Avatar universal

suddenly oily hair that won't correct

This discussion is related to suddenly oily hair that won't correct.

Question to the Dr.  

Could this be overactive sebaceous glands?  I have had sebaceous cysts in the past.  Could excessive sweating cause this to happen.  Sweating dries out the skin, therefore causing the glands to produce more oil to compensate for the loss?  When your stressed, you sweat.  During menopause, you sweat.  In the summer, you sweat.  If your febrile, you sweat.

I am a 38 year old female and also started experiencing a heavy oily area around the crown of my head about 3 1/2 weeks ago.  I asked my Dr. and  he acted as if I was crazy.  He suggested I use Neutrogena shampoo once a week, which I started yesterday.  To add to the other comments....I am extremely stressed (thought that was it).  I am going through peri-menopause.  I have not changed shampoos in 15 years (I alternate head and shoulders and Pantene).  I have never had any problems with oily skin or oily hair ever.  I wash my hair daily and condition.  I have not changed my daily regimen in 2 years

One thing I have tried was applied Shower to Shower powder to my hair before going to bed and washed out in the morning (not the sexiest looking thing at night but it helps).  It drastically reduced the oil, but came back 2 days later.  The only thing I worry about is clogging the glands that are producing the oil, so I don't do it daily...maybe once a week.  I will try the Irish Spring soap, that will not clog the glands...just dry out the hair.  Another suggestion I haven't tried was go to a good hair dresser who has shampoos that change the PH balance of your hair (If this goes on another month I will try this.  It's kinda drastic.)

206 Responses
Avatar universal

Excess oil may lead to other problems like fungal infections and  seborrheic dermatitis . There are good products in the market  that may be able to help. Hypoallergenic and organic shampoos, that are mild may be used daily. I suggest that you refrain from trying out products without consulting a dermatologist. This may cause other problems like extreme dryness and allergic reactions.

A good diet , daily exercise, adequate sleep and taking adeqaute amount of water everyday will be able to help. Hormonal imbalance may indeed alter the body's normal physiologic responses. You may ask your gynecologist regarding this.
Avatar universal
I have all the sudden gotten an oily/waxy scalp at the crown of my head. It is oily even right after I wash it.  This has been going on for about 2 weeks and I know it is not because I am washing my hair wrong or not rinsing enough.  Does anyone else have this problem and how long does it last?
Avatar universal

An oily waxy scalp may need further evaluation as this may be a case of seborrheic dermatitis.

Is there any scaling on the scalp?

Any scaling behind the ears,the chest or on the face?

I suggest that you seek consult with a dermatologist. Oily scalp needs repeated shampooing.If you have any known allergies, always ask your physician before using any OTC products as this may aggravate the condition.A fungal infection may also be considered as a differential but may easily be differentiated from seborrheic dermatitis.

Seborrheic dermatitis may be recurrent.
Avatar universal
Has anyone discovered an answer yet?  I have all the same symptoms as everyone else and haven't discovered anything to make the oil go away!  
Avatar universal
Last Wednesday, after a particularly stressful few days and a 48 hour stomach virus I awoke with extremely oily hair.  I, too, wash and condition my normally dry hair everyday.  I, too, went to my Dr. who put me on Zoloft.  It's been a week tomorrow and it is no better.  In fact, it is worse - it started in the top and then went to the left side, etc.  No one I have talked to has ever heard of this.  I have a call in to my GYN but after reading the postings above, I believe I will contact a dermatologist.

