How to Prevent Hair Loss with an Oily Scalp

An oily scalp is never comfortable—it can be itchy, cause inflammation and weigh your hair down, creating a flatter appearance. Other than cosmetic discomfort and the common itch, an oily scalp can also lead to a variety of hair-related issues, with hair loss being one of the most notable and distressing consequences.

Thankfully, there are treatments available to restore your scalp’s natural sebum levels and encourage hair growth. What is the relationship between an oily scalp and hair loss, and how can we prevent and treat it? Read on to find out more!

Understanding the Oily Scalp and Hair Loss Connection

Before we delve into potential remedies to prevent hair loss, it’s important to understand how an oily scalp can lead to hair loss and the relationship between the two conditions.

Causes of Oily Scalp

Oil in the scalp is normal. In fact, sebum plays a huge role in scalp health, protecting the follicles from environmental stressors and preventing hair dryness. However, an overly greasy scalp can be a cause for concern and lead to hair and scalp complications.

An oily scalp happens when the sebaceous glands in our scalp produce more oil than needed. This is caused by several factors—from genetic predisposition to underlying skin conditions.

Read our previous blog post on this subject to know more.

How an Oily Scalp Can Lead to Hair Loss

When your scalp produces excess sebum, it can lead to a variety of contributing factors to hair loss, namely:

  • Clogged hair follicles — Excess oil can lead to the build up of dirt and dead skin cells on the scalp. This, in turn, clogs the hair follicles and creates an unhealthy environment for hair growth, causing hair thinning.
  • Increased dandruff — Oily scalps can cause issues like seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff. This may damage the hair follicles over time, leading to hair loss.
  • Inflammation and folliculitis — Excess oil and build up on the scalp creates a breeding ground for infections and scalp irritation. This can cause issues like folliculitis, which weakens the hair follicles and contributes to hair loss.
  • Weakened hair structure — Greasy hair can weaken hair strands, making it prone to damage or breakage, causing hair thinning.
  • Telogen effluvium — An oily scalp can lead to a condition called telogen effluvium, where the hair follicles enter a shedding phase earlier than usual. This will eventually lead to hair thinning.
  • Bacterial and fungal infections — An excessively oily scalp, together with dirt buildup can create an environment for bacterial or fungal infections to grow. This could lead to hair follicle damage and eventually hair loss, if left untreated.

An oily scalp, coupled with symptoms like itching, are often obvious signs of an unhealthy scalp. This will inevitably lead to hair loss. So ensuring your scalp is not oily and clean is the first step in any hair loss protocol.

Proper Scalp Hygiene

One essential way to prevent and manage an oily scalp is by adopting proper scalp hygiene practices, such as regularly washing and conditioning your hair the right way.

Regular and Gentle Washing

  • Shampoo regularly — Regularly shampoo your hair to prevent the buildup of excess oil and dirt on the scalp. It’s important not to overwash, as drying out the scalp can also lead to an overproduction of sebum. Shampooing 2-3 times a week should suffice.
  • Pick the right shampoo — Opt for a gentle, sulphate-free shampoo formulated specially for oily hair. Harsh shampoos can strip away your scalp’s natural oils and encourage more sebum production by way of overcompensation.
  • Shampoo thoroughly — When washing, gently massage your scalp and focus on the roots where oil tends to accumulate the most.
  • Avoid hot water — Hot water can also strip away your scalp’s natural oils. Instead, use cold or lukewarm water to rinse your hair.

Conditioning Tips

  • Avoid the scalp — Avoid conditioning your scalp and focus on the lengths and ends of your hair.
  • Pick water-based conditioners — Opt for lightweight, water-based conditioners that don’t leave residue on the scalp.
  • Rinse thoroughly — When showering, be sure to rinse the conditioner off thoroughly. Any residue can contribute to oiliness in your hair and scalp.

Styling and Choosing Hair Products

Choosing the right products and how you style your hair can make a huge impact on managing scalp oiliness and hair loss.

Avoiding Tight Hairstyles and Heat Styling Tools

  • Avoid tight hairstyles — Tight hairstyles can cause scalp irritation and put pressure on the scalp. This can stimulate oil production and contribute to hair breakage and damage.
  • Avoid heat styling tools — Heat styling tools, like hair straighteners, can cause scalp irritation and weaken the hair shaft, increasing oil production.

Using Products Designed for Oily Scalp

  • Pick the right styling products — Avoid using thick serums, oils or leave-in treatments as this contributes to hair oiliness and hair weight. When it comes to styling products, opt for lightweight, water-based solutions. If you have dandruff, look for a shampoo with the ingredient zinc pyrithione as that will kill off the fungus causing the unhealthy scalp environment.

