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sahiba
August 24th, 2008, 02:45 AM
I was reading heidi w.'s Oiling Tutorial and came to know about sebum.I was totally unaware of it. Now ,from what I have understood, it is very important to hair as it makes the hair shine and regular washing ripps hair off it.

I was wondering what happens when your hair is all sweaty ,say from any form of exercising.Has the sebum been lost ? Afterall the sweat is comming from the scalp and when I am through, my hair is drenched with sweat .I feel like washing hair everyday just for hygiene purpose.
What do you guys say?

danacc
August 24th, 2008, 10:37 AM
Sweat does not remove sebum. You are correct that washing with shampoo or a shampoo bar will remove it (or some of it depending on how harsh a detergent is in the shampoo).

After sweating, sometimes I will just rinse the scalp with water only. Rinsing does not remove sebum; you can redistribute it to some degree while the water rinses through. Sometimes I do a CO wash instead of using shampoo. Sometimes I don't do anything. It depends on how sweaty my head got, how long until I would typically wash it again if I hadn't gotten sweaty, and how presentable I need to be.

spidermom
August 24th, 2008, 10:46 AM
I say you don't have to wash your hair every time you sweat. Rinsing with water is usually enough. I think that sweating probably helps to move the sebum down the hair shaft, but sweat alone won't remove sebum. Water won't, either.

sahiba
August 24th, 2008, 02:07 PM
Thanks for the imformation. But apart from giving the hair its shine , does it have any other uses?

spidermom
August 24th, 2008, 03:16 PM
Thanks for the imformation. But apart from giving the hair its shine , does it have any other uses?

I've heard it referred to as the best hair conditioner available, and we all have it for free! It lubricates the strands, which makes them easier to comb/brush. It maintains the natural acid balance that hair/scalp/skin prefer. It is protective.

danacc
August 24th, 2008, 03:27 PM
Thanks for the imformation. But apart from giving the hair its shine , does it have any other uses?

In addition to lubricating (oiling) both the scalp and hair, sebum has a major role in maintaining the acid mantle. The acid mantle is what keeps the skin slightly acidic, providing protection from bacteria and fungi, and acting as a barrier to certain contaminants.

danacc
August 24th, 2008, 06:17 PM
Yep, spidermom said it best: it's the best hair conditioner there is.

Darkhorse1
August 24th, 2008, 09:09 PM
I find, depending on how sweaty my scalp gets, I have to wash it due to severe itching from the sweat. My hair is naturally oily and I do fine sweating makes it greasier. I washed my hair last night, but was outside coaching all day and it was over 100F with high humidity. I'm debating doing a light washing as it feels gross, but I may pass as I'm exhausted from all the walking.

longhairedfairy
August 24th, 2008, 09:19 PM
I danced a lot in college, so I had to wash my hair every day or it would stink. I still wash it at least every other day and have had no ill effects. I just can't rinse or CO.

ETA: usually EVERY day with no ill effects

Kat
August 25th, 2008, 05:02 PM
I've found it is more trouble that it's worth. No matter how oily the top of my head can get, the oil won't go below about chin-length on me and then the rest is drydrydry. And they say using a boar-bristle brush helps distribute it, but maybe I'm just not doing it often enough because it doesn't help!

Kirin
August 25th, 2008, 09:30 PM
Sebum may be the most exquisite conditioner around, if so, I guess I prefer cheap 99 cent conditioners to it. My hair oil is like wax, its not pretty and if left too long will start causing wicked acne, yuck!

I suppose each individual is different, apparently my own body produces yuckiness LOL.

mira-chan
August 25th, 2008, 09:52 PM
Sebum may be the most exquisite conditioner around, if so, I guess I prefer cheap 99 cent conditioners to it. My hair oil is like wax, its not pretty and if left too long will start causing wicked acne, yuck!

I suppose each individual is different, apparently my own body produces yuckiness LOL.

Heh, yours is not the only one. I have dry sebum that doesn't move past the scalp. The furthest I've gotten it to move with a BBB is about 3 inches from the root. It just compiles on the skin and doesn't budge unless there is oil or surfactants involved. It causes both dry hair and dry scalp.

kittymomma
September 24th, 2008, 09:26 PM
Weird how scalps are so different! My hair (and skin) are both oily within hours of washing...I wash with no-cone no-sulfates, and often do oil cleanses on my face. The oil cleanses are great for my face, but nothing seems to tame the scalp oilies! I exercise maybe every 2-3 days and my head sweats BADLY so if I don't wash I get itchies. :(

Mebbe the curse of fine hairs!

