Does your scalp get sweaty and oily too often? In spite of washing your scalp and hair? Here’s everything you need to know about what causes oily scalp and how to deal with it!

In this article, we’ll talk about what causes an oily scalp and how to correctly deal with an oily scalp.

I’ll also give you some tips on proper scalp care in the end. If you have severe scalp-related issues then you must immediately see your doctor.

An excessively oIly scalp can be very frustrating as it can lead to acne in the scalp, itchiness, dandruff, and a smelly scalp.

An oily scalp is caused by excess sebum production from the sebaceous glands in the scalp. Genetics, hormonal changes, poor diet, environmental factors, overwashing, certain hair products, and stress can all contribute to excess sebum production.

If along with an oily scalp you’re also dealing with bad odor then check out our blog on how to get rid of smelly scalp  

Read on to find out what causes an oily scalp so you can understand the problem and come up with a solution for your oily scalp to get rid of it completely! 

What Causes Oily Scalp? 

There are 8 main causes of oily scalp: 

  • Humidity
  • Hormones
  • You’re not shampooing your scalp enough 
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive stress
  • You’re using the wrong shampoo 
  • Scalp Condition

High humidity can also cause an Oily Scalp

High humidity can contribute to an oily scalp by increasing sweat production and trapping moisture on the scalp.

This excess moisture can mix with natural scalp oils, causing them to spread throughout the hair and scalp, leading to a greasy appearance. 

what causes oily scalp

Additionally, high humidity can cause hair to become limp and weighed down, exacerbating oiliness. 

It’s important to maintain proper hair hygiene during high humidity by washing your hair regularly with a gentle shampoo and avoiding heavy hair products that can weigh down your hair.

You can also try using a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove any buildup on your scalp that may be contributing to excess oil production. 

Additionally, keeping your hair off your face and using a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturizer on your forehead can help prevent sweat and oil from accumulating on the scalp. 

Finally, you may want to consider using a hair mist or dry shampoo to absorb excess oil and refresh your hair between washes. 

If you continue to experience oily scalp despite these measures, you may want to speak to a dermatologist or hair care professional for further advice.

Hormone Levels can cause Oily Scalp Too!

Hormones can affect oil production in the scalp, and fluctuations in hormone levels can contribute to an oily scalp.

Androgens, which are male hormones present in both males and females, can stimulate sebum production in the scalp.

During puberty, hormone levels increase, leading to an increase in sebum production, which can contribute to oily skin and scalp.

Additionally, hormonal imbalances, such as those associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disorders, can cause excess androgen production, leading to oily scalp and hair.

In some cases, hormonal changes may cause an oily scalp that persists even after washing and hair care adjustments.

In such cases, it may be necessary to seek medical advice and treatment from a healthcare professional.

You’re not shampooing your scalp enough, properly or overwashing

If you don’t wash your hair scalp regularly or thoroughly then there’s a high chance that the sebum gets collected on your scalp leading to sticky, oily scalp.

If left untreated, this can cause a sebum buildup in your scalp causing acne, dandruff, flakiness, and even hair loss as the extra sebum can clog your follicles. 

Sebum buildup can also cause bad odor along with greasy hair. This can give an impression that you’re unhygienic because your hair looks greasy and smells bad. 

So make sure that you shampoo your hair regularly and also massage the shampoo into your scalp thoroughly to break the dirt and oil buildup in your scalp.

You can even use a shower brush for best results. 

Poor diet can cause an oily scalp 

If you find yourself eating a lot of oily food like fried chicken, fries, burgers, and other junk food, this can be a reason why your scalp is excessively oily. Eating a lot of oily foods can cause your skin to produce more sebum, including your scalp. 

I used to have this issue too. I had a very bad diet when I initially moved out of my parents’ home. I ate a lot of cheap fast food like fried chicken and burgers. I not only put on a ton of weight but also started noticing that my scalp was always greasy. And soon after, I even experienced hair loss.      

When I learnt about how oily foods can not only impact my weight but also my skin and scalp, I almost immediately made dietary and lifestyle changes. 

