When you’re losing your hair, you want to look up all different kinds of answers that are available to your problem. It’s certainly a good thing to know what can and cannot trigger hair loss in males and females. One looming question regarding the reason for hair loss is that can excess sebum cause hair loss? When the hair gets oily, and the excess sebum builds up, do you lose hair? And another question that it leads to is that is this kind of hair loss permanent or temporary.
People with oily scalps can’t really make it “less oily.” They can do a few things to make sure that the oil and sebum build-up doesn’t really damage their hair. However, having oily hair is a part of genetics. That itself is permanent and irreversible. Now, if you have an oily scalp, you don’t have to go about cursing your fate. People with dry hair also face a host of problems when it comes to their hair.
Thankfully, these days there’s a lot you can do to better take care of your hair. For instance, people who have dry hair experience more hair breakage. Lacking any moisture, the hair strands are brittle and can break quite easily. With oily hair, frequent washing of the scalp is important.
What Even is Sebum?
It’s actually a pretty good thing. It’s one of the things on your face that’s helping you not have premature wrinkles. But you can’t expect to age beautifully if you have oily skin. What happens is that people with oily skin have larger pores and thicker skin.
The skin is thicker in those areas where there are oil glands. Being in greater number in the forehead region, many people with oily skin are less wrinkly there. But in the rest of the face, you can expect wrinkles. Anyway, with that out of the way, let’s get to the crux of the matter.
Sebum is a natural oil that’s produced by the sebaceous glands in the body. Everyone’s body produces sebum, and it continues to do so throughout the life of the person. According to an article by the Harvard Medical School, the sebum also performs the function of protecting the outermost layer of the skin as it coats it. It prevents the skin from losing water.
The article states that “sebum is a complex mixture of fatty acids, sugars, waxes and other natural chemicals that form a protective barrier against water evaporation.” Without it, your skin will feel dry and cracky. Naturally, some people produce more sebum, contributing to oily skin and scalp, while others produce it less, making their skin and scalp dry. Our hair roots have sebum glands attached to them. Sebum also triggers acne as the oil and dirt can together clog the pores leading to inflammation and bacterial infection.
Sebum and Your Hair
While sebaceous glands are present throughout our body, we want to know more about what they do in the scalp region. If your hair becomes greasy soon after taking a bath, you have sebum to blame. It’s what’s making your scalp oily. However, it’s not all bad to have sebum. In fact, sebum protects and moisturizes the hair on the head. Not only it kind of coats the hair in a protective covering, but it also protects the scalp from oxidative damage. It can even keep the bacteria away from the scalp.
However, your hair faces its own kind of problems with sebum. One problem is the greasy sheen that it leaves. It can make it look as if you haven’t taken a bath for days. Another problem is that it can cause itching and dandruff. It happens when the single-celled fungi Malassezia globose breaks the oils on the scalp since it can live with it. The breakdown can produce an irritating substance that can make your scalp itch.
What Causes the Production of Excess Sebum?
Normal production of sebum is what’s called seborrhea. Excess sebum buildup is also called hyperseborrhea, and it causes many problems. Hypersecretion can occur in the scalp, which causes excess production of the sebum by sebaceous glands. It can cause itchiness, pain and hair loss. You can even have inflammation on the scalp, as a result of which you’ll see flakes of oil trapped between the hair on your scalp.
What happens is that the excess sebum ends up clogging the pores of the person. This blocks the proper supply of oxygen that hair follicles need to grow healthily. With that not being possible, the hair starts to die. What happens is that the hair gets impacted in the long term. The anagen phase of the hair growth cycle becomes shorter. It is the active growth phase which normally lasts for 2-7 years and involves rapid division of hair root. With hair not growing properly, they keep getting shorter and weaker. Eventually, you’ll notice excessive hair loss.
Fortunately, you can get treatment for this problem. However, getting treatment as quickly as possible is important. Otherwise, the anagen cycle will continue to shorten. There are many reasons why a person may develop hyperseborrhea. Hormonal imbalance can cause hypersecretion. Other than that, digestive issues, metabolic disorders, and stress can produce excess sebum.
Now to deal with it, you shouldn’t try using too many products that dry out the scalp too much. To compensate for the loss of the oil, as the skin becomes too dry, the sebaceous glands can produce excess sebum. For instance, if you over wash your face because you have oily skin, you can still expect acne as your body will produce excess sebum, which can clog pores.
Can Excess Sebum Cause Hair Loss?
Unfortunately, yes. It happens because the excess sebum clogs the pores. The hair follicles don’t get enough oxygen which causes them to die and fall out. You don’t have to stress about it, though or even curse your fates. Sebum production mainly comes down to your genetics. If you treat your hair well, you can manage this problem. Hopefully, this answers the question can excess sebum cause hair loss.
Is Hair Loss from Excess Sebum Production Irreversible?
That’s a worrisome aspect of this issue. Now that we’ve answered can excess sebum cause hair loss, let us get into the heart of this matter. Sebum causes the hormone responsible for pattern hair loss – dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – to “stick” to the hair roots. This causes them to shrink the roots over time which, again, causes hair loss. Some people can look towards PRP injections as a way of dealing with this problem. PRP injections can make the hair stronger and stimulate hair growth.
How You Can Prevent Build-Up of Excess Sebum
Other than the genetic factors, using harsh chemicals on the scalp is just as bad. Shampoos advertised as having the ability to clean skin and get completely rid of natural oils are just spewing falsehood. If you keep touching, running your fingers through your hair, or rubbing the scalp, it’ll make your hair look greasier. Even brushing very often causes excess sebum build-up.
The sebaceous glands start producing more oil in order to moisturize the overly cleaned, dry skin, and this leads to excess sebum production. So, avoid doing these things to prevent the build-up of excess sebum. You can even consider using those special shampoos made for people who have greasy, oily hair. They won’t overly strip the moisture from your hair.
Dealing with Excess Sebum Production After Hair Transplant Surgery
Many of our patients may develop oily skin and hair after their hair transplant surgery. This is due to the fact that the transplantation process stimulates sebum production within the hair root. It happens because of the attachment of the sebum gland to each root. When the graft is transplanted, the gland produces more sebum than usual, as a natural occurrence, and the patient’s hair may feel greasier. This is a temporary situation and will get back to normal in time.
Also, the moisturizing and nutritious hair care products we provide to our patients for their recovery may cause greasy hair. They have to use them for one month and have to wash their hair every day. When they get back to their old routine, their hair will be as it was before. Due to the excess sebum, they can also develop bumps and acne. They must follow a washing routine and shouldn’t let the excess sebum clog their pores.
Can Excess Sebum Cause Hair Loss After Hair Transplant?
Excess sebum can affect normal hair roots and cause them to fall. However, the transplanted hair is immune to the effects of the DHT hormone. So, you don’t have to worry about hair loss due to excess sebum production. You just need to make sure that you’re taking good care of your hair by keeping it clean.
If you have an oily scalp, you don’t have to feel bad about it. Your hair will require some extra care, but it’s the same with people who have very dry hair. Make sure that you avoid the habits mentioned above that can make your hair greasy and use the right hair care products.