Oily Dandruff Scalp Causes, Treatments and Remedies

How does oily dandruff look like? If you endure itchy scalp and whenever you scratch it, your nails get crammed with white dense paste, definitely you have this problem. So what can cause this condition and what can be done to get rid it? Here is the whole theory with detailed information about greasy dandruff.

Anyone can suffer oily dandruff since it is a common scalp problem. However, you are at higher risk if you have excess production sebum or natural skin oil.

Though oily scalp is not considered as a disease, it can occur alongside other complications such as the formation of scalp wounds, infections and can be a symptom of underlying serious diseases like HIV/AIDS OR Parkinson’s disease. So we should be very careful with this problem.


They are usually due to overproduction of skin oil together with flaking skin or buildup of dead skin cells in the scalp. There are many factors that can trigger the overproduction of natural skin oil called sebum as well as the build-up of dead skin cells. In this section, we look at the possible causes of greasy dandruff and potential treatment option later in this article.

1. Seborrheic dermatitis

Sometimes, many people refer to dandruff as seborrheic dermatitis. The exact cause of this condition is not known but is characterized by oily dandruff. This skin condition affect many areas including scalp, nose, behind ears, breastbone among other places. The victim will develop red oily skin covered with flaky white/yellow scales (dandruff) which can be oily.

2. Hormonal imbalances

The body process of producing the natural oils is a process that is really influenced by hormonal levels. When the levels of certain body hormones surges, the oil producing glands will become overactive and thus produce excess oil.

Hormonal disorders can be affected by many factors such as certain medications, nutritional deficiencies among others. This condition is common during puberty, pregnancy, periods, and menopause.

3. Skin conditions

Certain skin conditions that are characterized by skin flaking or scaling can also lead to greasy dandruff when they affect the scalp. Certain skin conditions such psoriasis and eczema can lead to high rate of skin cells growth that enhance dead skin cells build-up. If this is summed up with over production of oil, this issue will definitely emerge.

4. Malassezia

This is a fungus that lives on the scalp, it usually causes no problem but there is story behind it. They normally feed on the oils secreted by the hair follicles. If they grows out of control, you scalp skin will get irritated and will produce extra skin cells. If the extra skin cells die, they combine hair or oil to form them.

5. Certain diseases

Just like we said before, greasy dandruff can be an indication of underlying health condition. Patients with diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, heart attack, stroke, HIV/AIDS and other neurological illness are frequently attacked by dandruff. Their medications can also lead to hormonal disorder that can lead to extra production of body oil.

6. Your diet

Certain diet can contribute to development of lubricious dandruff directly. Some have the potential to increase blood sugar levels. The body will then tend to produce more insulin that will in turn make the sebaceous glands over active leading to excess secretion of body oil. Therefore, you have to avoid foods like saturated fats, excess dairy, sugar and trans fats among others. Consult with your nutritionist for further advice.

7. Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety are connected to many body health conditions. Medical experts and medical studies believe that there is a close tie between stress and skin conditions. Stress can result to hormonal shifted which can result to over production of sebum.

8. Dry scalp skin

When the skin on scalp lacks sufficient moisture, they will dry up. This will make the oil producing glands to compensate. Unfortunately, during compensation, excessive oil may be produced resulting to lubricious dandruff. Trigger of dry scalp skin include the following:

  • Washing scalp with hot water
  • Harsh weather conditions
  • Harsh soaps and detergents
  • Over washing or over shampooing it
  • Sunburn

9. Insufficient Combing or Brushing

Regular combing or brushing hair limits the vulnerability of dandruff. When you comb or brush your hair, you enhance the process of skin shedding, this will reducing dead skin cells build ups on the scalp.

Symptoms and complications

This condition one can easily identify at home but discovering the underlying causes could be the problem. The symptoms may vanish or persist depending on the causes and treatments. So here are some of the common symptoms include:

  • Itchy dry scalp skin
  • Scattered flakes throughout the scalp
  • Red and a scaly scalp
  • Yellowish or reddish scaling at the air lines
  • Thick and crusty rash on the scalp
  • Silver-like scales if psoriasis is present

The oily dandruff may present alongside some dreadful complicating. Itchy sensation due to dandruff on the scalp may trigger scratching. This will therefore trigger the formation of skin lesions that can get infected and become very worse.  Furthermore, you may also be a symptom of underlying medical condition, be aware.

To carry out diagnostic test, your skin specialist may examine the appearance of the skin to determine whether the cause is seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis. In case on infections, skin biopsy may be taken to laboratory for evaluation.

Treatments and prevention

Despite oily dandruff being often a persistent scalp problem for many individuals, it can still be controlled if proper treatment is administered. The treatments options are usually dictated by the underlying causes and symptoms. Treatments include over the counter treatments such as shampoos or prescribed treatments as wells as home treatments.

