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Sudden oily scalp, the crown area. Will not wash out, why? What is it? I am healthy and bath daily.

The crown area of my scalp suddenly became very oily.  I have washed my hair with every shampoo I thought was strong or harsh.  I have even tried liquid dish detergant.  Nothing works.  I am a healthy woman who baths daily, I say this to offset the idea that maybe I am ill or unclean.  Please tell me what this is, how I can get rid of it and how I might be able to prevent it from coming back.
161 Responses
Avatar universal
I have the same exact thing - and it's only at the crown!!  So weird and frustrating - i've been trying everyting under the sun to get the stickyness out of my hair but NOTHING has worked - i even went to the dermatologist and they said they never heard of this before.  I scrub my hair every night - it's the oddest thing because i'm 27 and never had this problem before - and i also tried dish detergent lol.  Let me know if you find anything! ps - i also noticed around the same time that my face started breaking out - is it the same for you?
I had the same thing! I switched to head and shoulders for a bit, went back to Treseme, on the first wash it was completely gone...like magic.
Avatar universal
I am experiencing the same thing!  I am 27 and have NEVER had oily hair like this before.  Its literally oily before its even dry.  I too, have also tried dish soap.  That doesn't work either.  The ONLY thing I can think of is the new birth control that I am on... Microgestin.  I've been on it for 2 months now.  
I tried calling a few beauticians and one said she thinks its just a sudden reaction to weather change.  She said it can just all of a sudden happen, similar to allergies appearing later in life.
Does ANYBODY know what is causing this and how to treat it???  I am getting married soon, and DO NOT want to deal with this on my wedding day.   :'(
I go through phases of this and I think it's due to stress (personally I notice my scalp gets more oily if I'm extremely stressed out)
563773 tn?1374250139
There is no medical condition as such which causes oiliness of the hair.I would suggest you to clean your hair frequently with a mild shampoo(you can use the ones for oily hair) and don’t apply any conditioner on the hair.Also you can shampoo twice during each wash and apply shampoo on the scalp without piling the hair on top.

In case the symptoms persist then consult a dermatologist in that case.

I hope it helps. Take care and please do keep me posted in case you have any additional doubts. Kind regards.

Avatar universal
Hi Leo,

I totally know what you mean. I am astonished that Doctors have let this condition go un-named, unresearched, and undiagnosed for so long. LOOK AROUND DOCTORS - there are literally HUNDREDS of people all experiencing the SAME condition ... what i like to refer to as "sticky scalp". It IS a medical condition as far as I'm concerned because everyone who complains of this problem has exactly the SAME symptoms..... i.e....1) sudden onset 2) the oil is ONLY at the CROWN of the head 3) the sebum is thick, waxy, and "sap-like" in nature and is RESISTANT to ALL traditional remedies such as shampoo and soap...... are we all crazy?!?

Dr. Bhupinder Kaur.... you should research this and maybe become the poineer in diagnosing this condition!

Leo... I have a theory on why this happens and what this is.... I believe it is a fungal infection of the scalp. The reason I think this is that the waxy sebum has a sort of "fruity" smell or "sweet and sour" smell. That just so happens to be the same smell that happens under your fingernails when you get finger nail fungus. Anyone who wears tips or acrylics knows what smell I am talking about.  Anyway, the cure for this is using a number of antifungal remedies altogether while keeping the scalp as dry as possible. You can buy anti-fungal/medicated shampoos at CVS that contain zinc or sulfides which fight fungus and yeasts......take acidopholis pills......soak your head in apple cider vinegar every day before you shower.  All this will cure the infection in time (1-2 weeks), however it will not degrease the stubborn sticky sebum that is already there... for this try original palmolive..... don't just shampoo.... put the palmolive on the crown of your head, lather with water, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before you shower. After the first 2-3 washes the stickiness should be gone.... but continue with the anti-fungal treatment.... I promise it will go away.... mine lasted for 3 mths before i figured this out, but it's goine.... last but not least, use a clarifying shampoo like pantene clarifying.
Avatar universal
Hi JerseyGirl.... I am SO happy you got my post!  I was hoping somebody would see it.  Thank you so much for the response!!

-Everything you say makes a lot of sense!  Except, I am currently taking an oral anitfungal... its generic Lamosil in pill form (darn toenail fell off and I didnt want fungus to grow).  Do you think that the pill would treat a scalp fungus???

