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Oily hair

Oily hair is the result of the oil (sebaceous) glands in the scalp producing large amounts of oil.


Here are some tips for preventing and treating oily hair:

  • Shampoo your hair every day. Leaving the shampoo on your head for at least 5 minutes before rinsing may help.
  • Avoid brushing your hair too often or too vigorously, since the brushing will carry oil from your scalp to the ends of your hair.

Hormones affect oil production. Things that affect your hormone levels (such as stress or birth control pills) may also affect the oiliness of your hair.

Alternative Names

Hair - oily; Greasy hair


American Academy of Dermatology website. Teaching your child health hair care habits. www.aad.org/teach-healthy-habits/hair-care-habits. Accessed October 15, 2019.

American Academy of Dermatology website. Tips for healthy hair. www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/hair-care/tips-for-healthy-hair. Accessed December 17, 2019.

Habif TP. Hair diseases. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 24.

Review Date 10/8/2018

Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 10/15/2019.