1. Go for the best oily dandruff shampoos

If you have them, you can initiate your treatment by applying oily scalp shampoos. One major problem with this treatment option is that, there are many shampoos brands in the market and yet all of them might not be suitable for you. You need to talk to experts to help you choose the best shampoo for oily dandruff. Effective shampoos for oily hair has ingredients that will perform the following functions:

  • Reduce both buildup and flaky scalp
  • Get rid of the greanessr
  • Relieve inflammation of itchiness
  • Condition and moisturize among other functions

Examples of best oily dandruff shampoo include Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo, Neutrogena T/Sal and Nizoral A-D Shampoo. They contain active and wonderful ingredients such as Ketoconazole, zinc antibacterial agent, pyrithione and salicylic acid. Other good ingredients to look for in anti-oily dandruff shampoos are selenium sulfide, Sulphur, coal tar etc.

Remember, only the right shampoo can help control them and dry scalp!

2. Try prescription treatments

If the non-prescription solutions are unsuccessful after a week or so, you may want to see your doctor or dermatologist. The doctor here, will prescribe for you medications depending on the age, causes and severity, just like we laid before.

Some of the common prescribed drugs include corticosteroids or topical and oral antibiotics. These are strong medications and should be taken under close examination of your medical specialist. There are more prescription options that your doctor may find appropriate for your case.

3. Home remedies for oily scalp dandruff

This problemcan be well managed at home by just employing some few hair care recipes. Though, oily scalp home solution may take time to show their results, they can completely heal this problem. Here are some of the best home remedies for oily dandruff:

a) Baking soda

Baking soda is one of the most applauded ingredient for many skin conditions. In our case, this product can soak the oil in the hair and scalp and also has the potential to clear too much flakes as well as the scalp dandruffs.

  • Prepare 3 tablespoons of baking soda
  • Add it to a mild shampoo
  • Massage the paste in your scalp and hair
  • Rinse with water
  • Repeat the procedure 3 times in a week

b) Lemon juice

This is another natural remedy for dandruff that has the potential to eliminate oil on the scalp, thanks to its acid content. It also control the pH of the scalp and also has anti-bacterial properties. The lemon juice should be diluted for sensitive skins, other prolonged use may lead to hair thinning.

  • Squeeze on lemon to extract the juice
  • Apply the juice on your scalp and hair
  • Leave it to stay for a while
  • Rinse with lukewarm water
  • Repeat this process daily for one and a half weeks

c) Aloe Vera gel

Welcome this super herb. Aloe vera foster the repair of damaged skin cells and gets rid of dandruff scales. This product also has antibacterial and antifungal properties which assist in preventing scalp infections.

  • From aloe vera leaf, extract the aloe gel
  • Apply the gel on your scalp and hair
  • It will be very effective if you leave is overnight, all the same, you can leave the gel to stay for 30 minutes
  • Wash your scalp and hair with lukewarm water
  • Perform this daily for a week

d) Apple Cider Vinegar

This is another natural ingredient that can comfortably heal greasy dandruff or oily scalp. It helps in balancing the pH of the scalp and thus regulate the secretion of scalp sebum.

  • Add equal amount of water to 3 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • Massage the mixture on your hair and scalp and then leave it to dry.
  • Rinse the scalp with usual water

e) Henna & soap nut powder

The mixture of these two products performs great deal in getting rid of excess scalp oil. One warning, if you have apply hair colors or have gray hair, henna may stain your hair with its own shade.

  • To 8 tablespoon of henna, add 2 tablespoon of soap nut powder
  • Add water gently and mix to make a thick paste
  • Apply the paste on your scalp and then massage a little bit
  • Leave for about one hour before rinsing with lukewarm water

Usually, oily dandruff is no that severe but don’t ignore the symptoms. They may seem mild at the initial stages but if not well treated, severe symptoms may crop up. See your GP, if over-the-counter drugs or home remedies does not improve your situation.

Our Sources of References

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dandruff/symptoms-causes/dxc-20215281
  2. http://www.clearparis.com/article/detail/1019912/what-causes-oily-scalp-and-what-are-the-scalp-treatments-you-can-use-
  3. http://www.livestrong.com/article/244331-oily-scalp-with-dandruff/
  4. http://www.laboratoriosbabe.com/en/care/oily-dandruff-seborrheic-dermatitis.aspx
  5. http://www.livestrong.com/article/72645-shampoos-dry-scalp-oily/
  6. http://www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/dandruff
  7. http://everydayroots.com/dandruff-remedies
  8. https://makeupandbeauty.com/how-to-treat-oily-dandruff-at-home/