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Avatar universal

Weird oily hair - started suddenly!

I have always had semi oily hair. More oily at the roots and dry ends. Just recently I have had a new problem. My hair is long (middle of my back) and the crown and underneath in the back are this weird greasy. It just started one day. I have not used anything new. Same things I always use. I have tried washing my hair in everything to get rid of it and nothing works. I used laundry soap, dish soap, tea tree oil shampoo, clarifying shampoos, vinegar, bakingsoda, lemon juice, and that just a few!! I even bought a new hair brush and pillows for my bed. I have switched everything I could think of. It almost feels like conditioner is left in my hair. So just in case I stopped using that. I have no idea whats going on, but it won't come out. I am not an unhealthy person. I shower everyday sometimes twice a day. I'm so frustrated!! I did notice that on a lot of these forums that several say they used Nice and Easy to color their hair. I use that too. I have used it for about two years now. Same color everytime. Could this have something to do with it??
75 Responses
Avatar universal
Me too!  It started suddenly about 3 weeks ago.  I've mentioned it to a couple people, and they are skeptical and assume I'm just not rinsing well enough.  It's stupid.  I've had to change my hair style to just pulling it back in a barret so that the effect is less noticable.  I colored my hair in June with a box product, but I don't recall the brand.  I don't know why it would create a problem 2 months later, but I can't think of anything else that is any different.  I'm a little annoyed that no other doctor on this site has posted anything at all since 2005.  Obviously, something is happening.  If anyone who posted previously is STILL having success with anything you tried (longer than just one or two days) please let us know.
Avatar universal
I am another person experiencing the same problem! It started about a month ago now, for no reason at all! Nothing had changed about my diet or lifestyle - I don't even dye my hair! Now, just after I get out of the shower, when I come to dry my hair, the underneath bits by my scalp seem like ive puts loads of product on them and continue to look "wet" (and greasy) even if I have been drying my hair with a hairdryer. I have to use dry shampoo just after I get out of the shower and dry my hair! My hair is also looking generally worse than ususal. I have tried using natural hair products from a UK company called "Lush" (Jumping Juniper shampoo) which has helped the problem a litle, but has by no means fixed it! Hope we get some answers - glad to know others are having similar problems.
Avatar universal
Okay ladies.  I've been about 3 weeks straight with absolutely no conditioner in my hair.  I just shampoo once a day (same thing I've used for years) and style as usual.  The spot seems to be gone, or at least nearly gone.  I can still feel it just a little because I'm looking for it.  But it's not really visible like it was.  My hair is pretty dry, though.  I'm going to give it another week and then see what happens when I try to start using conditioner again.  I still don't know what may have caused it - hormones, chemicals, etc.  

I hope this helps someone.  I'll update again with any more developments.
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.

I hope that helps. Take care and regards.
I know she answered  over 7 years ago but if I was a doctor I would never say there isn't a medical reason how would any doctor know for sure? There are new discoveries all the time. Any way I will search on for an answer to this question about sudden on set of oily hair.
Avatar universal
Ladies - I posted this on another thread, but you might find it helpful...

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!

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
I am so glad to know I am not the only one with this problem.  It is very embarrassing!  I am a teacher, and before lunch, my hair looks like it hasn't been washed in a week!  I'm going to try the Listerine method and see if it works for me.  I wondered if this problem is related to high cholesterol and the medication I take for it, as well as hormones.  I am 55 and have had pimples for the first time in almost 40 years!  I have also had several surgeries in the past few years including a gall bladder removal.

