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a young girl looking worried about her oily scalp

9 Major Causes of Oily Scalp & Home Remedies to Manage It

Sebum acts as a protective layer on your scalp, but excessive oil production is problematic. Learn the significant causes of oily scalp and ayurvedic treatments to manage it effectively. 

Dealing with an oily scalp can be both frustrating and disheartening, especially when it seems like nothing you do can keep it at bay. However, once you understand the root cause, managing it becomes easy. 

Research states that when stressed, your sebaceous glands produce more oil; hence, you get greasy strands and an oily scalp. Similarly, certain dietary habits like consuming more sugary drinks harm your hair health and cause hair loss. Hair care practices also affect their texture and overall appearance.

It’s mandatory to find the main cause and address it accordingly. Other than that, some Ayurvedic herbs can help to reduce damage and promote blood circulation for better hair growth. 

For instance, a study found an ayurvedic herb named Carthamus tinctorius is effective for hair loss prevention. Here is an in-depth guide about the causes of oily scalp, home remedies, and ayurvedic treatments to manage it. 


Understanding Oily Scalp

Our skin has oily glands which produce sebum to keep the skin well-nourished and healthy. It adds a protective layer to our scalp and makes hair shiny. 

However, sometimes sebum is produced in excess by oily glands, which leads to oily hair and scalp. This further causes multiple issues like chronic dandruff, greasy hair, etc. 

The biggest mistake individuals make in these scenarios is using products claiming to fix oily scalp problems. Such products are loaded with harmful chemicals that remove the natural oil from your hair and worsen the situation. 

So, what’s the solution? Try switching towards natural and Ayurvedic treatments to keep your scalp healthy. 

But before moving towards the treatment, let’s check out what causes oily hairs! 


What Causes Oily Hairs? 

a young girl worried about her oily scalp


According to Ayurveda, the root cause of an oily scalp is Pitta dosha (one of the important principles of Ayurveda). 

When any organ shows signs like excess sebum production and sweat, pitta dosha is aggravated, and it might be due to specific lifestyle changes, diet, and high stress. 

Let’s have a detailed look at the common causes of an oily scalp. 


1. Genetics

A specific hormone in dihydrotestosterone genes is genetically transferred and leads to oily skin. 

If someone in your family has oily skin, you will probably get that, too. 


2. Hormones 

    Did you notice your hair looks slightly different at various stages of your life? That happens because of hormonal changes. 

    Fluctuations in hormones due to menopause, pregnancy, and puberty increase sebum production. Sometimes, stress leads to excess oil and affects the appearance of your hair.


    3. Seborrheic Dermatitis 

      This condition is also known as dandruff and often results from an allergic reaction or might indicate an autoimmune disease. 

      Remember, seborrheic dermatitis is not a serious condition; home treatments help manage it.  However, it irritates and inflames your skin, leading to excessive oil glands. 


      4. The Weather 

      Weather also affects sebum production. During the humid days of the summer, high sweat is produced, which pushes the sebum down to your hair shaft, leading to greasier hair. 

      In winter, your home’s heating and dry air increase oily production. 

      According to Ayurveda, sebum production increases from February to April as the weather has high humidity during these months. 


      5. Not Washing Hair Enough or Washing Too Much

      a girl with wet hair


      Washing hair excessively or not washing at all; both of these situations are harmful to your hair. 

      Low washing frequency and sleeping on dirty pillows can lead to the accumulation of dead skin cells and blockage of pores on your scalp. While excessive washing can trigger overactivity in the sebaceous glands, promoting them to produce extra protective sebum. 

      Shortly, washing frequency and certain hair care practices greatly affect your scalp health. 


      6. Certain Skin Conditions 

      Certain disorders related to immune dysfunction, like eczema and psoriasis, lead to scalp patches. 

      Other than that, forehead acne also increases sebum production. 


      7. Diet 

      Certain ingredients and food products enhance oil production. The dosha levels are aggravated when you consume food like: 

      • Cold foods,
      • Cold drinks, 
      • Dairy products, 
      • Food fried in excessive oils,
      • Extra spicy, sweet, or salty foods. 

      A balanced diet is highly important for improving your dosha levels. Add fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and animal products to your diet.  


      8. Hair Type

      If you have wavy or curly hair, congratulations, you are less prone to getting greasy. Let us tell you how. 

      Straight hairs don’t have any wave or texture; hence, oil is collected over the hair and moves straight down to the hair shaft. On straight hairs, oil is more visible.


      9. Chemical-Based Hair Products 

      Only a few ingredients can break down the sebum buildup in your hair. Remember, sebum can’t break by washing through plain water. 

      Meanwhile, treating your hair with products with excessive chemicals can disrupt the natural oils of your hair. 