Also, I have even more unsetteling news.  The day I posted that, I went to shower.  With the idea in mind that whatever this "sebum" stuff is, its not WASHING out properly.  So, I applied Head n Shoulders once, rinsed... applied Aussie's Grease Shampoo, rinsed... applied TWO more applications of Head n Shoulders, then rinsed and got out.  No conditioner.  Well, apparently I didn't get the memo on "over washing your hair" because to my surprise, once it dried, it looked like my ENTIRE scalp area was dipped in vegetable oil!  Apparenly I stripped it so badly with all that shampoo, that my sebum production went into overdrive!  I cried.  I went down to Sally's Beauty Supply (a beauty supply store franchise) and they were baffled about the spot, but not about the over shampooing.  They gave me some "dry shampoo" which is spray shampoo that you can use when you don't have access to actually wash your hair.  Well, I got home and sprayed it all over the top of my head.  I have brown hair and the spray was a light violet, so it looked a bit ashy... however, it dried the oil right up.  EXCEPT for that darn culprit crown spot!!!!  That one was a little hard to "dry" with the spray, but it masked it a bit to where you could only "feel" the spot, rather than "see" it.  
I also bought Generic Brand Tea Tree Shampoo (Generic for Paul Mitchell's).  I didn't wash it until this morning.  I scrubbed the top, then applied a teensy bit of conditioner on the ends (with the intent to replenish a little bit of moisture in my dried out hair).  The top was still a little oily, but I sprayed the dry shampoo.  The stupid crown spot, however was still there in full force.  The spray masked it though.  
Now Im nervous even to wash it after what I did to the whole top of my head.  LOL, my fiance said "we're gonna be rich cause we struck an oil mine on my head!"  >:(

Jersey, can you reccommend a anti-fungal shampoo with those ingredients you were talking about?  I trust you every step of the way with this.  My friends are stumped, my parents work in medicine and they are stumped, everybody is stumped about this WEIRD, HORRIBLE problem!!!  I am SO happy to have found you and to know that I'm not the only one this has happend to.  

THANK YOU SO, SO, SO much!  And Doc, thank you too for the response.  Like Jersey said though... maybe this can be a breakthrough!!!  :)

Avatar universal
I posted this post on another person's post on this site about the same issue.  I posted it right before I did all that shampooing on Saturday.  (I am copying and pasting it cause it gives alot more info about my particular case):

Hi guys!  I've been having the same oily crown problem too for about 2 weeks.  It is so weir and SOOOO frusterating!  I tried dish soap, it didn't work.  Mine seems to already be oily withing minutes of my showers.  I can't believe that this hasn't been diagnosed yet.  

I recently changed my birth control pill (2 months ago) to Microgestin.  I am also taking an anti-fungal oral pill (for about 2 months as well) because my toenail fell off and I didn't want to get a fungus.  Its called Terbinafine.  I also take a Kirkland brand multi-vitamin each day.  As far as my diet, well, I started eating a high-protein, lots of fruits & veggies diet about a month ago, but about 2 weeks ago, fell off the wagon.  (lol)  I don't eat "bad" per say, but more junkier than I should.  I am also a senior in college and working towards a double major, which is pretty stressful.  I read that sudden changes like this, is stress related and hormonal.  I was wondering if any of you experienced this.  

Oh, I also had my gallbladder out in 2005.  I found a site that talked about the oily crown issues and found that some people who experience this have had their gallbladders out as well.

As far as my skin goes, well its pretty healthy.  It always has been.  I am 27 and have never really experienced breakouts even to this day.

I would like to try the Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo, as well as the vinegar remedy to see it it helps.

Does anybody have any feedback on if/how/when their suddenly oily crown problem was corrected???  I am newley engaged and am really scared this will effect my hair on my wedding day.  :'(

Oh, PS.... I noticed a lot of people report this problem in the warmer months.  I am from Washington State and it is the middle of October now that I am experiencing this!  -A friend of mine that is a hair dresser said its from the weather change (warm-cold).  She said its like allergies suddenly developing in life.  She said some people just "develop" a sensetivity to weather and experience this.  

????  So frusterating.  Any and ALL feedback is greatly appreciated!!!
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