10 reasons why your hair and face are dripping with oil


Have you got a case of too much oil on your face? Or too much oil on your hair? Maybe both? I’ve got quite an overdose of oil on my head and already, I’m frustrated. So I can imagine how much of a bummer it is to deal with having both oily face and oily hair. Not only is it affecting how you look, it can affect how you feel. I mean, shiny skin, smeared makeup, hair that is stuck to your forehead half the time. Definitely. Not. Appealing. In fact, you may also be combating with blackheads, enlarged pores, pimples, sallow skin tone, clogged follicles and not forgetting, hair loss. Too much oil is definitely not a good thing.

The reason why your hair and your face are dripping with oil is because you’re suffering from an overproduction of sebum by the oil glands in the lower layers of your skin. Simply put, it’s a case of having overactive sebaceous glands. Your glands are in an overdrive mode and there are a couple of reasons causing this. Let’s look at 10 of them here:

1. Over enthusiatic cleansing
It’s very tempting to overwash your oily hair and face just to get rid of the oily feeling. However, when you overdo it, you are basically stripping your scalp and skin off their natural oils and causing your oil glands to go into an overdrive mode to produce even more sebum to compensate for the lack of oil. Hence, it’s best to cap washing your hair to once a day at most, and twice a day for your face. Even then, you need to choose a gentle shampoo and facial wash that are free of harsh detergents like SLS or SLES. And if you practice double cleansing, do it just once a day and go easy on massaging your head and your face too k?

2. Hormonal imbalance due to PMS
If you’re a teenager, you’re likely to have oily skin. This is because of androgens in your body stimulates the oil glands to produce extra oil in your skin cells. But if you’re well past your teens, you need to know that spikes in androgens can also happen just before your menstrual period. As a result, this increased sebaceous secretions causes our skin to become more susceptible to spots and breakouts. Yeah, bummer! And there’s not much you can do except to take extra care of your skin during this period.

“Your lifestyle can affect your hormones and the amount of sebum produced in your scalp and hair.”

3. Eating a diet high in insulin
We know it’s no longer true that what you eat does not affect your skin. In fact, what you eat has a GREAT impact on your skin! If you’re consuming lots of dairy, sugar, refined carbs, or hydrogenated oils that contain trans-fats, you’re contributing oil to build up in your hair and skin because these foods can increase the amount of androgens in your body.

4. Not hydrating inside out
Most people seem to think that not drinking enough water causes our skin to become drier. Well, that’s definitely true. But dry also means, your skin may have to go into an overdrive mode to produce more sebum. Hence, drink up! Also, you need to moisturize. Avoid heavy creams and pick a light lotion so that your skin does not suffer from dryness, which in turn will cause it to produce more sebum.

5. Not eating enough essential fatty acids
Strangely, while essential fatty acids that are found in salmon, walnut and flaxseeds come across as oily, they actually help to prevent excessive oiliness in both your hair and face. So do consume sufficient EFAs if you want to have healthy hair and skin!

6. Going through stress and anxiety
Science has it that when you are stressed out, both your hair and face will become shiny for the wrong reasons! This is because when a person becomes stressed, the level of the body’s stress hormone (cortisol) rises and causes an increase in oil production in the scalp and skin.

7. Sleeping too late
I can tell you from experience that my scalp and face oozes more oil whenever I sleep late. Don’t believe me? Try it! But logically, this follows from the previous reason related to a high cortisol level due to stress and anxiety.

“Your state of health can cause your hair and skin to be oilier than it normally should.”

10 Reasons Why Your Hair And Face Are Oily

8. Having skin or scalp disorders
Overactive sebaceous glands could also stem from having skin or scalp disorders such as dermatitis. Symptoms include oily skin and hair, flaking and itching of the scalp skin, hair loss and redness on extended areas of the skin.

9. Suffering from health disorders
On a more serious level, those with disorders like polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS) can experience more sebum being produced in their skin, leading to oily hair and skin. This is because the ovaries make more androgens than normal and as we’ve seen in reason #2, that stimulates the oil glands to produce extra oil.