ChatoyantLocks
September 25th, 2008, 08:15 PM
I've found it is more trouble that it's worth. No matter how oily the top of my head can get, the oil won't go below about chin-length on me and then the rest is drydrydry. And they say using a boar-bristle brush helps distribute it, but maybe I'm just not doing it often enough because it doesn't help!

Someone had some really good instructions on preening to help get the sebum distributed. I think it was on the sebum only thread.
(http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=144&highlight=preening ) It involved doing head massages, and moving the oils along the hair with the fingertips. She did a better job discribing it, though.

Another thing that really helped me was coconut oil! If you have been using harsh shampoos that take all the oils off, there sometimes just isn't enough sebum if you have really long, or dry hair. Using coconut oil to supplement helps a lot.

I also think using gentle cleansers helps, because it takes off less of the oils during washes. I'm currently experimenting with shampoo bars and diluted vinegar rinses.

Deborah
September 25th, 2008, 10:28 PM
I don't understand the big deal with sweat. When it is hot my scalp sweats a LOT. (I don't sweat from my underarms, so maybe my scalp is compensating - I don't really know.) I just let the sweat dry, and my hair looks and feels fine. I only wash my hair when it is oily or dirty, not just because of sweat. Sweat is completely natural, will dry on its own, and my hair and scalp are undamaged by it. My hair is extremely fine in texture (think baby), is I guess hip length, and pretty much straight. After sweating, my hair dries just as clean as before the sweating, and is shiny and lovely. I CO once or twice a week, and my hair is happy.

Don't be so afraid of sweat. :)

PeaceWithTrees
September 25th, 2008, 10:40 PM
Sebum is like oil, and sweat is like water, to the water just kind of rolls off the hair. Because oil is not water soluable the water just rolls off the oil

Katze
September 26th, 2008, 09:29 AM
sweat is like water but has salt and stuff in it that your body is excreting through your sweat glands.

It sounds icky but in my case, anyway, sweat makes my hair wavier, shinier, and softer. In fact, I didn't even notice that I had waves until I lived in New York, where it is very humid and I was contsantly sweating.

I don't get why sweat is bad, except for when it makes my scalp itch and I have to scratch it and then can't stop scratching.

Dientje
September 26th, 2008, 10:27 AM
I would think that sweat could be bad for your hair because it is salty. Salt normally attracts water, so if you have some salt outside the hairshaft, it would pull the moisture out of the hair. This could cause dry hair.

But it can indeed increase waves. I have read somewhere (I'm sorry, can't remember where), that if you would like to enhance your waves, you can mist with water containing some sea salt. I have tried this, because I try everything that could give me more waves, but it only gave me very tangly dry hair.

HotRag
September 26th, 2008, 10:33 AM
I wonder if there are any reasons why some has dry sebum.
If it is caused by wrong intake of fatty acids or stress or something.
Anyone read or heard something about this?

I too have dry sebum that causes dry hair and is building up on scalp.
I have a moulded seamless brush that I use to brush scalp only, once a day. After that I detangle with seamless really wide teeth detangler.
If I don't brush scalp, it starts to itch, and "want washing" (sebum build up).

heidi w.
September 26th, 2008, 10:33 AM
I was reading heidi w.'s Oiling Tutorial and came to know about sebum.I was totally unaware of it. Now ,from what I have understood, it is very important to hair as it makes the hair shine and regular washing ripps hair off it.

I was wondering what happens when your hair is all sweaty ,say from any form of exercising.Has the sebum been lost ? Afterall the sweat is comming from the scalp and when I am through, my hair is drenched with sweat .I feel like washing hair everyday just for hygiene purpose.
What do you guys say?

No, the sweat is part of sebum....actually part of the acid mantle.

http://www.smartskincare.com/skinbiology/sebum.html

You could dilute the shampoo choice and just wash the top of the head....a version of a scalp wash.

