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View Full Version : Scalp no longer produces ...sebum?



Dreams_in_Pink
January 21st, 2010, 03:06 PM
It does actually, but in tiny amounts.
My hair's always been dry, i can get away with washing once a week. But now that i stopped using SLS, i feel as if no oil is produced on my scalp. Even my dandruffs are white and dry and it's been 2 weeks since i didn't wash.
Not only that, but also my scalp seems to absorb all the oil i apply on it, even thickest ones like castor. Now my hair looks so weird, roots are dry and flaky while length and ends are glued together :confused:

What's going on over my head?? Is this good or bad?

(by the way, that dandruff/flake problem isn't new, i've had it since forever)

Anje
January 21st, 2010, 04:19 PM
Just checking -- you haven't started any medications (like Accutane), have you?

ETA:
Scalp massage and/or brushing might help. Using a BBB seems to make my hair greasy really fast, though it might simply be distributing what's there.

Make sure you have sufficient fats in your diet. I can't say this'll make a difference, but balanced nutrition is always wise.

Any chance that your body is going through hormonal shifts right now? That also might affect sebum production.

It also occurs to me that this might be a seasonal change, rather than specifically related to not using SLS. I get greasy every winter, though it took me two consecutive years of washing only as often as needed to realize this.

melikai
January 21st, 2010, 08:39 PM
I found that making sure I had enough Omega-3s in my diet helped with sebum production.

sapphire-o
January 21st, 2010, 11:04 PM
Oh I wish I can give you some of mine. :)

If you have dandruff, maybe it's not just dry scalp. Maybe those anti-dandruff shampoos would help?

Dreams_in_Pink
January 22nd, 2010, 02:56 AM
Just checking -- you haven't started any medications (like Accutane), have you?

ETA:
Scalp massage and/or brushing might help. Using a BBB seems to make my hair greasy really fast, though it might simply be distributing what's there.

Make sure you have sufficient fats in your diet. I can't say this'll make a difference, but balanced nutrition is always wise.

Any chance that your body is going through hormonal shifts right now? That also might affect sebum production.

It also occurs to me that this might be a seasonal change, rather than specifically related to not using SLS. I get greasy every winter, though it took me two consecutive years of washing only as often as needed to realize this.

No, i'm not on any medications, but recently i used two bottles of antibiotics (for flu and a cut on my hand) maybe that's a side effect?

I massage my scalp every day and brush a few times. when i was greasier i wasn't doing any of these :shrug:

As for seasonal changes, i cannot remember how exactly my scalp reacted to winter months (i didn't care LOL ) but i do remember not needing to wash as often as summer.


I found that making sure I had enough Omega-3s in my diet helped with sebum production.

my mom's very sensitive about a healthy diet; if this problem persists, i'll ask her about omega-3 (i also have very dry skin)


Oh I wish I can give you some of mine. :)

If you have dandruff, maybe it's not just dry scalp. Maybe those anti-dandruff shampoos would help?

those anti-dandruff shampoos are no good. I used head & shoulders for years and seen no improvement. I don't think it's dandruff-related though, when i had greasy hair, i had oily dandruff and now i have dry dandruff :D that's another problem i'm trying to cure.

Heidi_234
January 22nd, 2010, 07:04 AM
That's pretty much how my scalp behaves. I'm rather grateful for this, because there are no greasies that force me to wash my hair often. :)

Dreams_in_Pink
January 22nd, 2010, 07:43 AM
yeah it's pretty awesome that hair doesn't get dirty but, i'm concerned it might cause some problems in the long run.

Sweetness
January 22nd, 2010, 07:47 AM
My theory :

Wash too much = stripes oil away = scalp produces more and more oil

Oil the scalp = scalp stops producing oil = dry hair



This is why I try avoiding oil on my scalp, I put it on my length


(may not be true, but it's my current hypothesis)

Dreams_in_Pink
January 22nd, 2010, 08:01 AM
Wash too much = stripes oil away = scalp produces more and more oil

Oil the scalp = scalp stops producing oil = dry hair


That seems logical to me. skin only produces oil when it needs.
actually, i put oil on my scalp to treat dandruff and promote hair growth. sebum doesn't do these :D i'll continue doing this until my dandruff clears up and i reach waist ;)

bumblebums
January 22nd, 2010, 08:14 AM
For dandruff, have you tried a sugar+coconut oil scrub? I think some people use salt, too. Just make sure it's not the kind of salt that has really big rough grains, because those will abrade the hair. (I don't get dandruff myself, though, so take my advice with a grain of... salt. ahem.)