Avatar universal
I have the same symptoms. Suddenly waxy feeling hair at the crown of my head and within days now it is going more toward the top andright of my head. I to shower daily and have taken extra time to make sure I am rinsing thoroughly and I have used head and shoulders to see if it helped but it seemed worse that day.
Did anyone find an answer?
Its crazy!
Avatar universal
    Around Setember my hair became very oily at the crown of my head. The second week in October I had my gallbladder out. about 10 to 14 days later my hair cleared up. I was thrilled. One week before Christmas my hair became oily again, and continue's to get worse. I am still experencing some pain in my stomach, could this mean that I'm still sick? I'm really scared. Does this mean I need to have something else removed to have beautiful hair again, ha ha.? I defenitly believe my hair is oily because something is wrong with me. Someone please try to give me an answer!
Avatar universal
I have the same thing as everyone else....and i literally tried more products than i can even count (zinc shampoo, coal tar shampoo, salycilic acid, glycolic acid, lysterine, lemon juice, olive oil, soap, clarifying shampoo's.... and nothing has worked.....i'm not sure what the underlying cause is but i'm sure it has something to do with sebum glands since lately my face has been breaking out too... I finally found a way to get the sticky oil out of my hair temporarily, but i haven't been able to find a "cure"..... what i do is i shampoo with palmolive (the original, in the green bottle... has to be palmolive, dawn didn't work)... don't use it on  your whole head - only the crown, rub it around with warm water and let it sit for about 3 minutes.... then after you wash it out use a clarifying shampoo on the whole scalp (i use panteen clarifying)... if you still feel oil repeat the palmolive..... then afterwards use a deep conditioner to restore the moisture in the hair.... this has been the only thing that gets the stickyness out - i'm also waiting to start accutane to permanently take care of the problem....i just wish i knew the cause.  I've been researching and they say that it may have to do with eating refined sugar, which then produces insulin, which then produces androgen, and it's the androgen that makes the oil production crazy..... so i've also started cutting back on chocolate to see if that helps too. anyone else have advise please respond.
Avatar universal
My best friend came to my house with this EXACT condition. Literally out of no where, her beautiful hair had a very oily and waxy build-up in the crown of her hair. It was gross!! We found this site and saw how many people have this condition and yet, no real answers. We believe we found one!

A little history: She did have a recent surgery (about 2 months ago) where she was placed under anesthia for a female condition. Plus she switched birth control pills which may have caused a hormonal imbalance. I wanted to note all this because there are similarities to the other postings. Still, we did not know if this was hormonal, a buildup or bacterial.

Ok... here you go:
1. First shampoo with Suave Clarifying Shampoo, and repeat. Focus on the crown and give it a  good scrub. Rinse.
2. Then - she used original Listerine (use the brown, not the mint or others). She poured 3 capfuls directly into crown. Lightly scrub and rinse.

After the first application, we noticed a HUGE difference. I would say about 90% better. As a bonus, her hair was incredibly soft and shiny (not oily).

The next night, she repeated the process again. Her hair is completely 100% back to normal. Of course, we need to wait and see if this is a permanent solution, but we will keep you all posted on her progress.

Our best to all....

Avatar universal
I had the same problem - a sticky, greasy secretion on my hair around the crown that wouldn't wash out with normal shampoo.  I tried all sorts of things - lemon juice, olive oil, not washing for a few days and then attacking with bicarb, but nothing worked.  

I started using Redwin Tea Tree Shampoo and that appears to have removed the problem so that now the hair at the top of my head is nice and shiny, but the rest of my hair looks and feels like straw.  I would rather dry hair though!
Avatar universal
I tried the exact instructions re: SUAVE Clarifying Shampoo, followed by Listerine Mouthwash and the first go round rid me of about 90% of the oily scalp issue.  I repeated it the following day and that's all I needed.  I thought I might need to repeat it again, eventually, but it has been 2 months now and my hair is still fine.  I do continue to use the SUAVE Clarifying Shampoo about once a week, but otherwise am able to use my regular shampoos and conditioners I always have used and have not needed to go back to using the Listerine again.

Thank you for posting up your solution!  What a lifesaver, as my hair was DISGUSTING by mid-day every single day, out of the blue, back in April.  Have never had any problem like this before, am 39 years old, no change in medications, no history of oily hair.

Avatar universal
I've had this problem for almost 2 months now...just showed up out of the blue. It was a nightmare! I couldn't stand looking at or touching my hair! I, like everyone else, tried everything. Nothing worked. I went to the dr. crying my eyes out begging for some kind of solution, only to find out she had never even heard of such a thing happening! She gave me an antibiotic prescription with the hopes that whatever the problem was they would clear it up. They didn't. Just when all else had failed, I stumbled onto this forum. Last night I read the post about the Listerine solution. Thinking this was my absolute last desperate chance of having nice hair again I ran to the store and bought some. I came home, washed my hair with clarifying shampoo and then dumped the Listerine on. IT WORKED. I could not believe it!! It still wasn't back to normal, but the difference it made me a believer in the Listerine. I just got done doing another round of it and its now 100% back to normal! I can't stop running my fingers through my hair - the way I used to be able to do!!!