Thank you all for commenting.  I feel better it already, but my hair still feels disgusting!
Avatar universal
Wow!! I've been having this exact same problem for about 6 weeks. I live in Ojai, Ca..I think it's something to do with the water personally..Or my hot water heater has too many sedaments in it. The reason I believe this is because my friend who lived in a house with a water softener wasn't having any issues. Then she moved to her new house without a softner. Suddenly..Bam she has the same problem. Then her hot water heater went out. It needed to be replaced. Well after that her hair went back to normal...I'm going to drain mine  today see if there's a ton of ick inside and re-fill then see what happens..
Avatar universal
I FOUND A CURE!!!!  So I posted a thread on this website about a week ago.  I titled it different, but it is about the EXACT SAME problem!!
My "grease spot" was apparent as soon as I got out of the shower.  Therefore, I thought that whatever it was, it just wasn't washing out.  So, last Saturday I took a shower and used Head & Shoulders.  I scrubbed and scrubbed until my hands ached.  I rinsed.  Then I put on THREE more applications of shampoo, each time scrubbing until my fingers hurt.  I rinsed each time, skipped any conditioner and got out.  I let my hair air dry.  To my HORRIFFIC dissappointment, my ENTIRE HEAD looked as if I dipped it in oil as it began to dry.  I was so upset, I cried.  I threw it in a ponytail and headed down to our local beauty supply house.  (Here it is called Sally's Beauty Supply.  I think its a franchise).  The clerks were all amazed and dumbfounded about the "grease spot" but said that by "overwashing" my hair, I put my oil glands in my scalp into overdrive, causing this new abundance of oil!!!  With that being said, I bought some "dry shampoo".  It is a powder-like spray that is used in between shampooings.  You spray it on any oily or greasy spots, brush it through and BOOM, your hair looks clean, dry, and smells good.  I also bout "Generic Brand" Tea Tree Shampoo there.  (It is really called 'Generic Brand' and its generic for Paul Mitchell's Tea Tree Shampoo equivelant)  
As soon as I got home, I sprayed the dry shampoo and it completely transformed my oil head into clean, healthy looking hair.
I wasn't convinced that it was cured, so I didn't wash it the next day.  I figured I needed to let my natural oils regulate somewhat.  I DID wash my hair on Monday.  I washed with the Tea Tree stuff and figured, if I "overwashed all the natural oils out last time"... maybe I SHOULD condition a little to add moisture.  So I conditioned a little, and guess what??  As soon as I blow dried it, everything looked perfect!!!  I am proud to say that the spot has been gone SIX whole days now!  
Not sure what causes it, but with my remedy, I think it has something to do with the balance of the oils in our scalp getting out of whack somehow.

I hope this helps all of you!!!!  GOOD LUCK!!!!
Avatar universal
Good, I am not the only one this is happening too.  I thought I was crazy!!  About 3 weeks ago I laid out in the sun, took a shower and noticed the top of my scalp was oily feeling and sticky.  I thought I may have gotten some of my sun tan oil in my hair during the day or I didn't rinse the conditioner out good enough.  The next day, I washed and rinsed really good and noticed the same thing was still there.  I thought ok, maybe it is the shampoo I was using so bought Pantene since I have always loved that.  SAME THING.  I tried using bar soap, dish soap and putting baking soda & lemon juice in my shampoo but nothing has changed.  I have never had oily hair in my life unless I don't wash it for 2 days.  I don't know what to do and it is driving me crazy.  It is embarassing and feels so nasty & sticky.  I do color my hair, but have never had this side effect.  I have been reading everyone's posts but don't know the correct answer or what has caused this.  I am going to try the apple cider vinegar & palmolive tonight and pray it works.  Does anyone know what is going on?
1216900 tn?1266865528
I've recently started having this problem. I am a college student and in the process of getting my teaching degree. I am also an employee at Chick-fil-A. I thought that this spot came about from washing too much, using conditioner, then I thought maybe my water wasn't hot enough. I then changed everything that I used. I color my hair, but that didn't seem to have any effect to the "spot". I have no idea how to get rid of it, nothing is working for me. I've tried some of the remedies on here.... I have never had oily hair, so this is really FREAKING me out! I can't look like a greasy mop at work and in the schools. What do I do?
Avatar universal
I have a similar problem. I'm 17 now, but my oily hair first started when i was in grade 8. I had (and still do have) long hair, and my Crown was SO oily, I HAD to wash my hair everyday. And also the oil from my hair was getting on my face and making my severe acne even worse...gross right? But with that said i was a teenager and hormones were changing and such. But then I went on accutane for my severe acne...and guess what...my oily hair went away too (granted because accutane prevents glands from producing sebum)! It was great, i could wash my hair every second day and not have to worry about the oil getting all over my face! After accutane the oily hair seemed to be under control still, but then a few years later my acne came back, as well as the oily hair. So i went back on accutane at 17 for a second round, and once again, great hair came back. Unfortunately this time when i finished the accutane...my oily hair was back within 3 days of being off it. My skin is still perfectly fine, but my hair is awful! By the end of the day my hair feels heavy and like theres that kinda wet oily feeling weighing it down. I've tried the tea tree oil shampoo, head and shoulders, clarifying and one by biolage for oily hair. None of them have worked. I used one by joico that was for oily hair, THIS WAS THE ONLY shampoo that EVER worked for me, i could wash my scalp with it once and i could wash my hair every second day...unfortunately...THEY STOPPED MAKING IT!! =(  and i dont dye my hair.  Hairdressers have been no help...i've also been told alot of shampoo companies are getting away from making shampoo's for oily hair =(