      Alcohol-based products, certain microbial infections, and improper or excessive brushing can also alter the chemical composition of sebum. 


      Finding Out If You Have an Oily Scalp 

      The oily scalp has the following symptoms: 

      • Acne,
      • Grease, 
      • Itchy scalp, 
      • Dead skin build-up,
      • Slick, heavy, or stringy hair, 
      • Oily and visible dandruff flakes. 


      The Tissue Test 

      To find out whether you have an oily scalp or not, you can do a tissue test. Here is the procedure: 

      • Take a tissue paper and rub it gently on your scalp when your hair is dry. 
      • Remember to be gentle and not excessively press the paper against your scalp. 
      • Now observe the tissue paper under a bright light. 
      • If you notice any blot marks on the tissue, you have an oily scalp.  


      Ayurvedic Ways to Treat Oily Scalp 

      a girl applying hair oil to her hair

      Ayurvedic Oils 

      It’s true that applying oil to your hair makes your scalp oily. However, certain Ayurvedic herbal ingredients can help to pacify elevated Kapha-Pitta dosha. 

      So, you should prefer oils that are made up of the following herbs: 


      Neem (Azadirachta Indica) 

      Neem is a perfect herb to treat oily scalp and similar problems. It is light, dry, and has antifungal properties; hence, it is good to control dandruff. 

      Our Strong Roots Scalp Oil contains the goodness of neem, amla, blackseed, and fenugreek. It helps to soothe dry and itchy scalp and makes your hair healthy. 


      Amalaki (Phyllanthus Emblica)

      Another effective herb that lowers the aggravated Kapha and Pitta doshas levels is Amalaki. It regulates sebum production and keeps the pH of the scalp in control. 


      Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) 

      This herb suppresses the elevated pitta dosha well and improves the blood circulation of your scalp. 

      Besides, Ashwagandha has multiple health benefits and strengthens your hair health by controlling dandruff.


      Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica) 

      This amazing herb helps to balance the aggravated kapha. It reduces toxins in your scalp, ultimately lowering sebum production and excessive sweat. 


       Ayurvedic Hair Masks

      a depiction of preparation process of ayurvedic hair mask


      You can make hair masks using various Ayurvedic herbs and ingredients to soothe your scalp and control sebum production. 

      Below, we have mentioned some effective hair masks: 


      1. Mud/ Clay Mask


      Ayurvedic clay masks help to absorb excess oil and bring your dosha levels back in harmony. 

      To make these, mix bentonite clay with any of your favorite ayurvedic herbs like Ashoka, Arjuna, Asna, Lodhra, etc. Apply the hair mask for half an hour and then wash with water. 


      2. Henna 

      Grounded henna mixed with coconut oil is a perfect conditioner to soothe your hair and control oil production. 

      Apply the henna hair mask to your roots, leave it for an hour, and then wash with any mild shampoo. 


      3. Fermented Rice Water 

      It is also known as Ganji and is perfect for controlling oil production. You can use it once or twice a week for better results. 

      Apply fermented rice water on your hair and massage in a circular motion. Leave it for 10-15 minutes, and then wash your hair with normal water. 


      4. Kumari (Aloe Vera)

      Using this hair mask is pretty simple. Extract fresh aloe vera, apply it on your scalp, and leave it for 20-30 minutes. 

      Aloe vera mask is a perfect remedy for greasy hair as it balances the impurities and detoxifies your scalp.  


      5. Buttermilk + Amla Mask 

      Buttermilk is a bleaching agent that helps remove excess oil, while amla helps fight fungal infections. 

      To make this hair mask, mix amla powder with buttermilk. Apply on your roots and along the hair shaft.  Leave it for 20 minutes and then wash with water.


      Ayurvedic Herbal Shampoos  

      Roots & Rituals Ayuredic Herbal Shampoo


      Unlike chemical-based shampoos, Ayurvedic shampoos don’t disrupt the natural oils of your hair and maintain the right balance. 

      For getting good and lustrous hair, prefer Ayurvedic shampoos with the following ingredients:

      • Methika (Fenugreek),
      • Triphala 
      • Reetha (Soap pod), 
      • Kalonji (Onion see/ Black seed), 
      • & Shikakai (Soap nut). 

      Struggling to find a shampoo that contains the goodness of Ayurvedic herbs? Try Roots & Rituals Clarifying Shampoo, specially designed to remove everyday buildup and make your hair healthy. 


      Oily Scalp Treatment at Home 

      Below, we have mentioned some remedies that can help you to get rid of oily or greasy scalp. 


      Tea Tree Oil 

      The antibacterial properties of tea tree oil make it a perfect remedy for treating greasy hair. 

