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Causes of greasy hair, and best products/shampoo for greasy hair

Jun 11, 2008
Greasy hair can appear stringy and fail to keep its lightness and volume within a few hours of shampooing. Greasy hair can seem lifeless, dull oily and lank. It can also appear heavy and flat, refusing to stay clean and fresh. Is this describing your hair? Ever ask yourself "why is my hair greasy?" Others may judge people with greasy hair as having poor hygiene and that they do not wash their hair very often, even if the sufferer washes it every day.

Grease found in greasy hair is natural body oil called sebum. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous gland. Each hair has a sebaceous gland immediately under the skin. Greasy hair is healthy hair as the oil (sebum) is produced to stop each hair strand from drying and to stop the ends splitting. Sebum is produced by the body to lubricate hair and skin and prevents drying by providing a protective barrier. Sebum is your own built-in moisturizer for the body.

Greasy hair is excess of sebum in the hair and comes as a result of an over production of sebum (oil) from over active sebaceous glands, stimulated by hormones called androgens. Androgens are male hormones that are present in both men and women, but are higher in men. Androgens do two things: First, they enlarge the sebaceous glands in the skin. Second, they cause these glands to increase oil production.

Because hormones play a role in the production of sebum, one of the causes of greasy hair is fluctuating hormone levels. Greasy hair is most commonly found in teenagers going through puberty, in women because of their monthly cycle or pregnancy, and older women going through the menopause. Stress is also known to affect hormone levels and can therefore be a contributory factor towards greasy hair. People with fine hair often find that they suffer from excessive greasiness, as they have more hair and follicles meaning there are more glands on the scalp, each producing sebum.

There are several external causes of greasy hair. Washing your hair too frequently can cause more sebum to be produced as frequent washing can strip the hair of oils, to combat this sebaceous glands excrete sebum. Sebaceous glands can be stimulated through vigorous scrubbing of the hair and scalp while washing. Touching your hair can also stimulate sebaceous glands, along with vigorous hair brushing which carries oil throughout the hair. The over-use of styling products can cause hair to look greasy as the products can build-up at the roots. Everyday environmental pollutants can also cause hair to look greasy.

There are also several internal causes to greasy hair as well. Along with changing hormone levels, a major cause of greasy hair is the food you put inside of you, i.e. you diet. Western diets are usually much greasier, containing more fat. They are usually processed, containing many additives, and typically are higher in fat and sugar. The high fat content of the diet increases oil in the skin which can lead to greasy hair. The meat in a Western diet often contains some hormones, and these hormones can add to the levels of unbalanced hormones. Greasy hair can also be a sign of a diet that is low in vitamin B.

The best way of avoiding, preventing, treating and getting rid of greasy hair is to treat it from the outside and the inside. On the outside: steer clear of brushing your hair too frequently, and too vigorously. Avoid using a moisturizing shampoo as this can leave some oil in the hair. An extra cleansing or clarifying shampoo that has a mild-ph is the best shampoo to use for greasy hair. When shampooing, massage you hair and scalp lightly and do not scrub your hair and scalp.

For a more thorough cleanse, leave the shampoo in for about 5 minutes. You can always rinse your hair and shampoo a second time. How often you need to wash your hair is down to you. Ideally you should wash your hair 1-2 times per week. To find what is right for you, begin washing daily and then reduce the frequency to find your ideal balance of oil production and washing. If you plan to use a conditioner on your hair, apply the conditioner to the mid and ends of you hair only, and be sure to use a conditioner made for greasy hair. If you are using a hairdryer for hair styling don't let the dryer get too hot, heat can cause the production of more oil.

For the inside: do everything you can to reduce any stress that you may have in your life. For your diet, reduce the amount of fat and dairy products, and avoid fried, fatty and greasy foods as much as possible. Consider vitamin B supplements in your diet. Avoid sugar and sugary foods like cakes, biscuits and soft drinks. Reduce the foods containing white flour like bread, pasta and pastries. Be sure to eat lots of nuts, seeds and whole grains, and leafy & green vegetables, salads and fresh fish.
About the Author
About the author: Jennifer Summers can help you achieve great looking hair. She is a well of information on greasy hair shampoo products and providing great matrix hair care advice.
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