It definitely has to do with an over production of sebum, and i agree that it needs to be looked into. There has to be a reason why oil glands are over producing in that area! I;m going to try a dry shampoo for touchups during the day or whatever. And try a home remedy too. Hopefully that will help.
I'm glad to see i'm not the only one dealing with this though
Avatar universal
I have been having this sticky scalp problem for almost a year now, off and on.  I hadn't had any trouble with it since December until last week, I woke up with the sticky spot again.  No one believes me about it.  I have no idea what is causing this or what to do about it.  I do know this though, it is driving me INSANE!  I am upset to hear a doctor say that this is not a medical condition and we should just shampoo more or less or whatever.  I would pay someone a million dollars for the answer to this condition.
Avatar universal
I'm so glad i'm not alone with the oily hair, i have this now for at least 6 years, i'm 25 years and as far as i remember it started after i colored my hair the first time (about 6 years ago), and after that i also bleached  it ones and highlidet it for a couple times.
I have searched for so many tips online and also listen to hairdressers as my sister in law is one, but nothing helps, don't know if my scalp is to dry or to oily all i know is that my hair is very oily, some people say its from oily scalp others say its comes from dry scalp so i tried both cure's, put baby oil or olive oil on the scalp and also tried apple cidder vineger and lemon juice for rinsing it maybe sometimes feels like it works for a bit but then its all oily again, and i work as a receptionist in front of many people it fell's like the are just looking at my hair, and probably think she never wasches her hair, but believe me i do!!!
Anyways just had to chair my thoughts, hope anyone can find a cure, and if so please let me know, its so descusting!!!
And i also tried many different shampos over the years, like head n sholders, salsun blu, pantene, baby schampo and may more!! please give me some advice!!
Avatar universal
Just so you all know...

Over washing your hair and rubbing at your scalp too much while you shampoo can cause your scalp to produce extra oils. If this problem has caused you to over wash your hair, the over washing might just make it worse.

I don't know how to solve this ever-evasive issue, but here's a tip if you're getting tired of washing your hair over and over before you go out.

Talcom powder or baby powder in your hair can get rid of oiliness. If you're going out and don't have time to shower, but hate the oiliness in your hair it's a nice tip :)
Avatar universal
I have been having the same problem but I feel it is because of my Synthroid. Its really annoying and I have tried all different kinds of shampoo and conditioner and nothing seems to work. I hate it. I wish there was a Synthroid shampoo and conditioner lol. I constantly have to put my up because it looks sooo nasty. If anyone has any suggestions that would be great.

