While many men prefer conservative hairstyles that are relatively easy to manage, oily hair is a common concern and may result in self-esteem issues, as well as discomfort. Several factors contribute to oily hair, although in most cases an over-the-counter shampoo will relieve the condition. Check with your doctor before using any home remedy for oily hair.
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Male hormones, known as androgens, work within the body to regulate the production of sebum, an oily chemical found at the root of hair shafts. Excess buildup of sebum is the most common cause of oily hair in men, although other factors like family history and weather also play a role. Oily hair typically triggers dandruff, a skin condition noted by oily flakes of dead skin in your hair, as well as on your clothing.
Men with mild cases of oily hair typically find relief from nonprescription shampoos. Look for a shampoo with salicylic acid, and use a conditioner to complement the shampoo to lower your risk for dryness. Shampoos with zinc pyrithione, as well as tar-based shampoos, also serve as common remedies for oily hair in men. Some shampoos with selenium sulfide reduce excess oil but carry the risk of hair discoloration when used in excess.
Begin by shampooing your hair once daily or every two days to evaluate your progress. Once the oiliness diminishes, limit shampooing to no more than three times each week. Use your fingers to thoroughly work the shampoo into your hair and let the product remain in your hair for about five minutes. However, avoid rubbing too hard, as this stimulates the sebaceous glands, making hair even oilier, hairdresser Charles Worthington tells "Men's Health" magazine. If you notice positive results with a particular shampoo for a short time period but oily hair eventually recurs, switch to another shampoo temporarily and then alternate the products as needed.
A prescription shampoo that contains corticosteroids may be necessary for men who have severe cases of oily hair — including oiliness that lasts longer than three weeks after home treatment. Apply the shampoo by parting your hair into sections and then massage the product into small areas separately.
Some men with oily hair find relief from the daily use of shampoo that contains tea tree oil. This type of nonprescription shampoo is available at many organic food stores, although you should discontinue use of the product if you suffer an allergic reaction. Columbia University reports that shampoos labeled as lemon-based often remedy oily hair.
Ask your barber or stylist if hairspray, mousse or a style gel may be contributing to your oily hair, as the products often build up on the scalp and lead to excess oil.