One of the main factors causing oily hair is hormonal change. Hormonal changes can lead to an increase in the size and activity of the sebaceous gland.

The sebaceous gland is responsible for synthesising and secreting the sebum to lubricate and protect the surface of the scalp under normal conditions. But when it is increased in size and activity, it produces and secretes excess sebum resulting in what is known as seborrhoea.

The sebum on the scalp is broken down by Malassezia sp. and bacteria, causing a release of free fatty acids. These free fatty acids oxidise and cause the symptoms associated with oily hair:

  • Inflammation, itching, redness
  • Hyperprofileration of the scalp’s skin cells and dandruff
  • Skin barrier dysfunction

In addition, excess scalp sebum is associated with bulb miniaturisation or decreases in hair diameter, which may cause telogen effluvium.

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