Diet and Lifestyle Adjustments

Adopting dietary and lifestyle changes can help with balancing your scalp’s oil production and mitigate hair loss.

Dietary Changes

  • Avoid greasy and fatty foods. This can contribute to inflammation and exacerbate oily scalp conditions.
  • Choose foods rich in zinc, vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
  • Consider taking biotin supplements, which help prevent hair loss and encourage hair growth.
  • Limit sugary and processed foods from your diet. These foods can spike insulin levels, which can cause an increase in sebum production.


Staying adequately hydrated promotes overall skin health, including your scalp’s. The sebaceous glands are less likely to overproduce oil, which means you’re less likely to get an oily scalp. Hydrated hair also leads to stronger hair structure, making your hair strands less prone to breakage and falling off.

Try to have at least 8-10 glasses of water a day to promote healthy hair growth and to prevent hair loss from dehydration and scalp oiliness.

Stress Management

Chronic or severe stress can lead to a variety of health problems, including hair loss. In fact, it can even affect your hair growth cycle and stunt the growth of your follicles. Stress can also cause inflammation in the body, which, in turn, increases sebum production.

Adopt stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga and regular physical activities into your daily routine. Getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep can also greatly reduce stress levels!

Getting Professional Help

You don’t have to deal with an oily scalp or hair loss alone. There are a variety of non-invasive oily scalp treatments that can help mattify the scalp and stimulate hair growth.

When to Consult a Professional

You should consider consulting a professional if you see the signs below:

  • Excessive oiliness — You experience consistently greasy or oily-feeling scalp despite regular cleansing.
  • Scalp irritation or pain — You have chronic scalp irritation, redness or pain.
  • Hair thinning — You experience hair loss or hair thinning related to your oily scalp.
  • Scalp infections — You have signs of a scalp infection, such as unusual flaking or pustules. Serious conditions will require professional treatment to prevent further complications.
  • Failed remedies — If over-the-counter solutions don’t suffice, it may be time to seek professional advice. A hair and scalp professional will be able to prescribe solutions to deal with your specific issue.
  • Quality of life — No issue is too small. If you experience discomfort and your scalp issues affect your quality of life, consult a professional to get the right treatment.

Professional Treatments

TrichoLab offers various treatments to regulate scalp oil levels and deeply nourish the scalp. All treatments start with a consultation and a thorough scalp analysis to better understand your skin condition and needs.

  • Sebum Control Treatment

The Sebum Control Treatment is a 90-minute treatment for oily scalps and/or mild folliculitis, specially designed to cleanse the scalp and regulate sebum production. It utilises natural ingredients like papaya and pineapple enzymes, which help to gently exfoliate and hydrate the scalp, while centella asiatica and green tea extracts effectively manage oil levels and temper scalp inflammation.

The treatment also includes an oil control shampoo and oil control ampoule for optimal results.

  • Hydra Balancing Scalp Treatment

The Hydra Balancing Scalp Treatment uses blue light therapy to exfoliate the scalp, deeply cleanse and control sebum production. It’s an ideal treatment if you face an oily scalp with other inflammatory conditions that cause irritation or itching.

Sometimes, a multivitamin serum or scalp ampoule can be administered to achieve optimal results.

For hair loss treatments with us, we usually recommend cleansing your scalp first so your scalp would be more receptive to treatment.

Regular Scalp Assessments

In order to maintain a healthy and balanced scalp, it’s important to undergo regular professional scalp assessments for several reasons:

  • Evaluate scalp health — A scalp assessment can help evaluate your scalp health and identify scalp issues you may have. An accurate diagnosis translates to the right treatment for your problem.
  • Preventing future problems — A detailed scalp assessment can help detect early conditions that may not have been spotted early otherwise. This allows you to mitigate problems early before they develop into severe conditions.
  • Personalised treatment plan — Everyone’s skin and skin needs are different. A scalp assessment will allow a professional to provide a personalised treatment plan tailored to your specific skin type or scalp condition.

Get Oily Scalp Treatment in Singapore

Effectively managing an oily scalp is possible with the right diet, lifestyle change and oily scalp treatment. The first step to a rejuvenated, clear scalp is understanding the root cause of your oily scalp.

TrichoLab is a hair and scalp specialist dedicated to providing medically-backed solutions for all types of scalp concerns. Book a consultation with us for a thorough scalp analysis and a treatment plan personalised to your needs!

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