As far as sebum... I found that massaging and brushing made my scalp instantly much more oily, so I stopped, because oily scalp isn't something I want. How long does it take for your scalp to finally get a little oily? I see some oil production on day 3 after a wash, but not on days 1 and 2. Just to put it in perspective.

Heidi_234
January 22nd, 2010, 12:43 PM
yeah it's pretty awesome that hair doesn't get dirty but, i'm concerned it might cause some problems in the long run.
Look, it's been this way for me for years now. I can't say I experience problems of any kind. My hair is on the dry side, but all curlies prone to dryness. And yes, I am 37" despite years of chem dye abuse.

Dreams_in_Pink
January 22nd, 2010, 12:58 PM
Look, it's been this way for me for years now. I can't say I experience problems of any kind. My hair is on the dry side, but all curlies prone to dryness. And yes, I am 37" despite years of chem dye abuse.

great to hear that; i know i'm too paranoid about my new haircare routine but, everything i'm doing right now is the first time i've done in my life (like acv rinse, washing with only conditioner etc.) and they're pretty unusual stuff :D it'll take some time for me and my hair to get used to "healthy living".

Honestwitness
January 22nd, 2010, 01:08 PM
Dreams_in_Pink, I don't have any advice, but I do want to say you have beautiful hair. Gorgeous, shiny, brown waves! Very pretty!!

Dreams_in_Pink
January 22nd, 2010, 01:19 PM
umm, they're not half as shiny as it looks in my siggy, but thank you so much!

melikai
January 22nd, 2010, 03:39 PM
The only problem I had when my scalp was too...sebumless :p, was that my scalp would get itchy, I'm assuming because it was too "dry" in a sense. If you don't get that itchyness, then it's probably fine.

coscass
January 22nd, 2010, 03:41 PM
I've noticed this too, recently! My scalp like, produces NO oil. When I massage it, I can just hear my roots moving around. I don't see any oil on my fingertips or anything. It's as if it just doesn't exist anymore.

jaine
January 22nd, 2010, 08:18 PM
My scalp is really dry too and hardly produces any oil.
Did you ever try Aubrey Organics White Camellia conditioner? I love it so much ... it's the only conditioner I've found that actually leaves some oil in my hair when I rinse it (and my hair really wants that oil so this is a good thing). I also use it as a leave-in conditioner when my hair looks dry. It is so useful. Without it my hair would be a dry frizzy puffball.

Pierre
January 22nd, 2010, 08:51 PM
No, i'm not on any medications, but recently i used two bottles of antibiotics (for flu and a cut on my hand) maybe that's a side effect?
Antibiotics for flu don't make sense. Antibiotics kill bacteria, including good ones in the gut. A flu is a viral infection.

my mom's very sensitive about a healthy diet;
Could you explain this?

I agree about sufficient fat. Not just omega-3, but also olive, coconut, and others. My main source of fat is avocados, but I include others in small amounts.

Bellalalala
January 22nd, 2010, 10:22 PM
My theory :

Wash too much = stripes oil away = scalp produces more and more oil

Oil the scalp = scalp stops producing oil = dry hair



This is why I try avoiding oil on my scalp, I put it on my length


(may not be true, but it's my current hypothesis)

Hmm...

It makes sense within normal ranges of oil, but sebum is a weird excretion in that whole cells die off and get excreted along with the oils they held while alive, instead of just secreting oil. So, as the cells die off and get replaced, they *need* to be excreted as sebum.

This is why stripping oils makes the scalp over produce it, the rate of cell death and replacement amps up, almost like inflammation.

In the case of a majorly under-secreting scalp, adding oil is unlikely to reduce that secretion more.

