We are often worried about all the oil in our hair and skin. But did you know that in order to have healthy skin and hair, we require a certain amount of oil? Without the sufficient amount of oil, you would be struggling with all the dryness and flakiness on your scalp. So what is this oil (sebum), why is it necessary and what will happen if there is excess production of this oil?
What Is Sebum?
The oil which is naturally produced by your body and seeps out through the pores on your skin and scalp is known as Sebum. It plays an important role of protecting our hair and skin from becoming dry due to various factors such as wind and water. The sebum on the scalp or on skin helps in creative a waterproof layer. A healthy skin and healthy hair is a reflection of having the right amount of sebum. Sebum is produced by sebaceous glands when they disintegrate.
Sebum is a complex mixture of lipids like glycerides, fatty acids, cholesterol, etc. It is basically made up of various fats and dead sebaceous gland cells and it is found under the surface of the skin. Though sebum is absolutely essential, it can also cause problems if it is over-produced.
What Are The Functions Of Sebum In Our Body?
1- To reduce water loss from the skin’s surface
2- It forms body odour
3- To regulate body temperature
4- To prevent the skin from infection
5- It helps in immune system regulation along with good bacteria that reside in skin pores.
Also Read: How To Stop Hair Thinning?
Can Sebum Build-Up Cause Hair Loss?
One of the problems which occur due to excess production of sebum is its build up on scalp, which in turn triggers the problem of hair loss. A healthy scalp is the most important factor for flaunting a healthy hair. But if you notice dried sebum on scalp or hardened sebum, it is an indication of an unhealthy scalp and possibility of hair loss.
It is important to ensure that there is healthy balance in the production of sebum because both over production and under production can lead to unnecessary problems related to your hair and skin.
What Causes Sebum Build-Up on The Scalp?
There are certain causes of excessive sebum production on the scalp that include –
• DHT Hormone – When the hormone DHT is triggered it not just results in androgenetic alopecia (hair loss) but also causes excess sebum production. Excess DHT hormone results in hair follicle miniaturization. When this happens, the sebaceous glands grow, leading to excess production and sebum build-up on the scalp.
• Diet – An unhygienic and poor diet can also lead to over production of the sebum. People who indulge in fatty and greasy foods are more prone to this problem which in turn will trigger other problems such as hair follicle blockage, irritation and inflammation.
• Hygiene – Your hygiene plays a crucial role in avoiding excess sebum deposition on the scalp. Many people believe that not washing your hair enough, can lead to excess sebum production. However, the fact is that over washing of your hair is more likely to result in excessive sebum production. When you use shampoos and conditioners to wash your hair, you are removing all the essential natural oils from the scalp, because of which the sebaceous glands get activated. Over washing of the hair will result in continuous production of sebum, which in turn will make your hair oilier, leading you to wash your hair again. It is like a vicious cycle which never ends.
How to Reduce Sebum Production on Scalp?
One way to reduce sebum production on scalp is by brushing your hair. When you gently brush your hair, the blood capillaries get stimulated and there is an increase in blood circulation. It also helps in transporting all the essential nutrients and oxygen to the scalp. When you brush the hair, it helps in opening the pores on the scalp, allows them to breathe and maintain the required amounts of natural sebum oil.
Apart from brushing your hair, what you eat also plays an important role in reducing the production of sebum on your scalp. You need to maintain a healthy and hygienic diet by including vitamin-rich foods and excluding greasy foods. This will ensure that your hair remains strong and healthy and in turn will avoid any hair loss problem.
Pay more attention to the hair products that you use such as shampoos, conditioners, serums, gels, etc., as they contain various chemicals which rob away all the essential natural oils. It is advisable to use a clarifying shampoo which can remove all the sebum buildup on the scalp.
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How To Clean Sebum Plugs From The Scalp?
The first step in cleaning sebum plugs from the scalp is to clarify it. To do so, start by washing your scalp with warm water while gently massaging your scalp with your fingertips. This will help in loosening up all the hardened and dried sebum on scalp as well as increase blood circulation.
Next, use a purifying and clarifying shampoo to get rid of all the sebum plugs on the scalp. There are a few hair care products which target at removing these sebum plugs. It is advisable to use such products as they also help in reducing the over production of sebum on the scalp.
After you have gently massaged the shampoo, rinse it off using warm water.
You can finish the process by using a conditioner which will aid in replacing all the lost moisture.
Also Read: How To Treat Hair fall Due To Hard Water?
Tips To Get Rid Of Excessive Sebum Production on Scalp
Before you adopt any of the below tips to clear sebum from scalp, it is advised to consult your hair doctor who can provide you the right guidance.
• Try to maintain a balance between the numbers of times you wash your hair. Ideally, washing your hair once or twice in a week is sufficient
• Do not use hot water when you are washing your scalp. Instead, opt for lukewarm water and a gentle massage with your finger pads
• Read the ingredients used in your hair care products. Use shampoos which contain herbs and surfactants and not silicone and alcohol
• Always try to dry your hair through natural methods rather than using a dryer as the heat from the dryer can stimulate the sebaceous glands. Also, avoid playing and touching your hair at all times with your fingers as this can quickly make your hair oily
• If you notice that your hair is becoming greasy quickly, try using a dry shampoo
• Always try to find the root cause of the problem and take treatments or preventive measures according to that so that you can deal with the problem more successfully.
• Finally, if nothing works, talk to your hair doctor who will help you by conducting a thorough research and prescribe appropriate measures.
• Remember that every individual’s hair is different, and hence, what works for someone else might not work for you. Do not get disheartened and instead find out what suits you best and stick to those products.
There is no doubt that sebum on scalp is absolutely necessary and hence, steps should be taken to ensure that there is sufficient production of this natural oil. However, you should also ensure that you do not go overboard as it might trigger the sebaceous glands and result in excessive production of sebum on scalp, which in turn will lead to hair loss problems.