Avatar universal
I have been having this awful problem for the last few weeks. i have tried everything from baking soda to vinegar. Straight after i wash my hair, even when its still drying it feels sticky and oily and looks like i havnt washed it in a week! Ive been applying baby powder to my hair when its dry, which helps get rid of the look but it still feels horrible and when i wash my hair again im back to square one!
Its the most fustrating thing ever! im 19, and been eating healthy and doing lots of excercise. i havnt changed any products!
Avatar universal
I have this problem too. I haven't been able to get rid of it (I'll try all your remedies) but ...


The polinisation of pines takes place in spring, and, two years later, in autumn, the formed seeds fall from the pines. Pine Resin molecule is not an OIL, and that's why none of the traditional cleaners work.

This also explains why we all have the problem in the upper part of our heads...

pines in your area?
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for taking the time to post the remedy to this awful problem.  Mine started about 2 weeks ago at the crown and spread through my part.  I only just googled it today and realised I wasn't alone.  So I headed to the shop and got my palmolive, lemon, apple cider vinegar and tea tree shampoo and to my amazement, after applying  all these products my hair is soft, silky and oil free! (probably a little damaged but its worth it!)
I also read on another post to use listerine so I threw a bit of that in the mix too, I was desperate...
Anyhow, thanks heaps!
Foreva Greatful...Trudie
Avatar universal
I am having the same problem...  I'm 26 and I've never had oily hair.  One day the crown of my head looked really greasy after I blew it dry.  This problem comes and goes and there is no rhyme or reason to it.  How have doctors not figured this out yet??
Avatar universal
It goes out when you wash it with alcohol, just be very careful with your eyes... but it worked for me perfectly!!

(about the listerine... it's main ingredient is alcohol, so it should work to, but less effectively)
Avatar universal
I am 31 and all of a sudden I got oily hair but so did my 7 year old daughter.  I know it is from swimming in Chlorine, the body is an amazing machine and produces oil to repair damaged hair.  So if your hair is oily it is probably just over protecting your hair.  I read all of these comments and then did this ( it probably wasn't all necessary but I was desperate!)
1.  Washed scalp with degreasing dish soap ( Dawn, Yellow stuff) 3 times.  I think this did it but just to be sure....
2. rinsed my hair with mouth wash ( the alcohol in it helps to remove oil.)
3. rinsed with apple cider vinegar
4. used green tea oil shampoo from Sally Beauty supply.  I didn't know that Green Tea Oil is the code word for Oily Hair.  Again just try the dish soap first! My hair is Softer than EVER.  
OIL GONE!!!!  It wasn't a medical condition just my hair trying to repair itself from the damage of Chlorine.  Remember that our body's natural instinct is to help us!  
Avatar universal
I also used regular rubbing alcohol before reading the posts here and it worked in my hair. It has only be 1 day but so far so good.
Avatar universal
My daughter is 11 years old and just started having this problem about a week ago. I too thought she must not be rinsing out all the shampoo and conditioner. I ended up washing her hair myself and it made it worse. It was very sticky.
I think this is definitly related to hormones. She is hitting puberty very quickly. It seems to me that most of the people complaining of this problem are female. The ages range from Preteen to a woman in her 40's with a lot in their 20's. These are all ages of significant hormonal changes. My daughter is obviously not on birth control pills or any other medication, we do not live in a particularly piney area, she has no gall bladder problems, she has never used hair color, she is a vegetarian but has been for a year. There definitely needs to be research done as to what is causing this in so many people.
I will say I did rinse her hair with the apple cider vinegar and then washed with green orginal palmolive and it took 75% of the oilyness away after first wash. Still felt a little sticky but hopefully it will be better after a few more washes. At least there is some hope.
Avatar universal
I posted earlier about my daughter's oily, sticky hair. She washed her hair with the apple cider vinegar and then the original, green palmolive twice which helped tremendously. She then just washed with the palmolive once a day for a week. It is almost perfect now. A little dry, but that is better than what it was. Still pretty sure this is hormones and will eventually pass. Until then we will be washing that spot with palmolive every other day :)
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