:

  • How often do you wash your hair?
  • What products do you use to wash your hair?
  • Are you using any other hair care or styling products?
  • Do you have habits that can affect sebum production such as doing exercise daily or wearing a hat or helmet for long periods of time?
  • Is the diet you are following high in saturated fat?
  • Do you suffer from a health problem such as a hormonal imbalance or metabolic disorder?
  • Do you have any other skin conditions?

Once all of these questions are answered, you may be able to figure out what is causing the problem and can begin to think about how to remedy it. For example, if you have a metabolism disorder you can see a doctor to get your blood sugar and body weight under control.

Sebum overgrowth: scalp and hair care as keys to avoiding it

Whatever the cause that leads to sebum buildup, to prevent the damage it causes and avoid overproduction, it is fundamental to follow a routine for caring for your scalp and hair. .

First of all, it is important to increase the frequency of washing. Depending on the severity of the problem it may be indicated to wash your hair even daily.

Daily hair washing is safe and even healthy for your hair and scalp as long as and when the correct products are used.

In addition to increasing the frequency of washing, it is necessary to take some steps. First and foremost, it is advisable to use lukewarm and not hot water to wash the hair. Water that is too hot can dry out the scalp and cause further itching and irritation.

When washing your hair, avoid forceful scratching and rubbing but rather gently massage the shampoo into the scalp in a circular motion.

Through massage, you can increase the blood supply to the scalp and hair follicles and also achieve thorough cleansing.

Lastly, it is possible to consider exfoliation of the scalp, although it is more complex than that of other areas of the body since you need to go through the hair to access the area.

Mechanical exfoliation, therefore, does not provide better results than massage during washing.

Consequently, it is preferable to use a shampoo that allows exfoliation thanks to the ingredients it contains.

If none of the above mentioned tricks work, it is necessary to consult a dermatologist because the hyperproduction of sebum could be linked to a more serious pathology that requires specific treatments. It is also necessary to avoid that the situation degenerates and that the scalp becomes infected.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.