10. It’s in your genes
It also seems that if your parents have a case of oily hair and skin, you’re predisposed to show the same oily signs. Unfortunately, there’s not too much you can do here except to take better care of your hair and skin through your lifestyle and the products you use.

If you have oily hair and/or face, can you identify with this list? And do you have something you do that can help someone else banish oily hair and skin for good? If so, please share!


  1. liz says:

    I hate it when I eat too much diary!

  2. Kelly says:

    This is a problem I have suffered with since I had children. I always seem to have that oil slick right across my face. However they do say that those with oily skin age later than those without. I am hoping this is true!

  3. Soos says:

    Oily face, dry hair here!
    Soos last post is: Changes at The Whole Ox Deli & Butcher

  4. Sesame says:

    It’s not my favorite too…I try to avoid as much as possible.

  5. Sesame says:

    Oh yes, I’ve read that too. Well, that’s a plus point and I think it makes sense!

  6. Sesame says:

    Ah…I have oily hair, oily t-zone. I think diet affects me more than the others.

  7. Reader says:

    I have noticed spelling “dairy” as “diary”. And yeah, I have also oily skin ?

  8. Sesame says:

    Thanks! I definitely need a spell checker. I always have this problem with words like that. Like I just spelled Daiso as Diaso. >.<

  9. Annie says:

    I think I just experienced my first account of oily skin due to dehydration. I usually have dry to normal skin in the winter, but becoming more normal now that summer is almost here. I’ve been breaking badly for a while, and instinctively, I also use a bunch of product trying to keep it at bay. Well, i finally fed up with it and decided NOT to put anything on my skin, and only wash my face with water for 2 days. Guess what, I wake up with oilier face than I ever seen. Whereas in the past, (last week), i would wake up with glowy and supple skin (albeit acne-ic) skin if I applied moisturizer or oil blend the night before. That took me by surprise because I never get oily skin before

  10. Swati says:

    you should also write a post on how to make hair oily or mositurized all time!!! useful
    Swati last post is: How long and how often should henna be for? {Hair Care}

  11. Sesame says:

    It’s probably too drying due to the weather? Are you sleeping in an aircon room? Try to use a moisturizing lotion if you can.

  12. Sesame says:

    Haha…might be difficult cos my issue is the opposite.

  13. Swati says:

    hehe ?
    Swati last post is: My Hair Diary – May 2013

  14. chenyze says:

    veering off topic a little but i realised recently that i sleep better (and fall back to sleep more easily when i wake up in the middle of the night) if i drink enough water!

  15. Sesame says:

    That’s awesome! I hadn’t realized that sleep has a link to drinking enough water.

  16. Lisa says:

    I’ve read that drinking water helps balance out your hormones and of course the extra water helps regulate your body temperature, both of which should help your sleep.

    I think my biggest problem is with stress and anxiety. I get all oily and greasy due to work stress, then I tend to over cleanse. It’s a vicious cycle!

  17. Sesame says:

    Thanks Lisa for explaining. Very interesting to know. I’ve not come across info that drinking water helps balance out hormones. Very very interesting!

    Hope you can find some time to relax and not be overly stress and anxious. Well, I know it’s not something you can easily control but what I usually tell people is, look away from the issues and focus on something that is more positive. Also, being stressed is probably due to worrying and worrying will not get you anywhere.

  18. JesseJames says:

    My hair and mug are oily enough to change the grease on a ten ton truck. Always has been. I hate it. Best I can do is keep it very short and wash with hot hot water and soap . ?

  19. Sesame Chew says:

    I’m not sure if washing with hot hot water is such a good idea.

  20. Christina says:

    Not only does my scalp and face produce so much oil, but it burns, stings, itches and turns my face bright red, especially my nose! The only time I experience these symptoms is when I’m so oily. I’m thinking demodex or skin mites??!! I’m not grossed out, but I’m so depressed about the sensitivity and the level of oiliness on my face and scalp.

