View Full Version : Possibly a really stupid question . . .

September 3rd, 2008, 05:06 PM
Is it possible to teach your scalp to produce an insufficient amount of oil?

About 6 years ago I had a really oily scalp which at the time, I hated. I washed every day or every other. Due to various circumstances my washing habits changed. I went from washing every day to once a week (give or take) for quite a long time.

So now its almost been a year and my scalp is permanently dry and it takes a LONG time for my hair to get really greasy, 4 days plus sweat from hard workouts.

So now I'm wondering, did I over do it with the not washing? Have I trained my scalp to UNDER produce oil?

I've recently started CO washes which help, but the dryness is still there and the flakes (while better), are still present.

Input anyone?

September 3rd, 2008, 05:18 PM
Not a stupid question. :)

The answer is both yes and no. It is possible that over time your scalp just started producing less oil. That happens to many with age.

Over washing does make the hair oilier for some. The more you stress it with drying shampoo the more oil it produces in response. The less you stress it, over time it balances itself and starts producing less.

I would guess both of those are at work in your case.

My hair changed to be dryer overtime and under produces oil. I have not changed the time between washes though. It has always been about once a week. If I wash more often it just gets dryer and starts braking. :shrug:

Oiling helps alleviate it as it replaces the natural oils that your scalp doesn't produce.

September 3rd, 2008, 06:10 PM
I just hope there is truth to all this 'washing it less makes it less greasy' talk. I started a (seemingly unpopular!) thread (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=11536) today announcing I was going to start washing every other day instead of every day. Coming towards the end of the 2nd day, my scalp is itching like crazy right now - feels like there are maggots crawling on it. Sorry. So I hope what you are guessing at is correct and I can meet your progress somewhere in the middle.

September 3rd, 2008, 06:30 PM
Is there any connection to diet? I've always wondered, but haven't ever seen diet mentioned

September 3rd, 2008, 06:34 PM
Is there any connection to diet? I've always wondered, but haven't ever seen diet mentioned

Yes, diet can have an effect. Not having enough fats in your diet, especially omega 3/6 ones, would lower the sebum production. It would also cause you to have dry eyes among other things.

September 3rd, 2008, 06:54 PM
Really? How interesting and good to know :)

September 3rd, 2008, 06:55 PM
Ooh ooh! Not a stupid question at all. Your body is self regulating to varying extents with oil production - some people's bodies respond more to 'balance' themselves than others. I went no-poo, CO wash every five days-ish for two years, trying out the "Curly Girl" routine. My scalp was DEFINITELY producing less oil by the end. I've discussed this on some acne boards but an essential fatty acid imbalance can also be heavily to blame. If you have insufficient Omega 3's your body overproduces Omega 6's to compensate, but the lipid chain behaves differently and leads to a lot of undesirable consequences - namely more inflamed acne and increased oil-related dermatitis (something I suffer from). Lack of hydration, internally and externally, can also be to blame.

The skin is a complicated, delicate organ and it definitely responds to environmental factors. Wash your hair less frequently and within a month or two you can reasonably expect your oil production to adjust a bit. Also, make sure you stimulate your scalp well with scalp massage, that will distribute the sebum better as well as keep the scalp cleaner, helping the oily look and smell to stay away a few days longer between washes. Be sure to keep internally hydrated - that means both sufficient water AND oil intake. I have been taking 2 each of Flaxseed and Fish oil daily for acne and have noticed HUGE differences in both my face AND scalp - both are less irritated, less flaky, and my face is getting significantly inflamed pimples (it would be even better without picking at them).

Those are my tips, anyway :) If you go extreme with your washing changes, like going from washing every other day to once a week or less, you will need to rinse your scalp well every day or two to keep things healthy and clean (it can get a bit smelly otherwise) but I had good results with the method (it was the other parts of the care that didn't work well for my hair type).

Slug Yoga
September 3rd, 2008, 06:59 PM
Hehe, maybe you feel like that's "under-producing," but that sounds good to me! Lots of members wash about that often or even less frequently... I think that's about how long it takes for my hair to get greasy, and I'd love for it to be even longer, because I think washing my hair, and having wet hair, is annoying :lol:

September 4th, 2008, 01:48 AM
Eryka, your age could also have an impact. Not just age like that but you're in the age where many women start going through certain changes and one effect is often drier skin and scalp.

September 4th, 2008, 02:40 AM
I agree with the other posters. It's probably a combination of your scalp adjusting to how often you wash your hair and your hormones changing. My hair has changed a lot in the last five years. I used to be a greasy teenager . . . now, not so much.

If you feel like your scalp is too dry, you could try CO washing.

September 4th, 2008, 03:29 AM
Thanks for your replies everyone. Maybe it wasn't such a stupid question after all.

I am COing at the moment however I think I need to find one with less perfume. This stuff is almost gaggy when you're in the shower. Maybe switching brands is a good idea.

About my personal oil production, I don't know what to think. I have a quite oily face that I keep in check with aloe vera gel. I rarely have to use lotion on the rest of my body.

Hydration is something that I'm almost religious about. 2 liters is my bare minimum for water every day and I rarely drink soda or coffee, maybe 2 times a month.

I think next time when I CO wash I'll put a good leave in on my scalp maybe mixed with a drop or two of oil. That sounds nice right about now.