Tag Archives: sebum build-up

Are you washing your hair too often or too little?

With all of the information out there about the ‘proper’ way to care for your hair, it can be hard to know is ‘right’ way.
When it comes to washing your hair, some say washing it too much can be bad for it. While others swear washing it too little can be even worse.
To understand what our hair needs when it comes to washing, we first have to understand what type of hair we have and how to properly deal with it.
Let’s say you have fine, straight hair and you work out often. Washing your hair more often would be wise. Your hair’s natural oils move through fine, straight hair more quickly, meaning your hair becomes saturated quickly. Additionally, working out often adds sweat to the mix. So, in addition to having oil build up, you have sweat build up as well. All of this build up, also called sebum, clogs your scalp’s pores and can be bad for your follicles. If you have this type of hair, you should aim for washing every other day. This will allow you to keep your hair clean while also allowing a break from washing so your hair can benefit from its natural oils’ nutrients.
If you have thick, curly hair and don’t often sweat or use a lot of hair-care products, you can get away with washing your hair very little. Your hair’s oils take longer to work through the hair due to the texture. Without the added build up of sweat or products, your hair stays feeling fresher, longer. With this type of hair, it only needs to be washed every few days or once or twice a week.
Ultimately, in order to determine how often you should wash your hair, you should determine what type of hair you have and how long you can go in between washes before your hair starts to feel dirty.

How to remove sebum build-up containing DHT from the scalp

If you’ve ever seen a bald person, or are bald yourself, you may have noticed a shiny, oily appearance to their or your scalp. This is caused by the build-up of sebum (natural oils secreted from your scalp). This sebum not only blocks pores, inhibiting hair follicles from growing hair, it also causes hair loss at the root, thanks to the DHT in it.
If you’re unfamiliar with DHT, DHT is testosterone that’d been converted to another form. Once testosterone is converted to DHT, the DHT gets to work signaling hair follicles to stop producing hair on our scalp.
DHT resides in our blood and reaches hair follicles internally, at the cellular level. But it’s also present exteriorly, on the surface of our scalp. It gets on the surface through excretion, via sweat and sebum. DHT does just as much damage to our hair follicles internally as it does externally.
Overtime, the sebum on our scalp builds upon itself, layer after layer, creating a type of plaque. This plaque is what causes the shininess on the scalp.
Once sebum has become plaque, it’s not as easy to remove and treat. While there are medications that can reduce DHT internally, there isn’t a medication for removing DHT externally. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a few helpful tips for you on how to reduce and remove this DHT-containing plaque taking up space on your scalp.

  • Clean the scalp with salicylic acid – the salicylic acid deeply cleans the scalp, acting as a peel. You should not leave the acid on the scalp for more than 5-10 minutes. Rinse and clean thoroughly to remove all acid, dead skin cells, and oil residue. Peels can be done safely and effectively on the scalp once a month.
  • Purchase a clarifying shampoo – clarifying shampoos are stronger than normal shampoos. They should be used about once a month in order to keep sebum build-up under control.
  • Reduce use of conditioner – if conditioner tends to make your hair oily, only use it once or twice a week as needed. Additionally, only apply it to the middle and ends of your hair.
  • Brush your hair daily – brushing or combing the hair from root to end helps evenly distribute your hair’s natural oils. This will prevent build-up at the root.
  • Use baby powder or dry shampoo to eliminate oil at the roots – in between washes, apply a power based dry shampoo to absorb some of the oil.

If you think you may have hair loss caused by DHT, give us a call for a medical management consultation today.