OP: what is your haircare routine?

danacc
January 22nd, 2010, 10:40 PM
...
those anti-dandruff shampoos are no good. I used head & shoulders for years and seen no improvement. I don't think it's dandruff-related though, when i had greasy hair, i had oily dandruff and now i have dry dandruff :D that's another problem i'm trying to cure.

Oily dandruff and dry dandruff are usually 2 very different things. If you haven't tried Head and Shoulders with the dry dandruff, it may help.

Also, there is usually a balance between good bacteria and yeast on the skin. Antibiotics don't discriminate, and kill the good with the bad. The result can be more yeast/fungus on the skin. Yeast usually thrives in oil, though, so if anything, dryness is opposite of what I would have expected. ...?

Are you on a low-fat diet?

Dreams_in_Pink
January 23rd, 2010, 04:30 AM
The only problem I had when my scalp was too...sebumless , was that my scalp would get itchy, I'm assuming because it was too "dry" in a sense. If you don't get that itchyness, then it's probably fine.

it's not itchy, i'm glad :D I think itch is an outcome of some kind of "allergy" or irritation. I had itchy head back when my hair was greasy and i thought it was because of greasiness :/ go figure.


I've noticed this too, recently! My scalp like, produces NO oil. When I massage it, I can just hear my roots moving around. I don't see any oil on my fingertips or anything. It's as if it just doesn't exist anymore.

wow, i found someone with dry head! :D


My scalp is really dry too and hardly produces any oil.
Did you ever try Aubrey Organics White Camellia conditioner? I love it so much ... it's the only conditioner I've found that actually leaves some oil in my hair when I rinse it (and my hair really wants that oil so this is a good thing). I also use it as a leave-in conditioner when my hair looks dry. It is so useful. Without it my hair would be a dry frizzy puffball.

I'm afraid we don't have brands like suave and aubrey organics in stored here (also coconut oil, can't find it anywhere!) besides, i can always put some oil on my scalp and length, no need to wash it less :)


Antibiotics for flu don't make sense. Antibiotics kill bacteria, including good ones in the gut. A flu is a viral infection.

Well, everytime we go to the doctor's for flu they always prescribe us some kind of antibiotics. They say it prevents infection in lungs :shrug:



Could you explain this?

I agree about sufficient fat. Not just omega-3, but also olive, coconut, and others. My main source of fat is avocados, but I include others in small amounts.

I consume good amounts of olive oil every day. Besides, my diet hasn't changed since my greasy times, so i assume it's not diet.


Hmm...

It makes sense within normal ranges of oil, but sebum is a weird excretion in that whole cells die off and get excreted along with the oils they held while alive, instead of just secreting oil. So, as the cells die off and get replaced, they *need* to be excreted as sebum.

This is why stripping oils makes the scalp over produce it, the rate of cell death and replacement amps up, almost like inflammation.

In the case of a majorly under-secreting scalp, adding oil is unlikely to reduce that secretion more.

OP: what is your haircare routine?

wow, i didn't know that! What happens in case of dry dandruff then?

I'm in a trial and error phase in my routine now. Currently, i'm massaging my scalp and brushing every day, deep treatment the day before wash and then washing with a cone-free conditioner. I've only done this once though, maybe dryness can be caused by not having a constant routine?


Oily dandruff and dry dandruff are usually 2 very different things. If you haven't tried Head and Shoulders with the dry dandruff, it may help.

Also, there is usually a balance between good bacteria and yeast on the skin. Antibiotics don't discriminate, and kill the good with the bad. The result can be more yeast/fungus on the skin. Yeast usually thrives in oil, though, so if anything, dryness is opposite of what I would have expected. ...?

Are you on a low-fat diet?
I used head and shoulders for months, and i came up with dry flake covered head. It was totally useless.

about antibiotics, well, i guess it's not the reason then :shrug: my hair always behaves in the opposite direction though, nothing works on my hair! :steam: and no, i'm not on a low-fat diet (i've never been)

Wicked Princess
January 23rd, 2010, 09:49 AM
My scalp behaves similarly to yours - it doesn't produce much in the way of oil. Even after four or five days, my scalp itself is fairly dry, doesn't flake much, and what flakes are there are tiny and dry. If I were to scratch (very gently) at my scalp, there isn't usually anything under my fingernails. After four days, the roots behave as if they're a tiny bit greasy, but my scalp itself is generally dry.