      Furthermore, it reduces dandruff and prevents fungal reactions.

      Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil and massage properly on your scalp for 5-7 minutes. You can also mix it in a shampoo to rinse your hair. 


      Egg Yolk 

      Egg yolk is a rich source of protein and sulfur, both of which help improve your scalp's health. 

      To get the best results, you can make a hair mask. Take one egg yolk, a few drops of lemon, and one teaspoon of coconut oil. Apply this mask to your hair and leave for 25 minutes. After that, wash your hair with cold water. 

      Remember, egg yolk reduces oil secretion, maintains the pH balance of your scalp, and strengthens your hair. 


      Lemon Juice 

      Lemon helps to keep oil at bay thanks to its acidic properties. Using it regularly is also suitable for controlling dandruff.

      Take two tablespoons of lemon in a cup of water, and rinse your scalp with it. Massage for a few minutes, and then wash your hair thoroughly. 


      Main Ingredients of Oily Scalp Shampoo 

      You need to be extremely careful while choosing a shampoo for an oily scalp. Prefer those shampoos that quickly dissolve sebum so your hair can look fresh and oil-free. 

      If you have an oily scalp, look for shampoos that have the following ingredients:

      • Water,
      • Ketoconazole,
      • Benzoyl peroxide, 
      • Selenium sulfide,
      • & sodium lauryl sulfate. 

      Besides, remember your hair is unique, just like your skin, and not every product will suit you. If you notice any adverse effects after using a certain product, stop using it at once.


      Risk Factors of Neglecting Oily Scalp

      If you do not pay attention to your oily scalp and continue using chemical-loaded products, your pitta dosha levels will be extremely disturbed. Over time, these can lead to:  

      • Hair thinning,
      • Foul-smelling scalp,
      • Seborrheic hair loss, 
      • Excessive gray hairs, 
      • Acne on your scalp & forehead,
      • Dandruff is caused by the yeast-like fungus Malssez,  
      • Different scalp conditions like folliculitis, seborrheic dermatitis, pityriasis steatoides, etc. 


      Should You Oil Your Hair While You Have an Oily Scalp?

      Yes, you should oil your hair regularly regardless of scalp type. Oiling helps to maintain moisture balance, provides nourishment, and regulates sebum production. 

      However, you need to consider the following things before applying oil on an oily scalp: 

    • Choose the Right Oil: Lightweight oils like sweet almonds, grapeseed, and jojoba oils are best for oily scalps. 
    • Pre-Shampoo Treatment: Use oil as a pre-shampoo treatment and wash thoroughly afterward with a gentle shampoo. 
    • Application & Frequency: Use oil only in small amounts and focus on massaging it into the scalp. Ensure not to overload the scalp with oil and apply it only once or twice a week.

      When to See a Dermatologist?

      a male dermatologist analyzing a lady's hair


      If you have tried various home remedies and a good shampoo, but your symptoms are still worsening, it’s time to visit a doctor. 

      Your healthcare professional will observe your scalp’s condition and suggest treatment accordingly. The doctor might prescribe a shampoo or medication to treat the chronic issues. 



      Little oil production is mandatory to keep your scalp healthy. However, excessive sebum production can make your hair look lifeless and dull and lead to issues like dandruff. 

      The common causes of the oily scalp are an imbalanced diet, genetic or hormonal imbalance, excessive use of chemical products, and certain lifestyle habits. 

      Ayurvedic oils, herbs, and shampoos improve your scalp’s health and reduce sebum production. But if your symptoms worsen even after using herbal products, visit a dermatologist. 


      Frequently Asked Questions


      Why is my hair greasy after one day? 

      Washing your hair too often, overusing heat, and chemical-loaded hair products can damage your hair. These also trigger the overproduction of natural oils so your hair looks greasy the next day or even after a few hours of washing. 


      How do you fix greasy hair fast? 

      The quickest way of fixing your greasy hair is by using dry shampoo or baby powder. Just take a small amount of any of these products and apply them to your hair to make them grease-free. 


      Is oiling good for an oily scalp?

      Yes, having an oily scalp doesn’t mean skipping oil altogether. In fact, using the right oil can make your scalp healthy and keep the oil at bay. 


      What herbs are good for oily hair? 

      Herbs like Thyme, Chamomile, Burdock root, Lemon peel, Lavender, Peppermint, Nettle, Witch Hazel, Lemon Balm, and Bay Leaf are good for oily hair. 


      Can I mix lemon with shampoo?

      Yes, you can mix one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice in 1 tablespoon of shampoo and use it to wash your hair. Massage gently all over the scalp and then rinse thoroughly. Lemon juice also helps to control dandruff due to its acidic nature.

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