I can't thank the person that wrote that post enough!! I LOVE YOU! You saved me!! I was so depressed over the greasy hair problem, especially since even the doctor didn't have an answer.

If you have this issue - USE THE LISTERINE!!! I've been trying for months to fix it and nothing else worked. Listerine corrected the problem in 2 days - you couldn't ask for a faster or cheaper solution!

Again, THANK YOU!!!!!!! I honestly can't say it enough!!!

Avatar universal
Re: listerine

what a fantastic idea! thank you so much for suggesting it. i had the same inexplicable problem for 2 weeks, and tonight i did what was suggested with listerine, only substituting suave clarifying shampoo with neutrogena anti-residue shampoo. felt a strong tingling sensation as the listerine was settling in - it must have been the strength of the alcohol that dissolved most of the greasy gunk. i couldn't stand feeling the clumps of grossness even after washing my hair. unbelievable.

fingers crossed this won't strike again!
Avatar universal
I too have this sudden onset of oily/waxy hair only on the crown of my head.

I am 30 years old and have washed my hair the same way for the last 15 years.

I will give the listerine a try tonight but...


strange that it happens overnight and with no real other symptoms.
Avatar universal
I have had this same issue off and on since I was 19.  There seems to be no research out there on this topic, and I think a doctor really needs to study this phenomenon because it seems to happen to women across all walks of life.

In every post I've read across multiple message boards, everyone says that there was no change in hair care or diet - so I have to think this is a chemical imbalance of some sort.  There's just no other explanation for so many people having this exact same persistent problem without a real definite cause.  Everyone's symptoms are the same, and like the wax on my head, the mystery only continues to build.

The waxy greasy spot (centralized only around the crown of the head) will not wash out, despite washing, rinsing, and repeating multiple times.  The waxy/greasiness is still there when you step out of the shower, no matter how hard you scrub.  I'm tired of living in pony tails, I want my long pretty hair back!  The only thing I've found that works is spraying some "goo gone" adhesive remover onto my scalp and then rinsing out well - although this only provided mild relief and I don't think it's entirely safe... I'm definitely going to try the Listerine method tonight.  

If anyone has been to a doctor who has been able to provide any relevant information on the topic I'd really like to know!  I'm considering making an appointment myself, but due to the economy my company recently changed insurance to a very terrible HMO... so I'm basically without medical care unless it's an absolute emergency.  Hopefully someone stumbles across a reason for this condition instead of just another home remedy.
Avatar universal
you guys are my HEROES!!  all my life i have had thick curly hair, never had a problem, have dyed it off and on for years, and if anything its been on the dry side from time to time, just at the ends... until 3 days ago.

for 3 days i've been freaking out because all of a sudden at the crown of my head has been an incredibly oily patch, just like all of you.  it was disgusting, it looked horrible, felt horrible, and made me feel terrible.  so i did a search and came across your posting and thought, what do i have to loose.

it totally worked.  i used the Neutrogena Triple Renewal Weekly Cleanser and the regular Listerine and it totally worked.  i am beyond happy.  the only thing i would suggest is that i did get some Listerine in my eyes so i would recommend a buddy to help or to tilt your head backwards.  however, the tingling feeling on the scalp was actually really nice.

i'll post back again if for some reason the problem comes back after a couple of days, but so far so good.  if you dont hear back from me then it really is a great one time fix!