Sebum 'sticks' around even with sweat....

heidi w.

heidi w.
September 26th, 2008, 10:35 AM
I would think that sweat could be bad for your hair because it is salty. Salt normally attracts water, so if you have some salt outside the hairshaft, it would pull the moisture out of the hair. This could cause dry hair.

But it can indeed increase waves. I have read somewhere (I'm sorry, can't remember where), that if you would like to enhance your waves, you can mist with water containing some sea salt. I have tried this, because I try everything that could give me more waves, but it only gave me very tangly dry hair.

It's a different kind of salt, what's produced by sweat. It's not like ocean salt, not iodized salt like table salt!

Sea salt - do not apply to hair. It just may bond to the cortex and to get it out you may have to do more than clarify -- you may have to advance to chelating. Just ask Snowymoon who did this once.

heidi w.

heidi w.
September 26th, 2008, 10:36 AM
Sebum may be the most exquisite conditioner around, if so, I guess I prefer cheap 99 cent conditioners to it. My hair oil is like wax, its not pretty and if left too long will start causing wicked acne, yuck!

I suppose each individual is different, apparently my own body produces yuckiness LOL.

Correct.
Sebum is not an 'oil'. It is a waxy ester. You can roll sebum under the nail (when healthy it is white; unhealthy and breaking down after too long between hair washes tends to be yellowy) and then ball it like a little bead. It resists water.

heidi w.

heidi w.
September 26th, 2008, 10:39 AM
Heh, yours is not the only one. I have dry sebum that doesn't move past the scalp. The furthest I've gotten it to move with a BBB is about 3 inches from the root. It just compiles on the skin and doesn't budge unless there is oil or surfactants involved. It causes both dry hair and dry scalp.

My experience is that the sebum doesn't MOVE anywhere, really. It just piles causing hair to section the more & more it becomes built. I can lift it up under my nails if I let it build.

IF I let it build it also tends to 'dry' -- that is almost become like a hard shell. For this I have to scritch my scalp to lift that layer up and loosen it in advance of a hair wash so it'll ALL come off.

(I have seborrheic dermatitus which means super fast sebum production and rapid cell sloughing of the skin itself.)

When the hair becomes a bit odiferous it's time to wash. This means that bacteria that's ever present begins eating the sebum to maintain acid mantle pH. The itch factor will increase as well as this bacteria can sometimes get into the hair follicle and cause irritation. Even scalp acne.

heidi w.

heidi w.
September 26th, 2008, 10:40 AM
Weird how scalps are so different! My hair (and skin) are both oily within hours of washing...I wash with no-cone no-sulfates, and often do oil cleanses on my face. The oil cleanses are great for my face, but nothing seems to tame the scalp oilies! I exercise maybe every 2-3 days and my head sweats BADLY so if I don't wash I get itchies. :(

Mebbe the curse of fine hairs!

Has nothing to do with hair type, fineness. It's your skin; it's hormones; it's just your body. Fine hair shows that sebum buildup more, though!

heidi w.

heidi w.
September 26th, 2008, 10:41 AM
Someone had some really good instructions on preening to help get the sebum distributed. I think it was on the sebum only thread.
(http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=144&highlight=preening ) It involved doing head massages, and moving the oils along the hair with the fingertips. She did a better job discribing it, though.

Another thing that really helped me was coconut oil! If you have been using harsh shampoos that take all the oils off, there sometimes just isn't enough sebum if you have really long, or dry hair. Using coconut oil to supplement helps a lot.

I also think using gentle cleansers helps, because it takes off less of the oils during washes. I'm currently experimenting with shampoo bars and diluted vinegar rinses.


I oil my length on occasion -- from the earlobes on down. Never the scalp hair. I let sebum do its job for hair close to the scalp.

heidi w.

heidi w.
September 26th, 2008, 10:45 AM
I say you don't have to wash your hair every time you sweat. Rinsing with water is usually enough. I think that sweating probably helps to move the sebum down the hair shaft, but sweat alone won't remove sebum. Water won't, either.

CORRECT!
heidi w.

heidi w.
September 26th, 2008, 10:49 AM
Thanks for the imformation. But apart from giving the hair its shine , does it have any other uses?

Yes, sebum is a protective for the scalp SKIN itself...it keeps the skin from getting overly dry, protects from wind and sun, captures dirt and some sloughed skin cells, and is part of the ACID MANTLE which is the pH balance for keeping skin healthy. Sebum isn't produced just on scalp SKIN .... it's produces everywhere on the body. The sebacious gland is not part of the hair follicle: the sebacious gland is a separate gland very close to a hair follicle. Under the surface of all your skin are hundreds of such glands.