Firstly, I had to put a hard-stop on fast food. Secondly, I started cooking my own food. I added a lot of vegetables and fruits to my diet. And soon I saw that my skin, weight, and scalp conditions improved! 

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So I guess I killed not two but three birds with one stone.  

Lack of exercise can cause an oil buildup in your scalp 

Along with dietary changes, I also started exercising on a daily basis. Some cardio in the morning, before I started work, has made such a BIG difference in my life. 

I have better energy levels during the day and I feel good about myself! 

If you do not engage in physical activity, it can lead to poor blood circulation and lowered metabolism. Oxygen and nutrients necessary for hair growth and scalp health are less likely to be carried to the scalp. 

This can cause oily scalp and also hair loss and result in hair thinning. In particular, those who work from home or do not have the opportunity to go out much should make a conscious effort to get into the habit of moving around.

Excessive stress can cause oily scalp and hair loss 

I had a pretty high-stress lifestyle being a workaholic. I realized because of stress I didn’t sleep well, my appetite had reduced, and my health simply worsened along with hair loss. And I have a combination skin type leaning towards oily skin. And because of all the stress, my skin was always oily and acne went out of control. Along with a constant oily scalp, ofcourse.

Excessive stress disturbs the autonomic nervous system and causes hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance can lead to increased sebum production and a sticky scalp.

Excessive stress can cause oily scalp and hair loss 

So I made a conscious effort to spend some time doing something I love (other than work). Give some time to develop my hobbies like dancing and bottle painting. And this helped get my stress levels in control. Finding a balance between work and personal life is so important. 

Using the wrong shampoo can cause an oily scalp

I had problems with my hair and scalp for the longest time. And I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Until one day, my dermatologist asked me what shampoo I used. And then she told me that the shampoo I was using was the wrong shampoo because of which I was facing scalp issues. 

I was using a pretty strong (read: harsh) shampoo. This was causing my scalp to go on an overdrive and secrete more sebum than necessary. 

Now don’t get me wrong. Sebum is necessary on your scalp cause it can protect the scalp from 

UV rays, dryness, and external stimuli. But the wrong shampoo can completely strip your scalp of the natural oils and leave it dry which can cause overproduction of sebum resulting in a sticky and oily scalp. 

Which is why I started using a mild shampoo for regular use and kept the clarifying shampoo once or twice a week to get rid of any buildup.  

Skin or scalp conditions can also cause oily scalp 

If you notice that you have excessive dandruff and/or itching along with oily scalp, it is possible that you have a scalp condition

In this case, you’ll need to visit a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment. It is not a good idea to try and treat this condition yourself cause it can do more harm than good.  

Are there differences in the causes of oily scalps between men and women?

The difference in sebum secretion between men and women is largely due to the influence of male hormones.

When male hormones are high, sebaceous glands tend to develop and naturally secrete more sebum.

In addition, high levels of male hormones have various effects, such as making body hair thicker and creating a muscular body.

What happens if an oily scalp is left untreated?

There is no benefit to leaving a sticky scalp untreated. If you understand the specific conditions that can lead to this problem, you will be able to take action as soon as possible. Excessively oily scalp can clog pores causing thinning and hair loss.

When sebum and dirt clog pores, they form keratin plugs. The formation of keratin plugs can block the pores and worsen the scalp environment. As a result, the growth of new hair may be affected.

How to Correctly Shampoo Your Hair To Get Rid Of Oily Scalp? 

Stickiness on the scalp can also be reduced by shampooing methods. Try to master the correct shampooing method and put it into practice.

  • Step 1: Brush your hair before taking a bath.
  • Step 2: Wet your scalp and hair with lukewarm water.
  • Step 3: Massage gently (from the ears to the temples and the top of the head)
  • Step 4: Rinse thoroughly to ensure that no shampoo is left behind.
  • Step 5: Dry scalp and hair with a hair dryer.