Of course...I thought this meant that I was successful in stretching my washes, not that something was necessarily wrong! If your scalp seems healthy, aside from dryness, then maybe this is just how your scalp reacts to an SLS-free routine!

I wash my hair every 5 days. Before every wash, I do heavily oil my hair and scalp for a few hours before the actual washing. It seems to protect my hair from drying out too much and stops any minor itching I'm experiencing from my dry scalp.

I'm going to be spying on this thread to see if it turns out I've been doing something horribly wrong for a couple months now, heh! :D

Bellalalala
January 23rd, 2010, 02:35 PM
Dry dandruff= dry scalp sloughing off dead cells

Oily dandruff= the dead cells that are secreted as part of the sebum are super-delicious to the natural fungus that grow on your head. Fungus are eaten by bacteria, so if your natural bacteria levels are low, the fungus can get out of control if there's enough sebum around to feed them.
The fungus overgrowth results in large, yellow-y, oily flakes that tend to get stuck in hair instead of just dusting your shoulders.

Dandruff shampoos kill off the fungus temporarily.

Some people, like me, are prone to low levels of bacteria, so we can have symptoms like oily dandruff, yeast infections, and stomach issues.
Anti-biotics can cause these symptoms as well, since they kill off bacteria.

It's not black and white though, there are many types of fungus, many types of bacteria, many types of anti-biotics, and every body has different pH levels, which affect all of these things.

--------

Have you ever tried washing with baking soda?
Even though I get oily dandruff, I have pretty low sebum secretion, so dandruff shampoos fix the oily dandruff for me, but they cause dry scalp dandruff in return, and then a rebound of sebum, which encourages the fungus.

Baking soda doesn't strip oils, but most types of "dirt" as we know them will get washed away with a basic solution of baking soda and water.

I just rub handfuls of baking soda on my scalp, then rinse well, and rinse with lemon juice to bring the pH back to slightly acidic (hair is normally slightly acidic, pH ~5-6).

Lemon juice will dry hair if applied normally, but acids applied after a base can actually act as a conditioner...yay chemistry!

----------

Anyhoo, try and experiment.

I tried WO first and my hair loved it until winter started and then I went with baking soda and lemon, which is my new favourite and pretty much solved all of my scalp and dry hair problems.

If you are using a conventional shampoo, I would definitely recommend experimenting with something that doesn't strip the little oil that you are secreting.
Unlike me, you don't get rebound sebum secretion when you strip the oils, so what oil you do have is precious.

Good luck.

Dreams_in_Pink
January 23rd, 2010, 03:46 PM
Good info there, Bellalalala. Your case is very similar to mine. When i was using anti-dandruff shampoo of head & shoulders, oily flakes were replaced by dry flakes right after wash, and as i reached the end of the week, oily dandruff was back again.

Since i started to go SLS free, i only have dry dandruff. Maybe SLS shampoo was so harsh for my skin that my skin reacted badly by flaking and producing sebum more. More sebum+flakes were the source of fungus infection :) now that there's no more irritation and extreme levels of sebum production, low levels of bacteria on my scalp can finally control fungus growth :) wow, everything makes sense now :D

About the baking soda thing...right now i'm trying to find if CO+ACV rinse works for me. If it doesn't, i'll try that. I already let go of SLS shampoos, also coney products because of that (to cut down on needing to clarify).

Thanks a lot for the post!


Of course...I thought this meant that I was successful in stretching my washes, not that something was necessarily wrong! If your scalp seems healthy, aside from dryness, then maybe this is just how your scalp reacts to an SLS-free routine!

I think so too, but since i'm such a noobie in hair and scalp chemistry (also the results i'm getting are quite drastic), i wanted to make sure i'm doing things right.

countryhopper
February 6th, 2010, 06:46 AM
not sure if you've tried this yet or not: dilute vinegar and water 50/50 and dump on the scalp. massage in and rinse. This is suppossed to be good for dandruff (not sure though if it's for oily or dry dandruff!)