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View Full Version : Can scalp be encouraged to become greasier?



pelicano
December 21st, 2013, 06:51 AM
About 5 years ago now I stopped using shampoo for four months, thinking it would make my dry and brittle hair with greasy-ish scalp in better condition. It really didn't - my hair was dryer than ever by the end of the experiment. Since then, I've not been able to use regular shampoo, as my scalp just seems to have no natural grease now, but I still have to wash my dried out hair often, because of my scalp (seborrheic dermatitis). I use a hair cleanser that is far more like a conditioner than a shampoo. I've tried conditioner-only washing, but my scalp really doesn't tolerate it (conditioner is awful for my scalp).

So I am wondering, since stopping shampoo or stretching washes causes grease to reduce, would using shampoo more often cause my scalp to get greasier?

Firefox7275
December 21st, 2013, 07:19 AM
I don't follow what you have done in the past nor what you are saying. What did you do instead of shampooing - water only, baking soda? How can you have seborrhoeic dermatitis (greasy dandruff) yet very little sebum produced? Are you certain that is your current and only dermatological diagnosis? Is you diet nutrient dense and anti inflammatory?

Sebum contains saturated fatty acids that feed the malassezia yeast, they release oleic acid as a waste product: this and the oleic acid in your sebum irritate the scalp causing the flaking and increased sebum production. Harsh shampoos remove sebum starving the malassezia BUT thin and irritate the skin making it more vulnerable and sometimes increasing sebum production. Basically malassezia and harsh shampoos put the skin under stress.

Generally stretching washes does not benefit seborrhoeic dermatitis, ditto co-washing. If stretching is useful I'd query the primary diagnosis, that *might* indicate a different form of dermatitis or a dual diagnosis.

sakuraemily
December 21st, 2013, 07:35 AM
Massaging the scalp increases sebum secretion in general so you may want to try that. But be careful with it because if done incorrectly, you will have massive hairloss.

lapushka
December 21st, 2013, 08:05 AM
I have *no* idea if it's going to make your scalp any greasier, but I'm also wondering how you manage your SD without shampooing. I have SD and oily scalp and need harsh cleansers at least every week, or my SD flares up humongously. I'm with Firefox when she asks you whether you've really got a diagnosed case of SD, because this lack of shampooing (being able to) makes me wonder.

Bene
December 21st, 2013, 09:56 AM
People who wash their hair everyday tend to have greasy scalps. They believe that they have to wash yheir hair all the time because they are naturally greasy. They never consider that they become greasy because their scalp tries to compensate. Can't tell them otherwise because it's what they *know*.


I think maybe find a gentle cleanser, wash often and see what happens.

Flor
December 21st, 2013, 10:21 AM
So I am wondering, since stopping shampoo or stretching washes causes grease to reduce, would using shampoo more often cause my scalp to get greasier?

I'm actually not sure if this theory is viable. My understanding is that certain too drying shampoo ingredients are capable of stressing the scalp too much and make it produce more sebum. But I tend to believe that greasiness in general is down to genes, hormones, medication and diet, not the washes frequency.

pelicano
December 21st, 2013, 11:01 AM
Well, all I can tell you is that when I moved to water only for a while, my greasiness came right down (which I don't think is unusual. That's why some people do it, after all).

Yes, it is seborrheic dermatitis. Unfortunately, it didn't improve when my hair became less greasy though. For me, what helps is frequent washes, but the bit that helps most is the scrubbing, ie the sloughing off of the skin. Harsh detergents don't actually benefit me in that sense, which does make sense, given that my hair isn't greasy. I never said I stretched washes and didn't mean to imply that I had - I just said that I had stopped the shampooing. I wish I could stretch the washes, as it would benefit my hair.

Anje
December 21st, 2013, 11:19 AM
In all honesty, some people can and some people can't. It really depends on whether your scalp likes to alter its sebum production with response to external conditions. Mine happens to do this hugely; to some extent with shampoo, and to an enormous extent with the seasons/weather/probably forced-air heating. My sebum production (as measured by how long it takes before my hair looks like grease-sticks at the scalp) seems to double or triple in the winter, pretty much opposite what everyone else around here complains of.

Before you resort to shampooing daily, which really is just trying to stimulate production by drying your scalp out more and therefore is rather counterproductive, I agree that massage seems like a useful thing to try. If that fails, a number of people do have luck with oiling their scalps. Do be aware that some oils might help and some might worsen your problems, as Firefox suggested, and some might encourage increased shedding.

ETA: Don't forget to consider that your problem might be partly seasonal. A lot of people find their hair and scalps dry out in the winter (just not me). It might have nothing to do with what you've been doing and everything to do with the weather.

Naiadryade
December 21st, 2013, 11:21 AM
I share similar confusions as the above posters. But I can also share my own experience, which sounds like it has a few similarities to yours, and hope that you might gain insight or ideas from it!

Long ago, in a land far away, when I used SLS-laden shampoos every 1-2 days, my scalp produced lots of sebum. I was one of those mentioned who thought I *needed* to wash frequently because I had oily hair. I also had dandruff all the time, which was helped somewhat by over-the-counter dandruff shampoos. (Note I have never had a diagnosis of any scalp condition.)

Then, I went water-only (with the occasional BS wash, maybe once a year) for 3 years. This started out great--I was amazed how after a month, I didn't look like a grease-ball. I still had dandruff, though, which was helped somewhat by regular ACV rinses and direct neat applications to my scalp. And in the long term, this routine was way to drying for my hair. I went from over-producing sebum, to producing hardly any at all.

