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Oily hair

Hair - oily; Greasy hair

Oily hair is the result of the oil (sebaceous) glands in the scalp producing large amounts of oil.

Information

Here are some tips for preventing and treating oily hair:

  • Shampoo your hair every day. Leaving the shampoo on your head for at least 5 minutes before rinsing may help.
  • Avoid brushing your hair too often or too vigorously, since the brushing will carry oil from your scalp to the ends of your hair.

Hormones affect oil production. Things that affect your hormone levels (such as stress or birth control pills) may also affect the oiliness of your hair.

References

American Academy of Dermatology website. Taking care of your hair. www.aad.org/public/kids/hair/hair-care. Accessed January 19, 2017.

American Academy of Dermatology website. Tips for healthy hair. www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/hair-care/tips-for-healthy-hair. Accessed December 17, 2018.

Habif TP. Hair diseases. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 24.

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  • Hair follicle anatomy - illustration

    At the base of the hair follicle are sensory nerve fibers that wrap around each hair bulb. Bending the hair stimulates the nerve endings allowing a person to feel that the hair has been moved. One of the main functions of hair is to act as a sensitive touch receptor. Sebaceous glands are also associated with each hair follicle that produce an oily secretion to help condition the hair and surrounding skin.

    Hair follicle anatomy

    illustration

  • Hair follicle anatomy - illustration

    At the base of the hair follicle are sensory nerve fibers that wrap around each hair bulb. Bending the hair stimulates the nerve endings allowing a person to feel that the hair has been moved. One of the main functions of hair is to act as a sensitive touch receptor. Sebaceous glands are also associated with each hair follicle that produce an oily secretion to help condition the hair and surrounding skin.

    Hair follicle anatomy

    illustration

 

Review Date: 10/8/2018

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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