Skin all over the body is not the same, not in thickness, texture and need for sebum. Arms have less secretion (fewer such glands per square inch) than say the scalp skin. Back skin between the shoulder blades is MUCH thicker than facial skin, another example. This is also why some skin issues tend to occur in certain zonages -- that and where the temperature or moisture content may be more (under pits, under breasts, groin area, behind the knees.....)

Sebum really isn't for the hair: it's for the SKIN. It so happens to help hair on our heads a little bit too. Sebum keeps our skin healthy. Skin is the largest organ of the body.

heidi w.

heidi w.
September 26th, 2008, 10:53 AM
I danced a lot in college, so I had to wash my hair every day or it would stink. I still wash it at least every other day and have had no ill effects. I just can't rinse or CO.

ETA: usually EVERY day with no ill effects

As we age, and hormone levels shift, sebum production may well change. Thus, those who are beyond 50 or more may find washing less often is to their advantage. This production of sebum is not static throughout our lives. It's why our skin becomes drier after menopause.

Same is true of hair volume.

So, enjoy your hair while it lasts!

heidi w.

heidi w.
September 26th, 2008, 11:05 AM
I've found it is more trouble that it's worth. No matter how oily the top of my head can get, the oil won't go below about chin-length on me and then the rest is drydrydry. And they say using a boar-bristle brush helps distribute it, but maybe I'm just not doing it often enough because it doesn't help!

CORRECT! It tends to go maybe as much as 3-6 inches below the chin. To get it to go that far down though, you have to wait quite some time, as in the 2 week zone or more.

But then the odor really piles up and you reek! And likely the itchies set in too!

BBBing can help for the dryness below the earlobes hair. A BBB ostensibly distributes it by those bristles basically getting coated with one's sebum and then you brush lower, and a tad amount gets on strands further down. But it's not that effective.

It's more effective to oil the length somehow with an agent of a carrier oil.

You can add the oil while the hair is still damp via spritzing it on the hair with a misting bottle.

You can add it once the hair is dry.

More tend to like doing this while hair is damp -- not sopping wet -- damp. Usually this technique works better for wavy to intense curly haired people. Curlies can just scrunch the hair a bit and not detangle so much.

I use the BBB this way:
I oil my hair length (starting below the earlobes) once hair is dry. I used the tracest amount imaginable. Then I detangle. (Actually hair is detangled, then oil, detangle again.) Then BBB. Really makes the hair soft then.

Then detangle again.

BBB again.

Braid. Detangle as needed.

Day 2 it's luxurious.

You can also apply the teensiest trace of oil to one's palms, really rubbing it in so there's a mere sheer layer. Then palm the bristles of the BBB, rubbing them nearly sideways to get some oil on the bristles.....

It's easy to apply too much oil. In learning to oil, this is the most common mistake folks make. Too much. You can always add more, but it sucks to have to get back in the shower and wash again! You can try braiding and letting it absorb by the next day. Often enough that works out. Kinda like a heavy oiling then.

heidi w.

mira-chan
September 26th, 2008, 11:31 AM
I wonder if there are any reasons why some has dry sebum.
If it is caused by wrong intake of fatty acids or stress or something.
Anyone read or heard something about this?

I too have dry sebum that causes dry hair and is building up on scalp.
I have a moulded seamless brush that I use to brush scalp only, once a day. After that I detangle with seamless really wide teeth detangler.
If I don't brush scalp, it starts to itch, and "want washing" (sebum build up).

The dry sebum is very likely due to genetics. Some people's sebum is just thicker then others so it doesn't move from the spot where it was secreted while others migrates down the hair shaft a bit (the 3 to 5 inches).

I have dry sebum. It doesn't move past the scalp, at all. Even a BBB will not move it down the hair. My hair at any point in it's length will not be oily to the touch or smell even after two weeks of no washing but my scalp will feel itchy, coated and dry. If I scratch, the sebum at the scalp is white.

To note also, my scalp doesn't sweat at all. I generally sweat less than average but my scalp doesn't produce any moisture. My forehead does but above, nothing.