It's been 2 years since I abandoned WO, and I still have a very dry scalp. If I don't put any oil on my scalp, it still doesn't look at all greasy 6, 7, 8 days after a wash. So, I compensate with oils. EVOO (cut with something lighter like rice bran or grapeseed) on the length, castor oil (again cut, usually with sweet almond) on the scalp. Every 1-2 days in both cases. And I still don't look greasy until 5-6 days after I wash. My itchy scalp and dandruff is a lot better now, though. Moisturizing my scalp with castor oil, to which I add EO's that are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, pretty much solved that problem.

Note that some people react very badly to oils on their scalp. Since you said conditioner is awful for your scalp, you may be one of those people. And I have no idea how various oils might affect SD. So if you try what works for me, proceed slowly and with caution.

pelicano
December 21st, 2013, 11:33 AM
Thanks for the suggestions. :) I do use oils currently (mainly argan), but on the length of my hair rather than on the scalp.

Sorry, I can see why this is confusing: as well as the fact that different things seem to work for different people (I've seen people say on here before that everyone with SD should wash with conditioner only - we're all different) you are probably wondering why I want a greasier scalp. I don't actually want a greasier scalp, I want less dry hair, but what I mean is that my hair was less dry when I had a greasier scalp! Added to the fact that my scalp was no better or worse when it was greasier.

meteor
December 21st, 2013, 01:22 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. :) I do use oils currently (mainly argan), but on the length of my hair rather than on the scalp.

Sorry, I can see why this is confusing: as well as the fact that different things seem to work for different people (I've seen people say on here before that everyone with SD should wash with conditioner only - we're all different) you are probably wondering why I want a greasier scalp. I don't actually want a greasier scalp, I want less dry hair, but what I mean is that my hair was less dry when I had a greasier scalp! Added to the fact that my scalp was no better or worse when it was greasier.
If you want less dry hair, try conditioning and oiling it more: argan is great, but so is coconut, castor, neem (safe to apply to scalp), etc.
I hope you can discuss this issue with a dermatologist / family doctor, maybe you need to apply topical ointments or use specific medicated shampoos, but until you talk to a doctor try using only heavily diluted and very gentle shampoo that doesn't irritate your scalp at all.

Also, a diet rich in healthy fatty acids (fish, eggs, nuts, olives, avocados, etc) can help increase moisture to your skin and hair.

pelicano
December 21st, 2013, 05:43 PM
Thanks. I'm far less bothered about my seborrheic dermatitis than the condition of my hair, to be honest. I've learned to manage my SD over the years, but my hair is just so dry.

YamaMaya
December 21st, 2013, 07:04 PM
Why not just oil the scalp? Olive oil is a great scalp treatment, takes away my itchies and flakies like nothing else :).

ravenreed
December 21st, 2013, 07:13 PM
I find CO-ing my hair every other day has worked perfectly for keeping my hair from getting dry. I live in a desert with naturally dry air, and during the winter it gets especially bad with the heater going constantly. Stretching washes did nothing to reduce my oiliness or to make my hair healthier overall, it just dried out my ends faster. I don't find that oils diminish dryness nearly as well as conditioner. Oils make my hair feel softer, but not more moisturized. Perhaps shampooing your scalp and conditioning your ends more often would help? The other thing that helps me is catnip rinses. However, I don't know how your scalp would react, so maybe just on your ends?

meteor
December 21st, 2013, 07:15 PM
Why not just oil the scalp? Olive oil is a great scalp treatment, takes away my itchies and flakies like nothing else :).
Yes, but the OP has SD, and there is enough evidence to suggest that oleic acid in olive oil makes that worse.

pelicano
December 22nd, 2013, 05:28 AM
I tried catnip. I really thought it would be the answer for me, but my scalp hated it.

One thing that my scalp does like is glycerine, so perhaps I can experiment with that more for my hair...

Firefox7275
December 22nd, 2013, 06:05 AM
Thanks for the suggestions. :) I do use oils currently (mainly argan), but on the length of my hair rather than on the scalp.

Sorry, I can see why this is confusing: as well as the fact that different things seem to work for different people (I've seen people say on here before that everyone with SD should wash with conditioner only - we're all different) you are probably wondering why I want a greasier scalp. I don't actually want a greasier scalp, I want less dry hair, but what I mean is that my hair was less dry when I had a greasier scalp! Added to the fact that my scalp was no better or worse when it was greasier.

Doesnt sound like SD or not only SD. I'm still in the dark as to what you did instead of shampooing, the thread is confusing because you are not addressing specific questions.

What do you mean hair being dry? Lacking in water or lacking in oil? How are you measuring that - by feel, poor elasticity or some other method? Are you using enough conditioner including a leave in if that is what your hair needs? Is your diet right, plenty of water rich produce and healthy fatty foods especially oily fish?

ravenreed
December 22nd, 2013, 08:41 AM
I treat my scalp and my length completely differently because what one likes, the other doesn't. For instance, my length does better when I use SLS shampoos from time to time, but they really make my scalp angry. What about catnip on just your length?


I tried catnip. I really thought it would be the answer for me, but my scalp hated it.

One thing that my scalp does like is glycerine, so perhaps I can experiment with that more for my hair...

Naiadryade
December 22nd, 2013, 10:06 AM
Yes, but the OP has SD, and there is enough evidence to suggest that oleic acid in olive oil makes that worse.

Castor oil is very low in oleic acid (4%), so that would probably be a better choice.

meteor
December 23rd, 2013, 02:12 PM
I tried catnip. I really thought it would be the answer for me, but my scalp hated it.

One thing that my scalp does like is glycerine, so perhaps I can experiment with that more for my hair...

Since your scalp liked glycerine, it's possible that you may have success with some natural humectants, the ones that have some science to support anti-dandruff, anti-bacterial claims: honey and aloe vera. Dilute honey or aloe vera juice with water and apply to wet scalp during or after shampooing. See how it feels. It will definitely not hurt, but may actually both moisturize and keep SD bacteria at bay.