Pro Tip: One key point is to pay attention to the temperature of the water. If the water is too hot, even the necessary sebum will be washed away, making it easier to dry out. On the other hand, if the water is cold, the pores will not open and dirt will not be washed out. The ideal shower temperature is around 38 degrees Celsius.

How do you stop an oily scalp?

There are several ways to help reduce or stop an oily scalp:

  • Use a gentle shampoo:
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Choose a shampoo specifically formulated for oily hair, and avoid using harsh shampoos or those containing sulfates, which can strip the scalp of natural oils and trigger increased oil production.

  • Wash your hair regularly

It’s important to keep your scalp clean and free of excess oil. However, avoid over-washing, as this can actually stimulate oil production. Aim to wash your hair every other day, or every two days if possible.

  • Avoid touching your scalp

Touching your scalp with your hands can transfer oil and bacteria from your skin to your hair, causing it to become greasy more quickly.

  • Use dry shampoo

Dry shampoo can help absorb excess oil and make your hair appear fresher between washes.

  • Rinse thoroughly 

Be sure to rinse your hair thoroughly after shampooing to remove all traces of product and buildup, which can contribute to oily hair.

  • Adjust your diet

Certain foods, such as fried or greasy foods, can contribute to oily skin and hair. Try to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.

  • Reduce stress

Stress can trigger an increase in oil production, so finding ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or deep breathing, may help reduce oiliness.

Home Remedies To Manage An Oily Scalp

Here are some home remedies that can help manage an oily scalp:

  • Apple cider vinegar

Dilute apple cider vinegar with water and use it as a final rinse after shampooing. This can help remove excess oil and buildup from the scalp, as well as balance the pH level of the scalp.

  • Lemon juice

Mix lemon juice with water and use it to rinse your hair after shampooing. Lemon juice can help control excess oil production on the scalp and leave your hair smelling fresh.

  • Aloe vera

Apply aloe vera gel directly to your scalp and leave it on for 20-30 minutes before rinsing off. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce scalp inflammation and regulate oil production.

  • Tea tree oil

Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil, and apply it to your scalp. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help control excess oil production and reduce scalp inflammation.

  • Egg whites

Beat an egg white and apply it to your scalp. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off. Egg whites can help absorb excess oil from the scalp and leave your hair feeling clean and fresh.

It’s important to keep in mind that home remedies may not work for everyone and may not be suitable for all hair types. 

It’s always a good idea to test a small patch of your scalp before trying a new home remedy to ensure that you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients.

If you’re experiencing persistent oily scalp or other scalp-related issues, it’s best to consult a dermatologist or hair care professional for personalized advice and treatment.

Why is my hair greasy after 1 day?

If your hair becomes greasy after just one day, it is likely due to an overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands in your scalp. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as genetics, hormonal changes, poor diet, environmental factors, overwashing, certain hair products, and stress. 

Additionally, touching your hair frequently or using too much heat when styling can exacerbate oil production.

It’s important to identify the underlying cause of your oily hair and adjust your hair care routine accordingly, such as using a gentle shampoo, washing your hair regularly but not too often, and avoiding heavy hair products.

Is it bad if my scalp is oily?

Having an oily scalp is not necessarily bad, as sebum helps to lubricate and protect the skin and hair.

However, excessive oil production can cause a range of issues, such as greasy hair, dandruff, scalp irritation, and an increased risk of bacterial or fungal infections. 

Additionally, an oily scalp can be frustrating and affect your self-confidence.

If you are concerned about your oily scalp, it’s important to identify the underlying cause and adjust your hair care routine accordingly.

You may want to speak with a dermatologist or hairstylist for further guidance.

Is oily scalp bad for hair growth?

An oily scalp can potentially affect hair growth, but it depends on the severity of the oiliness and other factors. Excess oil on the scalp can clog hair follicles, which may impede hair growth and lead to hair thinning. 

Additionally, an oily scalp can be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which can cause inflammation and damage to hair follicles, leading to hair loss. 

However, if the oil production is mild and does not cause scalp inflammation or hair damage, it may not have a significant impact on hair growth. 

