People sometimes find that their hair still looks greasy after washing. There are several reasons why this happens.
Persistent oily hair can be caused by an overproduction of sebum, which can sometimes signal an underlying health issue.
However, the way people wash and care for their hair, as well as the type of hair products they use, can be the cause.
This article looks at possible causes, treatment and prevention tips, and when to see a medical professional.
Causes of oily hair after washing
Very oily hair can be due to seborrhea, a relatively common skin condition. Seborrhea occurs when the sebaceous glands secrete excess sebum, making the skin and scalp oily.
Most people with seborrhea do not have underlying health conditions. However, some people may have an underlying condition, such as a hormonal imbalance.
A person’s hair type can also affect how greasy the hair is. Smooth or fine hair is more likely to look greasy than curly or thick hair. In fact, scalp pomade can easily cover the entire strand of hair if it is fine or smooth.
If people use oily or waxy hair products or don’t brush their hair well, it can cause oil, skin cells and sweat to build up in the hair. This can make it greasy after washing.
The oil can also come from items that a person frequently uses on their hair, such as:
- hair towels
- Hair brushes or combs
- hats and scarves
These items can pick up oil from the scalp when used regularly. Using it without washing it in between shampoos can make hair greasy faster.
Some evidence suggests that environmental factors can affect hair and scalp health.
Diet can also play a role in increasing sebum production. Dairy products and a high glycemic index diet can affect androgen hormones, which affect the amount of fat your skin produces.
If scaly patches are also present, the person may have seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that can cause scaly, oily patches on the scalp and skin. The scaly patches may itch or burn and may crust.
Oily hair after washing
Treatment for oily hair may depend on the underlying cause. Managing excess oil or changing hair care habits can help.
People with smooth or fine hair that becomes oily quickly may need to wash their hair daily to remove excess oil. Occasionally using a clarifying shampoo can help remove excess residue and buildup.
Using products that contain green tea can help control oily hair.
After 28 days of use, the green tea hair tonic significantly reduced oiliness on the scalp compared to the placebo and tonic base. The positive effects may be due to the properties of green tea that help in the management of androgenic conditions.
Some people may benefit from shampoos that contain anionic surfactants. The surfactants help absorb the sebum and water, allowing the water and shampoo to remove excess oils when washing the hair. Examples include:
However, anions can also dry out hair, which can increase the risk of breakage. People with dry, easily damaged, or color-treated hair may need a milder shampoo.
Prevents greasy hair after washing
People may find the following tips helpful in preventing oily hair after washing:
- If possible, wash the scalp once a day, or less frequently for those with easily damaged hair
- Use a clarifying shampoo and a mild conditioner to avoid the roots
- Avoid heavy oils or styling products that contain wax because they can add residue and buildup
- Regularly clean hair brushes, combs, hair towels, pillowcases…
- Try dietary changes, such as following a low glycemic index diet, to see if it reduces sebum production
When do you consult a doctor?
If seborrhea does not improve with home remedies, people can see a doctor or dermatologist for further treatment and check for any underlying health conditions, such as a hormonal imbalance.
People may also consider seeing a dietitian if they think diet plays a role in increasing oil production.
A doctor or dermatologist may be able to prescribe hair products or medications.