  21. Christina says:

    The oil of my skin does not allow my make up or moisturizer to stay on.

  22. Christina says:

    I do not have acne except for the occasional blemish around the time of menstruation and some blackheads here and there. The stinging, redness and hair loss is depressing.

  23. Sesame Chew says:

    Have you seen a dermatologist for your skin issues?

  24. Christina says:

    Yes I have seen two different dermatologists and my doctor. They all say rosacea. I have no acne, and no dry skin at all. But a scalp and face that are oozing with oil and causing the itch, sting, burn, and redness.

  25. Lindsay says:

    I too suffer from oily hair and face. I believe it has a lot to do with diet. I started the Whole30 last month,only lasted 2 weeks, but i noticed a difference in my skin blemishes within that small amount of time. I plan to start again seeing it through the 30 days. Hopefully i will see improvements. Does anyone have recommendations on good face wash and shampoo for oiliness?

  26. ingemar says:

    I noticed more lately it the lack of sleept late but the same what consider sleeping late cause i work graveyard shift and most of the time when i wake up my head is full of oil and sumtime so is my glasses

  27. Melissa says:

    Unfortunately for me I have many of the 10 commen reasons for having oily skin and hair including genetics. My Mom has large pores, but she doesn’t really have oily skin, or hair. My Dad however, from what I hear had very oily skin and hair. I also tend to eat a lot of dairy and sugary foods. I have tons of stress and anxiety.

    Can you please elaborate more on number 7, sleeping too late. How late is too late? What is the best time for bed and waking up?

  28. Sesame says:

    Best time to sleep is by 11pm and wake up about 6am or 7am for an 8-hour rest.

  29. Matthew says:

    I all so have oily skin on my face and scalp. I have seborrheic dermatitis mild. I have to use oil pads all the time through out the day. I just want it to stop I hate it. Any one know anything that can help stop it.

  30. ankita agrawal says:

    hii. i am 21 year graduate student from India.
    I have highly oily hair and pimpled skin. i am most stressed about this. my t-zone is excess oily and also have dark patches around my nose. i have been through various medical treatments, parlour treatments but nothing effected much. it looks well untill a month or two and is again the same after that. also i am confused about which beauty product to use and which not. please help me. i need your guidance much.

  31. Emy says:

    Hi I don’t know if I’m too late for this answer .
    I have very oily skin and I’ve found the “cure” for it
    I use clerasil facial scub (I know is not good to scrub every day )
    But with my T zone that is always oily and get lots of pimples I have to.
    I use it in the morning and at night and it works super it helps keep my face oil free smooth and is also withering .
    My favoure one is the clearasil daily facial scrub green one and second favourite the pink one
    But the other ones work great.
    If I don’t use clearasil for a few days my skin gets super oily and I start to get very big pimples and spots .
    Hope it help bye

  32. Emy says:

    Hi I don’t know if I’m too late for this answer .
    I have very oily skin and I’ve found the “cure” for it.
    I use clerasil facial scrub (I know is not good to scrub every day )
    But my T zone is always oily and get lots of pimples And blackheads so I have to .
    I use it in the morning and at night and it works great, it helps keep my face oil free smooth and is also whitening .
    My favourite one is the clearasil daily facial scrub the green one and second favourite the pink one.
    But the other ones work great.
    If I don’t use clearasil for few days my skin gets super oily and I start to get very big pimples spots and blackheads
    Hope it helps bye

  33. RISHi says:

    I have Oily skin and my hair become oily if I don’t wash it everyday. It seems to have dandruff also if I don’t wash hair everyday. And its creates hair falling.Is there any remedy?Medicine?

  34. Shivina says:

    My skin is very oily and open pores,because of that too much acne and small pimple, i am also suffering from bones problem like rheumatoid arthritis when i was only 8 year old and presently suffering from osteoporisis, i am taking homeopathic medicine from last year april but still my skin is oily and now some red reashes on my face, i am too much stressed out nothing is working on me,.
    And yes my skin is sensitive also and littke hairs on my face, what can i do for it.