thanks again everyone!
Avatar universal
First of all Listerine is an anticeptic and anything in that line like Sea Breeze as long as there is no sulfa or peroxide involved.  I have forty five years of hairstyling experience and we have used Listerine for many decades.  It can be used on your face and for vaginal itching.  You may want to dilute it with water before applying anywhere, half and half or 3 part Listerine and 1 part water.  The correct way to shampoo your hair is not scrubbing harshly with your finger tips like most people do when they feel they have a scalp problem but use both hands and massage your scalp by opening and closing your fingers while moving over the scalp.  This will release the good oil for your scalp thus giving beautiful hair.  I may add harsh shampoos and hard water build-up are not helping matters.  A good sulfate free shampoo is an excellent choice and if your hair dresser is serious about your hair they will discount or even try the trial sizes until you are happy with a product.  If they are not interested in the health of your hair, you may want to ask others to recommend someone to you that does.  The price you pay for experimenting with various remedies without success can cost more than an experienced hairstylist.  I cannot use products with cocconut oil or sulfates because these cause open lesions on my scalp, yes we have allergies too.  I also see an allergist and dermotologist.  I wish the best for you all because your hair is your crown and glory and the first thing others notice about you.
Avatar universal
what would happen if i used crest pro health..im visiting a friend and its all they have in their bathroom
Avatar universal
I have had the exact same thing everyone is describing for about a week now, my hair was progressively getting nastier and nastier. I decided yesterday to scrub my hair really good with 2 different shampoos and rinse really, really, really good. When I got out of the shower my hair was 10 times worse than before. I figured that if my scalp was producing excess oil for some reason I was going to give it a reason to stop! I re-wet my hair and loaded a TON of conditioner into my hair, making sure I really got it on the gross spots and then I combed it through my hair in a whole bunch of directions to make sure it got everywhere. I put saran wrap on my head and let it sit for about 10 minutes and then I rinsed really good, no shamoo or anything else though. I swear to God my hair is totally back to normal!!! That was yesterday, this morning I washed my hair with baby shampoo and conditioned it again, putting in a regular amount but making sure to get the crown of my head which is an area I normally avoid because my hair is so fine. It is over 12 hours later and my hair does not have a bit of waxy or greasy feeling to it! I know this sounds totally counter intuitive, but at least give it a try, you've got nothing to lose except icky hair!!!! Let me know if this works!!!!!!!!
Avatar universal
Thank you so much to the lady who advise of using the Sauve shampoo and the Listerine  it worked . I am very thankful I forund this web site I only had the problem for 2 days when I found this . I was wondering how she came up with this soulition? Did she just hit on it or did someone tell her about. I came home that night and wash my hair with the Sauve Clairfying Shampoo  twice and rinsed really good . I took 4 cap fulls of the Listerine and poured it all over the crown area of my head and let it set for 3 full minutes and rinsed really good. I could tell as soon as I towled dried my hair it was 90% better and the next day I repeated the same process.It has worked !!!!  I have waited 2 days without shampooing and it is still ok.
Avatar universal
This happened to me starting the day before Thanksgiving. Nothing I did was solving the problem, then I found this board.

I tried the Suave/Listerine treatment and while it cut the waxiness somewhat, it did not solve the problem.

I then switched to Palmolive, which really helped cut the existing wax but wasn't curing the problem. Finally I got an anti-fungal shampoo called Nixoral. I shampoo each day with Palmolive followed by another washing with the Nixoral. Each day the waxiness goes away a little more and (so far) it feels like my scalp is not producing the waxy sebum anymore either.

I'm going to keep the treatment up for another week or two and I'll post back with the results, but the Palmolive/Nixoral combination has been the most successful treatment for me so far. It also means the cause was likely a fungal infection or yeast infection of the scalp.
Avatar universal
After a couple of weeks of using the Suave/Nizoral shampoo combo, I was able to swtich back to my normal products (Pantene) and my hair is back to normal. I've been using Pantene shampoo and conditioner for about 3 weeks now with no recurrance of the waxy residue.
Avatar universal
I am so glad I googled this! I've had this for about a week now and I've been trying to wash my hair with different amounts of shampoo and conditioner but nothing has happened. I am going out today to buy the Suave shampoo and listerine! I will post back how it goes in a couple of days. I think this must be a result of hormonal imbalance...I just went onto the pill after a long break so that must be it! I thought it might be because I tried putting some talc in my hair but as other people seem to have had other hormonal changes when getting this condition, it's more likely to be that!
Avatar universal
Okay, I couldn't get hold of the Suave Clarifying Shampoo as it's American and I'm from the UK but I got the Neutrogena shampoo for greasy hair and it's worked! When I couldn't find the Suave shampoo I tried the Listerine with my normal shampoo and that didn't work so make sure you get the Suave or Neutrogena!

Thanks so much for telling us Suave & Listerine girls! I'm so glad it worked!!
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