In any case, it’s important to maintain a healthy scalp environment through proper hair care and hygiene practices to support optimal hair growth.

What vitamin deficiency causes oily hair?

There is no specific vitamin deficiency that causes oily hair. However, vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Omega-3 fatty acids can help regulate sebum production and support healthy hair and scalp.

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While a deficiency in these vitamins may not directly cause oily hair, it can contribute to an unhealthy scalp environment that may exacerbate oil production.

Why is my scalp so oily even after washing?

If your scalp is still oily after washing, it may be due to overwashing, not washing your hair thoroughly, using the wrong shampoo, hormonal changes, or certain hair products. Try adjusting your hair care routine or seek advice from a professional.

Does oily scalp need oiling?

No, an oily scalp does not need additional oiling. Oiling an already oily scalp can exacerbate the problem and lead to greasy hair. 

The scalp naturally produces sebum, which is a type of oil that helps moisturize and protect the scalp and hair. 

When the scalp is already producing excessive oil, it’s important to avoid applying additional oil to the scalp or hair.

You can use Aloe vera gel to soothe the scalp and make your hair soft without adding to the grease in your scalp. 

Also, focus on maintaining good hair hygiene and using gentle, non-comedogenic hair care products to help regulate oil production. Additionally, clarifying shampoos or scalp scrubs can help remove buildup and excess oil from the scalp, promoting a healthy scalp environment.

Can Oily Scalp Cause Hair Loss?

An oily scalp by itself is unlikely to cause hair loss. However, if the excess oil production is accompanied by scalp inflammation or infection, it could lead to hair loss. 

Scalp inflammation and infection can cause damage to hair follicles and disrupt hair growth cycles, leading to hair thinning and hair loss. 

Additionally, if the excess oil production is due to hormonal imbalances or other underlying medical conditions, these conditions could contribute to hair loss. 

It’s important to maintain good hair hygiene and seek medical advice if you’re experiencing persistent oily scalp, hair loss, or other scalp-related issues.

Should I wash my scalp every day if it’s oily?

If your scalp is oily, you may be tempted to wash it every day to keep it clean and fresh. 

However, washing your hair too frequently can strip your scalp of its natural oils, leading to an overproduction of sebum and even more oily scalp.

 As a general rule, it’s best to wash your hair every other day or every two to three days to allow the scalp to regulate its natural oil production.

If you find that your scalp is excessively oily even after adjusting your hair washing routine, you can try using a gentle, clarifying shampoo to help remove excess oil and buildup from your scalp. 

Additionally, you can use a scalp scrub once a week to exfoliate your scalp and promote a healthy scalp environment. If you’re still struggling with oily scalp, you may want to speak to a dermatologist or hair care professional for further advice.

Is hair loss due to oily scalp reversible?

Hair loss caused by an oily scalp may be reversible depending on the underlying cause and severity. If the hair loss is due to inflammation or infection, treating the condition can promote hair regrowth. However, if it’s due to genetic factors like pattern baldness, managing the oily scalp can prevent further hair loss and maintain healthy hair growth

Maintaining good hair hygiene and using gentle hair care products can help manage an oily scalp. Seeking medical advice can identify the underlying cause of hair loss and provide appropriate treatment options.

Our shampoo recommendations for healthy hair growth and different types of hair

To grow healthy hair, it is important to maintain a good scalp environment. Sebum buildup on the scalp can cause stickiness, while excessive washing off can lead to a dry condition. Since you use shampoo every day, choose it with care.

If you are having trouble choosing a shampoo, here are some shampoos for different hair conditions and hair types: 


There can be more than one cause for oily scalp like not shampooing your hair properly or shampooing too much, or even using the wrong shampoo. Other than this factors like: poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, or scalp condition can also cause an oily shampoo. 

If you feel that none of these issues apply to you then you should definitely visit a dermatologist to understand the reason behind your excessively oily scalp cause if left untreated, all that sebum buildup can lead to a smelly scalp, hair loss, and worsen your scalp condition! 

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