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Do You Complain About Oily Hair and Hair Loss?

Excessive production of sebum leading to seborrhea is called Hyperseborrhea or hypersecretion of sebum and the scalp becomes a problem simply due to overactivity of sebum glands. The immediate symptoms of hyperseborrhea are itching and pain on the scalp. But a later symptom is hair loss. Skin inflammation associated with overproduction of sebum leads to the production of oily scales on the scalp, skin of the ears, and inside the ear canal. All of these are also associated with the sensation of pain.


In normal amounts, sebum is an oily substance that has the function of protecting the skin from drying. It also has antibacterial properties. The presence of excess sebum causes the hydrolipid balance of the skin to be disrupted.


All this leads to serious consequences. It could be simple blemishes, hair loss, acne, comedones or folliculitis. Seborrheic hair loss is characterized by the presence of hyperseborrhea associated with hair loss. It prevents proper oxygenation and normal growth and development of the hair, leading to hair loss due to the accumulation and accumulation of excess sebum in the excretion channels of the follicles.


As a result of hyperseborrhea, the hair becomes thinner, shorter, dull and weaker with each growth cycle. In fact, the anagen phase is shortened and hair falls out as the follicles die. It should be noted that timely intervention is important to reduce and eliminate excess sebum secretion through appropriate therapy, which can prevent weakening and excessive hair loss.


It is important to distinguish between normal seborrhea and hyperseborrhea. Sebaceous glands are secretory organs located near hair follicles. Sebum secretion is a physiological process that begins during adolescence. Sebum forms the hydrolipid barrier, which has the function of protecting the scalp and hair from external environmental factors. When sebum secretion remains within certain limits, sebaceous gland activity is considered beneficial and is therefore called physiological seborrhea.


On the other hand, when sebum production is excessive, normal sebaceous gland function becomes a skin problem, resulting in pathological seborrhea. If excess sebum is not secreted in the hair follicles and remains in the hair follicles, lifeless skin occurs, making the skin hard and dry.


Hyperseborrhea, when present for short periods of time, should not be considered a pathological condition as this problem can be resolved within a short period of time. External environmental factors (temperature increases vasodilation of scalp capillaries, increasing blood flow and sebum secretion), improper hair care practices (incorrect hygiene practices, too aggressive treatments, or using the wrong products), or scalp infections can cause temporary hyperseborrhea.


The causes of hyperseborrhea are not yet clearly defined. Some factors that promote the occurrence of hyperseborrhea are:


1. Hormonal imbalances: Seborrhea is thought to be affected by hormonal imbalances of the thyroid gland and pituitary gland. Excessive secretion of sebum occurs during puberty in men and during menopause in women.


2. Metabolic disorders (nutrition and excretion): A high-fat diet disrupts metabolic activity, which alters the body's ability to eliminate excess fat through exocrine glands (sebaceous glands produce more sebum than normal, causing hyperseborrhea).


3. Digestive problems (liver or intestinal disorders): These changes change the chemical composition of the sebum produced, making it useless or inadequate to protect the skin and hair.


Our body makes an effort to eliminate sebum, but because the skin needs oils, the glands continue to produce sebum, creating a vicious cycle that makes it impossible to eliminate the skin's forced excess of sebum.


4. Nervous factors and stress: When the vagal nervous system overcomes the sympathetic nervous system, it increases blood circulation and increases sebum secretion, leading to hyperseborrhea.


5. Self-poisoning: This occurs when digestive or metabolic disorders alter normal gland secretions, causing toxins to accumulate in the scalp through sebum and sweat, further damaging this area.


Hygiene practices that dry too much, improper use of alcohol-containing hair lotions, abuse of excessively alkaline substances, very intense and long massages and vigorous and long brushing can lead to excess sebum production.


Among the pathogenic microorganisms, a parasitic larva called demodex folliculorum, found in hair follicles, changes the chemical composition of sebum and causes hyperseborrhea, which stimulates the glands.


Seborrhea, which causes seborrheic hair loss, especially the pathogenic type, causes hair loss and can compromise hair growth if not treated properly. Damage to the scalp is facilitated by hyperseborrhea. Excess sebum on the skin can promote infections caused by pathogenic microorganisms. Hyperseborrhea can lead to hair loss, rapid graying of hair, oily hair, oily and foul-smelling skin, folliculitis, acne or comedones, pityriasis steatoides, seborrheic dermatitis, blemishes, or hair loss.


Sometimes both excess sebum and yellow flakes can be found on the scalp, as both are symptoms of a single abnormality. Seborrhea is associated with seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis has an inflammatory origin. It occurs when the chemical composition of sebum and sweat creates inflammation in the skin due to pathogens. Seborrheic dermatitis causes oily scales (dandruff) in areas rich with sebaceous glands, such as the scalp, as well as the eyebrows, the skin around the nose, behind the ears, and in the armpits and bikini areas. Individuals affected by seborrheic dermatitis experience intense itching on the scalp and the above-mentioned areas. It can also cause a painful and uncomfortable feeling on the scalp.


Today, topical treatments are available to treat pathological and temporary seborrhea. Apart from aesthetic reasons, if left untreated or treated incorrectly, it can lead to severe hair loss following the death of hair follicles due to alopecia (seborrheic hair loss). Useful weapons against hyperseborrhea are: antiseptic lotions, lotions containing degreasing agents (to dissolve fats), lotions containing lipid (oil-based) solvents, and soothing lotions (amino acids, sulfur, pine tar). An astringent effect should also be exerted on the sebaceous glands, preventing them from producing excess sebum and neutralizing the bad odor of the surface lipids (oils) produced by seborrhea.


Therapies with anti-seborrheic and sebum balancing lotions are very effective when combined with high-frequency biostimulation treatments that disinfect the skin and vascularize the follicles, which in turn strengthens the hair strand by supporting hair follicle activity. Additionally, laser treatment strengthens hair by stimulating hair follicle activity.


Head of the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Umberto I Health Center of Rome “Sapienza” University, Dr. Scientific collaboration between Pasquale Fino and Professor Marco Toscani.

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