  35. Holly Watkins says:

    My daughter (10) has super oily hair, and is getting pretty decent break-outs on her forehead already, does anyone have any suggestions on what we could do, besides the Dr. office?

  36. Cadence says:

    my hair is very oily at the roots and extremely perfect at the tip maybe ill try to sleep early.

  37. Sesame says:

    It could be due to sleep or diet. Try and adjust your lifestyle and see if it makes a difference.

  38. Ilja Y. says:

    I’ve come to accept my oily hair and skin. In fact, it’s even healthy! It moisturizes you thoroughly.

  39. Sesame says:

    That’s good. ?

  40. Elaine Schumacher says:

    My dermatologist told me to get OC8. I ordered it from walmart. No postage either as it came from the vendor. It’s very good, it is a small tube, but it doesn’t take much at all. Hope it helps someone! My beautician said my hair is falling out because I don’t eat enough protein. Since I have less hair my body is still producing the natural oils but it is clinging to less hair. I have upped my protein to stimulate more healthy and more hair. Just started

  41. jami r says:

    I used to have to blot my forehead and nose every hour. The Citrus Clear Grapefruit Spot Treatment is the only toner/spot treatment that takes away the oil and shine from my nose and forehead. No more blotting all the time!

  42. Laura says:

    I have noticed over the past year or so that i have really oily skin and greasy hair. I am turning 30 and thought it was to do with age. I also have hair loss at the front of my hair line and i have lots of dandruff (sound very attractive dont I). I also have 3 children and dont get a lot of sleep. I think all my issues are a mixture of everything you have mentioned in your blog. ?

  43. Neha says:

    Hye I am having a problem ricently…Basically my skin is a normal skin type but ricently I can see too much oil in my face specially around the nose…what can I do ?? please help me

  44. Sesame says:

    Try to up your hydration…apply a hydrating lotion.

  45. Shubham Jain says:


    have a oily scalp hence oily hair which creates dandruff… I have to wash them daily. Still cant control oil and dandruff. Please suggest. Also any shampoo and oil u would like to suggest.

  46. Lisa says:

    Great article! Just being picky here, but you can’t eat a diet high in insulin. You can eat a high sugar (high in refined sugar, carbohydrates(simple and complex)) diet which spikes your blood sugar and in turn spikes your insulin. But you do not eat insulin.

  47. Sesame says:

    Ah…you’re right. Thanks!

  48. Zhana says:

    I’m young so I can’t really do much or by stuff or use stuff and my parents won’t buy stuff because I don’t feel decent. Also if I don’t wash my hair the night before it’s oily when I wake up.

  49. Cinna says:

    Well this was extremely informative!
    I have always had really oily skin and hair, to the point that a day without a shower looks like i’ve been swimming. I had just found out recently that I’ve had PCOS since around 9 years old. I never knew it could cause oily skin and hair on top of everything else but low and behold, it does! Tha k you a lot for the information!

  50. Martin says:

    Hey Sesame, Thank you for sharing this guide about oily scalp. I am currently facing oily scalp problems. But the tips and remedies that you mentioned it are quite helpful to me. Thanks for sharing keep updating.

  51. Travis Ambrose says:

    I agree with you regarding oily skin. Changes in weather and high junk food consumption can affect our skin. Because it creat an imbalance in our blood and body and we can see skin problems and hair falls. So its require to maintain all the things as per require in our body. Thanks for the Article.

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  55. Arianna says:

    I never had oily scalp or face skin, then recently moved to a very humid place, and all of a sudden my scalp is ridiculously oily as well as my face. I’m breaking out like crazy on my face and scalp too! Could it also be the humidity or is it a health issue? I’m asking because that’s not mentioned here, but I did see it on another article somewhere. I don’t know what to do.

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