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"Do I need to put oil on my scalp?"

Makeup droppers

Our bodies are capable of many incredible things including protecting your skin by producing something called Sebum. While we see many videos promoting the use of oil on scalps, it is important to remember that using oil incorrectly or when you don't actually need to, can lead to disruption of your body's natural processes and cause issues.

Let's dive into it!

1. What is sebum?

Sebum is an oily substance which is produced in the sebaceous glands. It is a mix of fat molecules, called lipids, and they form a protective coating on the skin's surface.

2. What does sebum do?

Sebum helps to moisturise and protect your skin in various types of ways:

  • The lipids found in sebum lock in moisture and protects the skin from UV radiation

  • Sebum transports antioxidants like vitamin E to the skin's surface which may prevent oxidative skin damage

  • The fatty acids found in sebum protects your skin from harmful bacteria and fungi

3. Sebum in curly textured hair

When you have curly textured hair, it may be harder for the sebum to travel down and coat your hair due to your curl configuration. However, this does not mean that you are not producing sebum - it may just be harder to see.

Using oil on your scalp, if you do not need it can cause several scalp issues such as:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis

  • Dandruff

4. So what are the flakes on my scalp?

The flakes on your scalp may be an accelerated rate of skin-cell turnover or sebum and product build-up which could be caused by:

  • Improper washing

  • Incorrect product choice for your hair

  • Use of oil which can actually feed the yeast that lives on our scalp

  • Hormonal imbalances that increase sebum production can cause irritation leading to flaking

5. When should I see an expert?

If you are experiencing any of the following consult with your healthcare practitioner or licensed Trichologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Severe redness on scalp

  • Red scaly patches

  • Intense itching

  • Swollen skin that begins to drain fluid or pus

  • Hair loss

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